I absolutely, 100% fell in love with Palm Springs. With its architecture, palm trees, hotels and pools. I’ve never been anywhere where I so desperately wanted a time machine to whip back to the 50s and 60s to sip cocktails poolside with the Rat Pack.
But even without a time machine, being there feels like you have stepped into the Palm Springs episodes of Mad Men.
Look at the house we booked on AirBnB:
We had our own pool, a beautiful room, Netflix and the homeowner didn’t appear until we were leaving. Perfect.
Oh and on our first night there Village Fest was on. Thanks Palm Springs!
After walking around downtown we found a place that did amazing ice cream sandwiches and ate them while listening to a perfect live rendition of Elvis’ ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’. Which perfectly described how I was already feeling about Palm Springs.
The next day we went to the visitors centre to pick up a map to the best modernist houses. The visitors centre is housed in the old tramway gas station, which was designed by architect Albert Frey, completed in 1965, and is considered a prime example of modernism in architecture.
We picked up a map for $5 and began our driving tour.
First stop was the famous Kaufmann Desert House, designed by architect Richard Neutra in 1946.
According to the man at the visitors centre, the Kaufmann house is now owned by Leonardo DiCaprio… But I can’t find any evidence to back this up!
One house with confirmed celebrity links is this one:
Elvis and Priscilla Presley lived and spent their honeymoon here in 1967.
Dramatic rooflines are a key characteristic of desert modernism:
I love all the cactuses and palms.
After our driving tour we stopped in at some of the trendiest hotels for a snoop. Starting with the instagrammer’s delight known as The Ace:
We stopped here for a poolside beer before checking out The Saguaro:
We then decided to retreat to our own pool for a swim, where it was quieter (and cheaper!).
My view overhead:
We whipped up a few rounds of mojitos and lazed the afternoon away.
I don’t think I have a single photo from Palm Springs that doesn’t have a palm tree in it. This pleases me.
We drove out of Palm Springs towards San Diego, taking a slight detour to visit bizarre Salvation Mountain which is an art installation inspired by god and bible passages.
It kind of appears out of nowhere after you drive through a rather run down and depressing town.
Salvation Mountain’s creator Leonard Knight passed away last year and a group of volunteers is trying to protect the site. They regularly receive donations of paint.
View from the top:
Inside parts of the sculpture:
It was kind of weird and fanatical, but interesting to see.
We drove on to San Diego, excited to see the California coast again.