The Parker Palm Springs: a Haven in the Desert
On one of my many "walkabouts" I found myself lost in Kansas at 3 A.M. on my way to Nebraska. I pulled off to stretch and saw a sign that read DODGE CITY. I checked my watch and had the pleasure of saying, “I gotta get the fuck outta Dodge,” and meaning it both literally and figuratively.
Living in Los Anjealous year-round, I’m well acquainted with that inevitable moment when the need to pack a bag, take off, and recharge hits. Like the time I left Entourage after writing on the second season, then had a meltdown (fearing my choice to leave was career suicide) and disappeared into the night (not telling anyone where I was going), only to wind up at the Grand Canyon watching the sunrise. Not at all coincidentally, Johnny Drama ends up doing the exact same thing in season three when he melts down, fearing his career is over because he believes his fake show, Five Towns, bombed (which is my actual show—one I wrote and sold to Paramount TV right after leaving season two).
So when Sunday-night TV imitates my life once too often (most recently my decade-long, sacred ritual of going to Joshua Tree to find fungi-related answers), wanderlust hits. And though all things evolve (nowadays my desert excursions don’t necessarily include fungi—well, I digress… not all things evolve), I still feel that need to get the fuck outta Dodge.
So where do I go? To a little haven in the desert, the Parker Palm Springs. A cornucopia of luxury, privacy, inspiration, and Norma’s oatmeal brûlée. That’s right, oatmeal brûlée. It’s crème brûlée, but with oatmeal. And fruit. And brûlée. Enough said.
The Parker is a perfect hotel. Located on the grounds of Gene Autry’s old estate, its plush green lawns (including one just for croquet), understated opulence, fire pits, and a spa that calls itself a “yacht club in the middle of the desert” always make me feel right at home. Maybe it’s the unique and eclectic ambience that manages to be simultaneously hip, old-school, and old-world. It’s the last of a dying breed: a five-star hotel that still upholds mom-and-pop business practices. If Joe the Plumber could afford it, he’d be there in a heartbeat. The staff is that rarest of species, the kind that still actually gives a damn about the customer’s happiness.
I always get the same villa, called “Joey,” a three-room luxury crash pad with mini sheepskin rugs on either side of the four-poster king—so your feet hit softness the second you slide out of bed—and a backyard that could literally seat 10 people. Plus, two flat-screens and Hermès soap.
Both pools are 24-hour, and free—that’s right, free—wireless runs throughout the grounds. I can write by the pool while smoking a Cuban at 4 A.M. Plus my new T-Mobile G1 gets full service there, unlike iPhones that can’t get a signal.
Dinner at Mister Parker’s is miraculous, from my personal favorite appetizer, the tarte flambée, to the duck, which falls off the bone.
The Parker Palms Springs is never pretentious or self-aware, leaving me wishing they would open one in Hollywood.
photograph by Raquel Krelle