Oh Hey, Palm Springs

Last time I went to Palm Springs it was only for one night. One night ‘tween Las Vegas and La Jolla.

Parker paradise (mrscarmichael)
Parker paradise (mrscarmichael)

Yep, it’s clear to all those in the geographical know, I forced the issue. I do admit I didn’t quite realise how much of a torsion I’d put onto the Carmichael charabang until we still hadn’t got to our pit stop hours and hours and hours after we left the Strip.

Also this was August. The height of summer and in Palm Springs that means one thing. It’s rather hot.

It was rather hot when we pulled up at the motel we’d (Carmichael mom and pop, Daughter #2 and boyfriend) booked.

Back story:

Needing some perspective here I will tell you that, having grown up in a modernist house in New Zealand, I have been for quite some years desperate to indulge in a spa treatment of modernism back in the heartland of the movement. A veritable whirlpool of butterfly roofs, glass, concrete block, single story design stemming from the 50’s and early 60’s is my utopia.

I wanted to rent a house. I wanted to stay at a cool hotel. I wanted to drink cocktails and look fabulous, Darling.

I could do none of these things due to the brevity of our stay, the fact the kids were under 21, they, the kids, had no interest in Palm Springs and Mr Carmichael’s interest was centred on the golf courses. Hmmm.

I compromised. I promised myself I would return so it didn’t matter. I booked the Palm Tee Hotel on East Palm Canyon Drive.

Oh my Lord, a word to the wise. Compromise is never a good thing.

The owner/manager met us outside the gate as we fell from the relatively cool car and hopped around in the 112 degree heat.

“The AC’s not working,” he informed us  keeping eye contact to a minimum.

“Don’t get the suitcases out, ” I shouted at the offspring and companion.

Oh no you don't (PT website
looks worse in reality (PT website)

I got cross with Mr C who seemed to think we might still be staying there. I noted the inside sofas outside and the decrepit nature of the Palm Tee’s surroundings once inside the gate, deciding this, the defunct air conditioning, was a benefit in disguise.

“When’s it going to be fixed?”

“It’s not.”

Mr Carmichael got cross with our surly host because we’d already paid. He demanded our money back and a recommendation of a real hotel.

We were handed the mankiest phone directory I have ever cast eyes upon. This sent my husband into the stratosphere apoplexy-wise.

I suggested the kids went outside. They weren’t too happy given the 112 degrees but could see how the burning land was lying and exited at pace while we had a frank and sweaty conversation with the owner that included him contacting his bank and refunding our money.

We got out of Dodge. If you want a laugh/ more insight read some of the reviews on Trip Advisor. You will wonder how he manages to keep a 4 1/2 star rating.

We stayed up the road at the then Holiday Inn now the Seguro. We had stunning views of the San Jacinto mountains, sunset and the bar. I was both relieved and happy.

Still jet lagged the next morning Mr C agreed to drive me round while I snapped the modernist masterpieces I had come to sample.

The drive was a great success. We even found the Parker. At least the numerous photos provided some yin to the one night only yang.

I lost my camera in La Jolla.

I am left with one photo of that 24 hours in the Springs. It’s of my daughter taken by her boyfriend outside the hotel room. In the background is a car-park. It is not a modernist car-park.

Flash forward:

You can see so many things needed putting right this trip.

I rented an Albert Frey house in Deepwell.

it even has the same light switches I grew up with (mrscarmichael)
it even has the same light switches I grew up with (mrscarmichael)
It faces the right way (mrscarmichael)
It faces the right way (mrscarmichael)

With a fabulous pool, authentic furniture and you will remember, grapefruit for the ripening I was in heaven.

We did not drive.

our chariot (mrscarmichael)
our chariot (mrscarmichael)

And most of the flight was ok apart from the minuscule head and leg room and Almodoverish “I’m So Excited” crew and events that we were subjected to from time to time above the desert.

