The desert is calling, with new hotels and a terrific lineup of design boutiques. Who knew the '50s could be so much fun?
Slip out of the dry desert heat into the breezy lobby of the DelMarcos Hotel, and there to greet you from behind the orange-toppedregistration desk is none other than Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, lookingquite debonair. Not literally, of course. But the Warhol-ishpainting certainly evokes the proper dooby-dooby-do era.
Meanwhile, just blocks away at the Atomic Age-inspired Orbit In,where the rooms are furnished in midcentury-modern furniture, twowomen sit poolside at the lava lamp-lit Boomerang Bar, playing ginrummy and discussing Albert Frey’s second house, a modestglass-and-metal box perched on the edge of the chocolate-coloredhills above the hotel. “My grandparents had a house just like thatwhen I was a kid,” says one of the women wistfully. “I loved it. Itwas just so … “
“Cool?” suggests the other woman.
The desert heats up
Think of Palm Springs as a cocktail: Mix one part Rat Packglamour, a shot of desert beauty, fill to the top of the glass withbalmy days, and stir up the perfect desert midwinter getaway. Thatit’s only about 110 miles east of Hollywood has long been reasonenough for Angelenos to claim it as their private hideaway, but inthe last few years, as it has blossomed with boutique hotels and― finally ― some decent eateries, snowbirds fromSeattle to Salt Lake City have claimed it as their own as well.
“We’ve always had the Hollywood notoriety,” says Steve Rizzo,general manager of the Orbit In. “Now people from all over havetaken notice of the modern architecture.”
And the desert is particularly alluring this month. Rain isunlikely, the temps are heating up but are still bearable(averaging 72°), and there’s a plethora of outdoor activities,from touring the Indian Canyons to cool hiking from the 8,500-foottop of the aerial tram.
But for anyone who is a fan of 1950s and ’60s home design, atrip to Palm Springs is truly a must. Why here? Well, because ofthe love for the early Hollywood glamourati who made their homeshere, and the rock stars of midcentury-modern architecture ―Albert Frey, Richard Neutra, William F. Cody ― who builtthose homes.