The forgotten past of Rancho Mirage reveals it once had an airport.

Here is an interesting and little known bit of history related to the Rancho Mirage area.

Back in 1946, famed LA architect, Hank Gogerty acquired over 300 acres of land just northeast of where Highway 111 intersects with what we know today as Bob Hope Drive in the present-day Rancho Mirage (on the exact site of what is now the Omni Rancho Las Palmas & Rancho Las Palmas Country Club).

In 1951, he opened his Desert Air Hotel. A getaway oasis featuring cottages, dining and leisure activites. The site offered an array of recreational activities such as horse riding, pool lounging, barbecues, and more.

Desert Air

The Hotel even had it's own airfield known as the "Palm Desert Airpark" and quickly gained traction among aviation enthusiasts and Hollywood stars, including the likes of Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, and James Stewart. The hotel's growing fame later prompted the addition of another runway. Guests relished the luxury of landing their planes adjacent to the hotel's eatery and then strolling over to their chic accommodations, rubbing shoulders with iconic figures like Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, and even presidents like Eisenhower and Nixon.

The Hotel had a tagline of "Fly In! Drive In!"

Desert Air

The hotel was featured prominently in the 1963 movie: Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World which was filmed at the airpark. As well as in the 1950s TV sitcom, "The Bob Cummings Show".

It closed for good in 1968.

Don't miss our retro vintage T-Shirt featuring the Desert Air Hotel, Cottages & Airpark!

Desert Air Hotel and Cottages

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