A Small Oasis of Mid-Century Modern Architecture

There can be more than one kind of oasis in the desert. Not long ago we talked about some palm canyon oases tucked away in the creases of the San Jacinto Mountains. They were the life blood of the original inhabitants here and they were certainly a pleasant discovery for the early explorers.

Today some of the “oases” are of the man-made variety and one that comes to mind is the Hotel Lautner up the road in Desert Hot Springs. It’s a beautiful four-room hotel (yes, just four guest rooms) in one of the Coachella Valley’s mid-century modern architectural gems. If you’re up on your noted American architects, you may know the man the hotel is named for, John Lautner.

Hotel Lautner
Hotel Lautner

He was one of the most influential architects who worked primarily in Southern California. Lautner studied under Frank Lloyd Wright and designed some of the details for various Wright homes as well as supervising construction. In 1947 he struck out on his own and that’s the same year he designed the Desert Hot Springs Motel, now Hotel Lautner.

A taste of the early days
A stay in Hotel Lautner or one of the other mid-century modern hotels is one of the best ways to personally experience an earlier era in Palm Springs, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage and the greater Coachella Valley. And if you want to really get a feel for modernism in the Palm Springs area, schedule a visit for the yearly “Modernism Week” when there are special tours and programs. It’s set for Feb. 12-22, 2015 and Nov. 1 is when tickets are available.

If the architect you’re most familiar with is Pete Dye, you might want to be in La Quinta a couple of weeks earlier for the Humana Challenge at La Quinta Country Club and PGA West. Formerly called the Bob Hope Classic, virtually all the top golfers in the world will be in town as the 2015 season gets rolling in the “Lower 48.” The tournament runs from Jan. 19-25.

By the way, there’s a direct architectural connection between the Bob Hope Classic and John Lautner. Lautner’s most famous mid-century modern creation in Palm Springs is Bob Hope’s 17,500 square-feet home that was built in 1973.

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

The season is just right
With fall here and winter just around the corner, a stay at one of La Quinta’s fine hotels is ideal. It’s the perfect time to scout the various golf courses in our area as well as the homes that are on or near them. Imagine purchasing a home on the PGA West courses or at La Quinta Country Club and having such easy access to the tournament.

I’d also like to mention that the fact so many world-class events come to La Quinta and the Coachella Valley is testimony to the excellent infrastructure here, including hotels and restaurants. The big tournaments come in for a week or so, while residents get to enjoy the area all year long.

If you’d like to get an overview of the valley, with the golf courses and the neighboring communities, be sure to download our free Golf Resource Guide. It maps the locations of all the courses, communities and many restaurants. It also includes membership information and relative real estate prices.


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A Slice of San Antonio Coming to La Quinta?

It’s exciting to live in a community where things are happening and that’s the way it feels right now in La Quinta.

It was recently announced that plans for the SilverRock Resort could include a river walk lined with excellent restaurants and retail establishments, similar to the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas.

SilverRock Resort
SilverRock Resort

Developers presented their ideas to the city council here and the public got a chance to see what changes are in store for the home of the Arnold Palmer Classic Course at Silver Rock, which was the site of the Bob Hope Classic from 2008-2011.

For residents and visitors
Locals were pleased to see how the changes are being planned not only for the benefit of visitors, but for local residents as well. I mentioned the river walk above, but that’s just part of the trail system envisioned for the 500-plus acre property. People will be able to walk or ride bikes all throughout the area.

Along with developing the natural aspects of the property, the plans include a second luxury hotel, a conference center, homes, luxury camping facilities, gardens, recreational water activities and much more.

Centered around the Arnold Palmer Classic Course, the project is being developed around a really strong core. The course was in Golf Magazine’s “Top 10 New Golf Courses You Can Play in America” in 2005 and is a consistent award winner, including Zagat America’s “Top Golf Courses Award” three times…so far.

Golf course information
When you download our free golf resource guide, you’ll see that it serves as a Palm Spring country club membership guide by detailing fees and additional information. You’ll find SilverRock in a kind of circle of great La Quinta courses that includes The Tradition, La Quinta Resort, the Citrus and Rancho La Quinta.

Mountain View Country Club Clubhouse
Mountain View Country Club

You’ll also see that this area is blessed with many great restaurants. Residents certainly don’t waste a lot of time in their vehicles when they live in La Quinta. The same is true for Indian Wells and Palm Springs real estate in general.

The good news is that you don’t have to wait to play the Arnold Palmer Classic Course. It’s open to the public and in beautiful shape right now. Just call for a tee time. In the same way, there are fantastic homes available in the area right now as well.

Flexible searches
Use the search feature on our site to begin your hunt. You can enter all kinds of search terms, such as the name of the golf course or community you’re most interested in. Try terms like Mountain View Country Club, PGA West, Rancho La Quinta, The Citrus Club, The Hideaway, The Tradition or others to get some good ideas.

When you need more information, we’re ready to help out. We can answer your questions, offer insights that you can’t get with online searches and get you out to see some properties.

Give us a call and share in the excitement!

