Mid-century/desert modern buildings
Vacation rentals abound in the Coachella Valley and condos are a great option if you’re planning to stay for more than a week at a time. Plus, if you’re looking for a spot that boasts a little more architectural significance (and what self-respecting modernist isn’t?), Palm Springs does not disappoint.
Vacation rental condos at the following half dozen locations (listed from north to south) can be found on websites such as VRBO, airbnb, and Vacation Palm Springs, among others, but be aware that many home owners associations (HOAs) require minimum stays of at least 1 week, and in some cases, 2 months… click on addresses below for Google Map locations.
Racquet Club Cottages West (360 Cabrillo Rd.) – This Class 1 Historic property was designed by desert modernist William Cody in 1959 and originally served as guest bungalows for the adjacent Racquet Club located in North Palm Springs. Tropical landscaping was designed by famed landscape architect Philip A. Shipley and its builder was Paul Trousdale. This gated enclave is a true mid-century classic!
Villa Hermosa (155 West Hermosa Pl.) – Designed by noted desert modernist Albert Frey back in 1945 for short term and long term rentals, Villa Hermosa (not to be confused with Hermosa Villas) narrowly avoided the wrecking ball and was restored and converted to condominiums in 2003. Its peaceful and intimate setting reminds one of what a small Hollywood enclave might have felt like back in the day when celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Truman Capote visited the property. Villa Hermosa is a private complex and located in Old Las Palmas right off Palm Canyon’s Uptown Design District.
Villa Alejo ( 277 East Alejo Rd.) – This mid 1960s Robert Meyers & Victor Koozin building, with its expansive exterior block brise-soleil and large pool & spa located in a private central courtyard, is said to have served as luxury accommodations for celebrities and guests of the nearby Movie Colony neighborhood. Today, the building is comprised of 65 individually owned condos (that’s a lot by mid-century standards) and conveniently located within walking distance to the Uptown Design District and downtown Casino.
Royal Hawaiian Estates (1774 South Palm Canyon Dr.) – Without sacrificing the clean lines of the mid-century modern esthetic, famed modernist architects Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison designed this ode to Polynesian culture in 1960. Homeowner Bill Lewallan helped guide the property’s restoration through the 2000s resulting in the City of Palm Springs’ first Historic Residential District designation in 2010. A gated complex, and located in South Palm Springs.
Ocotillo Lodge (1111 East Palm Canyon Dr.) – Located adjacent to the Twin Palms Estates neighborhood, the Ocotillo Lodge was built by the Alexander Construction Co. in the mid 1950s, designed by desert modernist architect William Krisel (Palmer & Krisel), and boasts multiple small bungalow “pods” with a central swimming pool said to be the largest in the city. Formerly owned by cowboy movie star Gene Autry, this gated complex was once a playground to the stars including Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe (who seems to have stayed just about everywhere in Palm Springs!).
Park Imperial South (1750-1844 South Araby Dr.) – Designed in 1960 by architect Barry A. Berkus, this gated condominium complex in South Palm Springs is the epitome of 1960s cool and its homeowners would be the first to agree. They’ve continued to maintain and preserve its character to this day, frequently opening it up to the public for tours during Modernism Week. Located in the Araby Commons neighborhood, walking distance from a few shops and restaurants, including New York style Deli, Manhattan in the Desert.
CoCo Cabana (1881 S. Araby Drive) – Built in 1955 as a garden apartment hotel for the “inconspicuously affluent”, CoCo Cabana later expanded and became a magnet for tennis fans when the sport captured the zeitgeist in the early 1970s. “The CoCo”, as its known, was designed by Charles W. Doty and converted to private ownership in the late ’70s. Located near Park Imperial South in the Araby Commons neighborhood, the CoCo is the epitome of desert leisure living. For photos and more information click here.
For an interactive map of Palm Springs neighborhoods, click here. ..and as always, be respectful of homeowner’s privacy.
While we’ve highlighted these properties for their architectural and historical significance, there are loads more mid-century modern condominium complexes in Palm Springs so we’ll be adding more when we can.
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