Cree Estate, Palm Springs, CA, 92234

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Many Palm Springs residents know of pioneer Raymond Cree only because a local school is named after him. In fact, Cree was one of the area’s most important developers who recognized early on the exciting potential of the Coachella Valley’s wide open spaces and captivating beauty. One of Cree’s spectacular contributions is the lavish hacienda he built back in the 1930s as his own private hideaway. Sprawled over two and a half acres of lush landscaping, the Cree Estate captures the simplicity and warmth of old-fashioned Mexican architecture, while artfully incorporating modern amenities in a way that makes them seem as apropos as the Spanish red-tile roof. For your most important celebration, this embodiment of Old World charm can become your personal desert paradise.

A grand Spanish fountain greets guests as they approach the large driveway that circles around a grassy island. Orange and apricot trees filter the sunlight alongside a cluster of lofty palms—an impressive 78 of those graceful emblems of the desert are scattered over the grounds. The hacienda is a genuine all-adobe home, and the front wall has cunning miniature alcoves that showcase antique statuary. A wrought-iron gate leads to a wide lawn just right for a wedding ceremony, and a vine-covered arbor along one side makes a picturesque aisle. Whitewashed adobe walls decked with autumn-hued lantana enclose the grass, and include two old wooden doors, delightfully weathered and worn, that evoke a sense of timelessness and tradition.

Delicate tree branches form a natural archway from the ceremony site to an attractive poolside plaza, adorned with several patches of emerald lawn. A black-bottomed swimming pool, one of two on the estate, features a tiled border reminiscent of an intricately embroidered ribbon. In the first rays of twilight guests savor their glasses of bubbly amidst stone benches and classical statuary, accompanied perhaps by the stirring strains of a Spanish guitar.

Stepping-stones lead to the gently rolling greens of the reception area, highlighted by the dramatic main swimming pool. One of the largest and most beautiful pools in all of Palm Springs, it is elaborately tiled in Catalina blue, and has both a spa and waterfall. It has the look of a tropical lagoon, enhanced by its curving shape, a swim-up bar, and birdcages and lanterns strung from surrounding trees. Twinkle lights on the trees, candles and floral displays afloat in the water, and a lifelike statue resembling Michelangelo’s David further heighten the exotic ambiance. Near the pool a built-in dance pavilion inspires guests to tango in the moonlight. If anyone is feeling sporting, a lighted tennis court is also at hand, and some brides add astroturf and a tent in order to hold their reception courtside.

The best way to appreciate all of the Cree Estate’s attractions is to book the entire place for a wedding weekend. With six bedrooms, three kitchens and a formal dining room, the Cree can effortlessly take you from rehearsal dinner to post-wedding brunch. The estate’s interior décor has an authentic Mission quality, and the living room’s rustic wood-beam ceiling, whitewashed brick walls, and hearth all create a mood of intimacy. Romance is in the air in the Bridal Suite, where a skylight invites the newlyweds to “wish upon a star,” and the scent of burning logs in the fireplace kindles earthy desires.

At the Cree you and your guests can party in style and then unwind, enveloped by the estate’s romantic atmosphere. Why not take your cue from the many Hollywood couples who’ve stayed here and make the Cree Estate your own love nest?



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