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Le Parker Meridien in Palm Springs, a refreshing California desert oasis and spa is a surprise for the eyes. 

Strikingly simple entrance to
Le Parker Meridien

Hospitality executive Adam Glick, president of the Jack Parker Corporation was responsible not only for the 2003 purchase of a 13-acre resort in Palm Springs, California but also for bringing together the two disparate unique talents of Jonathan Adler, an art visionary who single handedly turned earthy-crunchy “pottery” into groovy “ceramics” and David Mann, principle architect for MR Architecture & Décor in New York City.  The combination is so dynamic that you must book a visit ASAP so you can personally experience the over-the- top creativity of Adler which vividly brings alive Mann’s architectural design for clean-lines and airy spaces.

The entrance is strikingly simple with a curved driveway that made it appear as if I was pulling up to a private home.  The first thing I saw was a high latticework wall of white concrete.  Behind this brise soleil,  the bright orange entry doors popped into my focus.  What I found beyond these doors of this $25 million remodel was not only surprising but somewhat surreal and sublime.

The lobby is a fun gathering place.

As I stepped into the wide open lobby I knew why Adler earned the design reputation for being “happy chic.”  Adler thinks these two words might seem diametrically opposed, but he believes they can and should be fused.  As I viewed the arranged vignettes in the 4,400 square foot lobby I saw the veracity of his belief.  Adler combed sources world-wide and amassed a collection of furnishings with the single common denominator to blend happy expressions with chic designs.  These design “surprises for the eyes” set against Mann’s backdrop of slump-block walls and granary-oak ceiling sectors made me realize that “look’n for fun and feel’n groovy” can be a way of life.

Adler's Mesmering's Mantiques.

Playfully chic front lobby.

The first mise-en-scene that drew me in was filled with mantiques that mesmerized me.  There was a suit of armor, a comfortable vintage Palm Springs velvet-covered sectional that looked exotic because the pillows were made from Moroccan bridal shawls.  Placed on the white-lacquered hexagonal cocktail table were Adler’s own handmade bowl and vases, giving the setting a high gloss glamour.  When I looked up at the ceiling a loopy glass Vistosi chandelier from the 1960s hung overhead.  It was all playfully chic and reminiscent of bygone times when Elvis and Ann-Margaret partied together.

Party and fun are the operative words for this place.  The rest of the lobby was exuberant with a “rich hippie” mix with two Edwardian-style sofas draped in embroidered suzanis from Uzbekistan, and a latte-colored rug that had an exaggerated Moroccan pattern.  The terrazzo-topped table looked like a souvenir from a souk.  Gio Ponti’s walnut chairs and a geometric brass chandelier also from the '60s mixed and matched with the panache of the incomparable Italian elegance.  There was a fully stocked lobby jeweled mini bar with Lucite bar stools and an inviting bartender that couldn’t wait to show off his magnificent array of martini blends.  A free standing fire pit anchored the back party lounge that was complete with a round seating area.  The room was sexy and shaped with gorgeous curves in all the right places.  “Latin-moderne” string draperies and lacquered floor lamps were big, bold and beautiful.  Swinging in one of the wicker chairs that hung from the ceiling made me look like a blast from the past.

The décor at the Parker engaged my mind and sensibilities to see my surroundings with new eyes. 

The Library.

and perfectly
suited -

Le Parker Meridien's happy chic lounge.

Norma's restaurant.

Outdoor spa treatments!

A hookah lounge.

A friendly "Hi" from the hammock.

When my 23-year-old daughter, who came up with her boyfriend from San Diego, saw the outdoor gardens and play areas she exclaimed, “This is like an Alice in Wonderland place for adults!”  The garden visuals were invitingly fun and relaxing.  There were large canvas hammocks swinging from the trees.  The delicate white wrought iron swings suspended from the desert tree branches enticed me to sit and spin with carefree abandonment.  The earthen walkways meandered through the property and provided a romantic path to the pools, spa, guest rooms, four European red clay tennis courts, croquet lawns and pentanque courts.  Each garden setting was uniquely expressive with desert foliage, butterflies, and flowers that accentuated the décor of the lawn and patio furniture.  I wondered which design decision came first, the color of the wicker chair or the horticulture of the desert flower in bloom?

The sensual saline pool.

love . . .love.

I made a mental note that I wouldn’t leave this place without a nap in the hammock, and an afternoon swim in the saline pool. (If you’ve never experienced the water in this kind of pool you’re in for a sensual treat.  The saline water makes your skin feel soft and supple.  A swim is a serene and special experience.)  Yet, the most fun for our intimate party of four in our weekend get-away was the tennis and the French game of petanque.  The red clay tennis courts were impeccably manicured.  (Don’t forget to bring your white soled tennis shoes.)  There’s nothing better than playing doubles in the Palm Springs desert air and sliding towards a winning point on a well-groomed clay court.  The tennis ball moves slower and even us amateur athletes can look gracefully chic!

