Enjoying the Desert’s Past and Present

I’ve written about desert architecture, hotels and celebrities here before. This time out I want to combine all three in a brief note about a very special place in Palm Springs: the Movie Colony Hotel.

This little 16-room gem was designed by Albert Frey in 1935. Frey studied with the internationally famous and influential Le Corbusier in Paris and the Movie Colony Hotel was one of Frey’s first projects in the states. It it the epitome of desert style Mid-Century Modern architecture.

Movie Colony Hotel
Movie Colony Hotel

Relive a Classic Era
Sadly, many classic examples of Mid-Century Modern have been lost throughout the Southwest over the years. The Movie Colony Hotel is a notable, and welcome, exception to this. Its owners, in fact, have lovingly restored the property.

As its name implies, the hotel’s historic guest register boasts celebrity names such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and even Jim Morrison. The hotel rocks on today and when you come to the Coachella Valley to look at real estate, maybe you’d like to add your name to its guest list.

After a day of checking out properties, relaxing by the pool with your favorite refreshing beverage would be an ideal way to watch the sun go down. Not only will it restore your energy, the period architecture and decor will transport you back to an era when one of Hollywood’s glamor girls might have been the next guest to round the corner.

Today is ‘The Good Old Days’
But as much as I love iconic properties like the Movie Colony Hotel and reminiscing about the early days here, I have to admit that today’s Palm Springs, La Quinta, Indian Wells and neighboring communities offer some real advantages.

The Reserve Country Club
The Reserve Country Club

First, the overall quality of real estate here today is vastly superior to the “old days.” Communities in and around golf course developments, boast homes to suit virtually every aesthetic. Spend an day with us exploring the La Quinta Resort as well as the homes around country clubs such as The Hideaway Country Club, Indian Ridge Country Club, The Reserve Country Club, Eldorado Country Club, Indian Wells Country Club and La Quinta Country Club and you’ll get a deep appreciation for the quality and selection in the real estate market here.

Abundant Golf Course Options
And I’m not going out on a limb by saying that your golf course options are much greater and even superior to the courses the Rat Pack had at their disposal back in the day. No matter what your handicap is, or style of golf you prefer, you’ll find several courses here that meet your needs.

If “seeing is believing,” then take a moment to download our golf course resource guide. It maps out all the courses in La Quinta and the surrounding area and gives you information regarding membership rates and more. You can get an overview of the communities that surround the various courses as well.

Thanks for taking a few moments to read this post. I hope it has given you a little taste for what life is like here. Of course, there’s no substitute for experiencing it yourself. Give us a call so we can introduce you to the area.

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Artistic Expression: Water in the Desert

Deserts are often referred to as places of extremes, and that’s one of the qualities that makes them such dramatic and dynamic places to live. Spend one evening watching the colors wash over the mountains that surround the Coachella Valley as the sun sets, and you’ll get a feeling for the magnificence.

Right now there’s an art exhibit at the visitor’s center in Twentynine Palms that gives an artistic expression to one of these “extreme” relationships that we have with nature here. It’s entitled “Water in the Desert: Scarcity and Abundance.”

Sunset at the Citrus
Sunset at the Citrus Club in La Quinta

Artists from throughout the area are displaying works that illustrate our natural relationship to water in the La Quinta, Palm Springs and general Coachella Valley area. We tend to think of deserts as arid, rainless places, but that is a simplification that doesn’t really capture the truth.

Snow-capped mountains
When you see the snow atop the Santa Rosa-San Jacinto mountains in the winter, you know that the area gets its share of moisture. And when a major storm blows through the area, the dry creek beds become powerful torrents of water.

However, most of the water here in the Coachella Valley, while ever-present, goes virtually unseen. Whether you’re walking a golf course, driving a local road or relaxing in your back yard, there’s an ancient and plentiful aquifer beneath you that supplies homes and businesses with all the water they need. Its natural abundance along with smart management practices is one of the blessings we enjoy in La Quinta and the surrounding communities.

Perhaps that most beautiful reminder of the area’s winter rains is the spring wildflower bloom. The timing of the rains and how much rain we get over the winter each year determines when you can expect to start seeing the bloom and how strong it will be. I see the desert flowers as a living reminder of the nourishing rains we receive each year.

Of course, compared to a place like Seattle, Washington, our rainfall amounts are rather paltry and this causes almost everyone to get creative and resourceful in how they use water. Over the years, our golf courses have taken the challenge of operating within our climate to heart.

Great course designs
They have done pathbreaking work to make themselves good stewards of the resource while providing golfers with exceptionally beautiful and challenging courses at the same time. You may know that Audubon International has a program that recognizes excellence in golf course design and management. The program certifies courses that do a great job with the environment, and here in the Coachella Valley, water conservation is a very important factor.

