Former Erawan Garden luxury hotel with fire-breathing dragon designated an Indian Wells landmark

For 35 a long time right before becoming structurally redesigned to a Mediterranean Tuscan-concept, the Miramonte Resort & Spa experienced an Asian style and was regarded as the Erawan Yard Resort.

1 of its finest recognised functions was a fire-breathing dragon sculpture that at times brought firefighters out when the flame acquired also significant.

The luxury resort formally opened Dec. 21, 1962, when the city was nevertheless about 6 years from incorporation.

The lodge paid homage to Thai architecture, with swooping roofs motivated by Thai temples, and visitor lodging all with Asian-themed décor. It was named for Bangkok’s world-regarded Erawan Lodge — one particular of the 1st modern day inns in Thailand, built to accommodate the expansion of intercontinental air journey.

The hotel on the southwest corner of Highway 111 and Indian Wells Lane was dedicated as the city’s fifth historic landmark on April 27 by the Indian Wells Historic Preservation Foundation.

Adele Ruxton of the Indian Wells Historic Preservation Foundation presents a plaque to Robert Hatfield of Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa honoring the former site of the Erawan Garden Hotel as a historic landmark in Indian Wells, Calif., Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

Adele Ruxton of the Indian Wells Historic Preservation Foundation presents a plaque to Robert Hatfield of Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa honoring the previous internet site of the Erawan Garden Lodge as a historic landmark in Indian Wells, Calif., Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

The Erawan Garden Hotel in Indian Wells was designed for about $3 million and made by Willard C. Kruger of Santa Fe, New Mexico, who traveled with Thomas McMillan, president of the hotel corporation, to Bangkok “to continue to be at and study” that hotel’s features.

The hotel drew superstars such as Desi Arnaz, Bob and Dolores Hope, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, Arnold Palmer, Steve Garvey and Greer Garson, to title a handful of.

The Erawan opened in Indian Wells in December 1962, with an function that drew guests “dressed to the nines,” in accordance to the Indian Wells Historic Preservation Basis.

In 1996, the Erawan was shut following it was bought by Marcus Hotels & Resorts. It reopened a 12 months afterwards as the Miramonte Vacation resort & Spa. It has adjusted ownership a couple of extra instances above the decades, with Lowe advancement and home management business purchasing the Miramonte out of foreclosure in 2020. Lowe is now in the last phases of an believed $18 million refresh.

A area to connect with house

Numerous with personal memories of the Erawan attended the devotion, which include the son of John Garvin, the hotel’s government vice president and common manager when it opened until about 1966.

A May 1965 newspaper clipping showing former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, left, with John Garvin, general manager of the Erawan Garden Hotel. Indian Wells was not yet incorporated, and was often called "Palm Desert."

A May 1965 newspaper clipping displaying previous President Dwight D. Eisenhower, remaining, with John Garvin, common supervisor of the Erawan Back garden Hotel. Indian Wells was not however included, and was generally identified as “Palm Desert.”

Garvin, who spent much of his everyday living in the lodge business enterprise, moved his family from Los Angeles to Indian Wells around 1961 when McMillan asked him to be part of the Erawan, his son Roger Garvin recalled. The two men experienced served collectively in the Navy, he explained.

His mothers and fathers also produced a trip to Bangkok to seem at its Erawan.

The spouse and children lived at the Indian Wells hotel, in the manager’s quarters, Roger Garvin recalled.

“We lived on the next ground, proper previously mentioned in which the foyer was, for the to start with couple of a long time,” mentioned Garvin, who was about 10 several years aged when they moved to Indian Wells, and nowadays life with his spouse in La Quinta.

“Then, they rented us a dwelling suitable powering the hotel … and we lived there,” he reported.

“I bear in mind that it took a extended time to develop the hotel,” he reported, and the relatives lived in Rancho Mirage even though it was less than construction. “My dad was on the development web-site each individual day.”

He remembered the opening occasion with Hollywood superstars and well-acknowledged specialist athletes, and previous President Dwight D. Eisenhower coming by.

When it opened, the Erawan Garden’s most important making provided resort offices and included 11 guest units, a roomy eating room, cocktail lounge, six stores, and two banquet rooms accommodating up to 250 individuals, according to information from the Historic Preservation Foundation.

