Free Sangria Hour

In Sex Drive by Stephanie TheobaldLeave a Comment

There is pleasure to be had in washing in a bucket and sleeping in a Little House On The Prairie-style metal shipping container in the middle of the desert, but there’s also pleasure to be had in checking in at a hotel in Palm Springs. Not only can you flush the loo paper down the loo here at the Monkey Tree Hotel, but my room actually has a sunken bath and wafts of orange blossom from a real orange tree in my own private garden that floats under my nose as I lie in the queen sized bed with the crisp linen sheets and the patio door open.

Monkey garden

Following Grisly Adams Stephanie pic up in the High desert yesterday, here is Palm Springs, looking-forward-to-the-free-sangria-hour  Stephanie:

Hotel owners in PS, as we call it, are very open to English journos coming to review their hotels. Kathy Friedle gave me a tour this morning, taking in room 15 where JFK supposedly had dirty weekends with Marilyn Monroe.Here she is, Kathy, that is:


Several hotels in PS make this Marilyn claim but the Monkey Tree was built in 1960 by  Swiss Mid-Century Modernist Albert Frey and Kathy has verified that Kennedy was in Palm Springs in 1962 and room 15 has a private back entrance good for the secret service to monitor it – so that is history as far as Palm Springs is concerned.

Here are the French doors leading to the private patio

french doors

And here is the view JFK and Marilyn would have had once they made it out of the bedroom for a spot of fresh air and a few thoughts on eternity.

Marylin view

After the tour, I went to Elmer’s diner for a burger and a browse through the new Palm Springs magazine. I came across an advert for a restaurant called Pinocchio’s that offers “Bottomless Champagne” for $3.95. I’ve heard of bottomless coke where they top you up again and again for the price of one coke but never this. Another wonder of Palm Springs. An interview in the magazine also caught my eye where a PS restaurateur called Patrick Service is asked, “What book has influenced you most?” Patrick replies: “Setting The Table by Danny Meyer. It was so powerful as a philosophy.”

This is one of the reasons I love Palm Springs. I spent years of my life learning to say things like, If This Is A Man or Madame Bovary when asked that question. Now I can’t wait to read Danny Meyer’s powerful philosophy.

I was in Elmer’s, a cosy diner hang-out attracting the 70-plus set, waiting for my friend Richard Dupont. Here he is when he finally arrived:

richard yum


Richard was one of the intimate inner circle of Andy Warhol. (Andy Warhol Superstars come to PS to retire). Richard prefaces many of his sentences with ‘Wait till you hear this!’ and was friends with Truman Capote (who came to PS to finish his famously unfinished novel, Answered Prayers – he got distracted by an affair with the air conditioning repair man. And also an unstoppable attraction to vodkas and orange). Richard also dated Freddy Mercury and was painted by Salvador Dali. In Sex Drive he has some revealing things to say about Andy and masturbation. Today, he was moaning about the Canadians though. The “Snow Birds” who come to PS from Canada to avoid the cold. A lot of them stay in his condo complex and they’ve been clogging up the communal washing machines with their filthy Canadian coins. “I hate the Canadians,” he said in his velvety drawl.

We came back to the Monkey Tree for the free sangria hour from 4 until 6. Very powerful as a philosophy. That’s the great thing about Palm Springs. Mel Haber of the Ingleside Inn, friend to Cher and Barry Manilow and never without a Frank Sinatra anecdote on his lips, summed up the restful allure of the place very well to me. “Look, when I was in New York I was always thinking, ‘Maybe I should be somewhere else.’ The beauty in Palm Springs is that there’s nothing happening. You never say, ‘I should be’ or ‘I could be.’ In Palm Springs, you’re not going to miss a damn thing.”

monkey pool

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