With The Rowan Hotel, Kimpton Brings Pro-LGBT Brand to the Desert


A dazzling fireworks display lit up the night sky in Downtown Palm Springs on Thursday, December 14th, a celebration of the brand new, seven story Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel.

The stylish gray-, white-, and yellow-accented "urban oasis," which opened November 17, is the newest venture from Kimpton Hotels. The San Francisco-based company is one of the most consistently lauded by the Human Rights Campaign atop its "Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality" rankings. The hotel is the flagship for the Downtown Palm Springs revitalization project, and the first full-scale hotel built from the ground up in several decades.

The 153-unit hotel features two new restaurants and three bars, floor-to-ceiling windows at every turn to maximize the stunning views of Mount San Jacinto and the Coachella Valley, and quirky art installations throughout the building that keep things a little bit weird and a little bit camp. The Rowan's architecture and interior design evoke the mid-century and modernist styles for which Palm Springs is known, with a sheen that keeps it very much in the contemporary. This aesthetic appeal to multiple generations, from baby boomers down to millennials, reflects the company's hopes to attract a similarly broad clientele.

But the pièce de résistance of the new Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs isn't the syntax of its name, it is the gloriously accommodating rooftop. Designed by the prolific Palm Springs design institution Chris Pardo, it features the city's first rooftop pool, with six luxury cabanas, the poolside High Bar and, of course, spectacular views. Also atop the roof is 4 Saints, an intimate restaurant and bar with international, bold, shareable plates by Executive Chef Steven Waumbach, who also oversees the Juniper Bar counter-service Meditteranean Restaurant on the ground floor. Christine Delgado, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Rowan, says of the project, “Our delectable, hand crafted cocktails and fine, flavorful foods, savored with the backdrop of our vivid vistas from every room at the Rowan is a no-fail recipe for living the high life.”

Kimpton is an active supporter of LGBT equality, but also of the numerous, less universal aspects of LGBT life and community. This manifests in all variety of aspects throughout the business, from the Kimpton Karma Rewards Program with its special LGBT member perks, to devoted same-sex wedding planning services, to the KPRIDE LGBT Employee Network, which handles outreach and advocacy with the LGBT customer base for the company. And it has used specifically gay-targeted advertising campaigns since 2004.

Kimpton also sponsors numerous LGBT organizations and events, as well as the Red Ribbon Program. Its highest profile involvement in its advocacy capacity is as national hotel sponsor for the Trevor Project, a crisis intervention and suicide prevention program for LGBT youth. Guests can participate as well by entering the code "TRPR" and receiving a 10% discount while triggering a $5 donation from Kimpton for every room sold through the promotion.

For all this and more, Kimpton received a good deal of recognition as a corporate leader in LGBT equality, even after the 2014 takeover by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the worldwide hospitality giant that also owns Holiday Inn and many others. It was the first company to earn a perfect 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, a feat it has repeated every year since. Awards from OutTraveler (Best Hotel Chain, 2013), Equality Forum (International Business Leadership Award, 2011) and the HRC (Innovation Award for Workplace Equality, 2011).

Now, Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs opens its doors in 2017 to a city that made global headlines for electing the first all-queer City Council in the country. It does seem like ideal timing, two trail-blazing entities for LGBT equality, corporation and city coming together around an enterprise meant to enrich them both. Perhaps a bumpy takeoff can be alleviated by a smooth landing.


Note: This post has been updated to include quote from Ms Delgado. (1/2/18)