First, I regret the announcements: Not quite ready to take the plunge, Splash House has been rescheduled for August; Pride will happen in November. I know! I’m verklempt too. However, there’s still an awful lot of fun to be had this June in Palm Springs. And I hear they’ll be back soon.

Oh, before we get to events, it’s good to mention that we’ve got a few specials going on. Each boutique hotel has a different vibe and their own brand of swagger. Make sure to check them out here.

Okay. June. Planned events, then some build-your-own adventures. Let’s go!

Special Events

June 22-28 – At the top of the list is Palm Springs Short Film Festival. Per Variety, “Palm Springs Shortfest will be the first film festival of 2021 in California to hold all of its screenings in-theater when the event takes place at the Camelot Theatres (aka Palm Springs Cultural Center). Check them out too.

June 17th – Cast & Crew screening of Palm Springs Women in Film & Television’s two short films, “Accidental Date” and “Aftermath.” 6pm reception, 7pm screening followed by a Q&A for both films. Camelot Theater (PS Cultural Center) in Palm Springs.

Oscars – they keep adding events (yay!), so here’s what’s listed as of this writing. Check the link to see if there are additions.

  • Melissa Manchester @ Oscars June 17 & 18
  • Gunhild Carling @ Oscars June 10 5:30 & 9:30, Sweden’s Queen of Swing. Famous for playing trombone, she also plays bagpipes, trumpet, recorder, string instruments and will often play them all in one song, sometimes casually breaking into a tap dance or singing.

Four Twenty Bank and Lounge – The dispensary, lounge, and entertainment venue is located on Palm Canyon and Baristo (this is important, used to be at 777 Palm Canyon). They’ve got a great stage, but check their calendar. There was a Bowie tribute band and a Journey tribute band scheduled when I checked a day ago, but they’re gone, and others added. Things are still coming together on their line-up, but the Lounge is still pretty badass.

PS Underground: Book well in advance; these are the hottest shows in town. Ticketing links below.

  • June 11:  IMAGINE. A multiple course journey of music and food. “What would it feel like to climb into music and let it tantalize your every sense?”
  • June 13: GOSPEL –  a multiple course Sunday brunch with fantastic food and toe-tapping, hand clapping gospel music from the band onstage.
  • June 18: ENIGMA – a puzzling or inexplicable experience or occurrence. “Things are not always as they seem as we navigate through this feast for all senses. …an over-the-top unexplainable out-of-the-box immersive dinner experience.”
  • June 25: LIGHT – “Wear white and bring to the table an open mind and a sense of adventure. Prepare yourselves for an evening of the truly unexpected.
  • June 27: OVATION – A jazzed up Sunday Brunch, “Surprise performers and musicians…free-flowing, bubbly and Bloody Mary’s are included.

On-Going Events

I’m recycling some of these from last month because, FUN! Once again, an asterisk denotes that I have been and it’s fabulous.

*Thursday afternoons are free at Palm Springs Art Museum from 5-7 p.m. Make a reservation.

Saturdays: Saturday Night Flight at PS Air Bar.”Boarding time”  5 p.m.

Wine tastings at Bouschet. They keep adding dates so I’m just linking to their website. Also, their California Caesar is bowl-licking good (the fancy bowl makes it hard, though), and a friend likes their macaroni salad so much he asked for the recipe.

Saturdays: Not Your Grandma’s Bingo at Chill Bar from 12-2 p.m. The name says it all.

*Sundays: Palm Springs Drag Brunch, with Rosemary Galore and her queenly court at Roly China Fusion.

*Saturdays and Sundays – I have written about Palm Springs magic before, but Crystal Fantasy is our go-to guide for crystals, sage, tarot cards, and all things material to interact with or distract the spiritual realm. Saturday and Sundays they have a Psychic/Healing Arts Fair, where you pick your psychic (or did they pick you, hmmm?). Check the website for times and the cool classes they have during the week.

*Sundays: It’s the Pro-Jazz Jam from 2-5 p.m. at Palm Canyon Roadhouse. It’s all the best players in the Coachella Valley led by solid jazz musician, Mikale Karr.

And, drumroll please, the most raucous dance party in Palm Springs is back! It’s Oscar’s T-Dance, Sunday’s from 4-8 pm. You can hear it blocks away. Mostly gay men, but I’ve been and it was a gas!

Day-Time Activities

*Like Mid-Mod? Or the architecturally significant homes of the stars? Palm Springs Life has a self-guided tour app. It’s a great fix as we wait for tours to restart, and Modernism Week to return.

*CannaBUS Express Tours, there’s no other like it. Any canna-curiosity you might have will be replaced with knowledge from their Extreme Green Team. BONUS: it’s hella-fun.

