Palm Springs' 7 Springs Inn & Suites a hidden and affordable SoCal resort option

By Chris Baldwin, Contributor

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Your first sight of the 7 Springs Inn & Suites can be a tad frightening. It's not that it looks bad. It just looks dinky, nondescript and crammed into an unlikely location. And you're suddenly imaging it's going to be bad.

7 Springs Inn & Suites in Palm Springs  - Pool
7 Springs Inn & Suites doesn't have the biggest pool, but it's a friendly scene.
7 Springs Inn & Suites in Palm Springs  - Pool7 Springs Inn & Suites7 Springs Inn & Suites - Mountains7 Springs Inn & Suites in Palm Springs - Lobby
If you go

Fear not, though.

7 Springs is the rare hotel where a small entranceway and an unimpressive exterior does not reflect on the quality of the rooms. Indeed, by the end of your stay, you may be thankful that a trendy decorator would retch at the sight of the place, because that's surely what helps make 7 Springs one of Palm Springs' rare reasonable hotel finds.

You can often get a room at 7 Springs for around $100 a night. That's when the weather's absolutely gorgeous in Palm Springs. In the heat of the summer, it can dip down closer to $70. It's often impossible to get run-down budget chain hotels at those prices in a golf resort locale. And 7 Springs Inn is no run-down budget hotel that's dependent on the free breakfast buffet crowd.

Instead, you get 500 thread-count sheets in a big, fluffy, white bed that looks nearly brand new, a sort of bohemian courtyard pool scene and on this visit, one of the friendliest front desk clerks you're ever going to come across.

Plus, all of that is within an easy five-minute walk to downtown Palm Springs, which is a great place to stroll around after a day of golf if you're looking for something more than a cookie-cutter mall scene. On Palm Springs' main drag (Palm Canyon Drive), you get trendy cutting-edge shops flanked by longtime Palm Springs shops (think clothes that no one under 70 would ever consider wearing), a book store eccentric enough to once have Dennis Rodman do a signing and some of the best restaurants in the Coachella Valley.

A casino is an even closer walk, straight down the street. It's not one of the better casinos in the region, but you can still gamble.

7 Springs' drawback is that it doesn't have any natural golf affiliation in an area filled with good mega golf resorts.

You still might want to stay at the recently renovated La Quinta Resort & Club in a few days of splurging, the better to be close to its five courses, including Pete Dye's infamous PGA West Stadium Golf Course. Then you can stay at 7 Springs to experience downtown Palm Springs and save some money on the overall trip.

7 Springs only has 50 rooms, which adds to the hidden feel of the place. They are in low-lying two story buildings from the 1960s. But if you're staying on the first floor, you can walk right outside your patio door into a well-laid-out grass courtyard.

There are fountains, pools and usually a few guests hanging out and talking to other vacationers.

It's about as far as you can get from the staid, sterile atmosphere of a cookie-cutter business hotel. You'll get some businessmen here. They're just kicking back at the pool with their ties loosened and a bottle of beer in their hands, though.

"It makes you feel like you're on vacation, even if you're not on vacation," visitor Robert Fitzgerald said, waving to a couple he'd met two days earlier. "There's not too many other places where you can be staring up at the mountains in the middle of the city."

Those mountains, the San Jacinto Mountain range, are visible overhead past the town from 7 Springs' courtyard, and they look a whole lot closer than that.

Back in your room, you'll find plenty of space. In fact, the standard king I stayed in during this visit had so much open area that you could have set up your own weight room. Maybe more appropriately for Palm Springs - an area dotted with almost as many fortune tellers and healing centers as golf courses - there's plenty of open carpet to set down a yoga mat.

The larger rooms - and 7 Springs boasts two-bedroom townhouses that can sleep eight, as well as more customary suites - all include a full kitchen, all the better to save some more cash on an extended stay. Even the regular rooms all have refrigerators.

The only major inconvenience can be the parking situation. 7 Springs doesn't just look cramped in, it is, and there are only a handful of spots right in front of the hotel for guests. On this stay, it was easy to find parking, but on a busy weekend or on Thursday nights when there's a weekly street fair on Palm Canyon Drive, it could get a little difficult. Although we're not talking Manhattan hard.

Parking is free, though. In that sense, it fits right into 7 Springs Inn's unconventional luxury vibe.

Chris BaldwinChris Baldwin, Contributor

Chris Baldwin keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

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