With its amazing weather year-round, Palm Springs is the place to host corporate, creative, and wellness retreats, and everything in between

PALM SPRINGS, California (April 5, 2018) — Like real estate, planning a retreat is all about location, location, location.

Whether it’s a yoga, writing, or intimate corporate retreat, if it’s not held in the right place, it won’t yield results. That’s what makes Palm Springs the perfect spot for a retreat — it’s easy to get to by car and airplane, the weather is ideal year round and because the town has such a laid-back vibe, it’s easy to eliminate distractions. And with so many boutique hotels, retreat planners can readily find one that offers the perfect retreat experience for their audience.

Kathy Friedle of The Monkey Tree Hotel regularly works with facilitators who host retreats at her mid-century property in Palm Springs.Friedle says that when planning a retreat, it’s important to share with the hotel all the basics: the number of attendees; the types of space desired, the equipment needed (for example: a television, podium, microphone), and activities planned. Also, openly discuss how meals will be handled. A sample itinerary goes a long way towards helping hoteliers meet a group’s needs.

By matching the size of the retreat to the hotel property, retreat hosts gain efficiencies in pricing and support. Atmosphere is essential as it helps drive interest and engagement—two critical factors for fitness and creative retreat facilitators who generate revenue from attendance.

When choosing a place for a retreat, keep in mind the size of the group, size of the property, and the atmosphere the group is looking for. Friedle says The Monkey Tree Hotel feels like “a 16-bedroom home environment with plenty of breathing room and a giant pool are as our outdoor living room. We’ve had people say that our property feels like you are both at a resort and at someone’s home. You can have a large meeting here and also have plenty of smaller-size breakaway spaces.”

“It’s a great opportunity to get some fresh air and work in a different environment to get the creative juices flowing,” Friedle says.

At the 10-room Three Fifty Hotel, the pool is the perfect place to set out yoga mats and take in the views of the looming San Jacinto Mountains. Manager Laura Slipak says because of its size and apartment-style rooms, the hotel could also easily be rented out for a corporate leadership retreat or just a private weekend.

“We’re in the Historic Tennis Club District, just a block away from the heart of Palm Springs,” she added. “To be able to fully focus on a retreat, you need to have peace and tranquility and that’s what makes the Three Fifty Hotel a little gem in the desert.”

About Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels was established in 2016 through a series of town hall meetings by local small hotel owners and managers, in partnership with the City of Palm Springs. The purpose of PSPSH is to serve as an economic driver and to create awareness of the uniqueness of Palm Springs Small Hotels, which are an essential part of this desert resort town’s unique culture and economy.

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Amin Casa embodies the quiet sophistication of Palm Springs, with a twist of old Hollywood glamour.

Once the residence of actress Gloria Swanson, Amin Casa made its debut in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood in November 2016, following several months of major renovations both inside and out. “Amin” means “ours” in Tagalog, while “casa” is Spanish for “home,” and owners Ramon Bautista and Nelson Cooley want it to feel like “your home away from home.” 

“On property, guests will find the relaxing, club-like ambiance and genuine, heartfelt hospitality they have come to treasure,” Ramon said. 

The compound dates back to the 1920s, and when fully occupied, the property only accommodates 14 guests, adults only. The bungalows come with living rooms, kitchens complete with microwaves, coffeemakers, blenders, and dishes, eco-friendly toiletries, and bathrobes and slippers, plus the Swanson residence with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace, and the property’s largest kitchen. There are stunning gardens, fountains, a swimming pool, cabanas, and an outdoor dining area with a grilling station.

Above all else, Ramon and Nelson, who have experience at some of the finest hotels in the world, strive to give the patrons of Amin Casa one thing: “Intuitive, gracious service provided by a staff passionate about pleasing our guests.”

We always love it when travel writers visit Palm Springs and stay in one of our uniquely beautiful, independently-owned Palm Springs boutique hotels. But it is particularly heartening when a writer like Joanna visits us and is completely captivated by the charm of her hotel and Palm Springs. Joanna recently stayed at the Alcazar and here’s what she had to say about her trip.

