Finding Cool in the Heat at the Parker Palm Springs
By Angela Fairhurst
Walking into the Parker Palm Springs feels like entering the Rat Pack era. Opened in 1959 as California’s first Holiday Inn, the hotel became singing cowboy Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch until Merv Griffin revamped it in the 1990’s as the Givenchy Resort and Spa. Griffin’s version was formal and palatial, and definitely out-of-place in the middle of Palm Springs.
When hotelier Jack Parker acquired the property that opened 11 years ago, he commissioned Designer Jonathan Adler to re-design the resort, his first venture in the hotel sector. The results were part of a transformation of the Palm Springs retired set, to a cooler, younger crowd, and one that doesn’t take it self quite so seriously.
The Parker Palm Springs is situated on thirteen acres of landscaped garden surrounded by the desert and mountains. It has 144 rooms, in multiple categories. They have 12 very private, one-bedroom villas and the Gene Autry house; a two-bedroom home that includes a living room, dining room, full kitchen, two-bathrooms, extensive closet space, and an outdoor
The lobby is decorated with suits of armor and wire-based Warren Platner chairs; the lounge area a Moroccan-inspired “hookah chill-out zone,” that definitely speaks unique. The guest rooms are large with Peruvian weavings, an Edwardian chair, and a minimalist canopy bed inspired by the artist Sol Lewitt.
The gardens are in a series of paths, lush with a variety of landscapes each providing a different feeling and function. There are plants and flowers, along with hammocks, fire pits, Croquet lawns and Petanque courts.
It’s so inviting that desert toads enjoy wandering the paths at dark.
The spa is called “P.S.Y.C”, the Palm Springs Yacht Club. No boats around the confusing name, but is rated a world-class spa and has the full range of massage and body treatments, private men’s and women’s steam and sauna rooms, a co-ed indoor pool, open-air yoga studio, and outdoor café, as well as a 24-hour exercise facility.
There are three dining options on the property.
Norma’s is a comfort food diner that serves breakfast all day long, with options for indoor dining or the outdoor terrace. For a French Bistro Style menu and cozy atmosphere, there is Mister Parker’s. It’s open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday. Lastly, there is Lemonade Stand, a poolside stand complete with picnic tables and a bar that serves the fresh lemonade, cocktails and breakfast, lunch and snack items.
There’s even a helipad for those that want that special entrance into the resort. Why not? They thought of just about everything else.