Coachella Dreaming

by Michael Gross Photographed by Michael Gross
Friday, April 13, 2018

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival starts today at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.  The two-weekends-long festival continues through April 22, and is headlined this year by The Weeknd, Eminem and Beyonce with support acts ranging from St. Vincent and Migos to throwbacks like Chic and David Byrne. 

Last weekend, AVENUE took a scouting trip to Coachella World to sniff out must-visits for the Postcard feature in our Memorial Day issue.  But for those heading to Coachella, or the country-music-centric Stagecoach Festival in the same venue on the weekend of April 27th to April 29th (headlined by Garth Brooks and Keith Urban), we serve up these tips to make your weekend even more memorable.

STAY:  Though it’s sold out this weekend, there are still rooms available at the ultra-chic Lautner Compound in Desert Hot Springs for the second Coachella weekend.  Problem is, you may not want to leave this four-room residence designed by legendary American architect John Lautner. Located in the remote desert outside Palm Springs, it was commissioned from Lautner almost 70 years ago by Hollywood movie producer Lucien Hubbard, who would come with starlet Mary Pickford  to escape Los Angeles. Over the last eight years, Tracy Beckmann, a Los Angeles decorator, has taken it from a wreck to a luxurious and ultra-private gated micro-resort, a hybrid vacation rental villa and boutique hotel, with kitchenettes in every room, mid-century modern flourishes, and first class amenities.  Beckmann continues to expand the property, and has recently added a 10,000 sq. ft. open air event space called The Park and a renovated 1957 California Bungalow called The Ranch House, both adjacent to The Lautner.

SOAK: Further expansion will eventually tap into the underground thermal mineral springs that give the town its name.  Until then, The Lautner offers guest privileges at the legendary Two Bunch Palms resort and spa nearby, where guests can luxuriate in its oasis-like hot spring-fed meditation pool, surrounded by ancient palms and giant tamarisk trees.  Recently purchased and renovated by Journal Hotels, Two Bunch Palms is part of its collection of unique–and unbranded–hotel properties.  

EAT:  Another legendary Palm Springs hotel property, The Parker, has recently expanded its dining offerings (which also include Norma’s, an all-day outdoor breakfast spot and Mister Parker’s, a clubby French restaurant).  Counter Reformation, The Parker’s newest restaurant, consists of no more than a tiny 14-seat zinc bar tucked into a secluded corner of the hotel, serving a wide range of well-priced wines by the glass, and a menu of small plate dishes like charred carpaccio with black pepper and truffle chimichurri, seared sea scallops with mint-pea puree and lobster glaze, and foie gras macarons, that are the gourmet exception to the area’s rule of throwback menus featuring gut-busting portions of ceasar salad, steak Diane and baby back ribs.  Counter Reformation closes before Coachella’s stages go dark, but it’s well worth playing hooky to sample its myriad delights.  You may never want to go back to Indio.  


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