Saturday, March 4, 2017

Rumors of War in Palm Springs!

Palm Springs has frequently been referred to with the modifying adjectives "sleepy, old" which I know to be true, having been a visitor for the past 50 years.  Of course, old houses get demolished to accommodate new ones; certainly restaurants flip owners and cuisines like a Japanese fan, but basically, PS or "the Springs" has remained largely unchanged in any major way. 

One of the biggest additions to the landscape was the Bob Hope house in 1973.  The uninitiated have to be shown where it is - atop a mountain on the northern side of Palm Canyon Drive as you head for Cat City (Cathedral City) - but once seen, it's not forgotten because it looks like a giant mushroom.  Only the swooping, mountain-colored roof is visible from down below where the peasants (us) congregate.

The house is reached by a private road that skips past a settlement of  hill-clinging beige houses, said to be the residences of the last 300 Agua Caliente Indians, the group that still owns every other acre there.  At the top are armed guards.  Or so I've been told. 

We took the Celebrity Tour once some time ago and were lucky enough to have a loquacious guide who had lived there most of his life.  He told us that the Hopes used the mountain top estate mainly for entertaining (300 dinner guests at a time out on the spacious patio.)  He went on to say, as he shifted gears, that the Hopes actually lived down on the flats.  And he showed us a pair of white cottage-y looking unassuming houses. " This is the Hope's house; this is the one they bought for their daughter."  The houses backyards adjoined.  "The Hopes wanted to be near their grandchildren," he said. 

The entertainment house has been on the market for quite some time and is being offered yet again.  If you bought it, you would get a 360 degree view of the Coachella Valley from a 22,000 sq.ft. house with six bedrooms, 10 baths and three half-baths.  Additional amenities include indoor and outdoor pools, tennis court, putting green and a immense outdoor fireplace.  $50 million. 

The Hope house sale is not what's got the residents up in arms.  AirBnB and others of that ilk have fired the opening salvos. 

The AirBnB renters often haven't been vetted by property owners sufficiently for the PS residents taste.  One woman reported that she's had to call the PSPD seven times for excessive noise.  Curses were also hurled at so-called Millennials who started buying back in '07 to prove to themselves that you could lose your job, but still have a house, a bit of logic that escapes this writer, but what the hey.  These people LOVE AirBnB and rent out their homes on a regular basis.  Snubbing the "real renters," who have the power and familiarity of long-time residence there.  There is a very real Power Group of the oldies there.  And they are wily.  En garde to the youngsters...

Meanwhile, when it finally gets warmer down there than here, we will motor stately down for a personal look-see.  We'll be at the Vagabond Inn though.  We have a house here.  I don't need to make beds, etc. down there.  Poolside with a good book is preferable.      

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