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The Parker Palm Springs: A Glamorous and Exclusive Crash Pad With a Rich History

The 144 rooms evoke swinging midcentury style.

The Parker Palm Springs has lived many lives, as the private residence to the singing cowboy Gene Autry and media mogul Merv Griffin, among others. But throughout its 70-year history, the lush estate has endured as one of the most glamorous and exclusive crash pads in all the Coachella Valley.

In 2003, the New York real estate developer Jack Parker Corp. took over the desert icon, hiring the designer Jonathan Adler to bring his eccentric, whimsical vision to life. Adler, then a relative newcomer on the design scene, was given carte blanche to develop the hotel’s signature (and much-imitated) aesthetic—a mash-up of kitschy, whimsical and colorful details, with colorful glass sculptures, circular hanging fireplaces and original works by major artists like Hollywood photographer Bert Stern and Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely. (The Parker offers a complimentary art tour upon request.) Meanwhile, landscape designer Judy Kameon (who has created residential gardens for the likes of Sofia Coppola) dreamed up the botanical surroundings and inviting outdoor spaces. 

Located in the northernmost and southernmost buildings, the 144 rooms evoke swinging midcentury style: red lacquer front doors open to airy, light-filled spaces with ’70s-style wall art, low-slung vintage furniture, Moroccan textiles and sliding glass doors covered in white shutters.  The Hammock Rooms have outdoor seating areas with hammocks and bougainvillea, while the Poolside Rooms offer easy access to the property’s adults-only Gene Autry pool and the family-friendly Silicon Valley pool. Twelve one-bedroom villas are scattered around the grounds, each with private enclosed patios, complimentary poolside cabanas and minibars and a living room. The ultimate splurge is the two-bedroom Gene Autry Residence, a 2,200-square-foot hideaway with a full kitchen, dry sauna and a secret screening room hidden behind a movie poster. 

At Parker Palm Springs, days start with breakfast at the cheery open-air Norma’s. The five-star diner serves crunchy French toast, lemon custard doughnuts, huevos rancheros, and other crowd-pleasing favorites all day long. At lunch, guests congregate at the poolside Lemonade Stand for 10 different types of lemonade along with casual fare like prawn ceviche and street-style tacos. The menu at mister parker’s starts at 5 p.m., when chefs deliver a pre-dinner amuse bouche straight to guest’s rooms; however, the exclusive gastronomic experience officially commences when the lightbulb hanging outside a door off the lobby is illuminated. With one seating per night, mister parker’s is one of the hottest tables in all of Palm Springs, with a jackets-required dress code, live piano entertainment, and dishes that spotlight exclusive ingredients like grade 9 Wagyu beef and Muscovy duck. 

For stylish sipping, guests can choose between the swanky Mini Bar—decorated with love seats, a suspended fireplace and dark emerald and mirrored surfaces—where Champagne, negronis and the desert’s driest gin martini are among the sips on offer. There’s also Counter Reformation, a moody low-lit European-style wine bar, with an eclectic selection of wines by the glass and small plates like jamón Ibérico with pan con tomate, Portuguese-inspired pastel de bacalao fish cakes, and cheese from Murray’s New York. 

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.