Palm Springs' Most Luxurious Hotel to Rise from Ashes of Church
By Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez
The charred remains of Palm Springs Community Church is giving way to a new luxury resort.
The Architectural Advisory Committee approved the new Orchid Tree Resort and Spa, which will reuse eight historic bungalows and the church. The project will also include the building of an upscale 98-room, five-story hotel resort and a spa complete with a restaurant and banquet facilities.
"Our concept here was to try and create a really beautiful hotel that, you could feel like you're anywhere, but still be in Palm Springs," Richard Weintraub, developer for the Orchid Tree Inn hotel project in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood, said in a statement. "Our concept here is to create, really, the most luxurious hotel in Palm Springs and to do it in a way that meets the newer traveler, where there may be a void for this type of project."
The architect, Gwynne Pugh of Urban Studio in Santa Monica, plans to use the church remains as the entrance to the hotel. Pugh plans on leaving the church in the blackened and damaged state to preserve the history of the building.
“Our goal here is, ‘this is part of the history, and part of the story of this property over the last 80 years,’” Michael Hirschbein, a member of the architectural advisory committee, said. “And it did have a fire. And that fire will be exposed. But coming out of the fire will be these new materials.”
President Eisenhower and First lady Mamie worshipped at the church in 1954, according to The Desert Sun. It remained a Palm Springs landmark until it suffered a devastating fire in 2013.