Palm Springs is one of our perennial favorite destinations for design; the region is positively riddled with midcentury modern architecture and vintage shops, and the natural landscape is breathtaking, too. We've covered the place frequently over the years, including visiting for Palm Springs Modernism Week in February. Here, a few of our favorite destinations in one of California's most glamorously time-stopped towns.
From the 1920s through the 1970s, silver screen stars from Frank Sinatra to Bob Hope built vacation homes in the Coachella Valley by modern architects such as E. Stewart Williams and John Lautner. In the 1940s, Edgar J. Kaufmann, a Pittsburgh department store giant and the same Kaufmann who commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build his Falling Water home in Pennsylvania, asked architect Richard Neutra to built a vacation home for his family in Palm Springs. The resulting home is now one of Neutra’s best-known works. Here, a look at some other must-see destinations in Palm Springs, and an interview with Sidney Williams, the Palm Springs Art Museum's associate curator of architecture and design.
Palm Springs has a plethora of appealing places to stay, including the new Saguaro hotel, recently renovated by the architects Stamberg Aferiat. It's one of the more affordable spots: rooms cost as little as $99. Which means you’ll have a few extra bones to spend on the astounding guacamole at hotel bar, El Jefe; a meal at Iron Chef Jose Garces’s restaurant Tinto; or a drink at the might-as-well-be-done-by-Barragán pool. Photo by Tim Street-Porter.
Another great option, a short drive out of town, is the Hotel Lautner, a little-known John Lautner building in Desert Hot Springs that designers Tracy Beckmann and Ryan Trowbridge lovingly brought back to life, turning the down-at-heels apartment complex into a luxurious four-room boutique hotel. Read more about their epic restoration and renovation effort. Photo by Dan Chavkin.
A Dwell Houses we Love story from 2011 took a closer look at the famed Elrod House, also designed by John Lautner. Lautner transformed his early experience working under Frank Lloyd Wright into a career creating a wealth of Southern California structures that broke out of the mold of the oft-restrained geometry of glass and steel. Interior designer Arthur Elrod commissioned this house in 1968, and the cliffside residence—complete with oversize exposed rocks, spiral staircase, and its signature dome—remains one of the most recognizable homes of the era. Photo by John Lautner.
Palm Springs's Uptown district is chockablock with great vintage furniture shops and fashion boutiques. Check out this slideshow for our picks of the best places to shop in the Uptown district, from a fantastically colorful trio of boutiques from local star Trina Turk to the high-design concept shop Raymond | Lawrence (pictured here).