About The Monkey Tree Hotel
The Monkey Tree Hotel was designed in 1960 by Albert Frey and built less than a mile from the hustle and bustle of Charlie Farrell’s famous Racquet Club. The hotel was a getaway for the celebrities who wanted to have some time away from the public. Past guests at The Monkey Tree Hotel have included Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Gilda Radner and Gene Wilder, Eric Clapton, the Beatles (except for Paul), Bob Hope, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, and even a JFK and Marilyn Monroe rendezvous (guarded at the private entrance of their suite by the secret service). The Monkey Tree was sold in 1988 and changed hands over the years until the new owners purchased the property in 2015 and restored the original Monkey Tree name.
The new owners, husband and wife team Gary and Kathleen Friedle, wanted to create a destination for people like themselves: vacationers looking for a clean, spacious room; fresh, quality food; and a calm, cool atmosphere in which to unwind. This might include a workout and a massage, or it might be lounging by the pool with a book. They re-opened The Monkey Tree Hotel in 2016 with all this in mind. The smallest room on the property measures 300 sf (twice the size of other hotels in town), with the largest suite measuring 725 sf. The two largest rooms of the hotel also have their own 500+sf private patios, for the ultimate in seclusion and privacy. A continental breakfast including homemade granola and pastries is served everyday. The San Jacinto mountains, a 30-mile range of mountains with a peak of nearly 11,000 ft., are a mere 2.5 miles away. After a day of hiking, trail running, mountain biking, or rock climbing, recover in The Monkey Tree’s Scandinavian spa, which includes a sauna, whirlpool and cold plunge. Also nearby are Joshua Tree National Park, the Cabazon Outlet Stores, and the Morongo and Agua Caliente Casinos, and many opportunities to see mid-century modern Architecture.
In 1995, Albert Frey contacted the previous owners of the hotel to ask if he could come by for a visit. At the time, Frey was 92 years old and said that he had not visited the property since it was built. He rode his bike the four miles from Frey House II where he was living to the hotel wearing a white polyester pantsuit and burnt orange shirt, arriving dapper as always. As he toured the property, he shared his inspiration for the layout and design of the hotel with the current owners. Frey was fascinated by the San Jacinto Mountains and found great inspiration in them. Frey created the dramatic slanting roof lines to be in harmony with the mountains. Frey was also known for his tracking of the sun during the day to determine the best site placement. He situated the hotel courtyard to maximize the view of the inspiring mountains while sitting poolside – at the same time maximizing the light and energy from the sun.