PGA West Stadium Course
Hole #17 @ PGA West Stadium Course

Here are courses in our area that are Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program Golf Courses: Greg Norman Course at PGA West, La Quinta; La Quinta Resort and Club, La Quinta Citrus Course, Mountain & Dunes Courses; Marriott’s Shadow Ridge Resort, Palm Desert; PGA West, La Quinta, Arnold Palmer Course, Nicklaus Private & Weiskopf Courses, and Stadium & Nicklaus Tournament Courses; The Classic Club, Palm Desert; and Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort & Spa Golf Course, Palm Desert.

I like to think that the designers of those courses have, in their own ways, made artistic expressions similar to what you’ll see if you check out the current art exhibit at the Twentynine Palms Visitors Center – they are just using a different medium to create their works.

So when you come to visit and look at property in and around these courses, you can see your future home as being surrounded by art that reflects our natural relationship with the most important natural resource: water.

Why not start your search today? Download our free golf course resource guide and get a feel for the area, then call or drop us an email so we can answer any questions you might have.

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June, 2014 Sales Analysis

Here are the latest sales numbers for all homes sold within the City of La Quinta as well as all Golf Course homes in La Quinta from January, 2008 through June, 2014.

The inventory of “Active Listings” in the Coachella Valley decreased again from May to June which is usual as we enter the summer season. The number of Sold units decreased significantly over the same period last year (June, 2013) which was the best month since 2008. The main reason is that the inventory has decreased in May and June. The pace at which real estate prices increased in the October to January period seemed to slow to a more normal rate in February through June. The price rise slowed as did the home sales. The activity in the million dollar+ market seems to have picked up but prices have not increased as much as they have for the under a million homes. The national real estate market continues to improve over a leveling off in the late spring. This is good news as the Desert usually follows somewhat behind the national market so we are looking forward to a great 2015 season.





Below is the chart depicting the “bubble” in sales versus the historical 4.5% annual appreciation. As predicted by the National Association of Realtors back in 2005. It will be interesting to see how close the actual sales prices stay to the “Normal Appreciation” line in the coming months. One of the reasons for the recent price increases is that we have seen more American buyers in the market than in the past few years which is a sign that our economic outlook seems to be improving.


Here are some yearly sales figures (units) for the City of La Quinta from 2002:
Year All LQ Golf Course
2002 1,356 259
2003 1,572 640
2004 1,938 785
2005 1,563 638
2006 1,118 483
2007 942 444
2008 1,076 405
2009 1,202 409
2010 1,360 518
2011 1,446 510
2012 1,532 587
2013 1,537 567
2014YTD 739 380

* Remember that the sales numbers represent “Closed” escrows. Since the average escrow is between 45 and 60 days, the decision to purchase the homes that closed in June was probably made in March to early April.
For more information about the Coachella Valley Real Estate market, Please call us at (760) 203-2621!
Source: DesertAreaMLS

Restaurants To Satisfy Everyone’s Tastes

It doesn’t seem that long ago when the majority of restaurants served “American Cuisine.” It might be a little hard to define, but if you’re like me, you know it when you see it.

Today, folks who pay any attention to diet and nutrition trends in our country knows that there are many streams in contemporary eating, nutrition and restauranteering, and no matter what dietary road you’re traveling, you’ll be able to find great food in the Coachella Valley whenever you decide it’s time to eat out.

I suspect that this is true because of our intimate connection with Southern California’s trend setters. If it’s popular in Hollywood or Beverley Hills, it’s going to make its way to Palm Springs, La Quinta, Indian Wells and the greater desert area very quickly.

The Tropicale in Palm Springs
The Tropicale in Palm Springs

Let’s visit some favorites. The menus in these restaurants aren’t always entirely reflective of the diets listed, but have enough excellent items to satisfy diners trying to stick to their preferred foods.

The Paleo diet features foods that were available to our ancient ancestors and is rich in lean proteins – including grass-red meat; fruits; vegetables; fats from seeds, nuts and avocados; olive oil; and fish oil. Restaurants that meet the needs of this diet often have close relationships with local growers and ranchers.

Some restaurants preferred by the Paleo crowd include, Workshop Kitchen + Bar, The Tropicale, Jiao and Birba, all in Palm Springs.

Vegan and Vegetarian
La Quinta Souplantation and Zpizza are popular choices for vegan and vegetarian cuisine in La Quinta. Zpizza also caters to those sticking to a gluten-free diet.

In Palm Springs, vegetarians and vegans enjoy the Palm Greens Cafe, Nature’s Health Food and Cafe, and Native Foods Cafe.

Juices are a great choice for a meal or snack and there are lots of places in the Coachella Valley to quench your thirst and sate your appetite.