Relaxed and happy elegance is a way of life at the Parker.  The French game of petanque is a casually competitive game that is filled with happy expressions when you play it.  Sipping our afternoon cocktails my husband and I formed a team to take on my daughter and her boyfriend.  The small silver game balls caught the rays of the desert sun. As their shiny silver coating glimmered through the air and landed in the sandy play area, we heard the playful sound of “patunk.” My daughter and I giggled at the delicate sound this tres chic French game made.  We taunted each other with competitive quips and kibitzing.  Our ah’s and ou’s as the metal balls clinked into each other or errantly ran off the playing field while passersby stopped and watched our frivolous play.   Six games later we were locked in a stalemate.  We cheerfully toasted to our victories and decided it was time to take a swim in the saline pool, relax under the rays of the desert sun, and then take a short nap in our room before dinner.

The pool area is every bit as eclectic and playful as the rest of the property.  Comfortable fabric chaise lounges, white and gold tasseled shade umbrellas and an Oriental themed patio captured my imagination and made me wonder what would be the next surprise for my eyes?

Our private suite.

It turned out to be the bright red lacquered door to our room.  But that was nothing compared to the visual and sensory pleasures that awaited me inside our room.  The room had the look of a residential suite with all the ad hoc pieces that are acquired over the years.  Two white painted-steel open cubed double beds were the focal point of the room.  Strikingly simple these highly glossed frames paid a glowing homage to a Sol Lewitt sculpture.  The luminous lamps provided a luster that was comfy and relaxing.  Crisp white pique duvets covered the beds and two white fluffy sheep skin rugs tickled my feet as I hopped into the bed with a comfy pleasure.  A needlepoint pillow that wasn’t anything like my grandmother’s needlepoint demonstrated Adler’s quirkiness for fun. Naughty and nice phrases in bold print and colorful design gave me happy thoughts as I read its encryptions.   I cuddled under a warm woven throw that was a big WOW!

A little bit of Palm Springs nostalgia

When I looked up from my bed I saw that the ceilings were covered in a light tan rice paper.  The room had Peruvian weavings on the walls that provided clean neoclassical lines.  There was a red Edwardian chair that was so comfortable that when my husband curled up and rested his game worn tennis legs on the round leather ottoman the room was quickly filled with the buzz of a restful snore.

I couldn’t resist the feel of the caramel-colored leather chairs with adjustable backs.  Just sitting and scribbling a few quick directions to the restaurant for dinner was a pleasurable moment filled with the rich feeling and scent of leather.   The white rolling shuttered doors separated the view of a quiet outdoor patio complete with lounge chairs and red bougainvillea cascading over the walls.

Bathroom lattice luxury.

The bathroom décor was pink and white marbled counters and floors.  Double white wooden shuttered doors sequestered the bathroom away from the living area.  I judge the value of my stay at a resort by the bathroom amenities.  The Parker’s products whipped me into a luxurious lather.  I gave them five gold stars for this special category.  There was Hermes soap, Molten Brown bath and shower gel, Pehnaligon Quercus shampoo and conditioner, (my hair never looked or felt better) Ernno Laszlo body lotion,(the smell and feeling of this lotion is divine) Peter Thomas Roth sun block, L’Occitane hand soap.

Le Parker Meridien is a gracious, gorgeous and grown-up playground that has a surprise for the eyes at every turn.  From the minute you enter this private retreat, your visual experience is satiated with designs that awaken happy feelings that are scandalously delicious.  Adler has created a mix and match masterpiece with panache.  His playful creativity and Mann’s architectural command for airy spaces and clean lines delighted and inspired me to remember something Adler created from a ceramic frieze and hangs below the concierge desk and it reads, “EAT, DRINK and BE MERRY FOR TOMORROW YOU SHALL CHECK OUT!”

Eat, Drink, Be Merry -
Tomorrow You Check Out.

I’m grateful that I got to check into this groovy place.  It’s a place where colors can’t clash, mirrors make you look young, the dramatic lighting is fabulous, forgiving, never fluorescent and gives everyone a star quality.  So with my dorky enthusiasm for life, I encourage you to make yourself happy and feel chic by booking a trip to stay at the Le Parker Meridien in Palm Springs now!

— By Janice Wilson, Las Vegas Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Photos coutesy of Parker Palm Springs.