Not the Betty Ford Center

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, entrance

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, entrance

During my term as AIGA president, I discovered that I had three favorite tasks: calling people to tell them they had been awarded the Medal, meeting chapter leaders across the entire country, and picking the spot for the annual board retreat. Now before anyone gets in a huff about AIGA board members living high on the hog, this retreat is on everyone’s personal dime. It gives the board a chance to sit down and do some hard work together. As a California grown president I felt it was important to have our retreat in Palm Springs, just like Presidents Ford, Nixon, and Reagan. I chose the Parker Hotel. Formerly Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch and Merv Griffin’s Givenchy Resort and Spa, the Parker Palm Springs is a smallish hotel designed by Jonathan Adler.

I’d seen the Bravo reality show, Welcome to the Parker, and I thought it would be too chic-alors, and hip. I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, there were the standard Hollywood types who were very hip and groovy, but the Parker staff was down to earth and friendly. Nobody frowned at my madras shirts. In the end, I felt bad that I chose a beautiful sunny spot, and then forced the board to sit in a dark meeting room all day. But we finished each day with some quick time at the pool, and making s’mores and marshmallows by the fire pit in the evening. Being very trailer trash, and needing to save money, I smuggled in a bag of liquor from the local supermarket. Hey, the drinks at the bar were expensive. It was only slightly embarrassing to be mixing my favorite cocktail, Rum or Bombay Gin with Fresca while we toasted the marshmallows. The always elegant Debbie Millman now has the heavy responsibility (I mean this, it’s true) of the AIGA presidency. Debbie has good taste and is a well-raised person and I’m sure she will move the board away from Albertson Grocery runs for Fresca.

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, guest room

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, guest room

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, the fire pit where the s'mores happened

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, the fire pit where the s'mores happened

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, cafe

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, cafe

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, pool. I need the pagoda umbrellas.

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, pool. I need the pagoda umbrellas.

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, lobby

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, lobby

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, front desk. I love big keys.

Parker Hotel, Palm Springs, front desk. I love big keys.

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7 Responses to “Not the Betty Ford Center”

  1. debbie millman Says:

    The Parker Hotel is now my favorite hotel in the entire universe thanks to you. I am spoiled for anything else, ever!

  2. Ryan Fitzgibbon Says:

    You are far from trailer trash, Sean.
    I loved Welcome to the Parker. Thanks for reminding me to put it on my “places to visit before I die” list.

  3. marian bantjes Says:

    But what’s with that crazy “Periodicals” sign?!

  4. Florence Haridan Says:

    I have actually been to the Betty Ford Center… I was on a leadership retreat while I worked at Citibank, we were staying at the LaQuinta, another lovely spot.!

    Anyway, my ex and I had gone out a few days early to play…one morning we went on a tour of the date farms…yes after a morning of Mimosas.

    When we got there we started sampling the dates…well after 1-2, I went into sugar shock and passed out. Literally. When I woke up I was in a hospital bed, in a very plush room…when I asked where I was, the well coifed nurse said, “You are in the safety of the Betty Ford Center.”

    I started cracking up trying to imagine what I would tell my boss…truth prevailed.. hee hee, aside from how many mimosas I had that morning.

    This remains one of my most surreal travel experiences…a trip to Palm Springs and a side excursion to the Betty!!

  5. Lydia Mann Says:

    I favor tequila with my Fresca. Just saying.

  6. Gunnar Swanson Says:

    You mixed them? Like in a glass? If you were really who you claim, you’d just alternate gulps of liquor and fresca from the bottles. It’s all going to the same place anyhow.

  7. Sean Says:

    OMG what a great idea, a Fresca and Rum bong