This gem of a hotel, tucked away in a secluded corner of Desert Hot Springs, is everything we want in a hotel – small, intimate, and sexy as hell. If you love design, make an excuse to visit.
The Lautner Desert Hot Springs, Californiadesigned by John Lautner
The only residence designed by legendary architect John Lautner that is open to the public, this hotel is a throwback to the futuristic cool of the mid-20th century.
Built in 1947, it was recently purchased by interior designer Tracy Beckmann and furniture designer Ryan Trowbridge, and they have clearly poured their hearts and souls into restoring it to its former glory. And then some.
If you’ve ever wanted to lounge on a chaise like a Bond girl or have your martinis shaken but not stirred, the Lautner Hotel takes you straight back to the time when all villains stroked white Persian cats and 007 looked like Sean Connery.
The property (originally built by Lautner for film director Lucien Hubbard) is comprised of four interlocking structures. Guests can choose from four separate studio apartments, each nestled in its own raised succulent garden with an enclosed patio, giving it a real sense of seclusion and exclusivity.
The attention to detail is impeccable. Original features have been preserved, with the designers remaining true to Lautner’s original vision. Damaged redwood and glass were carefully replaced throughout, and concrete walls stripped down (through up to 20 layers of paint) to their original bare surfaces. The result is a subtle elegance of clean angles and curves.
Decor is a gorgeous blend of vintage modern (bucket seats, black leather executive lounge chairs, fur, carpet and steel), and modern (stainless steel kitchen appliances and redwood-and-steel bed frames by Brown + Trowbridge). Individual unit color schemes were inspired by handcrafted Health tiles placed in geometric patterns in each suite’s bathroom. But the feel is monochrome, strong colors for heroes and villains of yesteryear and modern hipsters.
When you’re hiding out in your underground lair, fix yourself a martini at the wet bar and put some vinyl on the turntable. Watch a movie about Lautner or Julius Schulman, read a pop novel or play poker on the outside patio. If you want to escape your time capsule and mingle with other residents, there is a small communal saline dipping pool and a fire pit lounge.
Each unit has its own kitchenette, with induction cook top and cookware, microwave, toaster, electric kettle and coffee system. There is also a wet bar with stemware, martini shakers and ice buckets. Some basic supplies are provided, including coffee, tea, flavored creamers, olive oil, biscotti and oatmeal. However, the owners suggest visiting a local grocery store to buy additional food, drink and ice. Complimentary WiFi, but please note that the signal is not strong. Bringing a hot spot is recommended. Flat-screen TV, with DVDs, turntables with an assortment of vinyl CD/MP3/iPhone charging stations with a variety of CDs Books, puzzles and playing cards.Frette linens, robes and towels, Malin + Goetz toiletries, Chrome towel warmers, “His and Hers” Flip Flops, Organic cotton pillow-top queen mattresses, LG Art Cool Mirror Finish Ductless Mini Split Systems (AC & Heater).
The hotel is located in a remote and quiet residential area of Desert Hot Springs. A ‘sleepy’ town, it is, the owners believe, perfect for unplugging. However, guests wishing to wander farther afield can visit local hot mineral spring pools, the legendary Aerial Tramway and Living Desert. Downtown Palm Springs is only ten minutes away by car, and hotel staff are more than happy to recommend some great restaurants, shops and attractions.
More ambitious travelers might want to take in Joshua Tree National Park, which is around 30 minutes away and offers some of the most beautiful outdoor trails in California.
The hotel is approximately 100 miles east of Los Angeles near Palm Springs. It is easily reached by freeway, and the nearest airport is Palm Springs International.
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The Lautnerfrom $245/ nt
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