What do Republicans President Gerald Ford and Governor Jeb Bush have in common with Democrats Arianna Huffington and Joseph P. Kennedy?
They’ve all slumbered at The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn, the city’s only AAA Four Diamond property, along with nearly a dozen other guests who have graced the cover of Time Magazine throughout the decades. Rates start at $375 a night and include a chef-driven three-course breakfast, evening wine and hors d’oeuvres plus poolside snacks and beverages.
The Willows, built in 1925 as a private residence, transcends party lines with its collection of eight secluded suites, superlative service, and array of amenities. Woven into its storied history are a cache of prominent owners and residents, including original owner William Mead who played a pivotal role in orchestrating the Owens River Valley Aqueduct project, which diverted water from the northern part of California to the arid Los Angeles basin. Samuel Untermyer, a prominent New York attorney who earned his fortune as a mergers specialist before fighting against corporate trusts, subway fare increases, inflated utility bills and anti-Semitism, purchased the home from Mead’s widow and entertained society’s creme de la creme within its confines including frequent guest Albert Einstein as well as Shirley Temple, Billie Burke and many other luminaries. Silent screen star Marion Davies, silent screen star and longtime mistress of William Randolph Hearst, also called The Willows home and transformed the kitchen into one of the desert’s most well-stocked bars.
Today the inn is a revolving door of celebrities who enjoy their privacy behind a paparazzi-proof scrolled gate. Each of the eight rooms is individually appointed with plush amenities and period-style furnishings transporting guests to a more elegant era. Slumber in the Marion Davies Room, named for the inn’s most famous resident, with its large fireplace, two-person claw foot tub and private balcony; or Einstein’s Garden Room, where the famed genius often stayed, cradled in Art Deco elegance with French doors that swing open to reveal a private balcony overlooking a waterfall. All rooms are a study in elegance with king or queen-size beds, plush linens and hand-selected antique furniture reminiscent of the era in which the inn was built. Modern amenities within each suite are plentiful and include high-speed Internet data port, iPod docking station, individual climate control, flat screen television with cable access and DVD player, en suite coffee maker and refrigerator plus plush robes for lounging.
Each stay includes a three-course, gourmet breakfast served in the stunning dining room with an adjoining verandah overlooking the inn’s 50-foot waterfall. After a day of shopping, golf, tennis or lounging by the inn’s intimate pool, guests can gather on one of the outdoor terraces or inside the reception area for evening wine and hors d’oeuvres. Fresh fruit, seasonal edibles, iced tea and other refreshments are available throughout the day. Room service is provided by Le Vallauris, the critically-acclaimed French restaurant located adjacent to the inn.
The heated swimming pool and Jacuzzi are shaded by mature trees and draped in colorful bougainvillea and foliage. Guests can bask in the sun, surf the Internet on their laptops, or devour the latest best seller all from the comforts of their lounge chairs.
One block from the inn is Palm Canyon Drive, a pedestrian-friendly shopping and dining destination. Also within walking distance is the Spa Casino with its Vegas-style gaming and entertainment. The Willows is also just a short distance from some of the desert’s best championship golf courses, tennis facilities, and luxury spas. The staff can assist with tee times as well as reservations for dinner, wellness and spa treatments, and other welcome desert distractions.
The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn, a AAA Four Diamond property open seasonally from September through mid-June, is located at 412 West Tahquitz Canyon Way just one-block south of Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. For reservations and information, call 800.966.9597 or visit us online at www. TheWillowsPalmSprings.com.