I’m taking a small deviation from our regularly scheduled posts on Japan and all things Japanese in San Francisco, to bring you along on a short, blissful detour to Palm Springs. Have you been? Are you as in love with it as we are?
We’re ardent lovers of all things mid-century modern. We treasure our Heywood Wakefield table with dog biscuit chairs, which we bought for a steal at the Denver boutique Decade. And one of our first art purchases was a large, playful print by LA based artist, Shag (aka JoSH AGle), The Secret Cul-de-Sac from the LA By Day series.
It’s surprising we hadn’t been to Palm Springs earlier, based on our obsession with mod. But once we finally made the trip, it was truly special.
We went for our 5th wedding anniversary (Oct 2015) and stayed at the hipster bohemian wonderland, the Ace Hotel.
This Ace location used to be a Howard Johnson and what is now the King’s Highway Diner, serving bloody mary’s and ridiculously good key lime pie (and I’m not even a key lime fan), was originally a Denny’s.
The Ace experience was everything we hoped for and more. Our room, complete with a private patio and fireplace, felt like a scene sliced out of Dr. No. The canvas-covered wall with french doors opening to the patio gave the space a tent-like feel, a sort of gussied up campsite a la Moonrise Kingdom. The white shutter wall behind the bed added a laid back, beachy vibe. And we were smitten with the room’s record player––we even bought the Martini Kings record to play in our room and take home with us. Now each time we listen to the record, we remember our first Palm Springs vacay!
The pool was epic. Lounging beneath the circular sun shades, we felt like we’d been plopped into a 1950s Frank Sinatra comedy. The guests were even dressed in 50s and 60s style garb, classic Ray Bans, primary-colored one pieces, slightly shorter swim trunks.
The scent of salt and coconut wafted through the air. Waiters came by regularly, happily supplying us with endless frozen piña coladas. (Now Blaine is dreaming of buying his own piña colada machine and his own Palm Springs mod home.)
There were palm trees everywhere. Tall, skinny palms framed the poolside view of the San Jacinto mountains and short, fat palms bordered the outdoor dining area.
Once we decided to venture into town, it was easy to determine our destination. The Shag Gallery. We rode Ace cruiser bikes about a mile into town. The gallery was exactly what we’d expected, full of Shag’s eye-popping colorful, mod prints, rich in inspiration from Palm Springs and LA mid-century modern architecture and 60s fashion.
Our last day in town, we woke up early to pedal through the nearby Twin Palms Estates. It is to die for! Quintessential mod homes with butterfly roofs, palm tree lined drives, an atomic style wonderland.
Moral of the story, if you haven’t been to Palm Springs yet, check it out! We highly recommend the Ace. On our next Palm Springs trip, we’ll likely stay somewhere new to see what other cool hotels and motels the town has to offer. Also, did you see the Sunday New York Times 36 Hours in Palm Springs from last weekend? Good stuff!