El Solano Hotel, Blythe, California; Brutal Desert as Palm Springsian Paradise.

The linen postcard with its soft hues, picturesque edits and eye-catching graphics was the perfect medium for image-making.

Blythe, California’s El Solano Hotel, a block down Spring Street from U.S. 60-70, used its circa 1940 postcard to great effect. Palm tree-trimmed Spanish colonial architecture and décor, tightly framed pictures and attractive graphics make this sidewalk motel in a remote desert town where summer temperatures average 106 degrees look like an exotic paradise. Even the name, referencing the hot, desert summer wind that desiccates eastern Spain, sounds better in Spanish than it would in English.

Blythe, California’s El Solano Motel, and its blue Spanish-tile entrance arcade survive as apartments behind a pair of palm trees that have grown a bit since 1940. As awesome as that is, the reality of El Solano can’t compete with its romanticized postcard alter-image.