Tuesday, January 20, 2015

More of heaven - La Quinta Resort 2

After my last post HERE I actually downloaded a few pictures I took with an actual camera and they featured details my previous post, featuring images from my cellphone, didn't capture.
 As I mentioned the grounds and gardens are immaculate and stunningly beautiful.
 Views of the mountains are found throughout the resort.
I mentioned that Frank Capra was a long time resident of the resort; he lived in the above bungalow with his wife each summer. A plaque and garden bench commemorate them.
This fun courtyard shown above surrounded by a few casitas is available for events; notice the strings of lights hanging over the space.
While most of the resort is lush and green this interesting desert garden above reminds one that we are in the desert after all!
I love how the fruit trees feature white painted bark about 30" high. While this has practical advantages against pests and also keeping the barks from splitting through the temperature differentials, it creates a beautiful contrast against the grass.
 Almost every tree was a citrus tree. It was citrus season during my visit and wonderful fresh fruit was available everywhere!
The newer structures feature great details just as in the older casitas. Notice the Spanish tiled steps and roofs.
 The turquoise shutters pair so well with the blue sky.
 The main clubhouse features a lot of common spaces and restaurants.
This fire in the main lobby is kept constantly burning with fragrant mesquite wood; a great place to spend a chilly evening with a glass of wine.
Even though they were past their prime ENORMOUS fragrant roses were to still be found throughout the resort.
 For those not interested in swimming pools or golf, the spa is a great way to spend a day.
The primary garden features numerous tiled water features so that you're never far away from the music they provide.
 Did I mention mountain views?
 This pool, one of 41, was where I spent most of my time as it was literally out my front door.
 Details wait around each corner.
I loved that some of the tiles featured paw-prints -just driving home the fact that they are handmade.
Ever thoughtful, wifi and cellphone repeaters are to be found dotted around the resort so that one can stay connected. Notice the palm tree above? It took me a few days but I finally realized these fake palm trees hide amongst the real ones providing the data to which we are all addicted!

Friday, January 16, 2015

La Quinta Resort - Hollywood Haven

While in Palm Springs I spent a few days outside of the 'city' at a newly renovated resort from the golden age of Hollywood, La Quinta.
Built in 1926 it was said to be as far from Hollywood as an actor in the studio system could travel while on call. And they did come; Garbo was a regular as was Gable.
Frank Capra spent many summers at the resort with his wife, writing scripts for many of his award winning movies including It happened one night (one of my favorites), Mr. Smith goes to Washington, and It's a Wonderful Life (which I can't stand).
While the Hollywood history is interesting, one comes for the weather and mountain views.
The rooms are all individual casitas interwoven through beautiful gardens and interesting public spaces.
41 swimming pools and 53 hot tubs make sure that everyone gets their own personal space with mountain views and plenty of sunshine.
I loved this pergola with climbing roses right outside of my casita. I'll have to go back to see it in full bloom!
Even though roses weren't in season, there were still plenty of fragrant hangers on to admire.
Beautiful architecture, luxurious gardens, swimming pools, and Palm Springs weather; the La Quinta Resort is wintertime heaven on earth to this weary Washingtonian!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Palm Springs from the air

I have to admit something; I'm a very nervous flyer. I think I hide it relatively well but until my feet are back on the ground I fret and worry.
However that said, I could stare outside of a plane window all day long and be happy. I love the view of the clouds, farms, and cities below:  God's art.
 Imagine that just 100 years ago views such as this were unthinkable. It makes the flying worthwhile.
Palm Springs is an arid /desert climate nestled against the beautiful Santa Rosa- San Jacinto Mountains. In the winter the weather is PERFECTION; mid 70s and sunny during the day and cool for sleeping or hot-tubbing at night.
Thanks to technology parts of the city are an oasis of lushness, despite worries that this kind of water usage can't last for long as the area expands into the desert.
Nothing beats the winter-time blues like a trip to the warm, sunny south.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Palm Springs, California

I recently escaped the cold winter weather and explored (mostly) sunny Palm Springs, California. I say mostly because 1 of my 4 days there included an unusual gloomy, albeit warm, rainy day.
Known as the retreat of the Rat Pack and full of Mid-Century modern architecture, I was pleased to find some older buildings to interest the classicist in me.
The El Paseo building in the Uptown Design District was built in 1927 and is of the fitting Spanish style that fits so well with the sunny weather. White washed walls repel the strong sun and the clay tile roofs help to keep the roof ventilated and cool.
Across the street were a number of other interesting older Spanish buildings, full of charm. Of course I was mostly interested in the blue skies and warm air!
This building above directly across the street has seen better days but if you look past the broken windows and worn exterior the concrete structure is really beautiful. The antique shop inside is entertaining as well.
Of course when one thinks of Palm Springs one thinks of its' famous houses. Neutra's famous Kaufmann House from 1947 was an exciting find -click the link for a great tour at Architectural Digest.
Another fun find although on an entirely different level, was driving by Liberace's house below.  The Old Las Palmas neighborhood is full of beautiful mid-century houses and lush gardens.
Palm Springs is a surprisingly small town with the main activity (after golfing) being sitting Poolside.
I stayed at the beautiful Colony Palms Hotel and can't recommend it highly enough: both for style and most of all location.
Shopping is another popular past time particularly for vintage home goods (fun for me!). I have to recommend (the unfortunately named) Just Fabulous for its wonderful and stylish book collection and gifts just a block from the hotel.
I used the Elle Decor travel tips (very useful) to find a lot of the better vintage stores and weed out the junk (literally). The best string of about 5 shops I found thanks to that magazine are in a sort of run-down business park just outside of Palm Springs in Cathedral City adjacent to its best store, Hedge. I was a bit surprised to find the stores empty on a Saturday during the high season but after the shabby treatment I received in most of the shops (Hedge was moderately friendly) I wasn't so surprised.  After trying to get help in 2 (empty) shops to purchase something and receiving no recognition I just left with empty hands. More money to spend elsewhere!  Is it because I'm much under the average age in Palm Springs of 80?  I still have money to spend!
Shop owners beware; finding great merchandise is only 1/2 the battle.  Selling it to VERY willing customers is just as important! Customer service matters particularly with high end merchandise.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

National Cathedral windows

I recently paid a visit to the National Cathedral and was reminded of how beautiful stained glass really can be, particularly in this crisp winter light.
The windows soar towards the ceiling at a staggering 100'. The light still makes it down to the floor however, and to marvelous effect.
I posted some exterior photos a few years ago during a much warmer visit HERE (with a real camera instead of my iphone)
These sacred spaces really are special; thanks to artisans, architects, and perhaps a divine presence.