There's a resurgent cool quotient to
Palm Springs these days, thanks to an influx of hip new
hotels, restaurants, shops, and nightclubs. What was just
warming up a couple years ago is now sizzling. Welcome to
what many are calling the next South Beach.
No Johnny-come-lately, Palm Springs, California, was the daddy of
retro back before it was retro and was just plain modern (think
Ocean's Eleven). Modernist architects like Albert Frey, Richard
Neutra, and Rudolf Schindler built this town in the stripped-down
steel-and-glass style of the mid-20th century, when Palm Springs
drew a Hollywood hive counting Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, and
Frank Sinatra among its buzz.
Here it idled as more lavish developments encamped down the
Coachella Valley in communities like Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage,
and Indian Wells. The stars found other orbits and retirees filed
in for the year-round golf-perfect weather. Equated with bad
suburban strip malls, modernism languished until the fashion crowd
began to rediscover the area's verve a few years ago.
Now, much like Miami's South Beach, a potent mix of fashion and
architecture has sparked another wave of renaissance in Palm
Springs. More than 25 new shops, galleries, and eateries have
popped up in the trendy Uptown Heritage District in the last year.
The design and investment crowds have snapped up smart little
modernist vacation homes, luring a new generation of glitterati
back to the desert. The average age of residents has dropped from
50-something to 40-something. In short order, GQ set up photo
shoots, Brad and Jennifer showed up, and real estate prices shot
FANNING THE FLAMES
"We first came from Europe as tourists to see the architecture and
we loved it," says 32-year-old Sarah Robarts. "But it was
exclusive. You had to know someone with a private home to see these