by Julius WiedemannNov 30, 2021
Marrakech in California is what you get with Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s version of The Sands Hotel and Spa in Indian Wells. From the large palms in the gardens to the desert pink shade card and the dramatic tiling work, the designer’s intention is pretty clear.
Originally a late 1950s property, The Sands underwent quite a transformation at Bullard’s desk, with new building additions and substantial renovation on the outside as well as the inside. Renowned for his broad range of styles and eclectic interiors, the designer brought both polished fantasy and high glamour into the new design language. Each of the 46 rooms reflects the richness of his thoughtfully detailed Mid Century-meets-modern-Moroccan styling without being too overwhelming — in fact even the newly done public spaces reflect the same easy richness.
A rich, emerald green palette with deep blue tones sits bold-and-beautifully against the desert’s rose-pink backdrop. And further, the designer has cleverly used the shade on the reimagined exteriors of the building. Particularly worth mentioning here are the black, white and glass details that reign in a modern edge, giving the entire ambience a lighter affect. What could have otherwise turned into an overwhelming sort of decadence now breathes an easy timelessness into the luxurious setting. It seems as if the Rat Pack Era was reinvented for the new generation to enjoy.
One of the most stunning features that makes the rooms unforgettable is the mini bar — Bullard designed cocktail cabinets with Moroccan mashrabiya screen doors. "I love checking into a hotel where it’s got a really beautiful looking bar, whether you drink alcohol or not. It’s a welcoming moment,” said the designer. Quite like his very own signature style, the hotel displays a mix of exotic prints paired with graphic modern lines and a vivid shade card.
There is also careful attention being paid to the location and what it is famous for — imagery of the tennis and golf tournaments hosted at Indian Wells! The old tennis trophies and vintage gold memorabilia come handy to bring the high-designed spaces alive with character. The environment, on the whole, is perfect for a getaway — lounge and layered with luxury and jeweled tones. So whether it is the daybeds around the poolside or the wallpaper in the cabanas or even the tiling for the ensuite bathrooms, you can tell the attention to detail in the custom designs.
Ultimately, it is all about getting away, Bullard says. “The second you get to the San Jacinto Mountains, something blocks that energy of L.A. and you breathe a sigh of relaxation, and I want that feeling to really exist within the hotel.” And expecting the trademark old-school glamour of South California’s affluent desert communities, we are sure guests will not leave disappointed.