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. Angelina Jolie, John Travolta, Leonardo DiCaprio, and dozens more Hollywood jet-setters have slept in its suave mid-century villas and rooms.
Parker Palm Springs History
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.
What to Expect at the Parker Palm Springs
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.
Accommodations at the Parker Palm Springs
No matter what kind of getaway you’re planning, there is a perfect villa, junior suite, or poolside room with a bougainvillea-draped patio waiting for you at the Parker Palm Springs. 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 free-standing villas that have floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on lush hedgerows. Or book one of the Parker’s classic suites. If you don’t need all that square footage but appreciate the colorfully eclectic design touches, one of the value-minded Estate Rooms will be the perfect fit.
Restaurants at the Parker Palm Springs
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, Parisian-inspired wine bar, to sample the vino selection and perhaps a selection of small plates.
Things to Do Near the Parker Palm Springs
Palm Springs is truly an oasis of world-class attractions and diversions. The region is famously home to many fine examples of mid-century architecture (as a guest at the Parker, you are staying in one of them) that are a must to visit. Exceptional shopping, dining, and golfing are also among the reasons savvy travelers flock here, but it would be a mistake not to explore the surrounding outdoors. The fan palm oases, waterfall, and bighorn sheep at Indian Canyons provide the perfect setting for a hike, and Joshua Tree National Park offers a multitude of outdoor adventures, from camping and guided tours to captivating stargazing. To learn about some of Palm Spring’s lesser-known charms, check out So You Think You Know Palm Springs?.