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In Palm Springs, to Pool Hop Is to Time Travel


TUG Lifetime Member
Jan 2, 2016
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Borscht Belt
Resorts Owned
Tradewinds, Divi, Quarter House, Casa Ybel

The rainbow-hued Saguaro in Palm Springs is a former Holiday Inn.
Credit: Beth Coller for The New York Times

In Palm Springs, to Pool Hop Is to Time Travel

By Bonnie Tsui/ The New York Times / December 27, 2017

“Swimming in this sun-baked desert oasis is to tour midcentury modernism as seen through its famously fabulous pools. An astonishing 40,000 pools are within the city limits.

When you fly into Palm Springs, the geometry of pool-centric living is clearly laid out below, in the repeating grid of aquamarine rectangles, ovals and odd little squiggles. What is it about the swimming pool that grabs us by the hand and pulls us in? Nowhere is it more entwined with the history and culture of a place than the bright, sun-baked desert oasis of Palm Springs.

I'd always wanted to pool-hop through this place, touring midcentury modernism through its fabled and fabulous hotel and private swimming pools.

By 1955, Palm Springs already had 900 swimming pools within its city limits, and Esther Williams was the pool cover girl of the era, swimming it up at El Mirador Hotel, with its Olympic-sized pool with five diving boards and an underwater observation window. (She once guessed that she’d swum, oh, about 1,250 miles for all of her films.)

“So many midcentury modern homes are built around the pool,” Sidney Williams, a retired curator of architecture and design at the Palm Springs Art Museum, told me....”


TUG Member
Feb 24, 2016
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San Juan Capistrano, CA
Resorts Owned
Palm Springs has a Modernism Week twice a year. We happened to realize a week or two before the Spring 2016 event that we were there while it was going on. We hollered "DRAPERIES!" at each other thus making a two hour bus tour of local MCM homes a business expense for our window coverings business. Excellent tour.


Aug 21, 2005
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Good luck pool hopping in Palm Springs, most of the communities and resorts are gated. About all you'll see driving around Palm Springs are brick walls.