Party people arriving at Palm Springs' new Saguaro Hotel on Sunday afternoon were greeted with a mellow pool party scene that made it easy to forget that one of the country's most massive music festivals was taking place just down the road.
Eight-dollar margaritas, ample parking at the hotel, no lines to get in and no lines for the bathroom were among the perks on the sunniest day of the first Coachella weekend. And while KCRW DJ Garth Trinidad laid down the beats, tattooed revelers floated lazily around the luxurious pool.
However, it soon became apparent that the festival party glitterati -- the ones who make it their life's mission to be at the weekend's coolest throw-downs -- were confused by how easy it was to get in. They had come in their most ragged and minuscule Daisy dukes and donned their skinniest headbands and tiniest cut-off shirts, but the event staff didn't even pretend to look them up on the list they thought it essential that they RSVP to last week.
"Come on, we're going to the Lacoste party," said a girl in the bathroom, wearing what looked to be a three-piece suit (it's hard to explain).
There she would be faced with crushing lines that would make it nearly impossible for her to meet the basic requirements of the party lifestyle -- namely get in and get a drink. But she would feel like someone when she finally did get in. (What's that line about not wanting to be a part of a club that would have you as a member? Yeah, it's kind of like that.)
A mile down the road at the Ace Hotel, which has long held the mantle of being one of the most reassuringly difficult parties to get into, the situation wasn't much better. While the L.A.-based club Do Over spun tunes, guests waltzed through the doors at will. Even the fashion-challenged went unchecked as evidenced by a man who literally skipped in wearing tie dye (?!) and a green bandanna.
Still the music was fresh and dance floor lively. But something was missing from this year's crop of hotel parties. Perhaps the 10-day, double-weekend festival sprawl had diluted the fierce must-party-now imperative of years past.
Whatever it was, it made it possible for just about anybody to sit by the pool.
-- Jessica Gelt
Photo: The scene at the Saguaro Hotel on Sunday. Credit: Jessica Gelt / Los Angeles Times