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Vicki Cook

Platinum Travel Specialist, North America

01242 386 474

01242 386 474


3 hours

Where in the world

Greater Palm Springs, California, USA

See Greater Palm Springs’ many examples of modernist architecture from the 1940s to the 1970s up-close in the company of an expert guide.

Less than a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, the desert city of Greater Palm Springs is a modernist mecca. It boasts one of the finest and largest collections of mid-century buildings – mostly residential – in the world.

This living mid-century museum owes its origins to the fabled “two-hour” rule, which typically featured in golden-era Hollywood stars’ contracts. This clause required actors to never be more than two-hours away from the studio in case of reshoots. Enter stage left Greater Palm Springs: a bevy of Hollywood greats commissioned homes here by the Bauhaus and International Style-inspired architects such as John Lautner, Richard Neutra, E Stewart Williams, Albert Frey, Dan Palmer and William Krisel. These architects created a new movement inspired by the stark desert landscape and its bright and arid climate. Elements included overhanging roof planes and shaded verandas.

On your tour, you might visit the Hope Residence, Kaufmann House, Frey House or so-called House of Tomorrow. You’ll enjoy seeing the enclaves of Twin Palms with its examples of “Alexander Houses” or Vista Las Palmas, that famous Rat Pack playground. From his Alexander House in the latter, Frank Sinatra would run a flag up a Palm Tree pole to announce to his neighbours that it was time for a cocktail – “martini time”.

See it all and more on your tour of this architecturally significant city – understand more about California’s culture and 20th-century through its built environment.

Additional notes about the tour

Due to demand, pre-booking is essential for this experience. This is a private, family-friendly experience and all ages are welcome. Gratuities are not included in the cost. Meet at an agreed joining point. Please take along your own bottled water.

Still looking for inspiration?

We have a huge range of destinations, experiences and hotel options available.

Learn more about our luxury holidays to California Desert & Palm Springs

Interested in this experience?

Call us on 01242 386 474