Recently I spent some time in a charming little town. From the following photos can you take a guess as to which city I visited?
If you look up “charming” in the dictionary, you’ll see that it not only has references to strong attraction, but to spells and magic. Sometimes you don’t have to go too far to find it.
I’ve been back to my Vancouver home for just over a week now and have been going through a temporary phase of running on empty. This has happened a couple times in my life where I feel the need to retreat and renew myself and just BE. Usually brought on by adapting to a situation…a shock to my system resulting from a minor injury, a loss or combination of these things. A need for readjustment. Nothing major. Just paying attention. I’m also in the process of renovating my outdoor living space. And a few other things.
So on that note I’m posting some recent pics. And I’ll be back before you know it.
Before Leaving Palm Springs it was getting too hot. We took the tram to cool off.
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HOLIDAY HOUSE, PALM SPRINGS
Before driving back to Vancouver we decided to take a detour to a resort in San Diego for two nights. Mostly to be near open water. We stayed facing Mission Bay and the beach was a five minute walk from there. It was a welcome place for the dogs to cool off.
On the day we were leaving we went to La Jolla for lunch. We stopped at a local Mexican restaurant.
I think the way Tamara took this photo is really cool. This was outside the UNO de 50 jewelry store on El Paseo in Palm Desert. I’m wearing the same locket (gift from the Le Chien fashion show) on my necklace as the door handle and you can see her reflection in the glass.
Get back to you later XO
This will be my last post regarding fabulous little Palm Springs places to stay until next season.
That’s because I’m headed home and taking a little break. In the meantime here’s another mid-century modern gem of a place with a past (the best kind always do).
The Del Marcos Hotel (1947), designed by architect William F. Cody.
From the website:
Originally designed for owners Samuel and Adele Marcus, the building is historically important because it was Cody™s first independent commission in Palm Springs, and launched his solo career in the desert. The 17-room modernist hotel is located at 225 West Baristo Road close to the downtown in the historic Tennis Club neighborhood. The hotel immediately became a popular destination and remains so to this day. Said to have been inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright™s Arizona architecture, the project won a creative design award for the architect from the Southern California chapter of the AIA as an example of cutting-edge resort hotel architecture. Built of native stone and redwood, surrounding a shimmering pool, architectural features include luxurious suites, an organic asymmetrical entrance doorway, and floor-to-ceiling glass. The two-story building (with a single-story shed roof section on the northeast corner) features a U-shaped plan centered on a courtyard, a design which encourages socializing among guests.
It’s great when you feel like you’re on holiday in a place where you’re really not...only because it has become your second home.
Palm Springs snowbird season is coming to a close. As a result I’m coming close to the end of my quest for discovering and sharing the cool, the eclectic and the fabulous little boutique hotels, inns and places to take you away from the norm. I’m sharing places I’ve either stayed at or at least visited and spent some time in
hanging around where they’ve almost had to kick me out.
More places are on my list but it will have to wait until next season.The places I’ve blogged about are the inconspicuous little gems that you may not otherwise ever know about unless by word of mouth or you find by accident or through research. Take for instance the latest – a 28-room boutique hotel located downtown Palm Springs called
I love this place. Holiday House is exactly what it sounds like. I also like that in order to create a communal environment, Holiday House does not have televisions in any of the rooms. Personally speaking if I’m on a ‘real’ holiday I don’t want to watch TV. I would relax and then hang out at the very friendly bar and order food from the pleasing restaurant menu. I was just there on Tuesday for Taco Tuesday and it was excellent. It’s very comfortable. They also have a fried chicken Friday but you must reserve in advance. I hear it’s fabulous and I hope to find out soon – possibly even next Friday – just before I leave.
This hotel was originally built in 1951 and was a project of mid-century architectural designer Herbert W. Burns. Burns was one of the most important figures in helping to define Palm Springs modernist style, or what has now become mid-century modern.
From the website:
When it first opened, the Holiday House was billed as the newest “luxury hotel” in Palm Springs, and catered to what they referred to as “exclusive select clientele”. For years, the Holiday House ranked as one of the top hotels in Palm Springs. Since its inception, the hotel has changed hands and has garnered many different names and identities. Most recently it operated as The Chase Hotel. In 2017, Holiday House re-opened with its original name and spirit.
The design centers around Gio Ponti inspired tile-work in the bar and artwork throughout the property including pieces by David Hockney, Roy Liechtenstein, Herb Ritts, Alex Katz and Mr. Brainwash, with a garden sculpture by Donald Sultan.
Guests must be 21 and over to check-in.
If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to
Why don’t you go where fashion sits?
Recently I went to the Ritz Rancho Mirage for a cocktail. Making a right turn on Frank Sinatra Drive, winding my way up the hill to the clifftop setting overlooking Coachella Valley It was easy to see why this iconic luxury hotel was inspired by the desert. It’s actually in the desert. the scenery was certainly incomparable.