How to Travel Safely by Car

Not since the days of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez’ road trip to California and when the Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe traveled to Palm Springs have road trips been so popular. This is the time to nostalgically take a road trip and reflect on those bygone days.

Pack your car and head to Palm Springs to enjoy one of the elegantly restored boutique mid-century hotels in the group known as the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels. With almost 80 hotels from which to choose, you can be revitalized a poolside environment and snuggle in a cozy bungalow.

Before you head out, though, there are some safety precautions you should know during these times of Covid-19.

What to Bring in the Car

Even if you are traveling a short distance, bring all your travel documents—your auto insurance card, your driver’s license, auto registration, and your health insurance card.

Try to bring as much as possible of what you may need to be self-sufficient and cut down on trips to stores once you arrive. Bring water, snacks, lunch (to eat on the way or once you reach your destination), disinfectant wipes, masks, gloves, phone chargers, medications, and Ziploc bags. If you want to have some wine and spirits, pack those bottles under the car seat so you don’t have to journey to a liquor store.

Stopping for Gas and a Restroom

Like it or not, that gas stop and restroom is sometimes necessary. When you are pumping gas, disposable gloves are a great idea. Once you have finished pumping, use sanitizing wipes on anything you have touched– door handle, steering wheel, knobs for air conditioning or the radio, and your credit card.

As far as public toilets at gas stations, prepare for the worst. Bring toilet paper and soap. Make sure you really scrub your hands for at least those 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose before washing. Grab a clean paper towel to grab that door handle.

Staying at a Hotel

Here comes the beauty of staying at a Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel. With all hotels being less than 50 rooms, your room will be on the ground level or one flight upstairs. There will be no elevator rides or long hallways to negotiate. That’s because most of the small hotels were designed to face open-air courtyards.

While all of the Palm Springs Preferred Hotels have undergone deep cleaning and as a group have in place a set of baseline of safety sanitation standards, it is still a good idea to practice safety cleaning of your room. Once you are inside, use sanitary wipes to clean areas where people touch like door knobs, tables, faucets, toilets, sinks, light switches, phones, remotes, and curtain handles. Wipe down anywhere you will rest your belongings.

Eating and Drinking During Your Stay

Palm Springs is currently not open to indoor dining. But the wonderful part about visiting Palm Springs is that the weather is conducive to dining outdoors, a much safer option. Many of the finer restaurants provide food and cocktail delivery so that you can just sit back and dine comfortably in your room or by the pool. A list of some of those options are: The Tropicale, Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge, El Mirasol Restaurant, Jakes’ Palm Springs, and 533 Viet Fusion.

Note that the City of Palm Springs mandates the use of face masks in public, whether you are indoors or out.

So, grab your swimsuit and a slice of nostalgia on a well-deserved road trip to Palm Springs where unsurpassed blissfulness, hospitality, and tranquility await.

Not only does Palm Springs beckon one to come to visit for its countless sunshine days, but there is also a new reason to plan your vacation to this increasingly hip town. At least once a week, contemporary public art is being unveiled.

Palm Springs is quiet and has crispness in the air as one ventures out to get a cup of coffee on Palm Canyon at our downtown Starbucks. Clamoring for your attention is the PS I Love Letters, with its brilliant red color glistens in the filtered sunlight through the palm trees. It’s the perfect place to take an Instagramable photo.

Nona Watson, CEO of Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, conceived the artwork. She enlisted the design talents of Maru Palmersheim, and Palm Spring Canyon Print and Grit Development provided the space.

(This particular morning, a family of three was standing near the sign. The little girl was having fun frolicking around the sign, so we thought she would be the perfect model. The mother later sent us an email requesting a copy of the photo. She is pianist Jeewon Park.)

Unity, a mural with Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman’s portrait, graces one of the “art pit” walls at the corner of Belardo Road and Museum Way.  This temporary art installation will be there through December 2021.

MisterAlex, a Los Angeles-based artist, depicted Amanda surrounded by butterflies. “During my research of Amanda, I discovered she overcame a speech impediment. In addition, during her young life, she dedicated her many hours of hard work to bring people together; thus, I chose Unity for the theme.”