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Golf Tournaments and Some Very Funny Men

Some funny things can happen on the golf course. If you’re a long-time golfer you’ve probably seen that little white ball take some crazy bounces.

But as well as funny things happening on the course, a lot of funny folks have been associated with the sport.

Here in the Palm Springs area, Bob Hope hosted his “Bob Hope Chrysler Classic” from the 1960s through to his death in 2003 and then another funny man, George Lopez took over the helm.

George Lopez
George Lopez

There are days when it seems like every time you flip on the television you see George Lopez in a new sitcom or talk show. He’s one of many celebrities who’s a huge fan of golf and that probably explains why he purchased a home in La Quinta about two years ago.

Lopez loves it here
He told the local paper here not long ago that he found himself staying at La Quinta Resort and playing the courses there so often that he should probably find a house. It’s pretty good testimony to La Quinta Resort and the courses in our area when a man like George Lopez – who could live and play anywhere – buys a home here.

Not too “dis” any other golfing mecca, but Lopez said that he bought in La Quinta after selling a home in Pebble Beach. I hear they have some nice courses there as well…

By the way, although Lopez is no longer hosting the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic – now the Humana Challenge – he is still very active in the celebrity golf tournament scene. He has his own tournament, which is held each year in the Los Angeles area. He gets a lot of big names and the money raised goes to support recovery programs.

Keep Lopez in mind when you come to La Quinta to play a few rounds and look at property. Who knows, you might run into him as you wait to tee off. And if you want to see exactly how the various courses and communities here are spread out along the floor of the Coachella Valley, be sure to download our free golf resource guide.

The Citrus
The Citrus Golf Course

Guide gives great details
It’s the ideal place to begin your search for the perfect location. We’ve color-coded the various types of courses: private clubs, public clubs, public courses, resort clubs, and private courses. You can use the map to tell which courses have homes and which don’t offer real estate. We also include estimates of home prices as well as deposits and dues for golf club memberships.

The first thing that impresses most people is the sheer number of great courses and real estate options they have. Courses like the Citrus Club, Mountain View Country Club, Rancho La Quinta and several others are always at the top of home buyers’ lists. Another good option is the Painted Cove neighborhood here. It’s close to Old Town La Quinta and just a short golf cart drive to Silver Rock Golf Resort.

There’s never enough space in these articles to outline all the places we’ve come to love so much and that’s one reason we encourage you to give us a call. We can answer your questions and help you locate some homes that would be perfect for your family and lifestyle.

And hey, you might discover that George Lopez is a neighbor. No joke!

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Even Locals Enjoy Our Resort Hotels and Attractions

One of the great things about living in La Quinta and the Coachella Valley is that you can enjoy water activities virtually all year long. If you come from the northern climes, you really understand and appreciate how wonderful and valuable this is.

Couple this with the incredible infrastructure of resorts and hotels that we have here and you get a very interesting combination that creates some great opportunities for local residents.

Splashtopia Rancho Las Palmas
Splashtopia @ Rancho Las Palmas

Many hotels and resorts offer special deals at different times during the year and right now some of these are being combined with various recreational water attractions. If you have children, grandchildren, or are just “young at heart” you might want to check these out.

Take a local vacation
For example, I recently heard that the Desert Princess Palm Springs Golf Resort is offering a special “Family Fun in the Sun” package that includes two nights lodging, for a family of four that includes tickets to the Wet ‘n’ Wild water park as well as entrance to the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.

Sometimes it’s a lot of fun just to get away from home, enjoy a nearby world class resort and have some crazy fun with the family at a water park. And when you live here, you have a lot of options.

I’ll mention one more, since I’m on the topic of recreation that gets you wet. Rancho Mirage is just down the road from La Quinta and it’s home to the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa. It features “Splashtopia” with its 450-foot long river, two water slides and sandy beach. It has a special rate going through the summer season for local residents.

And when you need a time out from the water slides, the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa also has all the amenities adults need to get them relaxed and ready for whatever lays ahead.

La Quinta Resort
La Quinta Resort

You always have golf
Of course, while we have our share of great water parks to help us cool down, I know that many of you find your greatest pleasure and challenges out on the golf course and there’s probably no place on earth that gives you more choices than La Quinta, Indian Wells and the Palm Springs area. Further, when you buy a home on or near a golf course, it’s like living on a resort property 365 days a year.

As a prime example of this, you need to explore La Quinta Resort when you’re in the area. With three golf courses, a variety of tennis courts and a spa, it’s not “like” living on a resort, it “is” living on a resort. If everyone enjoyed homes like these, I’m afraid a lot of resort hotels around the world would see a major drop off in business.

To give you a more detailed overview of the golf courses in our area be sure to download our free golf resource guide. We’ve designed it as a map so you get a bird’s eye view of the Coachella Valley and can see where all the golf courses are located. We also include information about costs and even give you a great list of local restaurants.

After you scan our golf course resource guide, give us a call and we can answer any questions you might have.

