Ivy Palm Resort is the latest Palm Springs hotel to undergo a major renovation

By on March 25, 2019
Moreno Valley Looks to Hike Hotel Tax

The boutique operation north of downtown will begin the first of a two-phase makeover in June. It joins a long list of hotels in the resort community that have remade themselves during the past 10 years or so.

A Palm Springs hotel that was built in 1982 is about to be upgraded and given a new name.

Ivy Palm Resort, a four-building operation at 2000 N. Palm Canyon Drive, will undergo a two-phase multi-million dollar renovation, according to Oxygen Hospitality, the hotel’s owner.

The first phase, which is expected to start in June, will upgrade all of the facility’s 100 guest rooms and suites as well its public spaces and two outdoor pools.

That phase is expected to be completed in November.

Phase two, expected to be finished next year, will bring a second restaurant to the hotel and extra rooms, although how many rooms has not been determined. The hotel’s main entrance and outside bar will also be redone, following a redesign.

The hotel, which is slightly north of downtown, will remain open during construction, according to the statement.

Oxygen Hospitality bought Ivy Palm in May of last year intending to turn it into a first-class property, said Ruth Seigel the company’s chief marketing officer.

“It’s a two-star hotel, and our goal is to make it a four-star hotel,” Seigel said. “There is so much golf and tennis in that part of the city, and so many community festivals, that we think it merits making a major investment in the property. It also has a lot of room to grow.”

Oxygen Hospitality is an owner-operator hospitality business that formed in November 2017. It buys, renovates and manages middle upscale hotels in the western United States, with an emphasis on California, Arizona and Nevada.

Ivy Palm Resort, which it bought for an undisclosed amount, is the privately-held company’s second purchase. Its first was the 160-room Wyndham Garden Phoenix Midtown, which it bought last year, according to the company’s website.

The upgrading of the 37-year-old Ivy Palm Resort, which covers three acres near Palm Springs International Airport and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, is one of several hotel renovation projects that are transforming downtown Palm Springs.

Some of those projects have been helped by the city, which in February approved the second phase of its Hotel Operations Incentive Program.

That program, which is scheduled to last through 2023, promotes hotel operation and maintenance, make full use of the city’s convention center and provide jobs for Palm Springs residents, according to a city statement.

Specifically, the program helps hotels with six or more rooms to renovate, provided they make an investment of at least $5,000 per room. In exchange, the hotel owner receives 50 percent of the city’s transient occupancy tax, a standard charge levied against anyone who rents a hotel room, or other form of public lodging, for less than 30 days.

Those payments from the city will last for 10 years or until the hotel owner recovers its renovation costs. A hotel must have been in operation for at least five years to be eligible for the program.

Palm Springs attracts visitors from all over the world, and the city’s economy depends greatly on a steady influx of tourist dollars. It collected $32.2 million in transient occupancy tax in the 2017-’18 fiscal year and $29.3 million in the 2016-’17 fiscal year, according to the Palm Springs department of finance and treasury.

The city’s first hotel restoration program, which ended in 2015, helped 18 hotels remake themselves, including the 406-room Riviera Palm Springs, the 250-room Hilton Palm Springs and the 245-room Saguaro Palm Springs.

The Riviera and Saguaro completed their improvements in 2012, the Hilton in 2013.

Several hotels underwent major renovations without the city’s help, including the 18-room La Serena Villas, the 28-room  Holiday House Palm Springs and the 38-room Villa Royale, said Cathy Van Horn, the city’s economic development administrator.

Following the recession of 2008-09, city officials began pushing for large-scale hotel renovation as one way to revive the city’s economy, Van Horn said.

“The city doesn’t really pay for anything,” said Van Horn, who has worked for Palm Springs for 23 years. “The [hotel owner] makes the major investment in their own property, and it’s worked very well. It’s fixed up a lot of properties, and it’s helped us replace redevelopment, which the state did away with.”

Downtown Palm Springs was overdue for an upgrade when the city began its hotel restoration program, said Joy Meredith, president of the Palm Springs Downtown Merchants Association.

“The city has made a major investment in downtown Palm Springs, and it’s paying off,” Meredith said. “It looks a lot better, and I think when people come here from out of town, they’re seeing what they expect to see.”