The Fault Line Meditation

Curator and artist, Jevpic considers himself a fortunate man. During the pandemic, he received his largest commission ever. While digging in the “art pit” to create this art installation, many local people supported him. They picked up shovels and helped him develop his vision, which looks entirely different during the day than it does at night.

In Jevpic words, “The path in the shape of the San Andres Fault is a metaphor for the faults we encounter in our life. Faults have existed before us and will be after us. Just learn, grow and move on.”

Guadalajara Artist Gonzalo Lebrija‘s temporary creation, History of Suspended, is directly in front of the Palm Springs Art Museum. The Palm Springs Art Commission worked with the museum to prepare the space and erect the art installation referred to as “A Moment for the Impossible.”

Lebrija wants to encourage thought “suspension of the passage of time – focusing on the precise moment of stillness and impact. This installation encourages one to walk around and even visit at different times of the day. The reflection in the pool also calls one to reflect on the time and space around them.

MIDABI, a Palm Springs artist who has his art in front of the Desert Center Art Center, now came up with another relevant sign. WOW on Indian Canyon Drive, near Andreas, cannot help but make you smile.  When is the last time you saw art that says, “Wow?”

His metal, esoteric sculptures are created using his thought process:  a. Always be a student b. Have a heart of a child and c. Remember you are a human being first and foremost before any other identity.

Popsicles is a temporary art installation near Townie Bagels on Sunny Dunes by Salina, California artist John Cerney. John is known as the “cutout artist” for his larger-than-life creations along California and Midwest highways. This a great place to capture selfies for your social media.

John started as a portrait artist, then began drawing. He noticed barren walls and old barns with expansive walls and convinced owners murals would enhance their spaces. The next step was designing a way for more people to see his figures. At first, he made the life size, but they realized they were not big enough for people to see as they whizzed by on the highways. Thus, these plywood cutouts are now bigger than life.

Besides a vibrate art scene, retail shops are thriving, and new restaurants are popping up everywhere. If you haven’t been to Palm Springs, you are sure to see lots of changes, including constructing the 1.5 acres of new City Park being built steps away from the Palm Springs Art Museum.

So find your stay, maybe even take advantage of a summer special and make your reservation today.

Wanderlust must be in my DNA. There are times when my innate desire to travel and explore wells up like hot lava that’s about to burst from a volcano, and I have no choice but to hit the road. Traveling via airplane fills the need, too, but there’s something about being on the open road that feels the most liberating—plus, I can pack as many pairs of shoes and hats as I want without paying extra baggage fees.

Travel/Food Writer Linda Milks with Bella and Catie on a dog-friendly Palm Springs vacation.

Palm Springs is a well-known doggie haven. Many hotels, restaurants, and shops happily welcome and even indulge our four-legged friends. So when we recently had an opportunity to explore Palm Springs with our dogs, we were excited. Bella (Linda Milks’ feisty white Maltese/Lhasa Apso) and Catie (Sue and Todd Montgomery’s friendly black Cocker Spaniel) were equally enthusiastic. While they are both “senior” dogs, they still love to travel — mainly because they love all the snacks along the way.

CATIE:  I love traveling with my Mom and Dad. I was so worried when I saw them put their suitcases in the car. I thought they were going to leave me behind, but “bow wowsy”—  they put me in the car and I got to go too.  I was even more excited when my doggy pal, Bella, hopped in the backseat.

BELLA:  I usually get left at home when Mom goes on a trip, but it didn’t happen this time. I was so happy to see you, Catie. I heard we were going to some wonderful small hotels in Palm Springs, and when we pulled up to Talavera, I knew this was going to be great. When we opened the door, there was my very own guest dog bed and some tasty treats. The bathroom was huge so that’s where my Mom put the special dog bowls they set out for me. I could look out the door to the hot tub in the back area that was all enclosed with a bamboo fence, making it my own private playground.

Bella settling in for her stay at the Talavera, a dog-friendly boutique hotel in Palm Springs.

