Sleeping in Albert Einstein’s Bed

IMG_2586Driving into the private secured parking lot of the historic Willows Inn, I received a warm welcome by the host and caretaker of the property, Steven Vaught. He informed me that I was walking up the same steps that Dr. Albert Einstein sauntered up in the early 1930s. He and his wife, Elsa visited the luxurious and stately Mediterranean villa four different times.

After a brief tour of the exclusive bed and breakfast, Steven led me into my spacious suite. Wouldn’t you know, my room was called, The Einstein Room. Albert Einstein slept here. Photos of the famous German-born theoretical physicist who developed the general theory of relativity, were resting on various pieces of antique furniture. Steven opened a door leading out to a private patio garden with two lounge chairs, a table, and chairs. Nearby was a 50 ft. waterfall splashing over rocks into a small pond.

Steven gave me a set of keys to open the front gate of the property, my room key and a clicker to open the parking lot security gate. Before leaving to tend to other guests, staying in this eight-room property, Steven said, “I hope you brought your bathing suit, because swimming at The Willows is a requirement.”

A dip in the pool, what a brilliant idea!  With the temperature teetering at 104 degrees, I grabbed a book and walked down to find pool all to myself. The other guests were dressing for the evening’s wine and hor’sdouver.

I could have taken a quick swim, gone back up to the house to join them all, however the pool was so private, the water was so warm and the shade so inviting, I just sat on a comfy lounge surrounded by Palm trees, Vinca flowers and desert flora. I read for about fifteen minutes, dunked in the pool for a lap of two and read again. The beauty of the Palm Springs air is that it is dry. One doesn’t sit wet for long after exiting a pool. Plush yellow towels help you dry too. I sat and wondered if Einstein ever swam here?

IMG_2638Noticing my absence upstairs, Steven arrived by my side with a tray of gourmet appetizers and a generous pour of California Pinot Noir in a plastic wine glass. He  happily answered my question about Einstein, and I learned that the good man was known to sunbathe in the nude.

For the next two hours, I enjoyed watching the sun set and the desert temperature drop. Steven appeared just when my wine glass was close to empty and filled it with more of Steven Vaught Morgan wine. He exchanged my empty plate with another filled with canapés . There was no need for me to think about dinner, I was dining poolside tonight. Ahhh, this is the life.

Finally, when I walked back to Einstein’s room, Steven told me that three guest rooms were vacant, and did I want to peek into each one. We unlocked the The Waterfall Room and a walked up the private stairway into the suite. Steven opened windows to show off the glorious views of water cascading down to the dining rooms patio. We heard frogs serenading each other. Each room in this estate is unique with a different story and personality. These rooms were enjoyed by Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Joseph P. Kennedy and Marion Davies. Miss Davies had the room with a balcony overlooking the tranquil pool.

Upton Sinclair used to enjoy staying in the Library Room with it’s shelves filled with literary treasures.

The Loft is a one-bedroom suite with a bath and one half. It overlooks the O’Donnell House that is part of this compound. This can be rented in its entirety as a four bedroom for families. The Willows is more of an adult-friendly sophisticated spot.

Back at the Einstein room I noticed a bowl of packages dried fruit, pretzels and trail mix just in case I got hungry. Each guest room includes a refrigeratorIMG_2583 with bottled water and soda and a coffee maker. Antique furniture, plush towels high quality linens and towels help one feel as if they are staying in a wealthy aunt’s historic home.

If I had wanted dinner, I could have walked across the street to the award-winning La Vallauris restaurant. If I didn’t feel like walking, the restaurant provides room service to Willow guests. There are a multitude of dining spots a block or two from The Willows, Lulu’s is one of my favorites for casual California Bistro fare.

The next morning, I walked into the stunning dining room and admired the hand painted ceiling. I sat down to an elegant three-course gourmet breakfast. We all gazed out the window to admire the stunning 50-foot waterfall while dining on half a grapefruit with a drizzle of lavender honey, house made warm scone and eggs benedict.

Upon checking out I learned that the estate is currently owned by two physicians. They hired Steven as a caretaker and to write a book about the illustrious history of the property. I look forward to learning more about the illustrious property when the book hits the shelves.

The Willows closes every year from June 2 to the first weekend after Labor Day.

SPECIAL OFFER:  Stay at The Willows Inn during the fall season in any room available for $275 a night plus tax. You will enjoy a complimentary breakfast and wine with hors d’oeuvres in the evening. This special is available from Sept. 11 through Sept. 30, 2013. It’s valid weekdays and weekends. If you stay a Friday or Saturday night, you must include a Thursday or Sunday night stay. Call (800)966-9597 to check availability. Reference booking code WILSEP or LATSEP.

You can also book a reservation and get the deal through The Willows Inn Facebook page –