is the name of a little local speakeasy I’ve walked by a million times but only during the day. In the daytime from the outside you can’t tell exactly what it is unless you already know, and of course it was never open.
There is only one giveaway – a neon sign that says wine & beer. I thought it was a discreet little hole in the wall after hours store that sells wine and beer. In some sense that’s correct, but it’s a very cool hole in the wall.
Last night after dinner I decided to walk my dogs by there and for once and for all let go the mystery. And I’m glad I did. Inside it’s very dark but the lighting is jazzy and there are little heart shaped keychains that light up so you can read the menu which by the way is surprisingly well curated. Every second Friday Freddy from Broadstreet Oyster (in Los Angeles) has a pop-up with fresh shucked oysters & lobster rolls that rival the best one I had once in Kennebunkport, Maine. Other Fridays they have live jazz. It’s a comfy local hangout where you can easily talk to strangers. And I can sit outside with my two.
Okay. Anyone who names a bar “Dead or Alive;” – and doesn’t put up any signage, so you don’t know where it is until you meet someone who’s been there – has to have a good reason, right?
It’s all for the love of wine, says Dead or Alive owner Christine Soto. As a Level 1 Sommelier, she’s on a mission to educate everyone about wine – and her choice of her wine bar name, and the lack of signage, is all part of her plan. “A name is not important. My bar is all about the experience; to give people the opportunity to make a discovery. I like to make it a surprise,” she told me, as she filled my glass with her “from the tank” house Chardonnay inside her cozy establishment.
FYI: I really liked the Tank House Chard from France. And I like surprises….which only goes to mean I’ll be back! Maybe even tonight for the lobster rolls.
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 Residenceis 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.
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.