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Culture

Experience Palm Springs: A Designer and Antiques Dealer’s Travel Guide

February 1, 2019
The historic estate at Sunnylands. Courtesy of Sunnylands

Although we always flock to Palm Springs for Modernism Week, we’ll take this sunny desert oasis any time of year. And who better to take us around than designer and antiques dealer Patrick Dragonette, who calls the city home.

“The allure of Palm Springs is the quality of the light and atmosphere in the desert, and the pace and the kindness of the folks here,” says Dragonette. “There is a wonderful sense of casual throughout the desert that I welcome.”

Here are Dragonette’s favorite places around town.


WHAT TO SEE

A villa at Marrakesh Country Club. Courtesy of Marrakesh Country Club

“I have to start with my home at Marrakesh Country Club. It was designed by John Elgin Woolf and it lives up to his Hollywood Regency legacy! Surrounded by mountains, it’s a perfect pink oasis and really is so unique! The 364 villas were all painted in Marrakesh pink with white mansard roofs and Pullman doors.

It took me 15 years of visiting Palm Springs to finally check out the Palm Springs Art Museum, and wow that was a mistake! It’s one of the finest small museums in the world.

Without a doubt, Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage is a must-see. Designed by A. Quincy Jones and William Haines, it’s a true mid-century masterpiece. The gardens are a secret worth sharing. They’re free and open to the public.

Thanks to an auction last year, Walter S. White’s iconic Wave House has a new owner and increased funds for a large-scale restoration. I’m excited to see it brought back to its former glory.”


WHERE TO SHOP

Hedge furniture store in Cathedral City. Courtesy of Hedge

“I love shopping the desert! My favorite places are the consignment stores, starting with Misty’s Consignments in Rancho Mirage. You never know what you’ll find and Misty and the gang make the shopping fun!

I’m also a big fan of Hedge in Cathedral City. Palm Springs Art and Design is a more recent addition to the scene: there are always lots of goodies to be found there.”


WHERE TO EAT

The upscale Mr. Lyons steakhouse. Courtesy of Mr. Lyons

“Hands down, my favorite spot for brunch is Wilma & Freida in Palm Desert. The good news is they just opened another location in downtown Palm Springs!


For an intimate dinner, we like to go to Justin Eat & Drink in Cathedral City. Their private dining room is small and the food is fantastic. Justin is the kind of chef I love to support: he’s crazy talented and dedicated to his craft.

Mr. Lyons is the best spot for large groups. The service is always as good as the food.

Melvyn’s Restaurant & Lounge is a historic spot. Sinatra meets steak!”


ON MODERNISM WEEK

Kauffmann Desert House by Richard Neutra. Joe Fletcher and Marmol Radziner

The Modernism Show is always a highlight because it gives you entry into some of the best homes in the desert that you otherwise might never see.

What is great about design in the desert is that there is really something for everyone. It goes without saying that the area has more than its share of faithful mid-century modern, but there is also plenty of Mediterranean, Hollywood Regency, an other styles to enjoy.

And don’t miss the Modernism Show at the Convention Center! Everyone loves to shop and the show has grown to include over 80 dealers.”


LAST BUT NOT LEAST, WHERE TO SUN (& SIP)

Josh Cho Photography – Saguaro | Palm Springs

“I hear they have a lot of fun at The Saguaro hotel pool…”

 

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