According to Jonathan Adler, Palm Springs has it all – well, except for the ocean. “But it’s got swimming pools,” he says. And the famed American potter and interior designer is responsible for some of the desert city’s splashiest ones. Adler has twice – first in 2004 and again in 2017 – made over the landmark Parker Palm Springs hotel, which is home to three pools. The property was built in 1959 as California’s first Holiday Inn and was later owned by both country crooner Gene Autry and TV mogul Merv Griffin, so it was important for Adler to capture its storied past – as well as the overall essence of Palm Springs – in his groovy, glamorous interiors and sunny exteriors. “I love the history of Palm Springs, from its roots as Hollywood’s hedonistic hideaway to the iconic architecture. It has a vibe you can’t get anywhere else.”
The famed American potter and interior designer, who has twice made over the legendary Parker Palm Springs hotel, shares his favourite spots in the desert city.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
Take the tram for the commanding views. You will see the weirdness that is Palm Springs: the strange juxtaposition of an endless expanse of desert and the vital community that popped up in it – plus the majesty of the mountains.
This boutique is the first place you must go – it’s like the epicentre of Palm Springs energy. Don’t pack a single garment and head straight to Trina Turk and buy a colourful and flamboyant caftan.
I go here for the cakes. It’s a full restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, but the multilayered cakes in vibrant colours are just epic – they taste like the most archetypal birthday cake ever. One piece would feed a giant family.
Related: Try a Sound Bath in the Integratron, the Mojave’s Otherworldly Building
If you’re not staying at the Parker Palm Springs, you should at the very least go to Mister Parker’s for dinner. I designed the restaurant to feel like a dark, clubby, hedonistic lair – it’s a particularly good spot for a secret assignation. The vibe is very Old Hollywood, so I like to kick it old school and order a steak.
Book ahead to tour this iconic house in Rancho Mirage. The sprawling estate – it even has its own golf course – was owned by the Annenbergs and known as the Camp David of the West Coast because of all the political leaders who came to stay. The interiors, designed by William Haines, provide endless inspiration for me.