Think Coachella and images of teeny tiny shorts, crop tops and BoHo florals swirl into focus. High profile though it is, this alt-celebrity love-fest isn’t the only thing that’s wild and swinging in the Valley. Indio, Spanish for Indian and the home of Coachella Music and Arts Festival, is one of nine desert towns scattered throughout this Californian valley of sparkling clear skies and desert sunshine that have been year-round playgrounds for more than 60 years.
Take golf for instance. Games of tennis and rounds of golf at the more than 120 clubs throughout Coachella Valley lure players and spectators, particularly to Indian Wells where each March, the world’s top tennis players come to compete. www.cityofindianwells.org and decidedly sporty guests keep Miramonte Resort & Spa’s therapists busy ironing out the kinks. www.miramonteresort.com But they’re not the only competitive sports on offer. At nearby Palm Desert, shopping along El Paseo’s tree-lined strip that locals claim to be a dash of Madison Avenue with a dose of Rodeo Drive has achieved competitive status. International brands certainly back-up the claim while overlooking El Paseo, Le Paon restaurant’s stylish dining room relieves retail fatigue with Cordon Bleu-quality luncheons www.lepaonfrenchcuisine.com. Shoppers get their just desserts at Fix while Cuistot’s menu, inspired by French farmhouse fare, reflects chef/owner Bernard Dervieux’s roots www.cuistotrestaurant.com
Coachella may attract the stars but the mid-20th century architectural style that’s become known as Desert Modernism is, for many, the Valley’s star attraction. Each February, 21st century style-meisters looking for an authentic sixties experience, flock to Palm Springs for their signature Modernism Week event www.modernismweek.com With its rugged mountain range, desert sands and unparalleled collection of mid-20th century modernist homes, chic petite Palm Springs seamlessly integrates architecture with the natural world with stunning results.
Located just 100 miles east of Los Angeles, Palm Springs became the playground of Hollywood’s elite and star-studded tours take visitors down memory lane. Dean Martin, Steve McQueen, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe all established holiday hideaways with many trophy homes designed by a roll call of ‘star-chitects’ fleeing the political instability of pre-World War 2 Europe. The result transformed a raw village into a world-class collection of low-slung homes of sheet glass, slender steel frames and wafer-thin roofs where rugged rocks were blasted into swimming pools or incorporated into interior designs.
In Vista Las Palmas estate, the House of Tomorrow remains firmly stuck in 1967, the year that Elvis and Priscilla Presley honeymooned there. An uber-modern interior comprises three circular structures over four levels with a circular cook bench and 64′ semi-circular sofa in the ubiquitous sunken lounge. And after viewing these architectural gems, it’s only natural to mod-shop till you drop in the stores and boutiques along Palm Springs Uptown Design area.
Intimate Inns and Outs
Renting a celebrity home is one way to get your retro-fix but Palm Springs has plenty of resorts and hotels that won’t break the bank. The swanky Riviera Palm Springs‘ $70 million retro-fab makeover relives the cutting edge of cool from its dazzling lobby, poolside bars and cabanas to Circa 59 where modern cuisine meets retro-active decor. Untouched by time, Del Marcos Hotel, built in 1947, retains its vintage vibe while hidden amongst palm-treed grounds, The Beatles once stayed at The Monkey Tree Hotel and visited The Horizon Hotel whose 22 guest bungalows look as fresh as tomorrow. The Parker has hosted Jay Z, Beyonce, Robert Downey Jnr and Chelsea Handler while Bryce and Jasmine Pilaf aka ‘Brangelina’ checked in after Mr and Mrs Smith wrapped. And when the sun does finally slink behind the towering San Jacinto mountains, it’ll’ be standing room only poolside at the Orbit Inn as you relive the 1950s, signature cocktail in hand.
Behind Closed Doors
“You don’t talk to celebrities here,” said Audrey Moe, author of Celebrities in Hiding. “Stars come to Desert Hot Springs to be anonymous,” she says of this small oasis on the edge of arid raw desert. She would know. Last time she dined at Two Bunch Palms Spa Resort, a gated healing hideaway that first opened in the 1920s, Barbara Streisand was undisturbed at a nearby table. Famous for its naturally healing hot mineral spa waters, Desert Hot Springs remains a sanctuary for writers, producers and directors, not to mention the beautiful young things who hang at Coachella. www.coachella.com www.visitdeserthotsprings.com www.twobunchpalms.com
For more www.Visitgreasterpalmsprings.com
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