This hotel is small and the rooms are all very private. There was only one other room next to the pool. They left their door open, so, of course, I went exploring to see just who they were. I guess they like dogs because they wanted to pet me. (I do like attention!)

Katie with her own welcome sign at Avanti in Palm Springs

CATIE: I was thrilled that our hotel, Avanti Palm Springs, was so welcoming to me. There was even a sign at the front door with my name on it. The setting was quiet and nicely landscaped with a lovely pool and hot tub. My Dad walked me all over and I felt right at home. Our room was stylish (yes, I may be a dog, but I still like style) and comfort. We even had a kitchen where Dad could concoct snacks for me.

 

The pool at AVANTI in Palm Springs

BELLA:  Now let’s talk about the yummy food we ate in Palm Springs.

Swordfish Tacos at Azucar is an ideal lunch.

CATIE: Yep, we went to so many great restaurants and sat on their outside patios. Everywhere we went there were water bowls and lots of snacks.  Our first lunch was at Azucar, a welcoming place with inventive cuisine (as my Mom, the food writer, would say). This restaurant is located at La Serena Villas, a luxurious boutique hotel. Mom and Dad and Linda had drinks and delicious appetizers and swordfish tacos. (I know they were delicious because I got some too.)

Cioppino at Jakes, one of dog-friendliest,locally-owned restaurants in Palm Springs.

BELLA: Catie, did you know that the first night’s restaurant, Jake’s, was named after the owners’ dog? Do you think we will ever get a restaurant named after us? Bruce and Chris, the owners, were so nice to us, and I loved meeting their new dog, Jackson. But more than that, I loved the bites we got from that giant meatball your Dad ordered. The shrimp that our Moms gave us was pretty tasty, too. I didn’t think my mom could finish that big bowl of Cioppino, but she did. Maybe it’s because we helped her.

Copely’s local- owned and pup-friendly restaurant is a Palm Springs favorite.

CATIE: Bella, have you ever eaten at a five-star restaurant?  Well, Copley’s was a first for me. And we were both treated like the princesses we are. The setting was magical, and I loved sampling some of our humans’ fabulous fare, such as Dad’s Mizo Glazed Scottish Salmon and Linda’s Slow Roasted Duck Breast. I was especially impressed to learn that this chic, historic site was Cary Grant’s guesthouse during the 1940s. (I know about Cary Grant because I always love watching him with Audrey Hepburn in “Charade.”)

The epic margarita flight at Tac/Quila in Palm Springs

BELLA: Catie, we sure had a great lunch the second day (and that means lots of treats off our parents’ plates). We tried Tac/Quila, home to modern Jalisco-style cuisine and, according to our parents, the best margarita flight ever. Catie, didn’t you just love the bites of beef you got from the fajitas? The pork from Mom’s al Pastor made me beg for more.

Breakfast or brunch at Palm Springs legendary Sherman’s is not to be missed.

CATIE: The last morning in Palm Springs, remember that breakfast at Sherman’s, a very famous New York-style deli and noshing spot for dogs and humans alike? While the humans had scrumptious egg dishes (like my Mom’s lox and scrambled eggs), we had special snacks and bowls of fresh water. And then Mom and Dad ordered yummy pastrami sandwiches to take home.  (Hey, I love pastrami too.)

Bella exploring at Bones and Scones in Palm Springs

BELLA: We also got to go to some very fun pet stores. I loved Bones & Scones because they gave us treats and Mom bought me more treats (like pumpkin and peanut butter biscuits) to take home.  This store specializes in making healthy and organic dog food, which is very important for us senior pups so we can stay at the top of our games.

 

Catie showing off her new pink halter at Posh Pet Care in Palm Springs.

CATIE: My Dad bought me a bright pink halter at Posh Pet Care. This was another special pet shop with lots of toys and dog outfits. (I am a bit voluptuous, but they even had sweaters that fit me just fine.)

The owners of Boozehounds giving Catie a tour of their new expansion which will include a play area for dogs.

