For seven decades this historic Palm Springs resort offered Hollywood's greatest screen legends a seculded desert playgound to escape and revive.
The renovation of this historic property will include 7 luxury bungalows each with its own private pool, twenty-two modern lofts with dipping pool/fountain; 44 mid-century townhomes, and the historic Albert Frey "Schiff House"
1930s Hollywood actors Charlie Farrell and Ralph Bellamy were regulars to Palm Springs and the El Mirador Hotel where they played tennis, socialized and enjoyed time off in the desert sun.
After other paying guests of the hotel — including Marlene Dietrich — complained to management about the pair hoarding the courts, they were asked to leave. The incident proved pivotal as an inspired idea emerged — building a tennis club of their own would afford them the unlimited court time they desired. Farrell and Bellamy acquired a 200-acre parcel on the northern outskirts of Palm Springs and built two first-class tennis courts… the beginning of a legend.
1940s Word spread fast about this new desert hot spot. Within a decade The Racquet Club was hosting a veritable “who’s who” of stage and screen as stars escaped from the bright lights of Hollywood to relax at this desert retreat.
Weekends would find icons like Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, Tony Martin, Jack Benny, Ronald Reagan, Jane Wyman, and Spencer Tracy meandering about the property. The Racquet Club swiftly tran-sitioned into a, full-service resort with the addition of The Bamboo Room, a collection of guest bungalows, the Albert Frey ‘Schiff House’, and the centerpiece swimming pool. As the decade came to a close, The Racquet Club’s 1948 New Year’s Eve party included Johnny Hyde, an agent for the William Morris Agency, and a young Hollywood starlet named Marilyn Monroe. It’s said she was “discovered” that very night.
1950s The glamorous fifties welcomed a new breed of rising star. It was said this world-famous destination saw the biggest names ever gathered in one spot.
Palm Springs was a boom town with golf courses appearing everywhere; exciting nightclubs, stores, restaurants, and hotels continued to set up shop. It seemed the most glorious days were ahead. Large tennis tournaments had become an annual affair in the desert and The Racquet Club hosted many. The Bamboo Room was “the place” to gather for their signature Bloody Mary and some down time to catch up on the latest news. Afternoon fashion shows and candlelight dinners by the pool were popular pastimes at the club.
1960s - Word of the glamour and mystique of Palm Springs spread as it developed an international reputation among the Jet Set.
In 1963, Farrell sold The Racquet Club to contractors George and Bob Alexander and Sam Firks although he continued to oversee the daily operations of the club, serving as its Managing Director until the early 1970s. Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley continued on their emergent paths while The Racquet Club played host to U.S. presidents as well as young movie stars. Several presidential conclaves took place at The Bungalows during the Kennedy administration.
1970s through Today - Charlie Farrell, known to all as “Mr. Palm Springs”, continued to live at his home on the property until his death in 1990.
As the years transitioned into the new century, The Racquet Club’s bright star began to fade until the lights went out completely in 2003. But less than one year later, a new chapter would begin...
Design Build: Mueller Design Incorporated, Michael Mueller, Masters of Architecture
Project Details: Interior Design, Landscape Design, Project Management