Intelligencer – August 2008

Janice Kleinschmidt. Arts & Entertainment

Happy Tails

Hilton Hotels has partnered with Weimaraner photographer William Wegman and Crypton Super Fabrics (noted for its dog beds with stain-, water-, and microbial-resistant fabrics) to offer pet hospitality. In addition to the Wegman-designed pillows, dogs and family members traveling with them will appreciate the placemat, food and water bowls, and take-away Crypton totes (with organic treats; biodegradable waste bags; travel-sized disinfectant, deodorizer, and cleaner; and a Hilton pet collar tag). All pet-friendly rooms will be deep cleaned after each pet guest checks out. Participating hotels (including Palm Springs Hilton) also will offer pet concierge service with information about local dog parks, pet boutiques, grooming services, and more.

A Yacht to

Jack Sternlieb, M.D., retired in 2001, leaving Rancho Mirage for Hollywood, Fla., after having opened The Heart Institute of the Desert in 1985 and the Heart Hospital in 1996. Now he’s making waves as the designer and owner of the Star Sapphire yacht, which he navigates around sun-drenched islands in the Aegean and Mediterranean with Kathy Smith and a crew of five. Their 100-day summer odyssey included stops in Greece and Turkey

The Whole Package

The second release of Clase Azul Ultra premium tequila has begun (50 are released in Mexico and 50 in the United States). The U.S. bottles will sell for $1,900 to $2,000 — the price based in large part on the numbered, handmade ceramic decanters that reportedly take 40 days and three artists to produce. The bottle features a pure silver medallion by Leon Fernandez, hand-painted with pure platinum by Tomas Saldivar, and 24K gold label — topped by a pewter cap and placed in a wooden case handmade by Fernando Tanaka. A third of the profits from the first 100 bottles were donated to nonprofits in Jalisco, Mexico.

Palm Springs’ first full-service restaurant built from the ground up in 20 years claims the site of a hotel that stood 30 years ago (more recently raw land north of Vista Chino) at 2080 N. Palm Canyon Drive. Its name is shorter than its description: Dink’s.

The appellation began as an acronym for Double Income No Kids, but transformed into a mysterious persona with the possessive apostrophe.

“Dink’s means a lifestyle,” says partner Michaels Owings. “It’s about enjoying life.”

He, Denny Edwards, and Darrell Kelley want to shake up the dining and nightlife scene with their self-described retro-style restaurant and ultra-lounge scheduled to open this month.

The main bar and dining area will seat up to 150 people. Four private/VIP booths (each seating six to eight people) will be equipped with TV monitors that allow the occupants to see what’s going on outside their drapes or to watch special broadcasts such as the Olympics, fashion shows from Paris, and the Super Bowl.

Customers outside the private booths can view the broadcasts on 42-inch monitors over the bar. But the jewel-glass bar top with a dancing light effect is more likely to captivate anyone sitting around the island bar. “It is a very sexy thing,” Kelley says.  More lighting effects appear behind the stage, where illuminated Swarovski crystals give the 15-foot wall a three-dimensional look.

The 3,000-square-foot, climate-controlled patio is furnished with pillowed couches and koa wood tables with glass tops. A bronze Lexan roof retracts to open the patio to the sky, and sliding 14-foot windows merge the inside and outside. “We have a 12-month patio that we can use,” Owings says. In addition to seating for 150 on the main patio, pods on the perimeter offer a quieter space for private conversations.

As for food, Owings — an executive chef and builder of 2,000 restaurants worldwide, including Sweet Water Prime Seafood in Las Vegas and The Winery in Tustin — has created an extensive menu of made-from-scratch foods covering international cuisine, including Caribbean, Pan-Asian, Italian, Southwestern, and traditional dishes of Louisiana. “The place is set up for sharing of food,” he says, adding that even salads are made to be shared. “This is not a fine dining facility. This is about flavors, food, fun — and it’s about affordable prices.”

The partners intend Dink’s to be a hip hangout where people dressed in “resort classical style” gather with friends over lunch, dinner, and drinks. To create such a restaurant from the ground up allowed them the freedom to use their imaginations to the fullest — and to project their concept from the outside in.

“Palm Springs has beautiful modern and post-modern architecture,” says Walid Saba, president of Industrial Design House Inc., the building designer. “We wanted to make sure Dink’s becomes an icon and complements the overall history of Palm Springs.” The design deftly juxtaposes exposed steel, wood, and glass. The partners also want to be as green as possible, so they decided to add $180,000 to their already considerable investment for solar cells. Edwards expects solar energy to produce enough electricity to run Dink’s, except in the hottest months of July and August.