The Ritz has always had an opulent and stylish past. The one in Montreal is special to me. Being from Montreal I remember many summer brunches in the restaurant garden at the Ritz watching the ducks and swans in the pond swim by. It’s where my best friend’s wedding took place and I was a bridesmaid, and my husband and I spent a couple nights celebrating an anniversary there. Something else you many or may not know…dating back to 1912, this was the first Ritz-Carlton hotel and is where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton wed in the Royal Suite in 1964.
I visited the Hôtel Ritz Paris
didn’t get past the bar where the hotel’s rooms and suites bear the names of Coco Chanel, F. Scott Fitzgerald or Marcel Proust – all of whom considered the Ritz “a second home”. But getting back to the bar…Cole Porter was said to spend up to 9 hours a day in the Hemingway Bar: he’s said to have composed “Begin the Beguine” there. F. Scott Fitzgerald had his favorite seat; Ernest Hemingway and Gary Cooper made it the epicenter of their life in Paris and would sit and talk for hours. There’s no question it has a glamorous past.
Different types who wear a day coat, pants with stripes
And cutaway coat, perfect fits
Dressed up like a million dollar trooper
Tryin’ hard to look like Gary Cooper
Come, let’s mix where Rockefellers walk with sticks
Or umbrellas in their mitts
Have you seen the well-to-do?
Up and down Park Avenue
On that famous thoroughfare
With their noses in the air
High hats and arrow collars
White spats and lots of dollars
Spending every dime for a wonderful time
If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go Why don’t you go where fashion sits?
Puttin’ On the Ritz lyrics – written by Irving Berlin.
The title derives from the slang expression “to put on the Ritz”, meaning to dress very fashionably. The expression was inspired by the Ritz Hotel. It was also a musical in 1930.
A bit of history with a healthy dose of glamour – why not?
If I’m being honest about what attracts me right off the bat…it’s a great body, well roundedness and polish. That’s just the way it is. And if you’re also strong and can go the distance with me, all the better. But staying put is great too…especially if we want to just hang out. You know where I’m going with this…The Airstream is a perfect match for me or at least great for a weekend fling. It’s certainly not your run-of-the-mill travel trailer.
The Airstream has always been a well sought after caravan (fyi – in Britian this is the name that they refer to this home on wheels). It’s streamlined body is made of a high quality “aircraft grade” aluminum alloy riveted over a steel frame. The all metal construction means it is incredibly durable. It is a very similar design to WWII era aircraft which were near legendary for their toughness. Another plus: airstreams don’t rot.
Source: coastal living article by Marisa Spyker Photos: COURTESY OF AIRBNB
Now picture an oceanfront location so perfect you’d practically sleep in a cardboard box just to stay there. Now plop a fully-renovated, luxuriously outfitted Airstream with a covered deck and fully functioning open-air bath on that same spot, and what you have is this insanely amazing Airbnb listing.
The Malibu Dream Airstream (Rates from $500 per night) is perched in the mountains of Southern California, up a long dirt road where there’s no reception but plenty of opportunities to admire the views and hike to your heart’s content.
Originally created by a local designer as his personal retreat, the actual Airstream was stripped to its aluminum studs and converted into a cozy sleeping space and kitchen. One wall was torn out and replaced with large frameless glass panels, which open out onto a large wooden deck affording sweeping vistas of the Pacific.
When the doors are wide open, guests are able to truly live indoors and out, with plush seating, pillows, and thick wool rugs that can transition to wherever the party is. An open-air bath with a shower and two sinks ensures all the luxuries of a hotel with the serenity of a secluded campground.
Thanks to its remote blufftop location, the Airstream is a great spot for stargazing – and the celestial variety aren’t the only ones spotted here. Pop culture junkies might delight in knowing the rental was a one-time playground of Taylor Swift and her model pal Karlie Kloss for a 2015 Vogue photo shoot (which I previously blogged about).
Celeb-approved and surrounded by nature? We’re all in.
In keeping with my desire to discover and explore the little hidden gems behind the hedges, I bring you L’Horizon Resort & Spa – a *Steve Hermann Hotel. A place with a history and a glamorous past; basically everything I’m looking for. The ultimate holiday escape.
To give you an idea of exactly how clandestine this place is, I’ve passed it on my bike countless times before I knew what was there. One day I spotted a little sign out front and out of curiosity I stopped in. I liked what I saw on the inside so I contacted the person in charge of PR to make an appointment to come back and find out more. Which brings me to this:
Turns out I wasn’t the first one.
A celebrity hotspot in its original incarnation more than 60 years ago—has been reborn, with three acres of desert land by designer- to-the-stars, Steve Hermann. – Travel and Leisure
“As for the hotel’s cosseting comforts, there are even complimentary foot and back massages at the pool.” – Architectural Digest
A bit of history:
L’Horizon was originally designed in 1952 by renowned architect William F. Cody as a private family retreat for the television producer, oil tycoon, and legendary hotel owner Jack Wrather and his wife, Hollywood actress Bonita “Bunny” Granville. Wrather was one of the most important California figures of the 1950’s, producing both “The Lone Ranger” and “Lassie”, building the Disneyland hotel, and opening the Queen Mary and the Spruce Goose. He commissioned a residence with 20 guest houses be built in Palm Springs as a getaway for his Hollywood friends to come join him relaxing poolside. He named it L’Horizon and the guests of the property included Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Presidents Reagan and Nixon, as well as countless other luminaries.
