Palm Springs – Day 2

February 25, 2011

There are 100’s of modernist homes in Palm Springs, one after the other… Flat roofs, deep overhangs and decorotive cement blocks are all hallmarks of midcentury dessert architecture.  There are a handful of homes with a pedigree that even the most jaded person would climb over a locked gate or beg a friend to take them along to visit.  Among those are the Kaufmann House designed by architectRichard Neutra in 1946.  It was one of the last domestic projects conducted by the Neutra, but it is also arguably one of his most famous homes.  It is “one of the most important examples of International Style architecture in the United States and the only one still in private hands.  

Another heralded structure is Twin Palms built by Frank Sinatra in 1947. When in town, he would hoist a flag bearing the Jack Daniels logo to signal party time.  The house that sleeps 8 rents for $7,800 a weekend… including concierge;  

The Frey House II appears to grow from the craggy rocks of the San Jacinto mountain overlooking Palm Springs, California. Architect Albert Frey spent years measuring the movement of the sun and the contours of the rocks before he selected the site for his modernist home. The house was completed in 1963.  Widely praised as a landmark example of Desert Modernism, the Frey II house is now owned by the Palm Springs Art Museum. However, to protect the structure, it is rarely open to the public.  

It’s only day two, and truth be told I haven’t been to any of the before mentioned homes, yet.  I have however visited several beautiful boutique hotels in Palm springs including the Colony Palms Hotel.  Originally dubbed The Colonial House by reputed mobster owner Al Wertheimer, the Spanish Colonial style hotel began receiving guests in 1936 featuring plenty of sunshine, a good night’s rest, as well as a legendary underground speakeasy and brothel. The hotel was renamed The Howard Manor in the late 1940’s when Robert and Andrea Leeds Howard (owners of the champion thoroughbred Sea Biscuit) took possession. For the next 25 years the hotel was a haven for young Hollywood in Palms Springs.  Having recently re-opened after an extensive renovation, The Colony Palms Hotel, has regained its swagger as a stunning four-star boutique. The hotel was designed by Los Angeles based Martyn Lawrence-Bullard. here are a few images…

The Parker … Designed by Johnathan Adler is without question one of the most chic hotels in Palm Springs.  The front door is an imposing wall of formed concrete bricks.  The lobby is an eclectic homage to bohemian retro artifacts and period cast-offs made cool again by Adler.  The grounds are beautifully manicured but don’t feel overly groomed or inauthentic; small fountains replace fire pits nestled into the landscape and the pools are both protected by lush plantings.  The Spa on the grounds (PSYC) is a whimsical nod to the great yachts of yesteryear.



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