WHERE IT'S SHADY ... AND SHADY CAPONE A SHADOWY FIGURE IN TWO BUNCH LORE.
DESERT HOT SPRINGS - Al Capone slept here?
So they say.
It's part of the lore and lure of Two Bunch Palms. The resort's promotional materials tell a tale of ``pallid, hard-faced men in dark winter suits and snap brim fedora hats'' arriving here in the late 1920s to establish a western hide-out for the notorious Chicago mobster.
Since the oldest buildings on the grounds date to 1929 - stone masonry with sun-faded red-tile roofs - it certainly fits, though the word ``legend'' appears four times in the text and the Capone connection is always posed as an open question.
Meantime, there is an Al Capone Suite in the original building, with the initials ``A.C.'' embossed on a tabletop, and staffers even point to a bullet hole in the wood paneling near the bed.
It all sounds fascinating, but it's ``highly unlikely'' that Capone ever holed up in Desert Hot Springs, said Laurence Bergreen, author of the comprehensive biography ``Capone: The Man and the Era.''
``Capone's life, especially as an adult, is pretty well documented,'' Bergreen said from his New York office. ``A couple of times he dropped out of sight, but to the best of my knowledge he was hiding out in the Michigan north woods, in Hot Springs, Ark., and the suburbs of Chicago. The only California experiences besides Alcatraz (incarceration) were some inconsequential train rides.''
Still, there's probably no harm if resort guests survey that ``sentry turret'' atop the original building and imagine hoods scanning the desert roads for G-men.
The rock-masonry original building at Two Bunch Palms includes the Al Capone Suite, but a biographer casts doubt on the story.
LaFonzo Rachal Carter/Staff Photographer