L'Horizon Pool and mountains - Jeff Mindell

Next up in our series of articles on the most Instagram-worthy small hotels in Palm Springs is L’Horizon Resort & Spa.

L'Horizon exterior - Jeff Mindell

In 1952, Jack Wrather, producer of Lassie and The Lone Ranger, wanted a desert retreat for himself and his Hollywood friends. He enlisted prominent modernist architect William F. Cody to create a large property in South Palm Springs featuring 20 separate bungalows that ultimately hosted everyone from Marilyn Monroe to the Nixons during its heyday. More than six decades later, designer Steve Hermann, who has designed homes for clients including Christina Aguilera and Vera Wang, purchased the property and reopened it in July 2015 as L’Horizon Resort & Spa following an extensive renovation and redesign.

L'Horizon Pool and mountains - Jeff Mindell

L'Horizon guest room - Jeff Mindell

Hermann’s design update retained Cody’s signature midcentury architectural elements while infusing modern comforts and luxuries. An al fresco fine dining restaurant called SO.PA was added to the property, as well as a poolside bar and a spa.

L'Horizon Pool Bar - Jeff Mindell

L'Horizon Instagram posts

A blue-tiled infinity pool is the centerpiece of the resort, with guest room bungalows scattered around the property.

L'Horizon Infinity Pool - Jeff Mindell

One bungalow, called the Fireplace Suite, was Marilyn Monroe’s personal bungalow when she stayed with the Wrathers during the 1950s. It features a wood-burning, copper clad fireplace as the centerpiece of the room and opens out onto a private patio.

L'Horizon Bungalow with Fireplace - Jeff Mindell

The ultimate luxury accomodations at L’Horizon can be found in The Residence, which is a nearly 2,000 square foot standalone home with two bedrooms, a full kitchen, living room, sunken wet bar and its own private pool with gorgeous mountain views.

L'Horizon Residence - Jeff Mindell

L'Horizon Residence Pool - Jeff MindellOther Instagram-able details I love at L’Horizon include the black and white multi-patterned design motifs around the property; the ornate starburst front doors; bikes available for guest use during your stay; bocce ball court; hammocks; and the desert landscaping throughout the resort. The property is adults only, but your four-legged friends are welcome!

L'Horizon Front Doors and Bike - Jeff Mindell

L'Horizon Hammock and Bocce- Jeff Mindell L'Horizon Instagram Posts

Stay tuned as we continue to explore other great Instagram-friendly small hotels in Palm Springs in this series of blog posts coming out each month!

 

Images via Jeff Mindell for Palm Springs Style and Instagram.

The Andalusian Court is peaceful and romantic.

The Andalusian Court is peaceful and romantic.

There are many words guests use to describe The Andalusian Court — romantic, private, serene, stunning — but one is used over and over again: Magical.

“The grounds are lush and full of water features and fountains and at night it is lit up like a magical fantasyland,” manager Elaine Manion said. “We had one guest tell us he’s not a sentimental guy, but the property at night almost brought him to tears.”

The Andalusian Court was originally built in 1921, and retains its Spanish revival charm. There are seven private villas, each one with a bedroom, fully-equipped kitchen, luxurious bathroom, dining and living room, and fireplace, and some have private outdoor jacuzzis. The gardens are gorgeous, the courtyard pool and fire pits are inviting, and the guest barbecue is a fun touch. There’s also a Hollywood history — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz often stayed at The Andalusian Court in Villa 4.

“Everything is unique about this property,” Elaine said. “Every villa is fully contained; it is literally turnkey, so you don’t need anything else. The customer service is impeccable, it’s number one, and the grounds are peaceful. The property is quiet because everyone is on the same page; there’s no loud music at the pool, no screaming. It is adults only, so it does have a very peaceful and serene environment.”

The owners have retained the hotel’s original architecture while adding plush new beds and linens, water heaters, and WiFi to each villa. As a bonus, when guests check-in, they are greeted with a goody bag of snacks and bottled water, and they always know that the staff at The Andalusian Court is ready and excited to help them make the most out of their stay.

“We hear wonderful reviews from our guests, and they recommend us to others,” Elaine said. “That word of mouth has led to us having lots of repeat guests.”

Melvyn’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Palm Springs because of its old world ambiance, attentive service, and classic dishes. Dimly lit with white tablecloths and Modigliani paintings enhancing the elegant décor, the setting is intimate, serene, and romantic. The restaurant is located on the lushly landscaped property of the Ingleside Inn, a charming historic boutique hotel which has been around since the 1920s and was a favorite getaway for Hollywood celebrities during the 1950s and 60s.

