What’s doing in the desert
- Last Updated: 5:11 PM, April 9, 2012
- Posted: 3:34 PM, April 2, 2012
Call it the “Mad Men” effect – mid-century mod is mod again, and a new wave of cool is sweeping into old Palm Springs. Going? Here’s what everyone’s buzzing about.
IN THE CLUB So, imagine the lobby at Manhattan’s Ace Hotel on any given evening, except it is afternoon and you are by a pool, in the sunshine. Also, the crowd is probably a bit better-looking. This pretty much sums up the scene-and-a-half at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, now breathing all kinds of life into a former HoJo’s. It’s more sophisticated than Vegas, looser than Los Angeles, but also plenty civilized, with poolside yoga, farm-to-table breakfasts and other amenities that grown folks will love. A low-cost annual pool membership brings in the locals, creating a nifty mix for optimal gawkability (acehotel.com).
YES WAY, JOSE His restaurants might have fallen off the list of stops for our semi-regular culinary forays to Philadelphia-land (too much else to eat these days, sorry, bro) but when Iron Chef Jose Garces landed in Palm Springs this past winter, we, like all of Palm Springs, definitely sat up and paid attention, watching as the local culinary scene got the equivalent of paddles to the chest. Opening not one, but two restaurants at Joie de Vivre’s brightly-colored new Saguaro hotel, Garces is bringing both Spanish (at Tinto) and Mexican (El Jefe) small plates to a crowd eager for more up-to-date dining options (jdvhotels.com).
IN HOT WATER Scuzzy hot tubs, wrinkly olds for whom clothing should never be optional, dusty décor — there’s still plenty of that to go around in Desert Hot Springs, the take-the-waters enclave just minutes from downtown Palm Springs. But you know what there is also plenty of? Re-imagined, ready-for-the-21st-century little hideaways you’ll absolutely love checking into, and absolutely hate to leave. Not that you’ll have to rush off — the seven-room Sagewater Spa has fully equipped kitchens in each sleek, updated room. Book a watsu treatment in the mineral water-filled pool and feel the relaxation wash over you (sagewaterspa.com).
HOUSE CALL Noted philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg used to welcome all manner of dignitaries to Sunnylands, their 25,000-square-foot mid-century modern home, tucked inside a 200-acre plot in Rancho Mirage. Nixon was here. Reagan was here. Gorbachev was here. Known as the Camp David of the West Coast, all sorts of high-level stuff went down over the years. This past month, the house and its lovely gardens opened to the public for tours, which cost $35 and should be booked in advance (sunnylands.org).