Sheila Burgel tests the clear blue waters of Palm Springs’ best-preserved lodgings.
The preservation battle has paid off in Palm Springs, California, where the abundance of 1950s architecture has earned the desert town its reputation as the mecca of mid-century modern.
For era-appropriate accommodation, the Del Marcos Hotel, designed by William F. Cody in 1947, offers the classic motel layout. Its 17 rooms encircle a salt-water pool, where guests are treated to spectacular mountain views and Rat Pack records piped throughout the property.
Those seeking tranquility will find it in the pristine gardens and bright white bungalows (some with indoor/outdoor showers) of the Horizon Hotel, also built by William F. Cody in 1952 initially as a weekend home for Lassie and Lone Ranger producer Jack Wrather and his wife Bunny. Sister hotels the Orbit In and Hideaway share architect Herbert Berns but differ greatly in atmosphere.
At the Orbit In, rooms furnished by Eames and Saarinen are given names like Leopard Lounge and BossaNovaVille to match the hotel’s martini-chic vibe. Their daily Orbitini cocktail hour is also open to guests staying at the secluded Hideaway, which feels more like a private residence than a hotel. Only the presence of CD player in the room suggests its no longer 1951.