Restaurateur plans smallest hotel in the world for Valley
PALM DESERT — Local restaurateur Alibaba Farzaneh plans to build the “smallest hotel in the world” — an edifice that will place either the city of Palm Desert, or neighboring Rancho Mirage on a global entertainment map.
Farzaneh told The Public Record that the “members only” Le Petite Palais will be the only single-suite hotel in existence. The 5,000 square-foot building, to be situated on terraced desert land, will also feature a gourmet restaurant with ten tables.
The first 25 persons to sign up for membership will pay $1,000 each, according to Farzaneh. The fee will then rise to $2,000 for subsequent membership offerings.
“Fourteen members have already signed up,” Farzaneh stated. The first member is Peggy Craven of Rancho Mirage, he said.
“Location for Le Petite Palais is the key,” Farzaneh remarked. “Right now, there are five possible sites in Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage. The final decision is up to the cities,” he added.
Farzaneh says the land will probably range up to one-half acre in size.
The architecture, described as a blend of Italian High Renaissance and Post Modern, has been, up to this point, designed by Farzaneh, himself.
The former engineer, who owns three popular dining establishments with his wife, Eveleene, adds that the “palace-sized bedroom suite, featuring adjoining walk-in closets with dressing areas will cost $1,500 for a one-night stay.
Other appointments planned include a Roman-style bath and shower and an oversized round bed with a hydraulic lift. The bed will rise from the suite’s floor upward to an artificial rendering of an artichoke which will open “to reveal the sum or the stars,” Farzaneh pointed out.
“The master suite will not contain a television, but a theatre with a four by six-foot screen will feature old classic movies,” he continued.
Plans also call for an outdoor private spa and patio to be ensconced one level above the suite.
The main dining room is designed to accommodate 20 guests, Farzaneh remarked. Optional “top shelf” beverages will be available including single-malt scotches, crystal vodkas and a library selection of fine wines, he said.
The ten booths in the dining room will feature high backs, giving the room the feeling of a 100 year-old French dining establishment,” Farzaneh stated.
A pianist and dancers will be situated on a slow-motion revolving dance floor. “I’ve been to Touche, Pompeii, discotheques in Los Angeles, and to note” Farzaneh declared. “I found that eight out of ten men are looking up when they dance with a woman. Most men are not dancers, so we will also have ceiling frescoes of Michaelangelo-inspired masterpieces which will animate to music,” he said. “The men will be motivated to dance.”
If a guest should be celebrating a birthday, Farzaneh says a cake, designed to resemble the main dining room will be wheeled out with candles ablaze, along with the celebrant’s favorite song, “all time” while the pianist is facing the party table.
The kitchen area will feature all-granite walls and a “kitchen island,” according to Farzaneh. The Chef’s Table will have room for eight diners, who will be able to watch as the cuisine is prepared.
“The Chef will decide on the menu,” he added.
Farzaneh said that European MasterChef Lucien Ortuno has committed to lend his expertise to Le Petite Palais for the first three months, following opening night.
He added that “mostly locals” and “hotel general managers” will probably make up the bulk of Le Petit Palais’ membership which will be limited to 250.
“This can be used as a selling tool for other hotels,” Farzaneh said. “A big ‘honcho’ visiting the desert could stay here,” he added, noting that other executives from the same company could be staying nearby at a larger resort hotel.
“We will have guests only from selected hotels,” Farzaneh emphasized, “and the general manager would be a paid member.”
Guests will be shuttled to the Le Petite Palais from the nearest secured parking area or another hotel in a 1920s Yellow Cab.
Although the taxicab ride will be free, Farzaneh says local charities will benefit. “A member’s account will be debited for five dollars and coins will be given to ‘feed’ the meter during the cab ride. One hundred percent will go to local non-profit organizations,” he remarked.
“The right side of the cab will be blackened out so when guests arrive they will exit and ‘Voila!’, there is a ‘castle’,’ Farzaneh exclaimed.
The cost to build Le Petite Palais is expected to reach $1.5 million, he said. “The city can help finance the project,” Farzaneh stated.
Civil engineering is being handled by Palm Desert-based Amir Company. A scale model of Le Petite Palais has been designed by Hamid Shenasi of the Shenasi Studio of Palm Desert.
A worldwide marketing program is in the works, according to Farzaneh. “We are working with an American Express promotion brochure of this planned hotel to all cardholders — 17 million of them,” he declared.
Farzaneh says “negotiations” to determine whether or not American Express will have an “exclusive on Le Petite Palais are still ongoing.
Alibaba and Eveleene Farzaneh own Sesame, a Mediterranean-style restaurant in La Quinta, Club 74 in Palm Desert, and the Continental Cafe in Rancho Mirage.
Copyright Desert Publication, Inc. and Myers Publications Inc. Mar 21, 1997
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