To many Angelenos, the Parker is Palm Springs. The former Givenchy Resort underwent a $27 million reboot back in 2004, adding 13 acres of frolicsome Jonathan Adler-designed spaces, chock-a-bloc with funky bric-a-brac (atomic chandelier meet knight in shining armor).
Bed & Bath
The 144 rooms have a laidback eclecticism ranging from shaggy Moroccan rugs and cheeky Adler needlepoint pillows to lacquered four-poster beds and retro wall hangings. Geometric patterned bathrooms spoil with products by Molton Brown and Hermes.
The centerpiece of the 13-acre property is the legendary pool—chlorine-free so as not to turn all those SoCal blonde tresses green. The difficulty of getting a poolside chair here has become somewhat legendary: Towel claims start at the crack of dawn, so be sure to mark your chair early. A second, chlorinated jewel-box-sized pool is quieter and has an accompanying whirlpool. You’ll also find a 16,500 square-foot spa, lawn croquet, pétanque, golf and tennis. Reserve in advance for the sexy retro brasserie Mister Parker’s and for the packed brunches at funky Norma’s.
In the Area
Architects including Albert Frey, Richard Neutra and John Lautner created Midcentury Modern architecture in the Coachella Valley, and Palm Springs Modern Tours offers engaging (and encyclopedic) trips to check out the masterpieces (760-318-6118). Getting too hot by the pool? It’s usually about 30 degrees cooler at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (in winter it even snows). Take trails for hiking or, conditions permitting, snowshoeing. Looking for more nature? Enter an oasis, spot a coyote, climb a rock or just hike your cares away in Joshua Tree National Park or, closer, Tahquitz Canyon and Indian Canyons. Palm Springs is one of America’s premier destinations for gay and lesbian travelers; the gay nightlife district is centered on East Arenas Road, about two miles away. Finding a date is never a problem in Indio, at the other end of the Coachella Valley, as more than 90 percent of America’s date crop is grown there. Visit the orchard — and the tasting room — at Shield’s Date Garden.