Oh, to mingle with the stars of eras past. To hear the tales
of decadence and glory, of pain and pleasures. To hear Garbo
ordering breakfast at three pm, Salvadore Dali discussing
the relevance of his art and dismissing its scrutiny, Brando,
well, just one glimpse of Brando. Just one glimpse.
Although those experiences may not be possible, in the sensual
heat of Palm Springs, they slide just a little bit closer.
Here we found a little known oasis, the Ingleside Inn, which
was and still is host to many celebrities who sought and still
seek sanctuary in the healing, peaceful desert.
Rita Hayworth, Gary Cooper, and Spencer Tracy are said to
have frequented the Ingleside to recuperate after grueling
months spent shooting films. John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn
were often spotted here sipping cocktails while Goldie Hawn
and Kurt Russell have been seen by the pool. The inn is also
a well-known haven for recovering from a unique Southern California
hobby, cosmetic surgery.
Once a dramatic estate built by the owners of the Pierce
Arrow automobile company, the Humphrey Birge family, this
elegant hideaway at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains
was bought by Ruth Hardy in 1935 and converted into an exclusive
inn. Patrons could not even call for a reservation; they had
to be invited. After Hardy passed away, the inn fell into
disrepair, but, in 1975, it was bought and renovated by Mel
Haber and is now considered an official Palm Springs Historic
And what a landmark it is. The Ingleside has only thirty
rooms, no two of which are alike, and here time appears suspended.
Amenities once thought long gone, like complimentary champagne
and genuine antiques, adorn each room where a night spent
in bed beckons thoughts of the famous and their forbidden
love, of romance in a time when sex was still a secret.
Most rooms boast steam baths and whirlpool tubs, private
courtyards and wood burning fireplaces. Melvyn's, Palm Springs'
"most romantic restaurant," lives within the walls
of this inn, and a piano bar aptly named the Casablanca Room,
nightly emanates the sounds of jazz and ice clicking in tumblers.
Wait, I know that voice, I'm sure it's Clark Gable. And that
over there must be Sinatra. Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn
in an argument
Why do we fall in love with landmarks like these? Because
the walls, the carpets, the champagne glasses and the real
silver silverware hold within them the echoes, the reverberations
of our culture, our history, our heritage, and we hope that
if we sit in that chair or sleep in that bed, we might just
learn something of our past and thus something of our future.
Can it be so? Can the walls of the Ingleside Inn tell us
the stories they have witnessed, the loves they have shared,
the passions they have embraced? Or are those all secrets
they must protect?
Do I see Howard Hughes sipping a martini over there? Or is
it only a mirage?