Tag Archives: Desert Hot Springs Motel

Celebrate John Lautner in Palm Springs this February!

Palm Springs Modernism Week is celebrating John Lautner this year, by dedicating a sidewalk star to him and offering several other Lautner-related events. Most of the events take place on Friday, February 17, 2017, the day after Modernism Week officially begins. Here is your itinerary, should you choose to attend:

Elrod Residence, Palm Springs

Begin with The Visionary John Lautner, a lecture by Alan Hess at the Annenberg Theatre inside the Palm Springs Art Museum.  The lecture is from 10 – 11 am; tickets are $12 each.

Appropriately following at 11:30 in the same place is Arthur Elrod = Diamonds are Forever, a lecture by Adele Cygelman. Cygelman will demonstrate that Elrod in his own right was a designer of lasting value. The event ends at 12:30; tickets are $12 each.

Next on what has informally become known as “Lautner Day” is the dedication of the star.  The star will be inset in Palm Canyon Drive outside the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center. There will be brief presentations by special guests and light refreshments afterwards. The event is free and there are no reservations.

Hotel Lautner

The star was one of the goals of Karol Lautner Peterson, who headed The John Lautner Foundation from its inception in 1995 to her death in August 2015. We of the Foundation Board are especially pleased that the architecture and preservation groups in Palm Springs worked so hard to make it happen.

Bette Jane Cohen, Roban Poirier, and Judith Lautner at the memorial celebration for Karol Lautner Peterson in 2015.

The final event of Lautner Day is the screening of Bette Cohen’s wonderful documentary, The Spirit in Architecture: John Lautner, at the Annenberg Theatre at 4:30 – 6:00 pm. Tickets are $10 each.  The film is the 25th anniversary edition, newly updated and remastered from the original 1991 film by Bette Cohen. The screening is dedicated to Bette, who died in October 2016. Bette’s co-producer, Evelyn Wendel, will introduce the film. (See an account of the making of the original film, written by Cohen.)

While this list of events completes Lautner Day, there is still more.

On Sunday, February 19, Hotel Lautner will offer tours of the remodelled Desert Hot Springs Motel at 10 am, 11:15 am, and 12:30 pm. Visitors will be able to tour two of the units. Tickets are $50 each, a portion of which will be donated to the John Lautner Foundation. Members of the Foundation Board of Directors and volunteers will be at a table at the event, offering DVDs of Infinite Space and Tributes for sale and answering questions about Lautner’s work.

That night is a party with a purpose: Hotel Lautner – A Night for Preservation. Hotel owners Tracy Beckmann and Ryan Trowbridge will host another tour of the hotel and will introduce founders Ron Woodson and Jaime Rummerfield of Save Iconic Architecture (SIA). Proceeds will benefit SIA. Tickets are $125 each, 21-and-over only.

And finally, on Wednesday, February 22, Tracy Beckmann, co-owner of Hotel Lautner, will present what she has learned from renovating the Desert Hot Springs Motel (original name). Beckmann will speak at the Palm Springs Woman’s Club  from 3-4 pm. The event is free but reservations are recommended.

Other lectures and tours include mention of Lautner, including, among others, some of the bus tours, California Modernism, and Claremont Modern.

Modernism Week has become a popular more-than-a-week event and some activities sell out early. Get your tickets now!

Foundation Present at Tours

The Hotel Lautner (Desert Hot Springs) offered tours during Palm Springs Modernism Week, on Monday, February 17, 2014. The hotel owners invited board members of The John Lautner Foundation to be present during the tours, to offer information about the Foundation and to offer DVDs, Tributes, and memberships for sale. Hotel owners will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Foundation as well.

The tours were well attended. There were many positive comments about the improvements the owners made to the hotel.  The Foundation table was busy all afternoon with sales and greetings. Among the many distinguished guests were Leonard Malin (original client for the chemosphere) and his daughter Mary Ann Malin Rollison. A quick view of what guests saw:

Entry to Unit 1
Entry to Unit 1
Inside Unit 4
Inside Unit 4
Small pool at rear
Small pool at rear
Outdoor table and seating areas
Outdoor table and seating areas
Area where future events structure will be located
Area where future events structure will be located

Contact the owners for reservations or with questions through the hotel website at http://www.hotellautner.com.

Hotel Lautner Tours Part of Modernism Week

The Hotel Lautner (aka Desert Hot Springs Motel) is offering three different tours on February 17, 2014:

Tour 1: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm  – $50

Tour 2: 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm – $50

Tour the hotel, check out the planned event space

VIP Twilight Tour: 4:30 – 6:00  –  $75

Tour the hotel and event space, meet the owners, enjoy appetizers and wine

VIP Twilight Tour & Dinner: 4:30 pm – 9:00 pm  –  $125

Twilight tour plus four-course tasting and wine pairing at the new Essense restaurant at the Two Bunch Palms Resort

Questions? Call 760-837-1800 ext 200.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit The John Lautner Foundation. Reserve your space through Modernism Week
HL MW postcard finalii

Come to the Hotel Lautner Open House February 19

**UPDATE Feb. 14, 2012: This event is SOLD OUT. Those who have purchased tickets for the open house and are on the waiting list for dinner will remain on the waiting list (for dinner) until we know whether there will be seating available. There is no waiting list for the open house.**

On Sunday, February 19, the Hotel Lautner (formerly known as the Desert Hot Springs Motel) will open from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. The hotel owners, Tracy Beckmann and Ryan Trowbridge, will be there to chat and answer questions, along with members of the Board of Directors of The John Lautner Foundation.

