Los Angeles area based food and life-style writer, Karin E. Baker, takes a look at the numerous reasons to journey to the Palm Springs area in this Huffpost Travel article. She points out the sophisticated-yet-chill vibe, the stunning mid-century modern architecture and landscaping, gorgeous deserts, and evolving food, hotel and art scenes. She feels that one of the best reasons to visit the area is a chance to pay a visit to the classic, old-school Palm Springs that earned it the nickname “Hollywood’s Playground.”
The Palm Springs area became a favorite getaway for Southern Californians beginning in the 1920s, when Hollywood stars like Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino and Clara Bow flocked to the desert for relaxation, recreation and privacy. Removed enough from Los Angeles to give a sense of escape, it was a mere two hours away if the likes of Louis B. Mayer or Jack Warner summoned you back to the studio for a reshoot.
She singles out the following establishments:
Purple Room: This supper club, which opened in 1960, was a Rat Pack hangout that continues to attracts tons of locals after a recent update that refreshed the place while maintaining a swanky, 1960s vibe.
Copley’s on Palm Canyon: You can walk in Cary Grant’s footsteps at Copley’s, a top-rated restaurant and bar that was formerly a guesthouse on Grant’s estate. The spacious courtyard is perfect for lounging, cocktail in hand, as you take in the fire pit’s licking flames and the sun slowly setting over the San Jacinto Mountains.
Mr. Lyon’s: Lyon’s Englsh Grille opened in 1945 and was a favorite of celebrities and locals alike until shutting its doors in 2014. Mr. Lyon’s, opened in 2015, has been beautifully updated but still retains a classic feel with its plush green-velvet booths and burnished woods and a steakhouse menu. The brand-new bar, Seymour’s, which opened in May 2016, is a gorgeous speakeasy tucked away in the back of the restaurant. It has a vintage feel thanks to its walls covered with framed haberdashery illustrations from 19th-century British magazines, ‘60s-ish bar stools made of brass and black leather, the geometric-pattern inlaid bar, a TV playing muted black-and-white Japanese movies from the 1950s, and elevated well-crafted cocktails. And, you can even play bocce ball on the back patio.
Melvyn’s: Melvyn’s is located in the Inglenook Inn, a hotel built in the 1920s that was a popular destination for Tinseltown luminaries like Clark Gable and Greta Garbo. Most famous for frequent visits from Frank Sinatra, in fact, his face is imprinted on the bar napkins placed beneath your martini or old fashioned, Melvyn’s is a virtual homage to old-school Continental dining.
Wally’s Desert Turtle: Though not quite of the classic era, since Wally’s opened in 1978, this fine-dining establishment in Rancho Mirage hosted top stars of the classic era like Bob Hope, Sinatra, Carol Channing and more.
Palm Springs Celebrity Homes Tour: Palm Springs is known for its huge number of mid-century modern homes. You can see some of the city’s most noteworthy homes, many of them owned by classic stars, during the Celebrity Homes Tour led by Desert Adventures Jeep Tours. The tour starts outside Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms, located in the Movie Colony and named for the estate’s pair of majestic palm trees. Sinatra lived in this striking mid-century modern house, completed in 1947, for seven years, eventually sharing it with his second wife, Ava Gardner. Also featured during this tour are homes that were owned or rented by Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis Presley, Debbie Reynolds, Kirk Douglas, Ann Miller, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, Liberace and more. You’ll also see the batwing-roofed “house of tomorrow” where Elvis honeymooned with Priscilla, the iconic Donald Wexler that Dinah Shore called home that’s now owned by Leonardo DiCaprio, and much more.
To read Karin E. Baker’s original article and to view the accompanying pictures, courtesy of Huffpost Travel, please visit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karin-e-baker/exploring-old-hollywood-i_b_10312076.html