Friday, February 25, 2011

Modernism Week is almost over - However, nudists can stay anytime at the Terra Cotta Inn

South Beach has it's Art Deco. San Francisco has Painted Ladies. Palm Springs, California is famous for mid-century modern architecture.

There were many modernist architects in the 1950's and 1960's, but one of the most famous is Albert Frey. He only designed a few hotels in the Palm Springs area, but his most famous or infamous (if you have a closed mind) small resort is The Terra Cotta Inn clothing optional resort and spa, our resort. He is considered the father of desert modernism.

Above is a photo of Mary Clare and Albert Frey in front of our hotel shortly after we bought it in 1994. Mr. Frey called us as he saw an article about our resort in our local newspaper and he immediately recognized it as the hotel he designed which was originally called The Monkey Tree.

The Monkey Tree was built for celebrities. That's why we have large rooms (300-500 square ft) and why we were built with very high walls to protect the privacy of the celebrities that stayed here. We have learned that Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Desi & Lucy, Spencer Tracy, President Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and many other famous celebrities used to stay here. To this day, we still get some celebrities. Those that want a fun nude experience where they can meet lots of other nice people, come. Those that want privacy and want to go to places where hardly anyone else is around or talks to each other stay at other nude places in town.

What is cool is we chatted with Albert Frey for a few hours where he told us he came up with the slanted roof line to be in synergy with the slope of the San Jacinto mountains. Another thing he told us is he has always been a nudist at heart, (he was Swiss). When he was young, he used to go to Ile du Levant which is in the Mediterranean and was one of the very first organized nudist destinations in the world. Albert thought it was so cool that his hotel became a nudist resort.

All week long Palm Springs has been celebrating modernism week. A few years back I went to the Palm Springs Modernism Committee and asked them why they never list The Terra Cotta Inn as one of the famous mid-century modern properties in palm Springs. I got a nose up in the air and a committee member very condescendingly said "honey, this is family friendly event, we would N-E-V-E-R mention your place because you are N-U-D-I-S-T-S." When he snidely said nudists, it sounded as if he was going to gag having to say that word.

Thus, visitors to Palm Springs Modernism Week would be sad to know that Albert Frey's most favorite hotel doesn't even exist in the committees small minds.

Now in all fairness, we have been treated extremely well in Palm Springs by almost everyone. I am a past President of the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, I work well with Palm Springs tourism, we have had very good stories in our local newspaper and TV, I was on The Palm Springs City Council's Citizen Finance Committee for 2 years, and was a campaign treasurer for one of our city council members. This December in palm Springs Life Magazine's Best of the Best issue we were picked as the BEST boutique hotel in the whole Palm Springs area. I could not ask for a more friendly community. Albert Frey would be proud of us.

But, sadly I have never been able to break into the little Palm Springs Modernism clique. They obviously do not really care about history, or only their version of it!

Nudists are the lucky ones as they get to stay at one of the most famous hotels of all Palm Springs. And since we are the most mainstream nude sunbathing resort in the US, we are perfect for couples trying topless or nude sunbathing for the first time.

Tom Mulhall
Terra Cotta Inn Clothing Optional Resort and Spa, Palm Springs, CA
Call 800-786-6938 for info or reservations
Visit our website by clicking:
Visit our facebook page by clicking

Hope to see you soon in sunny Palm Springs!

No comments: