More than just a sensual desert playground with sunshine and blue skies year-round, Palm Springs draws a diverse clientele who might be as passionate about nature and healing as dining and shopping, or art and design, and who might tie in a visit each year to coincide with one of the destination’s signature events.
CLICK HERE TO READ PART 1: Palm Springs for all seasons: hip, hot, healing and haute with its focus on the Indian Canyons and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Palm Springs Art Museum
It’s not just the collection that rivals urban metropolitan museums, with works from such greats as Chagall, Picasso, Warhol, Louise Bourgeois, Henry Moore and Ansel Adams that reels me in on each and every visit to the desert. It’s the knockout building, designed in 1974 by architect E. Stewart Williams, one of the “gods” of Mid-Century Modernism, with spacious galleries and two sculpture gardens (which were added later). Spread over 150,000 square feet, the museum displays modern and contemporary art, glass, photography, architecture and design and Native American and Western art. A terrific museum shop and café help make the museum a favored retreat from the mid-day heat to stay cool and inspired.
With one of the largest concentrations of mid-century modern architecture in the world, for which Palm Springs increasingly draws attention worldwide, the city made major headlines in the Architecture and Design community last fall with the opening of an expansion to the main museum housed several blocks away.
The Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion debuted November 2014 in a historic bank building. The opening exhibition, An Eloquent Modernist, E. Stewart Williams, Architect celebrated the accomplishments of the man who designed both the main Palm Springs Art Museum and this A & D annex.
The new addition will “ensure that our growing collection is accessible to architects, scholars, and the general public, and that we have the opportunity to develop more programming focused on architecture and design, including current innovations in these fields,” said Sidney Williams, the museum’s curator of architecture and design.
Palm Springs Signature Events
With so much worldwide interest in the architectural style known both as desert or mid-century modernism, Modernism Week has become a blockbuster attraction every February. So too, the Palm Springs International Film Festival in early January is an irresistible draw to Hollywood’s favorite playground. There are golf, tennis, music and many more events to consider when planning a Palm Springs getaway.
Splash House, coming up August 8-9, is Palm Springs Boutique Music Festival, a special draw for a young crowd in their late 20’s and 30’s to visit in the summer off-season. Two-night hotel packages starting at $180 per person, and tickets from $115 preclude rowdy spring break revelers. In fact, the festival has introduced a whole new generation to Palm Springs.
With the dozens of impromptu shuttle bus dance parties that have become synonymous with the event, which takes place over two weekends each summer, Splash House has the feel of a clandestine summer-camp.
This year Splash House will return to its established venue at the Saguaro Palm Springs, a fabulously colorful Joie de Vivre boutique hotel. The festival will connect its synergy for the first time with the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs and inhabit the expanded pool and grassy area at the Palm Springs Hilton. Hilton’s lawns invite yoga classes in the early morning shade, while the pool-facing balconies cry out to be decorated, tying into the festival theme of “Splash House Best Balcony Contest.”
While Palm Springs offers an enviable inventory of hotels in every price point and many distinctive styles, vacation rentals may be just the answer for a group of friends or family to live out their Hollywood fantasy. Picture yourselves in your own multi-bedroom gleaming light-filled house for a week or a month with those you love. Breakfast by the pool, lunch under the palms, cocktails at the poolside bar, as sunset paints a light show on the surrounding mountains.
Sipping margaritas at the Villa Fontana, an Oranj Palm Vacation home located in the prestigious Movie Colony neighborhood in Old Palm Springs, we felt like we were inhabiting a David Hockney painting.
Renting a house or condo can be as simple as booking a hotel, with the added advantage of getting your fridge stocked for your arrival or arranging catering or bar service. Rentals range from modest condos to sumptuous digs where money is no object.
I fell in love with Colony 29 (McLean Company Rentals), an iconic estate on almost seven acres with a total of six private homes built in an old-world Spanish architectural style. Created as an artist colony in 1929, then lovingly restored after falling into disrepair, Colony 29 is a dream venue for weddings and other occasions. There are 13 bedrooms in six separate houses built into the hillside, with pools, an amphitheater with surround-sound, gorgeous landscaping and views.
Villa Arzoo (Palm Springs Resort Homes) means “The Hearts Desire,” an apt name for this luxury three-bedroom home in the Indian Canyons. Exotic and tranquil, the Moorish and Moroccan style sanctuary, with outdoor gas lamps and a large poolside gazebo, was completed in 2007.
Palm Springs Perfection (Vacation Palm Springs), with six ensuite bedrooms on a double lot in the Deepwell neighborhood, is a lovely example of a mid-century modern home that has been completely remodeled.
For travel info: www.visitpalmsprings.com
Palm Springs Visitors Center
2901 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs