Recreation reigns supreme in Palm Springs, providing an ideal escape. Here, the air is balmy, and an aura of relaxation permeates the region, framed by the Santa Rosa mountains, swaying palm, olive, and cypress trees, and fuchsia bougainvillea. After just one visit, the idea of a residence here becomes quite attractive—a getaway that’s always available, decorated to individual taste, with true home-away-from-home appeal.
Enter Golden State native Bill Bone. Having developed 16 country club communities, built more than 20 golf courses, more than 12,000 homes, and two resort hotels, one could call him an expert in development. His latest is Toscana Country Club, a private members’ club, located in the heart of Indian Wells, California.
“There are 84 homes on this street, but you never see the same house twice,” says Bone. He explains that the trouble with most production building is repetition, and it is for this reason he won’t build two homes of the same elevation anywhere near each other. “It makes it look like a subdivision,” he says. “When we’re done, we want to make it look like a different architect, different builder, like in the older towns and villages around.”
The knowledgeable agent of assembly first built here back in 1969. “I’ve been here 45 years, it’s changed a lot,” he says. “If I showed you an aerial photograph of what it looked like in the forties through to the nineties, you can see all the growth and development of the area. Palm Springs was started in the 1920s by people from Hollywood and Chicago.” Hollywood elite (Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra) were also known to flock to the desert city. Bone credits two main factors with the development and subsequent boom of Palm Springs: the Interstate 10 highway, and the invention of air conditioning. “That was the tipping point,” he says. “Instead of taking four or five hours to drive from Beverly Hills, going through little towns and stop signs, stop signs, stop signs, you get on the freeway and you’re there in two hours.”
“There’s something special about this place. You have to see it, then you’ll really know.”
The drive takes you through the picturesque Coachella Valley, which is prime territory for health and wellness enthusiasts. Off-property, cyclists tackle challenging rides like Thousand Palms and Box Canyon, and on-site, Toscana resort features two Jack Nicklaus golf courses (both 18-hole championship circuits) and four tennis courts, one of which is clay. The facilities are dedicated to the founder of the Indian Wells Masters tennis tournament, Charlie Pasarell, who is also a member at Toscana. “He really put Coachella Valley on the map, tennis-wise,” says Bone. “This is the fifth big major, right behind the Grand Slams.”
For Toscana members, the time to visit is October through the end of May, before the intense heat arrives with the summer months. “People buy here because of the lifestyle,” says Bone. Other club-organized activities include bird-watching, trips to Los Angeles for shopping or sporting events, even travels abroad—a bike trip to France for 20 people sold out after three days.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Toscana, as development first began in 2004, but building is still in progress. Bone hopes to be completed in about six more years (the final development will house 652 properties total). “There’s something special about this place,” Bone smiles. “You have to see it, then you’ll really know.”