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Two Proposed Hotel Projects, a 490 room Hard Rock Hotel and a 408 room Mondrian Hotel,
Planned for Near Palm Springs Renovated Convention Center
By Kimberly Pierceall, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jun. 25, 2007--Developers of new luxury resorts have typically bypassed Palm Springs in favor of Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert in decades past.

But two hotel projects, a proposed Hard Rock Hotel and a Mondrian hotel, have been proposed for downtown Palm Springs next to the city's $34 million renovated convention center and near where the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians propose to expand their resort.

The Mondrian, a luxury hotel with up to 408 rentable condominium and hotel rooms, is a step closer to City Council approval after the Planning Commission voted 6-1 to recommend it last week. The hotel, being developed by Lauri Kibby with the Los Angeles-based Oasi Group LLC, also signed an agreement with a high-end hotelier, Morgans Hotel Group, which manages the Mondrian hotel brand in West Hollywood and Scottsdale.

The two projects must also be reviewed and approved by the Agua Caliente's Indian Planning Commission because the land for both is tribally owned and would be leased from the tribe. The tribe has reviewed initial plans for both hotels.

Alan Reay, president of Irvine-based Atlas Hospitality Group, which brokers hotel transactions, said Morgans Hotel Group has a successful market reputation.

"I think that those two hotels together -- a Hard Rock and a Mondrian together -- they're pitching to a new type of visitor to Palm Springs. I think that visitor is there, they're just scattered among the smaller boutique hotels," he said.

Rates for Mondrian's West Hollywood property ranged from $345 to $575 on a recent Sunday night. Kibby said it's too early to speculate on what rates for her Palm Springs hotel will look like and emphasized that Palm Springs remains a very seasonal market with steep shifts in pricing.

Reay said rates upward of $400 a night wouldn't be uncommon during Palm Springs' season, typically from November to April.

"Palm Springs two to three years from now is going to be a lot stronger than it is today," he said.

LUX LODGING

Two proposed hotel projects that would add about 900 rentable rooms to Palm Springs and bring brand-name luxury to the resort city are winding through approvals.

MONDRIAN HOTEL IN PALM SPRINGS

Developed by Lauri Kibby with the Oasi Group LLC

Proposed rooms (and rentable condo units): up to 408

Proposed features: 100-seat theater and recording studio

Opening date: early 2010

HARD ROCK HOTEL IN PALM SPRINGS

Developed by Nexus Cos. in Santa Ana

Proposed rooms (and rentable condo units): 490

Source: Oasi Group LLC, Nexus Cos.

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To see more of The Press-Enterprise, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.PE.com.

Copyright (c) 2007, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.

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