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Hotel Lautner

John Lautner built the Desert Hot Springs Motel in 1947 with the idea of creating more of the interlocking structures as alternative desert getaways. Unfortunately a fire burned down the pool structure and the project seemed to be abandoned.

Desert Hot Springs Motel 1950, photographer unknown

The property fell through different owners and different degrees of “remodeling” and over the years lost its edge.

Unit 2 – Photo by Paul Soulellis Date Unknown

Until it was purchased in 2010 by Tracy Beckmann and Ryan Trowbridge.

Unit 2 in the Hotel Lautner, 2012

Beckmann, a collaborator of Kelly Wearstler and one of the designers on the Avalon Hotel, has given the revamped hotel (hotel just sounds better than motel, don’t you think?) a meticulous overhaul. Her years in the design industry have given her an eye for detail that leaves nothing to chance in this amazing getaway experience.

The new gate that surrounds the property. Some Lautner purists don’t like it, but it sure makes the experience magical inside.

We arrived at Sunset and were enchanted to find this little Lautner fairytale world awaiting us.

The front entry “compound” where the cars used to park.

It was a bit windy the two days we stayed, so we didn’t get to use the outdoor facilities as much as we would have liked, but I would love to come back here with a group of people, rent all four rooms and just never leave (I guess a group of architects had done just that right before us…apparently they’re big partiers. Who knew?)

Several seating areas. Look how they’ve used the aloes in that Architectural Pottery pot to resemble a fire pit. Love it.

The real fire pit with lots of comfy seating and places to set your drink and watch the sun set.

Those beautiful acid yellow pots by the swimming pool again.

One of the many succulents and cactus that have been planted on the property.

Unit 4 – The last unit still sporting the original wood wall designed by Lautner between the kitchenette and the living area.

I would have to say, besides the gorgeous gardens they’ve planted and the wonderful restoring they’ve done on this significant site, what I love most about what Tracy and Ryan have brought to the Lautner is sexiness. I’m not kidding, I totally felt Dean Martin was gonna walk in and have a drink with me while I was staying there.

Our bed in Unit 4…soft sheets, down comforter…pure heaven.

The view from the bed at twilight. It is not a place you want to leave. It’s like being in your own terrarium.

View from Private Patio of Unit 4.

And if you do feel like you just have to get out of the hotel, there is always that little park that’s only a half hour away.

Joshua Tree National Park.

Skull Rock in Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree.

And if Nature isn’t your thing, Palm Springs is only 15 minutes in the other direction where I highly recommend going to eat at Workshop Kitchen & Bar where they have a whole patio of Bend chairs with custom cement tables and food to die for.

View of Unit 1 which sits by itself around the corner.

The Hotel Lautner. A perfect adult getaway wether you’re a Lautner enthusiast or just plain love staying somewhere that gives a damn about your experience. I will be going back.

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4 Responses to “Hotel Lautner”

  1. Peg says:

    Love your pictures. Brought here by FB Succulent Perch. Thanks for sharing this. I know there are purists out there, but in the case of this small town, it’s just great that anyone gives a darn and fixes up a place and makes it a destination so that people will return.
    Not that many places around that are kept after 60 yrs in California.

  2. annette says:

    I agree. It’s wonderful when people put so much of themselves into restoring something. I have never been a purist and am no Lautner expert, but I think he would have been happy with what they’ve done.

  3. Matching the pots and that little strip of yellow tiles was genius. Still trying to decide if “like being in your own terrarium” is appealing or not. Joshua Tree Park looks amazing!

  4. annette says:

    But how often do you have the opportunity to be in your own terrarium…just sayin’.

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