A Backyard Bath

For those who never quite
 got into the whole 
outdoor shower thing.

November 3, 2017
la serena villas
Sixteen of the 18 rooms at La Serena Villas in Palm Springs welcome guests with a luxurious and private outdoor master bathroom patio. A nearby fire pit 
provides warmth for dripping dippers.

Maybe it’s time to drain your typical tub routine and move it outside. Rooms at La Serena Villas, a boutique hotel in Palm Springs, treat guests to an outdoor bathing concept anyone would want in their own home. On the patio of nearly every room, an outdoor claw-foot tub sits close enough to feel the warmth of a fire pit. A stool awaits within arm’s length to hold a glass of bubbly to go with your bubble bath. Soak, sip, and pass the plush robe. It’s all very Pretty Woman. Minus the Sony Walkman and Prince cassette.

Palm Springs loves a great outdoor shower. But the experience of stepping out into the garden, dropping a towel, and standing unwrapped in open air for 10 minutes — regardless of whether you’re getting sprayed clean — isn’t everyone’s idea of morning refreshment. And who knows which neighbor just bought a drone?

Tubs offer more coverage for the modest. They are as welcoming for a wake-up dip with your first cup of coffee as they are for a lavender sea-salt soak under the stars.

La Serena Villas owners Lars and Kelly Viklund, who also own the neighboring midcentury Del Marcos Hotel, envisioned romance, serenity, and relaxation across the property. They personally tested a variety of tubs to ensure one or two guests could comfortably sit without sliding. And guests have been loving the outcome: posting photos, purchasing bath goodies on-site, and filling the tubs with rose petals and champagne.

Architect May Sung received a certificate of recognition from the City of Palm Springs earlier this year for her rehabilitation of the historic hotel built in 1933. The vintage-style cast-iron tubs are an ode to its roots.

Birds travel miles to swoop down into an outdoor bath. And they know how to fly, so they must be onto something.