The Parker Palm Springs - Where You're Free to Explore and Dream (Part 1 of 3: Exteriors)
Updated: Jan 8
4200 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92264
Average cost: $$$
Parking: N/A; valet service included in resort fee
Notes: Great for honeymooners and families alike (read on for family friendly amenities and adult only amenities)
The first time I heard about The Parker was through of a series of photographs by my favorite photographer, Gray Malin. His "Gray Malin at the Parker" Series so perfectly captures the whimsical and glamorous nature of the property: Everything about the bright pops of color, adorable animals (check out his cool behind the scenes video), and stunning design, both interior and exterior, left an indelible impression on me, and I added staying at The Parker to our bucket list. Fast forward to 2020 when all of our original travel plans got canceled, I kept my eyes peeled for any opportunities within driving distance, and we finally found a couple days in October that would work with our schedules!
After enjoying views of desert landscapes on our drive over, here was our first glimpse of the exclusive estate and first hint of wonderful things waiting around the corner:
Before heading further up the driveway, we encountered a security kiosk where we were greeted and asked to provide our reservation name and confirmation number. This information is then relayed back to the estate, which I imagine helps create seamless service. Although The Parker does accept reservations for guests who aren't staying on the property, it seems like the bulk of the services and amenities are reserved or in some cases limited to "Registered Estate Guests."
These iconic orange doors framed by the quintessential white breeze block wall (à la Mid Century Modern design) allow for every guest to enjoy a dramatic entrance. I noticed that the valet attendants who welcomed us specifically said, "when you're ready" please enter through the doors, as if they are accustomed to people lingering in front of the main entrance, whether to admire the design or to snap a photo or two.
There's also a fountain across from the driveway facing The Parker's iconic orange doors:
For more on The Parker's architectural design and interiors, including what one of their guest rooms looks like, see here.
With 13 ample acres to explore, we thoroughly enjoyed wandering the grounds and exploring the lush landscapes and thoughtful amenities. Much of the grounds are covered to provide respite from the desert sun, so it's quite a gorgeous walk with many tunnels of hedgerow, but for those who may be "directionally challenged" like myself, it may take some time to get acclimated with a few of the more maze-like pathways. The Parker thoughtfully provides a cute map for you to reference:
The estate really feels like a lush, private, desert oasis that you could get lost in, in the best kind of sense, with plenty of hidden niches for you to discover and enjoy while taking in the gorgeous landscape and greenery:
Everywhere we looked, there was more beauty to discover, and sometimes happy surprises, like this lovely doggo:
...and the Parker's cat, Lola, who swung by to say hello during outdoor breakfast:
So many amenities, so little time... Let's start with the 3 pools (one of which is a body temp heated indoor pool, so sadly closed due to COVID restrictions). A note about COVID impact: All guests and estate staff are required to wear masks, regardless of activity indoors or outdoors, the only exceptions being dining and pool activity. During our stay, we saw a 100% rate of compliance with this rule.
Our room was closest to this gorgeous and family friendly pool named "the Silicon Valley" pool with jacuzzi:
... with some of the most stylish cabanas:
The Parker does a terrific job of balancing very different values and ambiences: upscale glam, unconventional whimsy, that elusive feeling of privacy, and a family friendly element (or, in the words of acclaimed designer Jonathan Adler, who designed The Parker not once, but twice: "Groovy, hedonistic, luxury.") A second pool, named the Gene Autry pool, is adults only, a little slice of decadent serenity, and available around the clock:
Pool attendants to tend to food/beverage needs, an abundance of umbrellas and chairs, and well-stocked towels and sunscreen for convenience - what more could we wish for?
Look at how intricate these poolside cabanas are:
The Gene Autry pool is also conveniently located to the Lemonade Stand, so you can quench thirst and satiate hunger:
There are usually beautiful bar stools set up in front of the Lemonade Stand bar, but they are currently absent due to COVID restrictions. Order poolside or over the counter from an extensive menu of creative cocktails and elegant eats - the world is your oyster.
In addition to the glorious pools, you can enjoy s'mores by the fire pit: All you have to do is dial "0" and The Parker will set up everything you need to make s'mores by the fire pit.
Speaking of dialing "0" for room service, impressively indulgent treats are available 24/7. Whether the petit déjeune, three layer cheesecake, or steak frites tickle your late night fancy, just dial 0 for impeccable service - but I digress. Some other outdoor amenities include a charming multi-use lawn, tennis courts, a putting green and table tennis (under non-COVID conditions).
Whether you want to play Pétanque like the French, Croquet like the Brits, Bocce like the Italians, or just enjoy a drink and the scenery, head over to this gorgeous space.
Oh, and there's also a giant chess setup for any chess aficionados:
This before and after of giant chess made me laugh:
The aftermath of her handiwork lol:
Enjoy swinging from the hammocks, strolling through the grounds, or enjoying the views of various fountains and Jonathan Adler's giant bronze banana statue (weighing 900 lbs!):
Wander and find more beautiful doors and pathways:
We loved walking around and "discovering" secluded spots inviting us to rest and stay in that particular moment:
Due to COVID, we weren't able to visit Parker's famous spa and fitness facilities known as "PSYC" (Palm Springs Yacht Club), which normally we'd be super into booking. Hoping we can come back when PSYC is open! You can see how gorgeous the interior of PSYC is from their website here, and here are a few snaps of the exterior facade:
Absolutely love the color palettes throughout the estate. There is beauty in every nook and corner, and you can tell that a lot of thought and care was placed into designing and maintaining the resort. For Part 2 of 3, I'm sharing some photos of The Parker's gorgeous interiors, including what one of their guest rooms looks like.