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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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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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Another Desert Gem: The Custom Architecture

With the Palm SpringPalm Desert area so popular with the entertainment crowd over the years, you find some incredible architecture here that you wouldn’t find in other communities this size.

Twin Palms Estate
Twin Palms Estate

One architectural style is represented here perhaps better than anywhere else in the country: Mid Century Modern. In fact, so many noted architects designed homes and other buildings here in that style, that “Palm Springs Modern” has become well known on its own merits.

One of the best examples of this is Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate, which has been recognized as a Class 1 Historic Site. It was designed by architect E. Stewart Williams and the local legend is that Old Blue Eyes strolled into Williams’ office in the spring of 1947, eating an ice cream cone and announcing that he wanted the home built by Christmas. It was Sinatra’s home during much of his tumultuous time married to Ava Gardner.

There are fascinating tours of noted Coachella Valley architectural gems throughout the year and the current owners of Sinatra’s estate open it for tours once a year in February during Modernism Week.

Twin Palms Estate
Twin Palms Estate

Custom homes today
The tradition of outstanding design continues today and many communities around and near golf courses offer stunningly original designs. If you get a chance to tour Sinatra’s Twin Palms Estate, you’ll see how Williams incorporated the beauty of the natural setting into his design. You’ll see that same quality if you’re shopping for a new home in our area and we have the pleasure to head out and look at some properties.

Melding the desert scenery, such as the Santa Rosa-San Jacinto Mountains, with home design is one of the things that makes living in this area so special. You’ll see that approach to design in many of the custom homes at La Quinta Resort, including the properties of the Enclave Mountain Estates.

Enclave Mountain Estates is an exclusive gated community of custom homes on the grounds of La Quinta Resort and Club. Each home is distinct and ideally designed for its setting. The attention to detail in the homes in this community is extraordinary. You’ll find that properties run from around 3,600 to  7,100 square feet and make great use of outdoor living space as well.

La Quinta Resort
La Quinta Resort

Golf course architecture
When residents here want to venture out, they’re just steps away from the Mountain Course, which was designed by the renowned Pete Dye. Since this article has been highlighting architecture, I suppose I should mention a little about golf course architects as well. With his Mountain Course, Dye has really given us a course that not only challenges golfers but also treats them to some magnificent mountain vistas; he has worked with the environment just as great structural architects do when they design custom homes.

Why don’t you download our free golf resource guide so you can get a good overview of how courses and communities are spread out over the Coachella Valley? If you’re considering La Quinta real estate, Indian Wells real estate or a home anywhere in the general Palm Springs area—and have an interest in golf—our guide is a great place to start. Of course, we’re always ready to answer your questions and help in any way we can.

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Puttin’ on the Ritz!

A few brand names in American popular culture have become synonymous with the highest levels of quality and taste.

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage – Scenic Views

Cadillac would be one of those. In “Get Shorty,” John Travolta refers to his Oldsmobile Silhouette as “the Cadillac of minivans.”

Another iconic American brand that has that kind of stature is The Ritz. We have all probably heard the song, “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” and whenever you want to point out something as being the best of the best, you might say, “It’s really ritzy.”

Hotel reopens
I mention this because just recently a big group of VIPs from local government, the hospitality industry and the community were on hand for the reopening of the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage.

The Ritz-Calton, Rancho Mirage
The Ritz-Calton, Rancho Mirage – Pool

It was a project that was a long time in the making. The hotel originally opened in 1988 as the Ritz-Carlton, but was rebranded as The Lodge at Rancho Mirage in 2001. It closed in 2006 to transform it back to the Ritz-Carlton, but the economy got in the way for a while.

Everyone at the rechristening will tell you that it looks better than ever and I know local residents are really glad to have the Ritz brand back in the Coachella Valley. And while visitors to the area will certainly enjoy their stays at the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, it also has a lot of meaning for families in the area as well as the real estate market overall.

Property owners benefit
Homeowners in the Mirada Estates gated community are entitled to guest privileges from the new hotel! Also, as many as 150 condominiums will be built next to the hotel.

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage – Hotel Lobby

When you’re looking for a very exclusive area with great amenities—including the Ritz-Carlton—Mirada Estates should be on your radar. If the keys to great real estate are “location, location, location,” then Mirada Estates is truly great.

Sitting just above the newly remodeled and reopened hotel, Mirada Estates is perched on a plateau in the Santa Rosa Mountains, so many of the homes have a view out over the desert. Of all the beautiful vistas we have here, one of my favorites has always been the twinkling lights of the desert floor from the nearby mountains.

Nature protected
Mirada Estates is surrounded by the Santa Rosa-San Jacinto Mountains National Monument, so residents there know that the natural beauty will be forever preserved.

The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage
The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage – Guest Suite

The homes are all distinctive, so you can find just about any style of architecture that you prefer. Of course, a variety of golf courses are just minutes away as well. If you download our golf course guide to La Quinta, Indian Wells, Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage and Indio, you can get a good feel for which courses are in and around Rancho Mirage.

And hey, if you’re planning to visit soon to look at some property, why not spend a few nights at the Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage and see for yourself what an excellent job they did!

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