The stars also relished dining at Melvyn’s and sipping cocktails in the adjoining Casablanca lounge where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ava Gardner, Spencer Tracey, and Sammy Davis Junior were known to croon a few tunes. Palm Springs was a haven for these famous Rat Pack celebrities and many others since Hollywood had a two-hour rule where if you were under a film contract you could only travel two hours away in case you were needed on a set.

 

Tableside Cooking

During a recent visit, we focused on Melvyn’s iconic dishes prepared tableside. Melvyn’s is one of only a few restaurants in California where tableside food preparation still occurs. My dining companion and I had a special appreciation of our dishes after watching them being prepared right at our table by our personable waiter, Peter Hauxwell, who entertained us during his preparation by describing each step. 

Icy Cold Martinis

We first ordered icy cold martinis (assuming this is what Frank would do).  We enjoyed our cocktails with classic appetizers of Vichyssoise and Escargot, both beautifully prepared traditional dishes. We then embarked on our magical tableside dining experience.

Escargot

 

Wilted Spinach Salad

Peter first prepared a delicious Wilted Spinach Salad. He whisked together bacon and Dijon mustard with a house-made vinaigrette. He then added crisp Spinach leaves that wilted in the savory bacon mixture. He topped this savory salad with chopped boiled eggs, drizzled it all with lemon, and voila! — Our salad was ready to savor. The salad was rich, flavorful, and even more delicious than it might have been because we had observed the special preparation.

 

Steak Diane

Next was the highlight of our meal, Steak Diane, an ageless dish that was reportedly a favorite of Frank Sinatra’s. Peter created an aromatic, cognac, mushroom sauce with shallots and red that briefly and dramatically went up in flames as it was poured over the tender filet medallions (perfectly prepared medium rare per our request). The flames added a lovely smoky taste to the scrumptious filets. To say they melted in our mouths is an understatement.

We had a hard time deciding between Cherries Jubilee or Bananas Foster for dessert, both flambé dishes. We opted for bananas and were not disappointed. Peter first sautéed the bananas and then mixed them with a rich sauce of brown sugar, dark rum, and various spices. The rum produced glorious flames and the dish was ready to serve atop vanilla ice cream, creating a decadent, sweet dish. Peter observed that he felt this luscious dish had aromas of children’s laughter and we couldn’t disagree. We certainly found ourselves exclaiming delightedly during every flaming display right at our table.

After dinner is the perfect time to adjourn to the Casablanca piano bar where you can enjoy live music from local musicians every night and a special jam session each Sunday. You can even dance off some of those calories you just consumed. The vibe takes you right back to Hollywood’s heyday.

 

Sue Montgomery, guest blogger

Susan Montgomery is a travel, food and wine writer who has a special affection for Palm Springs, which is about an hour from her Southern California home. She is on the Board of Directors of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association and in the last several years, she has published more than 300 articles on her own website and in other publications. Website link:  http://life-uncorked.com.

With only 13 rooms, La Maison is where you go when you want to experience utter tranquility in a secluded spot. Blogger Deirdre Michalski discovered during a recent stay that this beautiful property is one of Palm Springs’ hidden gems, with flowers and fountains everywhere you turn.

John Janulis is not the first guy from the Pacific Northwest to fall in love with Palm Springs (nor will he be the last) but he is the latest and greatest, making a splash with the sleek and seductive renovation of an old Hollywood haunt tucked away on the south end of town.

Travelers’ Choice awards are the highest honor TripAdvisor gives. Based on reviews and opinions from millions of travelers, La Maison of Palm Springs swept several major categories – which places it in the top 1% of hotels.  Book your stay now! 

  • Top 25 Small Hotels — World
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Korakia Pensione (https://www.palmspringspreferredsmallhotels.com/stay/korakia-pensione) is one of Palm Springs’ most unique hotels.

It’s actually three separate buildings — an adobe dating back to 1918, a bungalow built in 1924, and a 1930s villa. There isn’t just one vibe, as Korakia Pensione has touches of Northern African and the Mediterranean; there are arches and fountains and candles everywhere, with guests able to slip into one of two saltwater pools at any time of day. There’s also a library, which has been a gathering place for writers and artists and musicians for decades.

The property’s one-of-a-kind feel makes it perfect for photo shoots. The hotel has been prominently featured in several of the world’s most popular magazines, including VogueElle, and Architectural Digest. Of course, it’s also been the backdrop in countless wedding pictures, as the hotel and its stunning views of the San Jacinto mountains and palms have attracted brides and grooms from around the world.

My boyfriend Paul and I just couldn’t get it together. We’ve been dating for close to four years, and with opposing schedules, separate houses and part-time kids, being able to spend quality time alone is rare. So when the miraculous happened and we had a week to ourselves, we decided to get out of town for a romantic getaway.

We wanted to go somewhere special, somewhere sexy: hot even. “What about the desert? We could go to Palm Springs.” I suggested one night.