In 1925, Palm Springs was little more than a sleepy desert village. The prestigious Humphrey Birge family, owners of the Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company, then the "Rolls Royce" of America, liked the calm beauty of the scenery and built a Spanish-style estate at the foot of the magnificent San Jacinto Mountains. Here they lived for some ten years until the demise of the matriarch of the clan, and the property was then sold to Ruth Hardy, a lady from Indiana, who changed the face of the town and of the Inn itself. She transformed the estate into a 20-room hotel, and it was a very special one indeed. You did not call for a reservation, you had to be invited, and if Mrs. Hardy did not consider that you measured up to her standards, you were simply told there was, "no room at the Inn."
She proceeded to operate the Inn as a private club, closing six months of the year. She personally supervised every facet of the operation. The small restaurant was for hotel guests only and if you were invited by one of the guests, you had to have Mrs. Hardy's approval. The Inn had no liquor license so guests brought their own alcoholic spirits. What is now the Library Room was then the salon where guests assembled before dinner for their "happy hour." The Inn hosted the "Who's Who" of show business, finance and politics. Guests included Howard Hughes, Salvador Dali, Norman Vincent Peale, Spencer Tracy, Mrs. L.M. Giannini from the Bank of America family and so on.
Ruth Hardy became an important figure in Palm Springs. She was a City Councilwoman, responsible for having the trees on Palm Canyon Drive lit, and subsequently a park in town was named after her. The Ingleside Inn enjoyed a reputation as the favorite gathering place for the rich and famous.
In 1965, Ruth Hardy passed on and the Inn was sold to a regular guest from a San Francisco banking family. Winston S. Cowgill III had hopes of maintaining the tradition that Ruth Hardy had built; however, Mr. Cowgill was an owner in absentia and over the next ten years the property fell into a state of disrepair.
In 1975, New York businessman, Melvyn Haber, visited Palm Springs as a respite from his hectic life in New York. Mel Haber came upon the Inn while strolling around town and fell in love with it on the spot. He bought it in April of 1975, completely renovating the entire property and created Melvyn's Restaurant and the Casablanca Lounge and continues to cater to leaders of industry, show business and politics.
We believe the Ingleside Inn will prove as attractive to you as it did to the famous diva Lily Pons and her husband Andre Kostelanetz, who came for one night and stayed 13 years.