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Desert Fantasy

The Parker hotel rises in the desert.

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Palm Springs, Calif. — Beginning next month, the desert will have a new hot spot, Le Parker Meridien Palm Springs, or simply, The Parker. For his first hotel project, designer Jonathan Adler imagined the house of an eccentric, well-traveled, Old World great aunt whom he dubbed Mrs. Parker.

To that end, the 131 rooms, 12 villas and guest house (formerly Gene Autry’s residence) ooze Adler’s eclectic yet comfortable style, juxtaposing Edwardian chairs with a Moroccan rug and ultramodern cube beds with Danish tapestries.

This story first appeared in the September 30, 2004 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“The trend in design is to make hotels all about the cleverness of the designer, but this is more about a residential feel that’s happy and chic,” Adler says.

While the property has a Palm Springs pedigree — it was formerly Autry’s Melody Ranch and Merv Griffin’s Givenchy Resort and Spa — Adler sought to restore the Rat Pack glamour that he adores.

“We tried to erase some of the Merv-goes-to-Versailles quality and add more fabulous, because I love that desert fantasy one can have here,” he says.

While much of the hotel is a homage to Adler’s muse Mrs. Parker, the restaurant, Mr. Parker’s, is meant to be “the lair of her dissolute husband. It’s a gothic castle with louche psychedelic overlay and semierotic art on the walls.”

The result, says Adler, should convince guests to return time and again. “Palm Springs makes me a feel a lot groovier than I am. I would be perfectly content to live the rest of my life in one of the rooms.”

— M.M.

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