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L’Horizon Palm Springs

Sleep inside a mid-century masterpiece filled with Hollywood history

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Staying at L’Horizon Palm Springs is a bit like stepping into a mid-century-modern time machine, with all the luxury trappings of a Hollywood hideaway in the desert.

After all, that’s exactly what it is. The hotel compound was built in 1952 by architect William F. Cody, who designed many of the famous mid-century buildings around the desert; he was commissioned by Hollywood producer Jack Wrather (behind such TV shows as The Lone Ranger and Lassie) to create a desert home that could also accommodate plenty of his A-list friends. The result was this collection of 25 sleek bungalows, spread over three acres against a mountain backdrop. Some of the guests over the years included Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and presidents Nixon and Reagan. 

In 2015, the compound got a refresh from contemporary designer Steve Hermann, embracing that classic Palm Springs aesthetic. The original, slump-stone walls are juxtaposed against warm exposed-wood beams in the ceilings, bespoke and vintage decor, and floor-to-ceiling windows. To stay in Marilyn’s old room, book the Fireplace Junior Suite Bungalow, which also has a wood-burning copper-clad fireplace, and a big view of the zero-edge pool.

Even though you’re a short distance from Palm Springs area shopping and golf courses, this is the kind of place that invites you to keep a low profile, like a star hiding out from the paparazzi. Chill out at the spa (with body treatments such as the Espresso Mud Wrap or the Lemongrass Mimosa Scrub) and enjoy all three meals at the elegantly al fresco So-Pa restaurant—ranging from the Dungeness-crab-accented L’Horizon Benedict at breakfast to the dinner menu of seafood, organic duck breast, or Niman Ranch short ribs. Adding to the serene ambience: This is an adults-only property.

The poolside bar is a fabulous throwback in itself. Choose from classic cocktails like a Tom Cat Collins, a Manhattan, or the rye-centered Vieux Carré. Or sip on more contemporary cousins, like La Martinque (with port, cognac, and pineapple juice) or the Summer in Russia (vodka, grapefruit juice, and elderflower liqueur).

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