BELLA: Catie, I think we should tell them about Boozehounds.  This bar and restaurant will open soon in Palm Springs, and it will be a wonderful destination where dogs can take their humans. We met the founders, Jimmy McGill and Steve Piacenza, and they loved us.

CATIE: Well, who wouldn’t love us?  We are so cute and, Bella, you only nipped at the owners’ feet once.

Mixologist, Justin Gordon, making dog parents happy at Boozehounds in Palm Springs.

BELLA: Wow! That mixologist, Justin Gordon, sure seemed to make our parents happy. Those drinks were so colorful, and they “oohed” and “aahed” about them. Maybe we can come back again when they have the play area set up for dogs while our parents have cocktails.

Final note from dog parents:

Our doggies were treated very well on this trip, although they were exhausted when we got home after all their antics in Palm Springs. We had so much fun with them, and we definitely encourage other dog lovers to take their pups to this amazing dog-friendly destination. And make sure you stay in a Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel (PSPSH), as we did. Many of these charming hotels welcome dogs.

 

Story provided by Linda Milks and Susan Montgomery.

“I try not to limit my madness to March.” — Maxine (a.k.a. John Wagner for Shoebox Cards)

For most of the world, March is a tempestuous mistress. Cold and blustery, then cold and sunshine-y. She’s a whole lot of brrrrrrrrr.

In Palm Springs, March is more of a minx: flirty and fun. Her daytimes are generally in the 80s and sometimes 90s, however she can give you the cold shoulder, too. Especially at night. The solution is to bring your swimsuit and a bunch of layers because in Palm Springs, March is a swinger. She gets a bit chilly at night but bounces back by 10 a.m.

Without further ado, we will now continue our fun streak of delightful Palm Springs activities, with one event that’s so cool I might have just peed a little reading about it. Read on while I change me undies:

New restaurant alert:

Osteria Palmina

Dinner and a show:

The Purple Room

March 3, 4, and 5: Lucie Arnaz: I Got The Job 

March 6, 13, 20, 27: The Judy Show 

If you’ve read this blog before, you know it’s my favorite show in town.

March 11 and 12: John Lloyd Young 

March 17, 18, and 19: Marvelous Marilyn Maye

March 25 and 26: Joe Pasa as Joan Rivers

AsiaSF 

Dinner and a lip sync show! The costumes are outstanding! Same producers as the one in San Francisco.

PS Underground

Pop 80s — Featuring The Gand Band

Gospel Brunch with Keisha D

Laurel Canyon — a tribute to those artists of the area, like Linda Rondstadt, Joni Mitchell, and The Doors (with music from The Gand Band).

The Mod Squad Variety Show — Another personal favorite, this one’s a brunch.

Ovation — A jazz-inspired Sunday brunch.

Light — I have always wanted to see this show! Described as an “unparalleled multi-sensory journey” that offers an “unprecedented dining experience through culinary art and technological innovation.”

Broadway BlindA musical Sunday brunch.

A Night at the Chi Chi — Mark your calendars, this one’s on April 1 and 2.

Courtesy of PS Underground

Oscar’s 

The Women Of Knots (that’s Knots Landing, people!)

Drinks and entertainment:

Cascade Lounge at Agua Caliente in downtown Palm Springs

Jazzville — Every Thursday

Caliente Comedy — Every Friday 

Latin Nights — Every Sunday

PS Cultural Center

Jazz on the Second Floor

Martinis & Moxie

Theater:

Palm Canyon Theater
Palm Springs Getaway! Runs until March 13.

Desert Rose Playhouse
Electricity
Brian Justin Crum 
Palm Springs The Musical: Born To Sparkle — World premiere!

Courtesy of Palm Springs The Musical

The Annenberg
The Anniversary — A full-length dance film event.
Coachella Valley Symphony Concerto Concert
Lilias White — White has appeared in cabarets and concert halls around the world, including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and Lincoln Center. Her debut solo studio album, Get Yourself Some Happy!, was released in July.

Desert Ensemble Theatre
All This Intimacy Described as a sex comedy gone wrong.

