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The Saguaro Hotels: Colorfully Modernist Retreats

Design Trends

Clustered among the palm trees in Palm Springs and Scottsdale sets cubes of color. The Saguaro Palm Springs opened at the beginning of February 2012 and I, in a modernist mood, decided to stay at this lovely retreat during my time at Modernism Week. As luck would have it, the architects who designed The Saguaro for both Scottsdale, Arizona, and Palm Springs, California, were presenting their colorful vision and design process for the launches of the hotels. Full of inspiration, I traveled over to The Saguaro Scottsdale to view the initial hotel that started this desert color explosion. Presented here is the evolution of this creative enterprise at both locations.

As a tribute to the Southwest, the colors chosen throughout both properties were inspired by the vibrant desert landscape wildflowers. In a color palette of oranges, tangerines, banana yellows, hot fuchsias to pretty pinks, the atmosphere signals a welcoming color splash to the region. Color is carefully applied through out each of the hotels as way-finding methods and highlighting property details, all while paying attention to all interior details such as furnishings and custom textiles.

The Saguaro – Scottsdale

Settled among the Old Town area of Scottsdale, The Saguaro is a colorful, bright spot in beige surroundings. Arising as if it's a mirage among the center of town, this retreat creates a cocoon of vibrancy as you enter the property.

Photo Credit: Tim Street-Porter

Sonoran Desert Flowers

Closest D-E Color Matches

Scarlet Hedge Nettle

DEA108 Red Power

D1esert Mariposa Lily

DEA113 Orange Burst

California Poppy

DEA115 Orange Jewel

California Poppy

DE5314 Vibrant Honey

Common Sunflower

DE5405 Summer Sun

Staghorn Cholla

DEA124 Lime Twist

Lantana Camara

DE5419 Soleil

Tall Mountain Larkspur

DE5909 Beaded Blue

Lewis Flax

DE5907 Twilight Twinkle

D1esert Ruellia

DE5991 Purple Pride

Red Desert Globe Mallow

DE5027 Razzle Dazzle

Parry's Penstemon

DE5046 Carnation

Design Process
The Saguaro Scottsdale was the first project Stamberg Aferiat Architecture collaborated with Andrew Zobler, founder and CEO of the Sydell Group, and it was with a love of color and design that brought owner and designer together.

A review of the mid-century property, all white from exterior to interior, suggested a cold modernity. To revive the tired building and create a “wow" factor, Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat turned to their modernist roots and the historical Newton color wheel to create a vibrant and colorful combination of palettes while paying homage to the Sonoran desert and the city of Scottsdale.

The city of Scottsdale, known for more traditional, Mediterranean architectural styles and traditional desert sand and sage coloring, was surprisingly on board with the colorful solution after Peter and Paul persuaded the committee that desert coloring was more than this sage and sand. With about 30 color combinations balanced against white, and interior designs including references to the Southwest, The Saguaro Scottsdale is a magnificent, and colorful, desert gem.

See More Mediterranean architectural styles:

The Saguaro – Palm Springs

Situated along the Palm Springs Highway 111 route, the vibrant color palette draws you into the experience of the new modernist desert. Inspired by the landscape of the Coachella Valley, the colors complement the native wildflowers grown here.

Photo Credit: Sara McLean

Coachella Valley Flowers

Closest D-E Color Matches

Lemon Bottlebrush

DEA108 Red Power

Cape Honeysuckle

DE5195 Bright Mango

Emory's Globemallow

DE5307 Ripe Pumpkin

California Poppy

DE5342 Bumblebee


DE5405 Summer Sun


DE5419 Soleil

Sago Palm

DEA124 Lime Twist

D1esert Penstemon

DE5009 Soft Cashmere

Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus

DE5027 Razzle Dazzle

D1esert Sand Verbena

DE5970 Lush Lilac

Lewis Flax

DE5857 Marina

Indigo Bush

DE5907 Twilight Twinkle

Fan Palm

DEA126 Leprechaun

California Fan Palm

DEA125 In the Tropics

Design Process

Challenged with a short construction time frame, dark lobby and pool fencing that needed to stay per city requirements, Peter and Paul set out to create a paradise of color among the Palm Springs landscape. With 52 color combinations representing 14 of the desert flowers indigenous to Coachella Valley and with mountains and desert landscape to provide further inspiration to their drawings and specifications, Peter and Paul ultimately persuaded the Palm Springs city council that these colors were indeed of the desert, just not the traditional and typical pink-beige color palette reminiscent of the desert sand still shown prevalently in the city.

Flickr stream photography by Sara McLean styles:

Flickr stream photography by Sara McLean and courtesy and permissions of Joie de Vivre and M18 Public Relations for Tim Street-Porter and Paul Dyer

Designs for the lobby and rooms include bright coloring and lighting throughout, as well as furnishings from Mexico. And the pool area fencing is re-invented to capture the spirit of the Palm Springs mountain range in its view. Abstract lines representing the desert mountain landscape and color create a vibrant playfulness to the outdoor recreation area.

The Results

The word is out! Guests line up and visitors stop by to take pictures of the colorful surroundings. Colorfully modernist, and fully connected to the best of Palm Springs and Scottsdale design. To paraphrase Peter and Paul, “Modernism has always been colorful, and while black and white photography changed the concept of modern design into a “no-color allowed", design greats such as Le Corbusier, Frey, and Eames never meant for this to be. It's time to showcase color+modernism!"

The Saguaro Scottsdale is located at 4000 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85251

The Saguaro Palm Springs is located at 1800 East Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264
For more information on both locations,

Architects: Stamberg Aferiat are located at 126 Fifth Ave, New York City, NY 10011, for more information

Owner: Sydell Group, for more information

Management Company: Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Inc., for more information

Story photography by Sara McLean and with courtesy and permission of The Saguaro/Joie de Vivre/M18 Public Relations/Sydell Group

Flickr stream photography by Sara McLean and courtesy and permission of Joie de Vivre and M18 Public Relations for Tim Street-Porter