Location, location, location!
For those that love modernism, Old Las Palmas politely screams “I am quintessential Palm Springs.” Stretching west from Palm Canyon to the San Jacinto Mountains, the neighborhood is rich in history and real estate — many starchitects built here, and all aesthetics are represented, from the House of Tomorrow to Swiss Miss homes and everything in between and beyond.
The roads wind into the mountains and are as dramatic as the homes once owned by Liberace, Dinah Shore, and Kirk Douglas (to name-drop a few), as well as the opulent sprawling estates commissioned by the studio bosses of yore. There’s even a mini-Hearst castle in the mix.
To get there, turn off Palm Canyon onto Via Las Palmas, a quiet residential street, where you immediately feel like you’re in another world. The stores and businesses melt away and the road splits in two (very Robert Frost). If you choose wisely, you’ll go left where a well-lit cobblestoned path bordered by desertscape grasses leads the way to an elegant white-bricked, mid-century modern hotel with giant palm trees and a copse of plumeria on either side of the bright orange door. You are now entering The Weekend, the only boutique hotel in Old Las Palmas.
Once inside, the sparkling water from the rectangular pool dances in the sunlight, and it’s so stunning it takes a minute to notice that your surroundings are just as sleek and modern as the entrance. All white apart from the 10 orange doors that pop against the exotic green foliage, each suite faces that picture-perfect pool, with the sleeping quarters in the back (open the sliding doors to get to the private patio). We should emphasize: this is not a party hotel, this is a peaceful and luxe respite from the humdrum of the everyday, exhibiting clean lines and the simple elegance of modernism.
Formerly Las Palmas Gardens Luxury Apartments, and purportedly once owned by gossip queen Rona Barrett, the property was built in 1964 and advertised sunken tubs, private patios, and two-bedrooms digs.
When hotelier Mark Hermann purchased the property in 2016, he made some major design decisions. Sunken tubs were replaced with roomy rain showers, and he took down the wall and cabinets separating the kitchen/dining areas from the living room, creating an open concept living space. Hermann honored the rich mid-century history of Palm Springs with bold color, artwork, and brickwork in the new great room.
Although modernism is the epitome of style over comfort, Hermann managed to accomplish both — sophisticated yet supremely sittable furniture, and thick luxurious mattresses to snuggle into at night. Amenities spill over into the bathrooms with Frette towels and robes, and L’Occitane bath products.
The kitchen has everything except fire – a.k.a. a stove or oven, but honestly there are so many great restaurants you’ll want to try, who needs or wants to cook? You’re on vacation. Besides, there’s a microwave and a big old bowl for popcorn, plenty of room in the fridge for beverages and salads, lots of storage for snacks, dinnerware/cutlery, bottle openers (of course), and a Keurig coffee maker.
Because of its aesthetic and the uniqueness of the property, The Weekend is a favorite of international travelers looking for an authentic mid-century modern Palm Springs experience. Couples traveling together enjoy the two-bedroom options, while those looking for a romantic getaway love the peace and quiet of the one-bedroom suites.
Keyless check-ins make for easy ins and outs, and there are wonderful options for libations and food on Palm Canyon, all with great provenance. Copley’s restaurant is on the old Cary Grant estate, Eight4Nine Restaurant was once the Palm Springs post office, and Ernst Coffee and Bootlegger Tiki are in the old Don the Beachcomber’s space. Also, the shopping along Palm Canyon has some kick-ass vintage resale stores. Looking for high-end boutiques, and the thrum of downtown? Tahquitz is about a 15-minute walk.
If you’re in the mood for a nice stroll, the House of Tomorrow (a.k.a. Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway) is about 10 minutes from your door, and there is an unexpected connection. Barrett (who is still with us at 86) also owned a home right next to the House of Tomorrow where Elvis and Priscilla planned to wed. Knowing she’d make it a circus, Elvis contacted Frank Sinatra, who sent a limo to pick them up and under the cover of night, he whisked them off on his private plane to Las Vegas where, for better or worse, they exchanged their vows.
Although that relationship was complicated, The Weekend is not. If you’re a fan of uncompromising elegance in the mid-century modern aesthetic, The Weekend is the perfect choice.