“There may be some turbulence into Palm Springs,” the air steward informed us about forty minutes out as he strapped himself in to his jump seat.

Somehow Mr C failed to hear the announcement. It was therefore a surprise, nay shock, to him how dramatic the approach to our destination was.

It was very bumpy. I am, here, employing understatement. It is the first time I have known a seat belt to actually serve a purpose and keep our heads away from the ceiling of an aeroplane.

I even thought for a flash there was a wee risk of my being air sick but I am made of sterner stuff and this was my idea after all.

“Won’t be doing that again in a hurry, ” Mr C whispered to me as we taxied to the terminal.

A chap at baggage collection told me that his neighbour had wept while she devoured the escape manual. He, he said, had decided to do exactly what she did in the event of catastrophe.

There was no catastrophe. We were here and it was a mere 90 degrees. Bliss.

I leave you with a soupçon, a taster, a metaphorical iceberg tip of Mid Century modernist magic.

I have only taken 738 more.

19 thoughts on “Oh Hey, Palm Springs

    1. It’s funny isn’t. I’m in an Edwardian fall down 🙂
      The first pic is the entrance to the Parker hotel – where Bob, Marilyn, Frank, Elvis, etc used to hang out.
      We had cocktails there and pretended.

  1. Oh mrsc, you do make me laugh. I would not have wanted to be that man in Hotel Dodgy by the time you were finished with him. I’m glad you’ve been able to set the scales straight with this second and much more pleasant experience.

  2. All’s well that ends well and you are safe and sound and satisfied.
    Glad I heard your account, however, many decades after my own visit to Palm Springs, rather than before. (I loved the place, especially the black cutouts of mountains artfully placed in front of orange sunsets.) When it came time to leave, we found at the airport — a mingy little toy plane (as pictured here) and I said to my husband, I’m not getting on that thing!! I’ll just stay here.
    Needless to say, I did get on that thing, and we did go up up and away, and we didn’t fall out of the sky. We didn’t even have ANY turbulence. But I figured I wouldn’t press my luck, and so far, I haven’t.

    1. There’s something special about the place isn’t there? And those mountains are to die for, especially at sunset.
      I’m ok in little planes (see photo that heads up Mrscarmichael is away from her desk – in a tinier plane en route from Auckland to Kerikeri) and at least I’d heard the warning so was prepared.
      Next time we’ll fly to LA and drive back – such an easy drive.

  3. Oh nobody does comic catastrophe like you do! Jolly glad I wasn’t in the midst of the turbulence, though. I’m not sure I’m made of sterner stuff, though always impressed that you are. I think next time I want my money back on something I’ll have to take you with me.

  4. Oh, it is so good to be home with a decent broadband! How I have missed your undeniably dry witticisms, but I will have the whole weekend to catch up 🙂

      1. Nowhere as glam as wher YOU have been 😉
        Cornwall, but the Wi-Fi connection was so slow… too tedious to even comment! So I have had fortnight technology free, but was beginning to get withdrawal symptoms 😦

  5. I love your catastrophic stories, mrs. carmichael, but at least this time it looks like you hit the jackpot. Love that Albert Frey house, pool furniture and your chariot. Glad you survived the landing! Waiting to see your other 738 pictures! 🙂

    1. Oh you do make me smile and hope you’re feeling ok. I’m afraid the mid century modern thing is a serious occupation of mine so have to be wary of boring readers who do not expect that from me.
      I think the next story will be Mr carmichael’s driving. At least you know I’m alive.

      1. So glad to know you’re alive, and obviously having a marvelous time! I’m feeling fine, surgery was last night and I am back on my feet today. A very routine procedure, it seems. 🙂

    1. Oh you’ll have a ball. I am so jealous. Many photos and post please. We were very close to the Seguro and as you know stayed there when it was all olive green. I hope the lovely modernist stained glass remains.
      If you have time go to Sunnylands on the house tour. It’s brilliant. But you must book right now because the are only 7 places on each tour!

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