The Deal: The Horizon Hotel, Palm Springs, CA
The Backstory: Palm Springs is a desert oasis defined by kidney-shaped swimming pools, memories of the Rat Pack, and houses of concrete and glass that look like they were built for the Jetsons. Hollywood types discovered it back in the 1920’s, but it wasn’t until the late 40’s and early 50’s that the influx of stars like Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Cary Grant arrived. Their movie star dough proved to be the seed money for a group of modernist architects who were then free to experiment with materials and designs adapted to desert living. Among them were William Cody, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, and Albert Frey. Their collective work in Palm Springs is now referred to as Desert Modernism. Think of floor-to-ceiling glass walls, overhanging eaves, and large outdoor living areas that invariably center around an amoeba-shaped swimming pool. A great example is The Horizon, designed in 1952 by William Cody as a compound for Hollywood producer Jack Wrather and his wife, the Academy Award winning actress Bonita Granville. The friends who came and stayed in this collection of bungalows included Marilyn Monroe, who chose The Horizon for a rendezvous with a certain U.S. president. Recently gutted, refurbished and restored to Cody’s exacting requirements, The Horizon is now an upscale motel for the fashion crowd. It’s all about cantilevered roofs, walls of sliding glass and alfresco showers.
The Rooms: There are 22 rooms, including a three-bedroom residence. These are modernist retreats, as spare as possible. Most of the rooms have outdoor showers, a sensual treat in the desert heat. And if you’re curious, ask for room 3C, Monroe’s favorite.
More Reasons to Stay: Free WiFi, free parking, free breakfast.
What’s the Deal: Rates can be as low as $134 in the fall if you book with Orbitz. In high season, they can crest $300.
Insider Tip: The blue waters of the pool, the striking geometry of the units, and the mountain backdrop make you feel as if you’ve wandered into a magazine shoot. This is not a bad thing.
Caveat: Not really for young kids.
Location, Location, Location: You’re in Palm Springs, but you’ll need to get into your rental convertible to drive to any restaurants.
The Details: The Horizon. 1050 East Palm Canyon Drive; 800.377.7855.