When Judy Kameon, landscape designer and author of Gardens Are For Living
, teamed up with Jonathan Adler to design the grounds of the Parker Palm Springs hotel
, the designers' only direction was to create a destination they would want to visit themselves--a dream job. The two began to imagine the hotel as "the private estate of an eccentric Auntie Mame type character named Mrs. Parker," says Kameon. Inspirations were drawn from "the magnificent, eclectic estate garden Lotusland in Montecito, the madly lush beauty of Tony Duquette's properties, and a recent trip to the Alhambra in Spain." And just like that, the grounds at the Parker Palm Springs hotel were under way.
While Jonathan Adler's retro design for the interior of the Parker Palm Springs hotel is both serene and intriguing, the exterior provides a whole other experience for guests. "The vast grounds for the Parker are a series of linked gardens, each with its own identity yet unified by a wild and exotic landscape," says Kameon. The gardens provide a variety of activities: pétanque, croquet, swimming, and tennis. There are also many spots for relaxing, which Kameon created by "tucking cozy nooks into the plantings, stringing hammocks from the date trees, and putting in an oversized fire pit." With all types of vacationers staying at the hotel, "the garden had to work on the most intimate level, such as a couple having a weekend getaway, and scale up for huge events like weddings."
The gardens are successfully intimate and comfortable due to Kameon's design requirements. "I love creating a new vista so I layer trees and plants to make a beautiful environment, which also provides shade and a sense of shelter," she says. The secret hideaways, expansive cabanas, and pool deck are furnished with seating that "feels as good as it looks." One of her favorite options for outdoor seating is "a generously sized daybed with lots of pillows and round coffee tables, big enough to use for casual meals and the Sunday paper." These design details make the exterior of the Parker Palm Springs hotel as comfortable as the interior. "It's a sunny, cheery place during the day, and at night it's quite romantic and mysterious."
If you're wondering just how a day should be passed at the Parker Palm Springs hotel, follow Kameon's footsteps: "My perfect day at the Parker starts with a game of tennis first thing in the morning, immediately followed by a quick swim to cool off. After working up a good appetite, I head straight to Norma's for breakfast al fresco, and then it's time for some serious relaxation. I grab a good book, a hat and park myself on the nearest chaise or hammock for a treasured moment of peace and quiet. I love to swim, so I check out the Silicone Valley pool and order lunch poolside, then head back to my room for a nap. Then I'm off to the spa for a massage and a sauna. Of course, I love to take a stroll in the garden before dinner, play a few rounds of pétanque and enjoy a cocktail by the fire pit. Dinner at Mister Parker's is a must, and then I crawl in bed to watch a movie, before drifting off to sleep. Heaven!" Mrs. Parker would most definitely approve, wherever she may be.
For more of Kameon's work head to Elysian Landscapes
Photography: Justin Coit