Author: Jill Weinlein
Date of Trip: May 2016
Stories of Marilyn Monroe and JFK rendezvous at the Albert Frey designed boutique hotel in Palm Springs have been told often. The 16 room property on a private one acre was originally an overflow hotel for extra guests at the famous Charlie Farrell’s Racquet Club.
One can picture Monroe lounging by the pool with her movie star glasses and wide brim hat. It’s a private destination with thick walls around the property to keep the papparazzi out.
The current owners Gary and Kathy Friedle learned that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used to stay here too. They told me that for 30 years, this property became a clothing-optional resort before they purchased it.
Kathy Friedle is an architect and fell in love with the property. She was excited to take on the project and update the taupe and mauve colors to a more fresh yellow and white color palatte. She also wanted to bring it back to it’s 1960’s beauty. This talented couple had fun visiting nearby consignment and thrift stores in Palm Springs to find “treasures” to decorate each of the unique rooms. The smallest room is 300 sq. ft and the largest is 725 sq. ft. This is Monroe’s room, now fondly called the Presidential Suite. It’s spacious with a secret door leading to the front driveway of the property (JFK would sneak in this door) and another door leading out to the pool. This room and some others have small kitchenette. All have filtered water with a glass bottle in each room to refill.
Outside there are plenty of yellow and white lounge chairs with yellow umbrellas for guests to relax by the pool. A whimsical element is two large inflatable swans floating around the pool. Looking out to the majestic San Jacinto Mountain one can unwind and relax. This is an adult resort with a two person maximum for each room. You won’t find screaming kids, barking dogs or rowdy pool parties. No cell phones are allowed in public areas.
After exploring Palm Springs, guests come back to sit in the new hot tub, sauna or take a dip in the cold plunge pool (55 degrees). For active guests there is an exercise pool with a tether for swimming laps in place.
Gary cooks a complimentary healthy breakfast with fresh fruit and scones in the mornings for guests. He’s happy to share the best running, biking and hiking trails in Palm Springs. In the evening Kathy whips up a sunset sangria for guests to sip with one of Gary’s caramelized onion and Grueyre cheese handmade tarts.
There isn’t an onsite restaurant for lunch or dinner, however the Reservoir (Inside the new ARRIVE Palm Springs), Workshop Kitchen + Bar, Kaiser Grille, and La Casuelas Terraza are some of my favorite dining destinations. They are all located less than 5 minutes away on Palm Canyon Drive. After a meal explore the retail boutiques and shops that line the street.
To make a reservation where Marilyn Monroe used to get some rest and relaxation, call (760)322-6059.
The Monkey Tree Hotel is located at 2388 E. Racquet Club Road, Palm Springs – themonkeytreehotel.com.
To learn more about Palm Springs go to www.visitpalmsprings.com.