Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Los Angeles Times has a travel article about Palm Springs

The Los Angles Times newspaper just came out with an interesting article about Palm Springs. Here it is:

"A visit to 1959 Palm Springs
The year was a seminal one for the desert resort town; 50 years on, it's still a swingin' time.

Dwight Eisenhower, on holiday from the White House, whips a golf club beneath a blue October sky... Meanwhile, other rich and famous folk are partying at the Chi Chi Club or pulling up their Cadillac coupes (nice tailfins!) in front of the Riviera, that vast new mod hotel. All over the Coachella Valley, architects and builders are seducing tourists with butterfly roof lines, space-age appliances, minimalist graphics and backlit starbursts.

Yes, 1959 was a swinging year in Palm Springs. And it's not over yet.

Thanks to legions of preservationists, entrepreneurs, publishers and design-driven travelers, the cult of Desert Modernism gets bigger and bigger, drawing all sorts of retro pilgrims to Palm Springs, including me....

Picture a whole ultramod 'hood of soaring roofs, clerestory windows, carports instead of garages, peek-a-boo screens made of stacked concrete blocks, pebbles and palms in the yard, and living rooms just begging for somebody to slip a little Dean Martin on the hi-fi. New, these houses sold for $19,000...

"Nineteen-fifty-nine was a good year for architecture here," Jade Nelson, the 33-year-old manager of the Orbit In hotel, told me. His place went up in 1957, but "my father and grandfather went to the opening week of the Riviera in 1959. In a white 1960-model Cadillac Coupe de Ville with red leather interior."

The building, designed by Rudy Baumfeld of Victor Gruen Associates, was actually a nod across the Atlantic -- an homage to a tall, curvy, ultramod chapel that modernist pioneer Le Corbusier designed in Ronchamp, France, just a few years before.

Now it's a Bank of America. But it's also a reminder: Before the first management consultant claimed credit for coining the phrase, the builders here were thinking outside the architectural box.

So was architect Albert Frey. In addition to a number of startling private homes and a compound now known as the Movie Colony Hotel, Frey collaborated on the low-slung City Hall and Fire Station No. 1 in the mid-'50s. By 1959, he was working on the city's aerial tram project, which would be completed in 1963.

Later came Frey's enormous pointy-roofed Tramway gas station, near the northern entrance to town. And even though it's a 1965 structure, you should stop there, because it now houses the Palm Springs Visitor Center. Go in and buy a $5 map to 75 local modernist landmarks, including many designed by Frey, William F. Cody and E. Stewart Williams...

Not everybody wants to stay in a big hotel, and by 1959 Palm Springs was already full of tiny ones. In the Tennis Club district, a short stroll from downtown, you had the Town & Desert (built in 1947, designed by Herb Burns). The Village Manor (1957, Burns again) was its younger sidekick a few doors away....

The reborn Parker, Moruzzi writes, is proof "that Palm Springs truly is the face-lift capital of the desert."

Of course, plenty of '50s Palm Springs landmarks have been lost, including the Desert Air (a fly-in hotel) and the Chi Chi Club (closed in the '60s)....

But in a territory that's supposedly so mutable and history-averse, it's a great comfort to lie low in the shade of the rediscovered buildings that endure..."

For the full article Click here

It's great that so many people are fascinated my the mid-century modern homes and hotels. And nude sunbathers are lucky, they get to stay in an Albert Frey building.

Yes, The Terra Cotta Inn clothing optional resort and spa was once the famous Monkey Tree hotel designed by Albert Frey in 1960. We were originally designed as a celebrity resort, so we have very large rooms (300-500 sq ft).

So far this year, the press loves Palm Springs modern properties. The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, CNN, Washington Post and more have praised all the preservation work.

So it's time you should try something new, something fun, and different. We are the most mainstream nudist resort in the US and are perfect for couples trying topless or nude sunbathing for the first time! And you get to stay in a historic hotel.

Give us a call at 800-786-6938 for more information or to make reservations.

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We hope to see you soon in sunny Palm Springs!

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