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Parker Palm Springs

Indulge in mid-century swank at one of the desert’s most exclusive lodgings

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See the perfect mash-up of Palm Springs’ 1950s roots and post-modern eclecticism at the celebrity-favored Parker Palm Springs. More formally known as Le Parker Méridien, the Parker is the Coachella Valley's five-star “it” spot for seclusion-seeking movie stars who love the privacy of high white walls, dense hedges, and off-the-grid entrances. Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, John Travolta, Leonardo DiCaprio and dozens more Hollywood jet-setters have slept in its suave mid-century villas and rooms.

Even with two fabulous makeovers by designer Jonathan Adler in 2003 and 2017, the hotel has held on to its mid-century soul. Built in 1959 as California’s first Holiday Inn, the property was snapped up two years later by Gene Autry, the singing cowboy film star who also owned the Los Angeles Angels baseball team. Autry's "Melody Ranch," as it was known, became the team's spring-training base. In 1998, television and entertainment tycoon Merv Griffin bought the property, rebranding it as Merv Griffin's Resort Hotel and Givenchy Spa.

In 2003, hotelier Jack Parker took ownership, the resort was reincarnated as the Parker Palm Springs, and Adler's hyper-curated designs made this hip spot cooler than ever. In every nook and cranny of its 13 acres, you'll find whimsical and unconventional touches, like macramé owls hanging in the groovy-chic lobby, a seven-foot-tall bronze banana on the main lawn, a vintage pharmacy sign stating "Drugs," and a yellow-striped lemonade stand.

Croquet sets, red-clay tennis courts, ping-pong tables, hammocks, and colorful single-speed bicycles make it clear that the Parker is a place for play. Even the on-site spa has a lighthearted vibe: At the cheekily named Palm Springs Yacht Club, your pampering starts with a thimble-sized shot of cucumber vodka.

You can rent Gene Autry's private gated residence—with two bedrooms, a movie theater with leather recliners, and a saline pool—or one of 12 one-bedroom villas or 130 suites and rooms. Dine at Norma's for a decadent breakfast or lunch served all day on the outdoor terrace, or order cocktails from the bar and hang out by the outdoor fire pits. For a more atmospheric evening, head to Mister Parker’s, a dark, sequestered spot that caters to every indulgence (perhaps a perfectly mixed martini or steak au poivre?) Also be sure to drop in at Counter Reformation, the Parker’s under-the-radar wine bar, to sample the vino selection.

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