Now, redeveloped as a luxury resort, it boasts true exclusivity nestled within intimate spaces on 3 acres of gorgeous manicured desert grounds. The 25 Bungalows are custom designed to emulate luxurious private residences with hand selected materials and finishes. The dramatic mountain backdrop frames the imaginatively designed landscapes to create a striking setting found only at L’Horizon Resort and Spa. L’Horizon Resort and Spa is an Adult only Resort, all guests must be 21 and over.
Steve Hermann is a celebrated designer of high-end homes all over the world. As one of the most prolific designers within California, he is known as the design guru for the Hollywood elite, captains of industry, and foreign royalty. His innovative and imaginative homes are owned by A-list celebrities, entertainment executives and members of the Forbes top ten wealthiest list. His designs have been featured on Architectural Digest, Conde Nast Traveler, E!, MTV, ABC, as well as in hundreds of magazines and websites worldwide. One of his recent projects called The Glass Pavilion was published in over a hundred magazines and newspapers. It was featured on over 18 million websites and at one point was the 3rd most viewed house in the world.
Steve has now focused his attention on establishing a world recognized luxury hospitality company, Steve Hermann Hotels, of which L’Horizon Resort and Spa will serve as the initial flagship property.
About some of the private bungalows/suites:
The Residence is one of the most spectacular resort accommodations to be had worldwide. The original home of Hollywood mogul Jack Wrather, it boasts a secluded yard and full sized pool. Completely private, the living room and yard feature extraordinary unobstructed views of the mountains.
The pinnacle of desert luxury, the Fireplace suite
features a wood burning, indoor copper clad fireplace for cool desert nights. Marilyn Monroe’s personal bungalow at the Wrather’s residence of the 50’s, this large and spacious bungalow is the ultimate way to experience the glamour of old Palm Springs. Featuring a private outdoor shower, you can shower al-fresco under the night desert stars as she was often fond of doing.
avalon hotel and bungalows
Beyond the yellow door lies a little haven. I remember when this remarkable little refuge used to be called the Viceroy. My friend Colleen took me here for a drink one evening about four years ago. I have her to thank for introducing me to an abundance of chic little retreats that I may have otherwise not known about. Places I’m now sharing with you.
The avalon is one of those unassuming from the outside places that I love…because when you walk in you immediately feel like you’re on holiday. And being on holiday or at least feeling like you are, is an escape.
THE ART OF THE GETAWAY
A quick spin from L.A., Palm Springs was truly born as a weekender getaway for industry players, movie stars, mafia and moguls. But us regular
who are you calling regular folk can also revel in the desert hideaway.
Even so, this unassuming sanctuary is only one block from the downtown design district – an easy walk or bike ride with a choice of casual or chic dining, shopping, and entertainment.
The property, known as a Hollywood playground since the 30’s, was common for faces like Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Errol Flynn. (Crawford famously demanded french bread and 7 packs of cigarettes–3 opened–in hers.)
Enjoy a flowing series of courtyards, lawns, gardens and grounds that reveal romantic pools and cabanas, a hidden spa, studios and suites, and historic bungalows.
The Estrella Spa can suit whatever mood you happen to be in or want to be in. Pamper and heal with a natural menu of options. Try the Milky Way experience which can be made vegan with coconut or almond milk.
Oh yeah, the restaurant…
At Chi Chi restaurant, Jason Moffitt’s fresh, balanced California menu matches your desert mood, be it health or indulgence or somewhere in between. They’re known for adding rum to their coconuts.
That’s simply how we lunch.
I think I can handle this.
The Getaway. A serene escape in the center of town with a stunning mountain backdrop. C’mon…can it get much better?
This is the second in my series of desirable places to stay, eat, drink and unwind in and around the Palm Springs area.
La Sarena Villas is an adult only, dog friendly, luxury boutique resort smack in the heart of Palm Springs. With only 18 secluded guest villas each with their own private patio, complete with a romantic claw foot tub, fire pit, and built in benches…it’s pretty much perfect.
Redeveloped as a luxury hotel in 2016 by award winning architect, May Sung, with all the modern amenities of a 5 star hotel. Each piece of furniture, all materials and finishes have been carefully hand picked by interior design group, Avenue Interior Design.
I really love the Happy Hour at Sugar High, a special root top deck. The bartenders know what they’re doing mixing up amazing cocktails. Appies are good too.
Then there’s the restaurant Azucar which is dedicated to excellence, serving up modern contemporary cuisine with local ingredients.
Let’s not forget Whispers Spa: A place of tranquil serenity to unwind and let go of the pressures from everyday life! There’s also a lovely boutique with great finds.
Yup; I’m hooked!
Available for private parties. Check them out at:
Ahhhhh the life! If you go please mention where you heard of this little gem.