The big guest lodging were structured in 3 17-device and five 10-unit buildings distribute out on Asian-themed landscaped grounds with on-website parking accommodatin
g 202 cars and trucks.

Gasoline tiki torches adorned each and every of the bungalow buildings. While currently the Thai-influenced style could be seen as an instance of “cultural appropriation,” at the time the layout responded to the Hollywood-motivated, common demand from customers for novelty, preservation members reported in the historic commitment system.

The hotel layout was significantly distinctive from now, but Garvin said the ground prepare is a great deal the exact.

“The pool is in the same place and the (guest place) bungalows are in the identical location, but that’s about it,” he mentioned.

“The décor at the Erawan was Asian … but there was also a Hawaiian impact,” Garvin claimed.

Development in Indian Wells was sparse at the time.

“There have been residences behind the resort, but together (Freeway 111) there was very little,” Garvin recalled. “There was either sand or day groves – loads and a lot of date groves – but really different” from today.

‘Impressively elegant’

The Erawan Garden Hotel opened in 1962 in what is now the location of the Miramonte Resort & Spa in Indian Wells.

The Erawan Garden Hotel opened in 1962 in what is now the area of the Miramonte Vacation resort & Spa in Indian Wells.

The Erawan neighbored the Desi Arnaz Western Hills Resort, now the Indian Wells Vacation resort Lodge, created by Arnaz, and Eldorado Region Club, the place previous President Eisenhower and initially woman Mamie Eisenhower lived part-time.

Like Indian Wells, neighboring metropolitan areas Palm Desert and La Quinta have been even now unincorporated.

Lots of who attended the historic perseverance ceremony shared personal stories of experiences at the Erawan, such as some who recalled Santa Claus and his stay reindeer viewing the hotel to mark the Christmas season in the early decades.

Developer Dick and Jan Oliphant have been among those people who attended. He served on the Metropolis Council for many many years, and was mayor 1984 to 1992.

“Jan and I went to the hotel’s November 1st (1962) comfortable opening. It was stunning but chaotic with lots of celebs from the songs earth in attendance,” Oliphant wrote in the dedication software.

“The carpet was not concluded and there have been workmen everywhere you go. The bar and eating space were entire. Every person was dancing and obtaining a terrific time,” he wrote.

“Indeed, the hotel’s options ended up one of a kind. I’ll never ever forget about that fire-respiration dragon on the west end of the eating space and these big palm-shaped followers swinging more than the room’s total length. That hotel was impressively tasteful,” Oliphant mentioned.

When increasing up in the Coachella Valley, a vacation to the Erawan was often a treat, Indian Wells Mayor Professional Tem Donna Griffith stated.

“I recall fondly, viewing in awe, the fire-breathing dragon. Some site visitors generally referred to the hotel s a Polynesian design, when in actuality it was Asian-themed with beautiful murals, silk wallpaper, artwork and yard topiary,” Griffith mentioned.

As a teenager in the early 1980s, Griffith wrote in the plan that she bought all over city in her 1962 Volkswagen Bug and would repeated the Erawan pool.

“The pool had the coolest pink bridge over the middle, connecting it from aspect to aspect. I often felt transported to an exotic locale when I was on the Erawan grounds. It certainly was an oasis in the center of the valley, a area very well-recognized to locals and website visitors from afar,” she mentioned.

Historic Preservation Basis President Adele Ruxton turned engaged to her husband of 46 several years at the resort.

“Edward Ruxton proposed marriage to me at the Erawan Back garden in May 1964,” she recalled. “It was quite a shock. We married on December 28, 1964. The relaxation is historical past.”

The other four Historic Preservation Basis landmark designations in Indian Wells are:

  • Quantity 1: Cavanagh Adobe, crafted in 1922

  • Selection 2: Beck Adobe, built in 1932

  • Variety 3: Desi Arnaz Western Hills Hotel (now the Indian Wells Resort Resort), designed in 1957

  • Quantity 4: Crank-Garland residence, constructed in 1961 by architect William F. Cody for actress Beverly Garland and her partner Fillmore Crank

Desert Sun reporter Sherry Barkas covers the metropolitan areas of La Quinta, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert. She can be attained at Adhere to her on Twitter @TDSsherryBarkas

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Solar: Previous lodge with fire-breathing dragon now an Indian Wells landmark

Karen J. Simmons

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