Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Erawan Garden Hotel - Indian Wells, California




The Erawan Garden Hotel was constructed in 1963 in the City of Indian Wells, California, just down the road from Palm Springs in the Cochella Valley.




Image from the book Palm Springs Holiday


The Erawan was not Polynesian themed, it had a Far East design with some roadside flair added in. It advertised itself as the 'Luxury of the Orient'. The hotel included fourteen 2-story bungalows, a restaurant (Cambodia Dining Room) and a Lounge (Moongate Lounge). This fantastic signage looks like it had a gas torch at the top to light at night.






The color scheme of the Erawan was so simple and beautiful. The Hotel sat on 11 acres and included landscaped gardens and gas tiki torches between each of the bungalow buildings.







The Earwan operated for 34 years until it was purchased in 1996 by Marcus Hotels & Resorts. Marcus closed the hotel for a major refurbishment and reopened the doors a year later as the Miramonte Resort & Spa.




The Miramonte Resort today as an upscale Mediterranean Resort



At the time of the refurbishment, then Mayor of Indian Wells, Mr. Walter McIntyre, stated that "The heritage that was the Erawan will be displayed through renderings and photographs at City Hall."

I wonder if those images still hang on the wall of City Hall? I would love to see artist renderings and additional photos of this fantastic midcentury roadside marvel. Any readers of this blog live in the Coachella Valley?

19 comments:

  1. Perhaps there is an archive file at Indian Wells City Hall but the pictures on the wall of the lobby reflect the people who formed the city to avoid being the tax base for a Palm Desert city incorporation. There is a Historical Preservation Society working to keep memories of Indian Wells alive.

    The Erawan was a great place. I used to get my haircut by the barber there. Hadn't thought of it in years.

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  2. Hi there -- love your blog! I used to live in a nearby town and frequent Palm Springs/Palm Desert with my grandparents when I was a child in the late 60s and 70s. I just posted the postcard above from my collection onto Flickr and added a little history from my research: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24047957@N06/5751395727

    Cheers and.... Aloha!

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  3. I grew up in Indio in the 70's and 80's and remember going to the Erawan to have my hair done and in December to visit Santa and his reindeer. I now live in Colorado and spend two weeks every year at the Miramonte...Absolutely LOVE it!

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  4. I have old matchbooks from the Erawan!!!!!

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  5. My Dad, Frank Wylie played in a band there in the late 60's early 70's. Does anyone remember this band. The leader was Chico Vasquez.

    I'm trying to put together info on my family since my dad passed away when me and my brother were very young.

    Thanks Liz Wylie Lockie

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    1. Of course! Chico Vasquez was the bandleader, Frank(Grace?) was the drummer and my dad, Chris Abelardo was the bass player there. Good old days!

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    2. Back to the band members...I wasn't sure of all the members in the band or even the name of the group.

      I know it is customary to "sit in" for others as well.

      I did come across a very nice photo of the group, I could email a photo of the band if your are interested.

      Thanks again,
      Liz Wylie Lockie

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  6. I grew up in Indian Wells from 1975-1984, The Erawan Hotel was awesome for us few bored teens with nothing to do in a mostly senior retirement neighborhood, we used to pool hop , jacuzzi, terrorize the place on bikes, pick up on out of town girls and even managed to "find" free bottles of booze on occasion. Our ultimate dream was to try to skateboard the front double A-frame roof like a giant half-pipe, but nobody was ever brave enough to try. To young at the time to fully appreciate the decor, with tiki torches, wooden bridge over the pools, and a fire breathing dragon statue in the restaurant lounge and the main front sign with its giant torch burning 24/7. I remember Baby Buddha's band played their lounge often, a local valley nightclub celebrity in the 70's & 80's. It was a great time to live in the desert, it had a much smaller town feel. I miss those days!

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    1. Hey 3D Burns, I lived in Indian Wells from 1972 to 2001?? I was 12 when I moved there. So, who are you?

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  7. I remember the joint!

    It was during my disaster movie phase and I would fling myself off the pool bridge pretending to be in EARTHQUAKE. We stayed there over new years and my parents wouldnt let me go to the celebration in the lounge as I was just a kid. I thought the lighting fixtures on the cielings looked like a mini version of those in THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE. So I called my parents before midnight and told them my lil sister had drowned in the pool. They came running back to the room. Boy, Mom was not amused!!!!

    I remember the fire breathing dragon and would love to see a picture of it.

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  8. I stayed at the Marijuana Garden (as my coworkers called it) many times during the 80's, but I can't say that I liked it. It had kind of a creepy Brady Bunch vibe, and while the rooms were clean, they were threadbare and somebody had drawn in the genitalia on all the murals of deities that adorned a wall of each room. They attempted to update the amenities at one point, by installing a plastic bathtub liner...but water got trapped between the tub and the liner, making it hard to stand on. I would have been happier if they had fixed the low water pressure instead. I had the misfortune of staying there during spring break one year...the noise from the partiers wasn't stopped by the thin walls at all. On the plus side, I encountered Scatman Crothers eating his breakfast one morning, and sunsets on the desert were magical, oh, and the dragon in the lobby was cool too.

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    1. There's always a Debbie Downer in the bunch...thanks for your uplifting contribution at 1:22 AM.

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  9. I frequently worked at the Erawan as a musician in the 1970s and was booked by Al Anthony. I remember Chris Abelardo was a good friend. We worked together at the Palm Springs Racquet Club together for a season. I was with Chris at a senior center in Palm Springs the day we lost him. He was a fine musician.

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  10. Hi! Thanks for the great information you havr provided! You have touched on crucuial points!
    hotels

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  11. Used to love staying at the Irawan Gardens with my parents in the mid 70s. My parents must have loved the Asian motif because I remember when we stayed there, we'd go out to a nearby Cantonese Style restaurant called House Of Bamboo on Hwy 111. My parents ordered Tiki drinks and pupu platters to complete the genre.

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  12. Does anyone have a photo of the Dragon that used to be in the lobby?

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  13. What memories, my family owned a house at Casa Dorado that was a weekend house, and going to the hotel was always a high point. Such a special area, especially since I now live in upstate NY.

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  14. We stayed there the second week of June June for 5 years ( 1974-1978)for the City of Gardena's Golf Tournament. I can't rmember having a better time anywhere (though it was a bit hot and the last week the hotel was open before they closed down for the summer.)

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  15. Was the Erawan still a great place to stay in 1986 or was it beginning to get run down?

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