Dezart Performs
The Mountaintop — A reimagining of Martin Luther King Jr.’s last day at the Lorraine Hotel and his encounter with a young maid. There’s a huge twist in this play, something you can expect to be handled brilliantly by Dezart. 

All the rest:

Palm Springs Chalk Art Festival
OMG!! I LOVE chalk art, especially from artists with a sense of whimsy. One of my favorite creators on TikTok is chalk artist David Zinn. This is a free event.

MOGO Silent Disco Tour
If anyone wants to do this, please include me!

Photo courtesy of MOGO Silent Disco Tour

Palm Springs Vintage Market
This Palm Springs staple will run on March 6 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

French Cooking Classes
In the chef’s private home — all reviews are spectacular!

Of course the old “musts” are still available, and if you haven’t, well…you must!

Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Art Museum

Palm Springs Air Museum

Hiking at Indian Canyons — Please note: closed on March 11 for the Legacy Hike. 

Happy Palm Springs everyone! See you in April.

By:  Kent Taylor

There are three spectacular ways to stargaze–all within an hour of Palm Springs.

Two International Dark Sky Parks (Joshua Tree National Park and Borrego Springs) are located within an hour’s drive from Palm Springs and offer unbelievably beautiful views of the night sky.

But if you prefer something a little more structured, one year ago, the Rancho Mirage public library opened a state-of-the-art observatory that has many programs, exhibits, and events that are open to the public. The building itself is quite beautiful even without the activities and exhibits.

The impressive observatory, adjacent to the library, is happy to welcome guests of all ages to learn more on astronomy with telescope-viewing and stargazing. Knowledgeable guides point out gems in the dark sky and answer questions — and yes, it is all it’s free.

If you are more interested in a “Star Gazing” event, pre-registration is required, as the stargazing events fill up quickly once announced.

The list of events and sign up information may be found on their calendar of events
http://ranchomiragelibrary.evanced.info/signup/calendar

Or if you would like to do a “Behind the scenes” Observatory Facility Tour: no registration is necessary. Simply meet in the Library Lobby, Tuesdays through Saturdays, two tours a day. (9am and 3pm) It is a 45-minute tour

Observatory
71-100 Highway 111,
Rancho Mirage, CA, 92270
ranchomiragelibrary.org

Contributed by: The Santiago

For a real western adventure, and a truly inspiring experience, embrace your inner Cowboy and head out on a horseback ride, take a few tips from our friends at the Santiago Resort Palm Springs, which caters to gay men.

 

 

The Palm Springs area has several stables offering guided tours heading up through the mountains, down along the streams of Indian Canyons and even full moon trail rides at night.  So whether you’re feeling like the Lone Ranger or maybe just Woody from Toy Story, jump on a horse and see the desert in a whole new way. Just minutes away from Santiago, this is a unique adventure!

Insider Tip:  You’ll need jeans and something that looks like a pair boots. Flip flops and shorts will not cut it!

Brittany Ryan Checks out the Horseback riding at Smoke Tree Ranch

Located just a few minutes from Santiago and at the base of Smoke Tree Mountain, the Smoke Tree Stables provide guided hourly and daily rides on over 150 miles of trails right above Palm Springs.  Offering trail rides since 1927, this place is the real thing.  They offer picturesque horseback riding through the beautiful palm oasis and year- round streams of the Indian Canyons.

Even the dogs like the Horse stables at Smoke Tree Ranch

For a more energetic ride, you can trot, canter or gallop through the canyons of Morongo Valley on the private trails of CottonWood Canyon Ranch, The staff gives guided tours through the mountains and riding lessons as well.  It doesn’t get more Western than this!

Also located in Morongo Valley, Coyote Ridge Stable has several different trail rides to choose from. For a truly unique adventure, try one of their full moon rides, blazing your own trail up hills and through washes by moonlight.

Or perhaps you prefer watching over riding?  Check out the tournament schedule at the Empire Polo Club in Indio.  Pack a picnic basket and a bottle of champagne or check out their Tack Room Tavern.  This is a great place to spend an afternoon.  And don’t miss joining in on the lively divot stomp tradition at halftime.