Seduced by the intoxicating effect of the hot arid air, we rented a car and headed to Palm Springs– the most prestigious modernist enclave in America.
Just over two hours’ drive from Hollywood, this mecca of midcentury modernism offers laid-back glamour, inspiring design, retro-chic history, endless sunshine, cinematic desert scenery and a booming hotel scene.
Ever since silver-screen stars like crooner Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marilyn Monroe made this luxurious desert oasis their weekend retreat of choice, the area has become a wildly popular destination.
Today, the desert enclave still maintains the indescribable air of romance and mystery. Under the eternal blue skies of the moody desert city, we drove along sprawling desert highways, discovered the natural beauty of the Indian Canyons, explored mid-century neighborhoods, and visited fields of windmills as well as cactus gardens.
Sumptuous Desert Homes
Palm Springs is an architectural oasis for those, like us, obsessed with midcentury style and design. I remember being absolutely amazed by the magnificent entrances, especially the ones featuring brightly colored doors, as we explored some residential areas in the golden glow of the morning sun.
That Pink Door on Sierra Way was designed in 1974 by Columbian-born designer Moises Esquenazi. Apparently, this retro glam home was brown and received its rosy makeover in the mid-2000s.
The chocolate bar resembling door became so insta-famous that photography is no longer allowed. The owners have asked visitors to respect their private property and not trespass.
A few properties down is the house with the Party Lions. Interestingly, the two stylish lion statues wear new inflatables each week.
A good friend of us, who works as a real estate agent downtown, told us about a beautiful entrance on 2757 East King Road. Distinguished by a pair of turquoise-blue doors, the house happened to be such a majestic mid- century modern gem.
Elephant Car Wash Sign
We were cruising along Highway 111 on our way to El Paseo upscale shopping district, when we saw the glowing vintage sign. Retro, pink, and amazingly cool, this old sign truly caught our attention. As the desert can get very dusty, what better place to wash the car than here?
Ice Cream & Shoppe
Coming to the cutest ice cream shop in Palm Springs became a daily thing. With neon signs and an adorable gift shop inside, Ice Cream & Shoppe was so good to be true!
The Shops at Thirteen Forty Five is a unique collection of fourteen luxurious shops housed in a midcentury building designed by the modernist architect Emerson Stewart Williams. This is the perfect place to buy some amazing vintage pieces or a gift for someone you love.
We visited this cozy restaurant on our first night in town. With white-framed Frida Kahlo portraits, colorful fringed tapestries, single red roses atop each table, moorish mirrors and blue-and-red patterned wallpaper, Azúcar offers relaxing, sumptuous meals.
During our vacation in Palm Springs, we had the pleasure of staying at two wonderful hotels. Both distinctly different but equally impressive.
With a delightful nod to the past, Korakia Pensione is laden with charm and a heavenly sense of calm. Nestled in the San Jacinto Mountains, this Mediterranean & Moroccan boutique hotel was named as one of the “Sexiest Hotels in America” by Forbes Traveler. Read here our full review.
The Parker Palm Springs
From the brightly colored hallway carpets pulled straight from The Shining and candy-colored lemonade stand to the most-Instagrammed entrance ever, The Parker Palm Springs boasts quintessential desert glamour.