Discover La Maison: A Classic European Style Resort
Bringing European style and Canadian hospitality to Palm Springs
By Kevin Perry
The human soul is a roadmap of where we’ve been and where we want to be. Every journey shapes our perspective until the global becomes local, and vice versa. That’s why entering La Maison feels like jet setting around the world without leaving the comfort of Palm Springs.
And it’s due to the wondrous worldliness of its owner, Cornelia Schuster.
“I’m from Vancouver, British Columbia,” narrates Schuster. “We were in the advertising/agency business, and we had a client that was based in San Diego, so we would come down here on little getaway weekends and LOVED the desert! Loved it. After we kind of wound up our agency, we ended up buying a rural property on an island in British Columbia and started a bed and breakfast there.”
That’s when Schuster and her husband developed a taste for luxury. “It was very, very gourmet, all the way.” She wanted to share her newly honed palate with the Inland Empire, and then the opportunity finally arose. “We bought in 2011 and so it was a good financial time to buy here. The property had been for sale for six years, so it was in a real state of need, and it was a blank canvas… We started doing just major, major renovations. We traveled quite a bit in Europe and so we had lots of little ideas of things that we like; that are really important to us when we travel. With 13 rooms, we could do all of that.”
La Maison embraces a continent’s worth of history and hospitality and channels them into those aforementioned 13 rooms. Schuster describes the resort as having “A simple style, it’s not frilly French country, or anything like that, it’s more of a classic, could be male or female, design.”
It’s a flair that can’t be accurately conveyed online, despite the best efforts of this article. “90% of our guests have pre-booked online. They’ve seen photos, so they have a sense of what it will be like, but they’re always hesitant the first time, just as travelers generally. So when we open that door and they walk in, the comments are fairly similar: ‘Oh, wow, this has such an amazing feeling!’ That’s what they mostly say even before they see the room. Just walking onto the property, they’re taken aback. They just love it.”
La Maison goes well beyond first impressions with its next phase of immaculate immersion.
Schuster continues, “And then we move on to a very, very casual check-in process.” Having already handled the particulars online, Schuster explains, “We don’t pull them in to sit down and get their driver’s license number or anything. We might offer them a water or a beer or a glass of wine or something, depending on what time they’re coming in, and we basically get them their keys and get them right to the room. And that’s something that people really, really like… We really want people to come in and be able to relax and just chill right away.”
Now the moment has arrived: her guests are ready to cross the threshold into their lavish vacation abode, and what they find is pure, rustic elegance. “We still do a little lavender sachet that we put on the bed every night,” recounts Schuster. “We grew our own lavender when we were in Canada, but now I do get that from Napa Valley. And it’s just a fresh little lavender sachet and it’s just got a little note on it to help them relax and to take it home with them as a reminder.”
Sweet dreams, indeed.
So, how can one be expected to awake from such an intoxicating slumber? “Coffee is incredibly important to us,” Schuster announces with a caffeinated laugh. “So, we have a seven- or eight-thousand dollar cappuccino machine here that we make lattes and cappuccinos for our guests in the morning.”
After injecting those gourmet grinds into the proceedings, Schuster encourages her boarders to put that energy to good use. “We’re in a great little neighborhood, we’re on the edge of Deep Well Estates, so there’s a lot of mid-century homes right in our neighborhood. It’s a great spot for people to just be able to wander out the door and go for a walk in the morning and kind of take that in.”
When visitors check out of the majesty that is La Maison, departing is such sweet sorrow… not just for the guests, but for Cornelia Schuster, as well. “When they’re leaving, I’m just like, ‘I really wish you didn’t live in New York because if you lived close by, we could get together for dinner next week’ - we just make that kind of connection.”
It’s a bond that permeates La Maison and ripples outward to the community around it. “Palm Springs, for me,” beams Schuster, “it’s such a nice, diverse group of people that live here, that are very accepting. I just really, really appreciate that.”
And she expresses that profound appreciation with lavender, latte, and love. Drink it in for yourself at La Maison.