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Palm Springs’ Monkey Tree Hotel caters to active travelers who see vacation as an opportunity to pack in the miles.
While most of the country is sitting under a blanket of snow, Palm Springs, Calif., remains a sunny oasis that is perfect for winter training. The year-old Monkey Tree Hotel caters to those who consider “vacation” and “training camp” to be synonymous, with athlete-friendly amenities and easy access to bike-friendly roads and running trails.
Owners Gary and Kathy Friedle bought the property—which was designed by renowned architect Albert Frey, and was once a nudist resort(!)—in November 2015 and revamped it into a vacation spot that both athletes and non-athletes would appreciate. The couple moved from New York City, where Kathy worked as an architect and Gary spent 25 years on Wall Street while simultaneously training for ultramarathons.
They left their former lives and embraced their new Southern California surroundings, combining their passions and skills to open the boutique hotel in early 2016. Kathy spent weeks going to auctions to find vintage furniture and artwork to decorate the 16 rooms, each of which has its own mid-century modern theme and color palette. Gary was excited to create a place where athletes could train on vacation, adding in features like a Scandinavian spa (hot tub, cold tub, sauna) for recovery, and the option to order a protein shake at the daily included-breakfast.
For athletes, the beauty continues in the details: Rooms come equipped with bike racks and cycling Palm Springs books; there’s a swim tether setup at a small, private pool; guests can receive a complimentary gym pass; and requests for a gluten-free or vegan breakfast are welcomed. (Tip: If you want route recommendations, Gary will happily point you in the right direction for local trails and loops.)
Plus, for triathletes who thrive on the balance of train hard/play hard, the Greater Palm Springs area boasts a thriving food and drink scene—we recommend a cocktail at The Parker, ACE Hotel, or speakeasy Seymour’s for a uniquely Palm Springs experience.
Rooms start at $189 and up, depending on time of week.