Groovy, hedonistic, luxury—Jonathan Adler’s depiction of his design at the Parker is not how you’d describe a typical getaway in the mid-mod hotbed of Palm Springs. Yet then again, a stay at this hotel is anything but typical.
The 144-room hotel has assumed many identities since it was built in 1959. Originally, this iconic structure began as California’s first Holiday Inn. It later served as spring training housing for the Los Angeles Angels baseball team, as well as Merv Griffin’s Resort Hotel and Givenchy Spa.
“I tried to keep the spirit in mind,” says Adler. “It might look a little different than it did during Merv Griffin’s days, but the feeling of Rat Pack glamour and sunny possibility is the same.”
It’s that juxtaposition that sets the Parker apart from other hotels. It’s a place where pedal bikes coexist with celebrity sightings; where you can visit a lemonade stand and play Pétanque; where you’ll find Hermes soap alongside a 900-pound bronze banana.
“Nothing’s worse than spending a day traveling only to arrive at your hyper-luxe hotel room to find that you don’t even know how to turn on the lights, turn off the TV, or run the shower,” states Adler. “Luxury doesn’t have to be unapproachable.”
But back to that banana. The 7-foot lawn ornament is not only Adler’s favorite design element on the property, it’s also his first public sculpture.
“It’s communicative, evocative, and provocative,” he explains. “Palm Springs is a place that invites broad, crazy gestures, and there was a patch of grass begging for a focal point.”
And at the end of the day, that’s the vibe you take away after staying at the Parker. Or, as Adler likens it to: the estate of your favorite glamorous, global, great aunt who you wish you had but never did.
“It’s the place you want to be in Palm Springs,” he said. “And I’m not just saying that because I designed it. Twice.”