Surprise: Our Favorite Palm Springs Resort Isn’t a Hipster Haven

Harper's Bazaar Palm Springs Shoot at La Quinta

Harper’s Bazaar shot its May 2015 issue at La Quinta Resort and Spa in Palm Springs.

Palm Springs is scorching hot right now, and I don’t just mean in the fry-an-egg on the asphalt way. I’m referring to the kind of heat that lures Hollywood heavyweights, fashion superstars, music moguls, groupies, brands with big budgets, architecture buffs, socialites with second homes and LA residents who are just happy to finally be able to own a home at all!

At the forefront of the Palm Springs resurrection that has happened over the past 10 years has been a crop of hotel hot spots — namely The Parker, The Ace and The Viceroy — that have become the nucleus for cool, harkening to the city’s midcentury architectural roots. They channel mod glam, embrace kitsch and play host to hipsters from all over.

Like many LA residents who make the two-hour plus trek east on the I-10 (or as SNL’s “The Californians” would say: 10 to the 60 back to the 10), these fabulously fun hotels have become a regular part of my Palm Springs circuit. And they are always gems on the short list of must-dos when I am recommending places to friends who haven’t visited before.

RELATED: The Parker Celebrates 10 Years of Cool Kitsch!

But lately, I’ve been craving a sophisticated serenity. I wanted a bit of Old Hollywood Palm Springs. A haven without the hipsters. A place to bask without a bevy of man buns.

And so it was that I recently found myself riding in (car, not horse) at sunset down the expansive, brick drive of the Waldorf Astoria’s LA Quinta Resort and Club — the longest-running resort in the Palm Springs area — flanked by towering palm trees and staring at the dramatic Santa Rosa mountains in front of me.

La_Quinta_Resort_Front_DriveIt’s the same drive that since 1926 has been welcoming well-heeled denizens, from Hollywood’s glitterati to social mavens, dignitaries and discerning clientele in search of a peaceful desert hideaway. Old guard and new guard mingle at this sun-drenched resort, which underwent and extensive multi-million dollar restoration in 2014.

Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Katherine Hepburn and more have all been guests at La Quinta. Filmmaker Frank Capra dubbed La Quinta the “Shangri-La of Screenwriting.” And clearly the siren song of its beauty worked magic. Capra wrote his Academy Award- winning It Happened One Night at the resort and he soon returned to the same casita year after year to pen other scripts such as Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, You Can’t Take It With You and a little known (wink wink) classic titled It’s A Wonderful Life.

Life is, indeed, wonderful at La Quinta, which earlier this year was featured in Harper’s Bazaar’s May fashion spread. Technically located in the city of La Quinta, and just a quick bounce from the Indian Wells Tennis Complex, the verdant 45-acre estate is an expansive estate of sun-washed Spanish-style casitas, draped with hot pink bougainvillea. In short: nary a nod to midcentury in sight.

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Admittedly, it takes a moment to navigate the sprawl of La Quinta’s “Shangri-La.” My husband had arrived a couple of hours before me and wisely thought it better to have a staff employee take me, my daughter and our Bichon to our casita via golf cart.

A note on bringing Fido: La Quinta rolls out the grass carpet for its four-legged friends. For a flat $100 fee, which you can choose to donate to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), you’ll receive a dog bone, resort map detailing doggy relief “stations,” oversized pet bed and stainless steel bowls.

La_Quinta_Resort_Casita_with_Adirondacks

But once you orient yourself, and Fido, you’ll realize that it’s much more intimate than it might initially seem. You’ll definitely be spoilt for choice. The property boasts eight restaurants, one of which is Adobe Grill. We became intimately familiar with it for a couple of nights, largely due to the fresh, table side guacamole and margaritas in glasses so large you could invite four of your friends to join in. And trust me: You’ll be so happy for a longer stroll back to your casita to walk it off.

margarita Guacamole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The breakfast and brunch at American bistro Twenty6 is also a smorgasbord of food coma-inducing deliciousness. If you’re the eggs Benedict type (I am), you won’t want to miss the many takes on this classic, which food lore has it was actually invented at the Waldorf Hotel in New York in 1894.

Candy heaven at La Quinta Resort Palm SpringsThe on-site candy store was a favorite with our 12-year-old daughter for obvious reasons. And she actually requested Dippin’ Dots ice cream from the store for breakfast one morning. (Thanks, La Quinta!) Other than being a lighthearted addition to a healthy line up of shops at the resort — including a coffee spot, swim boutiques, Polo Ralph Lauren boutique and more — I loved it because it was kid friendly.  In fact, it’s one of the first things that I noticed upon arriving at La Quinta: There are actual families there, which is something you see less of at other Palm Springs resorts.

While it may sound like we spent most of our time eating we, in fact, spent most of it lounging in La Quinta Resort Palm Springs Poolsidefloaties at the pool. The floaties, in donut, shark and other forms, are available for purchase at the main pool, and were as popular with the adults as with the kids. My only complaint: There was no swan shape, this season’s de rigueur floaty — at least it would certainly appear this way when one glanced at the Instagram accounts of fashion and lifestyle bloggers. We were already deep into lounge mode, but late afternoon, pool cantina servers upped the ante and passed out tasty watermelon and basil popsicles to ease the heat.

La_Quinta_Resort_Main_Pool

But for those who don’t want to be anywhere near kids, there are 41 — yes, 41! — pools around the resort, including a recently opened 21-and-over pool. And for parents in need of “me” time and anyone else seeking a little quiet respite from city life, a glistening aqua oasis in the desert with a shark floaty, popsicle and margarita in hand might be the closest to Shangri-La we can imagine!

For more information, visit www.laquintaresort.com.

Photos courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar, La Quinta Resort and the writer’s own.

 

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Author:Michelle Dalton Tyree

Fashion Trends Daily is the brainchild of Michelle Dalton Tyree. She is the former West Coast Retail Editor for Women’s Wear Daily, Fashion Editor for The Japan Times, and founder of former L.A. luxury boutique Iconology. Michelle is frequently quoted about fashion retail trends in major media outlets such as NPR, KPCC, The Inside Source and the New York Times. She has developed content for many luxury brands and retailers and has written for Allure, Worth Global Style Network, Footwear News and other media outlets.