The Terra Cotta Inn of Palm Springs, California, US
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Newsletter - August 1999


PALM SPRINGS, CA -- As the 20th Century comes to a close, this Southern California resort's casual, friendly atmosphere and extensive array of modernist architecture have made it blazingly "hip" again.   The town that was a famous retreat for celebrities, royalty, politicians, artists and millionaires in the early 1930s to 1960s is being  rediscovered.

And for the guests relaxing by the pool at The Terra Cotta Inn, a clothing optional resort and spa, this historic inn provides a pampering experience and re-creation of the good life that has made Palm Springs so famous.

A private, 17-room hideway designed by modernist architect Albert Frey in 1960, The Terra Cotta Inn is nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood five minutes from downtown Palm Springs.  In years past, it was a celebrity retreat named the Monkey Tree, and was a favorite of such Hollywood stars as Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball and Spencer Tracy.

In 1995, husband and wife Mary Clare and Tom Mulhall bought the property and renamed it, The Terra Cotta Inn.  In what the Mulhalls call "a wonderful coincidence," Albert Frey, who lived in Palm Springs until his death in 1998, saw a story in the local newspaper about the new clothing optional hotel.  "He came to visit," says Tom, "and he was a charming gentleman.  He told us that he and his family used to go nude sunbathing at Ile du Levant in France when he was small.  He was delighted with what we were doing and wished us well."

Frey, who was born in Switzerland, was considered a contemporary of architects Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright.  He came to Palm Springs in the early 1930s and was responsible for many of the town's distinctive buildings, including City Hall, the Tramway Station and hundreds of homes and business buildings.  In a letter to Le Corbusier in 1936, he could have been writing about the city today: "I have the opportunity to practice in the exclusive location of Palm Springs, which extends into the desert, at the foot of a mountain range, not far from Los Angeles.  A winter resort 'par excellence' for the elite in business, industry and the intellect, it provides the rare pleasure of combining a magnificent natural environment with being a center for interesting and varied activies.  The sun, the pure air and the simple forms of the desert create perfect conditions for architecture."

Today, the guests at The Terra Cotta Inn say they feel like the stars must have felt back in the 50s and 60s--completely relaxed, without a care in the world and lucky enough to be in the middle of the most sought after vacation experience in years.  "Everyone gets absolute pampering," says Mary Clare Mulhall.  "We have a number of international vistors as well as many people who work in the entertainment industry in Hollywood.  Of course, because Tom and I are from Chicago, we also have many guests who come from the Midwest and East Coast."  Travelers who have previously vacationed in the Caribbean in particular enjoy the experience The Terra Cotta Inn provides, as sunbathing "au naturel" is a common recreation choice in the islands.

The Mulhalls love the attention their Albert Frey building has brought the resort, but, Tom says, "Our first, last and only concern is the comfort of our guests.  We go out of our way to take good care of them so they have a fun, relaxing vacation."

In Fact, says Tom, more than half of the guests book their return trips before they leave Palm Springs, and more than 75% of the guests on any given day are repeat visitors.  "We definitely cater to couples," says Mulhall.  "We are a place to come for a very special experience.  Guests tell us they love our extra touches such as al fresco breakfasts, misted cooled patios and poolside massages." And, because The Terra Cotta Inn is just five minutes from downtown Palm Springs, guests can take advantage of all that Palm Springs has to offer, from world-class shopping and dining, to glitzy new casinos, famous golf courses and hiking or horseback riding in the surrounding mountains.

With 350 days of sunshine each year, crystal blue skies and beautiful mountain vistas, Palm Springs is also the perfect location to work on an all over suntan year round.

For those who want to totally escape the outside world, The Terra Cotta Inn has rooms with kitchens and private patios, and catered meals can be brought in.  All guest accommodations are spacious, with cable TVs and VCRs, king-sized beds, in-room coffee service and maid service.  The garden-like setting features a heated pool and huge whirlpool spa with mountain views.  For vacationers who just can't leave the office behind, fax and business services are also available.

"Our goal is always the same, " says Mary Clare.  "We want to make our guests feel completely at home, and to make their stay here serene, luxurious and affordable."

To receive more information or to book a vacation at The Terra Cotta Inn, call 800-SUNNY-FUN (800-786-6938) or 760-322-6059, Fax 760-322-4169.  Visit The Terra Cotta on the Internet at or mail us at

For more information about the beautiful resort city of Palm Springs visit

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The Terra Cotta Inn of Palm Springs, California, US