Mountain View Country Club
Mountain View Country Club

The Fresh Juice Bar in Palm Desert always gets high marks. Also in Palm Desert is Luscious Lorraine’s Organic Juice & Food Bar. Vegetarians will also find a good menu at Lorraine’s. In La Quinta we really like Juice It Up!

I apologize to the great places that I haven’t mentioned here. I just wanted to give readers a quick overview and perhaps a few places to visit when they come to look at property.

Because the the compact size of our area, whether you buy La Quinta real estate, Indian Wells real estate or frankly real estate anywhere in the greater Palm Springs area, you’re going to be close to excellent eating, even if you’re trying to stick to a more specialized diet.

This means you can enjoy an afternoon of golf on one of the courses at the La Quinta Resort, The Tradition Country Club La Quinta, PGA West La Quinta or at the Mountain View Country Club La Quinta for example and be only minutes away from meeting friends and family at a great local restaurant.

To offer you a little extra help, if you download our free Palm Springs Golf Guide, you’ll find that we also give you the locations for many excellent local restaurants. Download it today and start planning your visit.

Of course, we’re just a phone call away to answer any questions you have and fill you in on current real estate market offerings.

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And the Winner Is: The Palm Springs Film Festival

I’ve written about the historic connection between Hollywood and the Palm Spring-Coachella Valley area often here. Usually the topic centers around the celebrities who have homes here or who have been known to spend a lot of time relaxing in our area.

Palm Springs International Film Festival
Palm Springs International Film Festival

However, there are two somewhat more direct connections between the movie industry and the desert: The Palm Springs International Film Festival and Palm Springs International Shortfest. The first is held in January and the festival of short films is held in June.

I’m not an expert on the subject, but I don’t know of any other area that has separate festivals celebrating feature length and short length films. It’s nice having two cinematic events to look forward to throughout the year. By the way, the International film festival will be in its 27th year next January and the Shortfest just notched its 20th year. Those are nice long runs for any film…festival.

Enjoy seldom-seen gems
One of the best things about the film festival is that it gives die-hard movie buffs a chance to see films that don’t typically come to the standard multiplex. For example, this year the Audience Award for best narrative feature went to “Lakshmi,” a story based on the harrowing and heroic true events in the life of Lakshmi, a 13-year-old girl in India.

However, all the big names and films that dominate the Oscars later in the year are represented as well. In 2014, “12 Years a Slave,” “American Hustle,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Gravity,” “Dallas Buyers Club” and other major productions won awards in Palm Springs.

The Citrus
The Citrus Golf Course

Taking in an evening movie – any time throughout the year – is always a good way to relax after spending an active day in La Quinta, Indian Wells, Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley. Topping off the day in the sun with an evening movie, watching one of the many choices you can make at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, makes for a perfect balance, and better yet… a perfect day!

Relax after a day on the links
Of course, a challenging day on the golf course is always a great “first course” for a full day of activities here. And with the abundance of excellent La Quinta real estate, as well as property in Indian Wells, the location couldn’t get any better.

I invite you to use the search feature on our site to introduce yourself to the area. You can enter terms like: La Quinta Resort, Citrus Golf Course, Duna La Quinta, The Enclave, The Tradition, or other areas, golf courses and country clubs where you might want to locate.

Finally, to get a visual overview of the area, including all the golf courses and great restaurants, be sure to download a copy of our golf resource guide. With the resource guide and our convenient search feature, you can really begin to get your Coachella Valley bearings. Then the only thing left to do is give us a call so we can really focus in on properties that will ideally suit your lifestyle. We have information and insights that go beyond what even the most experienced Internet searcher can discover.

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Looking for a Great Golf Course? So Is the Humana Challenge.

“Like a kid in a candy store.”

PGA West Golf Course
PGA West

In a way, that must be how the organizers of the Humana Challenge must be feeling right now. They are looking for two new courses for the tournament after 2015. Of course, changing venues involves a lot of work and officials tasked with the job have many details that must be taken care of. Yet with so many excellent contenders, I think one of the biggest challenges is narrowing down their options.

Bob Marra, CEO and tournament chairman for the Humana Challenge, seemed to echo that thought when he recently said, “As you know, if any area has options for a PGA Tour event, it’s the Coachella Valley.” Of course, all of those great golf course options also translate into a lot of great options for golf course real estate.

La Quinta CC
The tournament plays three courses each year and replacements for two of those need to be found for the 2016 event. The two PGA West courses that have been often used in recent years – the Jack Nicklaus Private Course and Arnold Palmer Private Course – won’t be available. La Quinta Country Club is still on the 2016 schedule.