Visitors will have an opportunity to include a three-course dinner that same night at the legendary Two Bunch Palms in Desert Hot Springs  or a one-year membership to the Foundation for an extra charge.

Space is limited so make your reservations now! The details:

Hotel Lautner Tour
Date: Sunday, February 19, 2012
Time: 3:00PM – 5:00PM
Location: Hotel Lautner – 67710 San Antonio Street, Desert Hot Springs [See map below]
Space is limited. Note our sponsors below, who have made it possible for the Foundation to benefit from this event.


$25 for tour
$50 for tour and one year membership in the John Lautner Foundation
$55 tour and dinner*
$80 tour, membership and dinner*

* A THREE COURSE DINNER includes all three courses, gratuities and taxes
in the legendary Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa
67425 Two Bunch Palms Trail, Desert Hot Springs, CA [See map below]

Seatings: 5:30, 6:00 and 6:30 pm February 19. ***UPDATE: Dinners are sold out, but there is a waiting list in case tables open up for more. ***

Register here: Note that there aren’t any actual tickets. There will be a check-in desk at the hotel.

Proceeds benefit the John Lautner Foundation, a 501 (c) nonprofit organization.


View Larger Map


View Larger Map


Desert Hot Springs Motel Reopens

Motel exterior. Photograph by Karol Lautner Peterson

On March 4, 2011, Tracy Beckmann and Ryan Trowbridge welcomed guests to the newly renovated Desert Hot Springs Motel, designed by John Lautner in 1947. The motel is now surrounded by a protective wall and includes a small relaxation pool at the rear. Inside the wall is desert planting similar to that inside each unit.

Just three of the four units are available right now. The owners have had to contend with torrential rains that flooded all of the units,which set back their plans. New drains have been installed and the ground elevation modified to avoid any further flooding.

Tracy Beckmann and Ryan Trowbridge outside the motel. Photograph by Judith Lautner

For more information visit the hotel’s website.

Interior of one unit. Photograph by Judith Lautner

Motel’s new owners look forward

Tracy Beckmann and Ryan Trowbridge inside a motel unit. Photo by Judith Lautner

Tracy Beckmann, interior designer, is realizing a dream from years ago, when she first saw the Sheats-Goldstein residence in Los Angeles. She promised herself at that time that she would one day own a Lautner building. And now she does. After a lengthy escrow she finally took possession of the Desert Hot Springs Motel, previously owned by Steve Lowe, who died unexpectedly in 2007.

The four-unit motel was designed for Hollywood film producer Lucien Hubbard and completed in 1947. Original plans for the motel included pools and additional four-unit buildings. The pools were built but later torn down. The additional units were never built. Eventually the motel was sold and converted to apartments. It was sold in 2000 to Steve Lowe, who then returned it to its original use, outfitting the rooms with clean period furniture. The motel became a destination point for many architectural fans as well as a retreat for the weary and the recently married. The rooms provide protection from the elements yet a connection to the beauty, light, and air outside.

From Desert Hot Springs Motel
Interior of one unit showing private garden and wall beyond windows. Photo by Jan-Richard Kikkert

Tracy and her partner, Ryan Trowbridge, who designs and builds furniture, have some ambitious plans for the motel. They plan to renovate baths and kitchens, neither of which have much of the original in them, replace the air conditioners that were installed inside the private gardens when the units were converted to apartments, and possibly replace the framed windows with frameless glass. On property next door to the motel they plan to add pools as well as a small reception building for management and visitors. To protect the motel and its users from the elements and unwanted intruders, they want to build a wall around the entire site, creating a “compound”. The wall would be of the same design as the angular wall that now exists.

Tracy and Ryan are interested in restoration as well as renovation. They are looking for clues to the original colors of the building (and especially of the steel supports, painted orange by Steve Lowe) and are researching other details that they would like to restore. One important detail is the removal of the residence immediately adjacent to and behind the motel. This residence was constructed a few years ago and looms above the low-lying motel, an unwanted presence that Steve Lowe unsuccessfully tried to prevent. Tracy and Ryan expect to live in the house while renovating the motel, after which they will remove the house from the site.

The John Lautner Foundation will stay in touch with the new owners and offer assistance and guidance when requested.

Tracy plans to reopen the motel in 2010, coinciding with the opening of the Hammer exhibit on John Lautner at the Palm Springs Desert Museum. More information on this motel renovation will be published here as plans develop.