(Above image from the hotel website)
Bar/Restaurant: The Parker Palm Springs
Area: East Palm Canyon Drive
Typa Joint: Hollywood Regency Style Boutique Hotel
Signature Cocktail: Not really, but I had a Sidecar
I just adore the Parker Palm Springs. On my first visit in 2006, it had been two years since the remodel, and it was my first experience with immersion in Hollywood Regency style. Sure, I had seen a lamp or a rug or two, but nothing on this grand scale.
The property has a rich history. It opened in 1959 as California’s first Holiday Inn. In 1961, it was Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch, used to house his baseball team, the California Angels, during spring training. In the 1990s it was transformed into a resort reminiscent of French designer Givenchy, and thusly-named. Merv Griffin purchased it in the late 90s, and it became a hotspot for celebrities.
If you aren’t looking for the Parker, you will likely miss it. It is situated on East Palm Canyon Dr. and Cherokee Way, away from the madding crowds of the village, but it is tucked away behind trees. The only thing visible from the road is the white brick wall which reads “Parker Palm Springs.” You can self-park, but let the valet do it; this the Parker! You’ll know you’re in for a treat when you see the white brick façade and orange lacquer door leading inside.
Hotelier Jack Parker asked Hollywood Regency designer Jonathan Adler to redesign the Parker in 2003. The results are ambitious and whimsical. Adler has been quoted as saying that he wanted the decor to “Unite happiness and chic.”
The “bar” is a little alcove consisting of some liquor bottles and a few stools. But, the place to imbibe your cocktail is over by the fire pit, which Adler has been quoted as calling, “The hookah chill out zone.”
There was no signature drink per se, so I opted for a Sidecar. It was delicious, and it was also 20 bucks! Hold on to your wallets at the Parker. I did not have dinner at Mr. Parker, the restaurant on premises, but I’m sure it is just as pricey and just as good.
If you visit, be sure to walk the property, with its vignettes and secluded alcoves.
You will also see the private villas peppered throughout the property. I read that Barbra Streisand had a wall removed between two of the villas during her stay. This is also where Brad and Angie stayed in separate rooms in 2005, before they announced their coupling. Hey, maybe they stayed in the villas that Barbra joined together!
The Parker turned 10 in 2014, and there’s no doubt it paved the way for the re-designs of other boutique hotels like The Ace and the Saguaro. But they can’t hold a candle to the Parker.