Last year, we tapped Mayer Rus, the West Coast editor of Architectural Digest, to give us some highlights from the all-star design panel he led during LEGENDS 2014. This year, we decided to go back to Rus and ask him to give us an insider’s perspective on what to see and do in Palm Springs as the famed desert oasis celebrates Modernism Week (February 12–22, 2015).
After all, we figured he’d be the perfect expert. He’s been a regular fixture on Modernism Week’s architectural home tours over the last decade. Plus, he recently wrote about the city’s revival for the magazine’s February issue, now on newsstands. Here are some of his recommendations for enjoying a sunny winter weekend in Hollywood’s desert playground and midcentury modern mecca.
See: Pay a visit to the new Architecture and Design Center at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Set in a 1961 savings-and-loan building crafted by pioneering desert architect E. Stewart Williams, the 13,000-square-foot venue was renovated by AD100 firm Marmol Radziner. Says Rus: “Everyone I know is excited to see this monument come to life again.”
Do: Hit up the Annenberg’s Sunnylands Center & Gardens in Rancho Mirage. “I highly recommend making a reservation to tour the landmark 1960s home on the grounds,” says Rus. “As a collaboration between architect A. Quincy Jones and decorators William Haines and Ted Graber, it’s truly one of the great midcentury gems.” Sunnylands Center & Gardens is open to the public Thursdays through Sundays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Shop: To get your midcentury retail fix, Rus recommends hitting up some of the small design boutiques at the Palm Canyon Galleria and Modern Spaces, a boutique in Cathedral City’s Perez Art & Design Center. “Friends tell me these shops are often the first to get their hands on unique treasures from midcentury estates sales,” says Rus.
Eat: As for the gastronomic scene, Rus says his favorite restaurants are Workshop Kitchen + Bar and Cheeky’s—a breakfast hot spot. “I personally like the sourdough French toast at Cheeky’s—I always go there when I’m in the desert,” reveals Rus.
Stay: When it comes to lodging, Palm Springs is swimming with hot new resorts and design-forward boutique hotels. “If you’re looking for classic luxury, you must stay at the recently reopened Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage,” recommends Rus. “What’s not to love? You’ve got gorgeous views of Palm Springs and the surrounding valley, plus all of the amenities you’d expect from a Ritz-Carlton. And it doesn’t hurt that there are two new buildings with a luxury spa and the Edge, the hotel’s hot new steak-and-seafood restaurant.”