Jet Set: Palm Springs

Slim Aarons, 1971

It’s no secret that I love to travel. However, I hardly ever go on vacation with the intention of relaxing. Some people prefer to take their holidays on cruise ships and beach resorts, which I am sure is great, but it’s just not our style. Fabian and I usually opt for city vacations where we literally walk all day, hit up the museums, see the sights, take in the sounds, tastes, and smells, and immerse ourselves in other cultures. As incredibly fun and rewarding as our trips have been, they can also be a little tiring. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how nice it would be to get away for the weekend and just go somewhere to relax. No itinerary, no pre-planned events, just a weekend bag, some good books, and some sunscreen.

Slim Aarons, Kauffman House

Enter Palm Springs. It seems totally laid back, with a glamorous edge. The glitterati have flocked here since the 1950s and 1960s and it seems like it has had quite a big resurgence lately. Architecture and design buffs have been in the know about Palm Springs for a very long time, but as the Mid-Century and Regency styles continue to grow in popularity, so does Palm Springs.

When I think of Palm Springs, Slim Aaron’s beautiful photographs from the 1960s and 1970s always come to mind. I think of the gorgeous Mid-Century architecture and glamorous cocktail parties filled with beautiful people and drinks with maraschino cherries and little umbrellas (they were cool back then). Wouldn’t it be fabulous to see the gang from Mad Men take a little trip to Palm Springs?

Slim Aarons, 1961

Palm Springs has enough to offer to keep you entertained without feeling overwhelmingly busy. It is regarded as the “golf capital of the world” and has plenty of courses to offer any golf aficionado. One can revel in the beautiful architecture which is quintessentially Palm Springs, with its clean lines, use of glass, natural materials, and combined indoor/outdoor spaces. You could even take in a show at the Annenberg Theatre or go horseback riding.

If you are planning to visit this April, you can hit up the Coachella Festival on April 17th through 19th. It is kind of like Woodstock for hipsters. This year’s lineup includes Paul McCartney, The Killers, The Cure, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Tings, Morissey, Molotov, Franz Ferdinand, and about sixty other acts. If I ever make it to Palm Springs, you can rest assured that I will have the intention of doing little more than admiring the architecture and taking in the sun and relaxing atmosphere.

The Parker Palm Springs

Palm Springs has a plethora of stylish hotel options, or you can opt to rent a private house, though they don’t come cheap. And remember…the goal of visiting Palm Springs is to relax! The Kelly Wearstler designed Viceroy Palm Springs has received a ton of notoriety and is a favorite of many with its regency-styled interiors and color palette of black, white, and yellow. As much as I love the Viceroy, I know that it has certainly made its rounds in the blog world, so I have opted for a few different hotels.

First up, The Parker Palm Springs:

This super stylish Jonathan Adler designed resort was once Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch and Merv Griffin’s Givenchy Resort and Spa. The Parker now sits on thirteen acres and features 131 guest rooms of various types, 12 private one bedroom villas, and the two bedroom Gene Autry residence. The resort also features a “five star diner” called Norma’s, Mister Parker’s brasserie, and the poolside Lemonade Stand. The resort is also home to four European red clay tennis courts, an 18 hole golf course and a spa. Coincidentally, it was also the subject of a Bravo reality show, “Welcome to the Parker”, which just so happens to be the one Bravo show I haven’t watched.

Next on the list, the Colony Palms Hotel:

This spectacular Spanish Colonial style hotel was once owned by reputed mobster Al Wertheimer and was once a legendary speakeasy and brothel. It first opened in 1936, then changed ownership in 1940, after which it was a haven for Hollywood’s elite well into the 1960s. It recently underwent a fabulous facelift by designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard. I absolutely love the bright colors, suzanis, and ethnic textiles. The hotel has quickly regained its hot spot status since its re-opening. Condé Nast Traveller featured it on its 2008-2009 hot list, calling it “a weekend retreat for Hollywood’s music- and movie-industry elite and stylish guests from points beyond…A chic, poolside scene is fueled by the bar-restaurant Purple Palm.”

Last, but not least is the Riviera Palm Springs Hotel:
The Riviera Palm Springs is a decidedly swanky and glam destination. The hotel first opened in 1959 and was modeled after the great Las Vegas hotels of the era. It quickly became a stomping-ground for the heavy hitters of the entertainment industry. It was a favorite of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis Pressley, Connie Francis, and Jayne Mansfield.

The legendary 24 acre hotel property recently underwent a modernizing transformation and just re-opened in the fall of 2008. It is a large property, featuring 406 luxurious guestrooms, the Circa59 restaurant, The Starlite Lounge, Bikini Bar, and SpaTerre, an 11,000 square foot Noble House signature spa. San Diego-based Rossi Architecture and Chicago-based Delarosa Studio spearheaded the architectural overhaul and new interior design on this project. The result is a modern spin on the regency style and is undoubtedly rich in both color and glamour.

I have these brown pillows in my family room!

So, what do you say? Is Palm Springs a place you’d like to visit? Where would you stay?

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  1. Palm Springs is my happy place. I got married at The Horizon Hotel there last year and we drive down every chance we get as it truly is relaxing. The Cabazon outlets are pretty fabulous too. I am currently trying to convince my husband that we should buy a house there, so mi casa es su casa if we ever do and you ever get away!

  2. This is so fabulous! I think I like the Parker the best, but there is something fun about how over the top the Riviera is.

  3. I would love to visit there, it looks so beautiful. While I normally love a tropical vacation by the water, this looks as if it would have plenty of fun things to see that I wouldn’t even miss the ocean- great post!

  4. I would love to go back to Palm Springs. My dad lived there for a few years in two different houses overlooking the beautiful golf courses. I stayed with him for a month during one of my summers in college and almost fainted everyday because it was so HOT. I could never live there but it’s worth a visit. Great Jet Set post!


  5. I have never been there but I love mid century architecture and would love to see it. I like the Riviera hotel the best. From pictures I’ve seen the town has such a cool retro vibe.

  6. LOVE Palm Springs !! It was an easy 2 hr drive but made me feel a million miles from home. We always stayed in private condos on a golf course – OMG it’s hard to remember what it was like being warm !! Great post

  7. What a fabulous post and so timely for me. Palm Springs seems to be the “go to” place at the moment. I’m not a huge Adler fan (I’m alone in that regard, I know), so it was wonderful to see the photos of the Colony Palms. My husband laughs at me because I refuse to stay in hotels, rentals, etc. if I hate the interiors. But I’m a designer, so it goes with the territory, no? Thanks so much for this.

  8. Love your post. I am a huge fan of Palm Springs ever since we lived in San Diego. I am intrigued by it’s history and all it’s fabulous architecture.It’s like stepping back in time.It’s like you can feel the vibe of all interesting and famous who visited or resided there. The beauty of the mountains & all of that, makes for one fabulous time. Oh..I vote for the “Parker”!!

  9. I visited Palm Springs over four years ago, and I would love to go back!! We went in January, and the weather was beautiful– it was the perfect winter get-away. There are so many hotels where I’d love to stay if I did though, I am really not sure how I would chose.

  10. Mad Men (Don Draper) that is did go to Palm Springs. It was a great episode. Season 2 I believe. Check it out.

  11. Thanks for the tip on Mad Men, Anon! I just recently watched the first season on DVD and I am hooked! AMC is replaying the second season on Sunday nights, so I am looking forward to the Palm Springs episode!

  12. If someone is planing to visit palm springs I would like to suggest “”. It is a Palm Springs Hotel located in America’s desert playground with a modern hip hotel, motel and affordable resort. Use promotional code “LKSC” and get 10% discount on reservations.

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