Modernism & More
Palm Springs! It's been my dream to get to Palm Springs for a while now. Mostly, I was dying to see some Midcentury Modern architecture in the place where it is most well-known. I also have an interest in old Hollywood and I know Palm Springs in a fount of great stories about the glamorous old days.
On my first full day in the desert, I arranged to take a 90 minute MidMod tour of the city. This turned out to be a real gem as it was a group of seven of us (including the guide), riding around town in an SUV, hearing the extended history of Palm Springs and how it came to be a mecca of midcentury modern style. The gentleman who runs the tour is a trained architect and had a wealth of knowledge about which houses were the genuine article, which were contemporary fakes, and which had been poorly maintained/poorly renovated. It was a fascinating tour and I learned that Palm Springs originally began as a hot spring mostly overseen by the Agua Caliente Indian tribe. Eventually, someone had
the brilliant idea to build a hotel with a pool and invite Hollywood's elite to visit (and bring their entourages and photographers). It was the perfect spot for a short vacation and for many years, stars were free to walk the streets of Palm Springs relatively unmolested. Over time, the stars changed from Charlie Chaplin to Frank Sinatra.
We also learned about Robert Alexander, the developer who began the modernism movement in PS. His home, built to be his showplace, was eventually used as Elvis and Priscilla Presley's honeymoon hideaway. I toured that home a few days after my driving
tour. The house is more or less untouched since the Presleys left in 1965 and I can't imagine another place where you can sit on the same bed where Elvis once slept. I mean...what?!?!? Time travel is one of my favorite things...and this was true time travel!
For my last two days in PS, I checked out of the KOA and into the Saguaro Hotel. The Saguaro is an Instagrammer's dream with its rainbow colors and glittering pool. I spent most of my final day there lounging by that pool and drinking bubbly rose from a can. It was pretty dreamy.
To say that Palm Springs lived up to my expectations would be an understatement. I loved every moment there and was genuinely pretty sad to leave. I had my hair cut and colored the morning and the gentleman who tended me asked if I thought about settling on the West coast when my trip was finished. "I came here without any friends and I love it here!" he declared.
PS - I also treated myself to super fancy Sunday brunch at the Parker Palm Springs (interiors designed by Jonathan Adler, gathering place of stars!). The whole place smelled like amazing perfume and fresh orange juice. I ate some lemony pancakes that were amazing. It was wonderful!