Rossi HotelWill Speros • March 14, 2017
Marina Rossi’s family bought what is now the Rossi Hotel back in 2004 when it was a long-term vacation rental. They converted it to a full-service hotel and changed the name to the San Giulano. But just last year, the Palm Springs property underwent another facelift, this time a full-scale upgrade and rebranding by Rossi.
The design by owner Rossi reflects her globetrotting life. “I have been collecting interesting items for years without really knowing what I wanted to do with them or where they would go,” she explains. “I let the pieces themselves dictate the design, not an idea of what I wanted the rooms to look like.”
Set against the San Jacinto Mountains, the result is an eclectic, colorful journey characterized by elements that draw inspiration from a range of materials and objects. “We began with the idea of modern Morocco, then Spanish Colonial, then Mediterranean chic, but none of those labels could really encapsulate everything,” she says, “It’s a really unique blend of all those styles.”
Rossi’s first decision was to cast the walls of all eight suites in white, weaving in color through burgundy and navy-stained headboards in the Fountain and Velvet haciendas, for example. Most other suites include headboards that have been repurposed from old screens and doors (one of which is even a Moroccan door sourced from the former Palm Springs home of movie star Errol Flynn).
To complement the gold, bronze and white palette, palms and green tropical plants were folded into the guestroom décor to connect it with the hotel’s fecund outdoor spaces. The addition of luxurious textures, including faux fur, velvet, gold, and fuzzy pillows and blankets, convey a high-end aesthetic in a serene environment.
Elegant, antique pieces like a framed Iranian tapestry, handmade cedar chests, and a handcarved Mexican couch adorn the hotel’s largest suite, the Fountain, while the Gold suite’s towering ceilings are highlighted with a tall and dramatic headboard. Since each suite is large—all with private patios and Jacuzzis, and some with separate living and dining rooms—it was important that “guests feel like the hotel is just an extension of their homes,” says Rossi. The indoor-outdoor patios offer that breezy and airy tranquility with candles and chimineas that emit soft light.
Embracing the property’s 1920s Spanish architecture, Rossi sandblasted wooden beams to reveal their original paint. Bathroom tiles in the Ranch Hacienda suite were also unearthed to infuse authenticity. A rich variety of colors inject vivacity into the property with shades of brown, burnt orange, and dark magenta, which echo the blooming bougainvillea flowers throughout the property.
Patterned cement and century-old handmade Mexican bricks span the pool deck, while two solid bronze statues—one of a dolphin and the other of a little girl playing with birds—punctuate other outdoor spaces. Situated beneath one of the property’s old trees, an intimate outdoor enclave offers romantic refuge complete with an antique Moroccan couch and hanging lanterns crafted from metal cans by artist Sue Durazo.
“This is old school hospitality,” Rossi notes. “We’re love to think of Palm Springs as the hub of Old Hollywood glam and try to honor that with the feel of the hotel.”