La Quinta Country Club
La Quinta Country Club

The tournament has been associated with PGA West in La Quinta since 1988 and the Palmer Private Course has seen a lot of play over those ears. Golfers who are also fans of the sport’s heritage will remember David Duvall’s final-round 59 on that course back in 1999 that led him to victory.

The Jack Nicklaus Private Course at PGA West has also been the site of many Humana Challenge rounds over the years. The tournament used to be the Bob Hope Classic and today it works with the Clinton Foundation. Continuing an important legacy of the Bob Hope Classic, the Humana Challenge offers unique Pro-Am playing opportunities.

Environmental friendly
As we get ready to say “goodbye” to the PGA West Palmer and Nicklaus courses after the 2015 event, I want to mention one more thing about them. Both of these courses are certified Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuaries. That program is designed to greatly help the environment by protecting natural areas and wildlife habitat. Environmental planning, wildlife and habitat management, water conservation and quality management, along with education and outreach are major parts of the certification.

SilverRock Resort
SilverRock Resort

It’s a great program.

Here’s an idea for your next visit to our area: Think of yourself as having been tasked with finding two courses for the Humana Challenge in 2016 and make your own personal rating as you enjoy a few rounds of golf in the La Quinta area.

Get a TPC tee time
SilverRock is one course that locals have said may be in the running. And while PGA West has taken its private courses off the board for the Humana Challenge, some are speculating that the TPC Stadium Course will be called into action. That course will test your skill when you take an afternoon off from scouting real estate.

Finally, while there are a lot of details still to be set for the 2016 event, in La Quinta one fact remains certain: We’re still looking forward to a great tournament in our backyard. And if you want an “up close and personal” look at the courses and real estate that make up our “backyard,” download our golf resource guide and give us a call. We can introduce you to all the best places to live in La Quinta and Indian Wells as well as show you all the finest Palm Springs area real estate.

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The Night Life Tradition Continues

When you live in a place that has been the semi-official hideaway for the biggest names in entertainment and politics, you hear a lot of stories about “back then” and collect a lot of local lore.

Riviera Hotel Palm Springs
Riviera Hotel Palm Springs

The Coachella Valley and Palm Springs area is that kind of place and a good part of the lore that you pick up here centers around the night life. From the 1940s through 1965, one of the hottest spots was a nightclub/supper club called the Chi Chi in Palm Springs. World class entertainers such as Jerry Lewis, Sophie Tucker, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Edgar Bergen, Nat King Cole and Dorothy Dandridge graced the club’s circular stage.

All the big movie stars enjoyed evenings at the Chi Chi as well as the studio heads, like Jack Warner and Cecil B. DeMille. “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup…”

Relax after a round of golf
I imagine a lot of the guests who hit the Chi Chi for dinner and an evening of entertainment, needed a little relaxation after a day on the links. By the way, while the Chi Chi is gone, you can get a great feel for that era at the Riviera Hotel in Palm Springs. It was built by the Irwin brothers – who founded the Chi Chi – and Mark Shuman in 1952 and has undergone some recent renovations that bring back its original splendor and glamour.

Riviera Hotel Palm Springs
Riviera Hotel Palm Springs

I also want to quickly mention The Purple Room Supper Club at the Club Trinidad Resort in Palm Springs, because it has a heritage that extends to the days of the Chi Chi. The Purple Room got its start in the 1960s – when you could find Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack there – but changed through the years. Fortunately, it’s been revived and today hosts some great entertainment and dining six nights a week.

Acts change every night so you can enjoy all styles of music, hilarious celebrity impersonators, comedy and more. Its restaurant, Trio, offers an extensive menu. You’ll find that Trio supports local, organic and sustainable agriculture; you’ll be impressed by the quality.

Daytime and nighttime activities
Clubs like The Purple Room really create a balanced lifestyle in this area. There are activities that get you outside during the daytime and then entertainment to keep you, well, entertained at night. Of course, an evening at a top quality restaurant with family and friends is always a wonderful way to spend some time as the sun sets.

Old Town La Quinta
Old Town La Quinta

By the way, not only does our free Golf Course Resource Guide give you all the important details on courses in the La Quinta, Indio, Indian Wells, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage area, you’ll find an extensive listing of restaurants. Download it today and look it over.

As you scan the map in the guide, you’ll be able to quickly visualize how convenient developments such as the La Quinta Resort are to everywhere you’ll want to go, whether it’s a great restaurant, the shops in Old Town La Quinta or one of the neighboring courses, such as the PGA West in La Quinta, The Hideaway Country Club, Indian Ridge Country Club, and many more.

This is one of the greatest single assets regarding La Quinta real estate, Indian Wells real estate and property throughout the Palm Springs area: everything is convenient. When you want to be doing things and not just spending time behind the wheel of your car, this is the place to be – just like it was for the Rat Pack.

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