Friday, July 9, 2010

Get away in style: Palm Springs

It turns out time travel is possible after all… I went back to the early 60’s for a weekend. The retro architecture, the hot-springs resorts and the vintage shopping made me feel like a hipster in paradise.

5 reasons to go:

1. The Ace Hotel & Swim Club
I loved the boho vibe of the Ace!
This is not a hotel, but a motel that was a redone Howard Johnson’s.
Vintage furniture and walls covered in tent canvas and hanging ropes, give you a camping feel. Everyone and everything seems relaxed and not pretentious at all.Don’t miss the photo booth in the lobby and the Amigo room - a vintage roadhouse bar. It is worth having dinner at the King’s highway, an old roadside Denny’s

Insider info: Hawaianas has introduced limited edition flip-flops at the Ace Hotel, at $ 22. However, you will not find them at the hotel’s shop or at the lobby…. Just open your mini bar.

2. Parker Hotel
And now, for something completely different... This eclectic 60’s style hotel, designed by Jonathan Adler, is a colourful depiction of a long gone era with vintage furniture, bright coloured pillows and glassware, decorated with a mix of ethnic elements. It feels like an extraordinarily fun and happy place! The 13 acres of landscaped gardens are an ideal place for a romantic stroll or an afternoon of introspection. 


3. Architecture Tour
Palm Springs is renowned for its fabulous collection of mid-century Modernist architecture. In the middle years of the 20th century the mountains and desert sands of California's Coachella Valley inspired a distinctive branch of the Modern Movement that would become known as Desert Modernism. Wherever you look you can see the work of famous architects such as, William Cody, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, E. Stewart Wiliams and Albert Frey, who were commissioned to design the millionaire homes of stars like Frank Sinatra. There’s even an annual festival celebrating style, the Modernism Week.
There is a handy driving guide of 66 buildings to see that you can buy for $5 at the Palm Springs Visitor Information Center.

4. Vintage shopping
Just take a stroll in Palm Canyon Drive, and you will find a great selection or interior design and fashion stores. If you’ve got a thing for vintage mid-century modern pieces, then you’re going to be thrilled with the findings!

5. Joshua Tree National Park
The wonderfully preserved national park at the south end of the Mojave Desert covers an area of 3200 square kilometres (i.e. as far as the eye can see) and is covered by rocky terrain, forests of Joshua trees, huge boulders forming magnificent shapes and cactus gardens of unseen beauty. Just an hour’s drive from Palm Springs, it is ideal for a half-day trip, or even for a night of camping for the more adventurous types. Best time to visit would definitely be in the spring, when the temperature is at its best and the cactus flowers have bloomed. Don’t miss the “Keys View” from where you can clearly see the San Andreas Fault in the horizon. By the way, don’t forget to pack some water and snacks for the drive…

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