If you’re staying in a boutique hotel, there’s a good chance there’s work by a local artist hanging on a wall, or sitting on a table. That’s because creativity is off-the-charts flowing unlike the rain in Palm Springs. Art has many expressions, and at the indoor Mojave Flea Trading Post, artists and crafters of every ilk come together in a 10,000 sq. ft. marketplace of makers & merchants from Joshua Tree, the Coachella Valley, and beyond.

And guys, check this out: you can take a ride in an old warbird at Palm Springs Air Museum! The Warbird Ride has six options: C-47 Skytrain, T-28 Trojan, PT-17 Stearman, P-51 Mustang and the T-33 Shooting Star Jet.  While you’re there, make sure to take a tour of the *Palm Springs Air Museum. It’s cooler than you might think.

That’s it for events, but I’m super excited to play show and tell with all of the fun and funky spots for your Instagram page. I found some fabulous filters, so I used them. Hope you likey. It’s my first try. You’ll find out why this chair sits on a pedestal.

As always, please shop and stay at locally-owned businesses. And if you go to any of our hotels or enjoy our recommendations, please be sure to tag us with your photos on IG, or @palmspringspreferredsmallhotel (yeah, it’s a lot to type, but we appreciate it!)  #PSPSH

The Wesley is essentially a gated community, ensuring privacy

The Wesley is all about the fun. From giant Jenga and Connect 4 to the splashworthy courtyard pool, guests make memories here that will last forever.

The Wesley is essentially a gated community, ensuring privacy

The Wesley is a mid-century modern micro resort, where the flats are fully-stocked and the pool is always the perfect temperature.

The property, managed by AvantStay, has nine flats, and each one has its own kitchenette, toaster, refrigerator, and microwave, with Flat 10 equipped with a full kitchen, complete with a stove top and oven. The flats range from studio to two-bedroom, two-bath, and most have gas grills and private patios with views of lush gardens.

Thought went into every aspect of the property. There are complimentary bikes and board games for guests to use, a common grill area, and fun activities around the beautiful pool and spa area, including giant Jenga and Connect 4 and corn hole.

“You feel really invited to just relax and unwind when you get there,” AvantStay Customer Experience Specialist Dylan Perese said. “There’s robe to pool appeal — literally you can wander out with your morning coffee and take a dip in the pool. It’s right there and completely available to you. It’s your pool, it’s your pool house.”

Guests rave about the low-key vibe and how private the property is — The Wesley is essentially a gated community, and in order to gain access to the grounds, guests must have a code to put into the lock pad, and another code to enter their room. There isn’t a front desk, which gets guests to their flats faster, but assistance from hotel staff is just a phone call or text away.

The hotel attracts guests from all over the world, as well as locals looking to have a staycation. “We see a lot of overseas guests, and it’s really exciting that they get to experience the magic of Palm Springs,” Perese said. The Wesley also offers buyouts — families can rent all of the flats for a reunion, while corporations can have their own private oasis for team building.

“That’s when people can really relax and unwind and stretch out on their own time,” Perese said. “This is a place for you to create memories.”

The Wesley is what you make it, Perese added, and they are always looking for ways to make the property “more spectacular.”

Can you take a dark-brown cement bench and turn it into art while still maintaining its function for resting or people-watching? The answer in Palm Springs is an unequivocal, yes.

Mainstreet Palm Springs’ Downtown and Uptown Business Association have upgraded the benches throughout the entire area thanks to a grant by the Palm Springs Art Commission. Local artists, representing  the culture and diversity of  the valley, were each paid a stipend for giving a new look and life to 70 benches, including 8 at the Palm Springs International Airport.

Initially, local artist Tysen Knight was commissioned to paint ten benches to test the concept. And they were a big hit. Functional and eye-catching, the colorful benches became the focus of many visitors’ photos. With the success of the first phase, phase two was approved.

Each bench looks like this before it receives its new life. As you can see, the artists have a blank canvas to design and apply their art.

A before shot of the plain brown benches have been transformed by local artists.

A before shot of the plain brown benches have been transformed by local artists.

Here are examples of the benches created by our local artists from our culturally diverse community.

Abe Alvarez Tostado

Abe Alvarez Tostado colorful bench in Palm Springs evokes community heart and unity.

A resident of Yucca Valley. In his younger years, he was interested in comics. Then with his Mom, who was an artist, he started going to art galleries. His artistic talents were encouraged by friends that surrounded him at Long Beach, California. He has painted murals in San Francisco, Long Beach, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Palm Springs for over 30 years. 

Susan Gresto

Artist Susan Gresto’s bench in iconic Palm Springs hues of oranges and blues features free-spirited winged humans greeting one another.

A resident of Palm Springs. It brings her great joy to mentor students, support community art programs. Her work has been exhibited and sold at the Palm Springs Art Museum Store, University of California Riverside, the Community Gallery at Palm Desert City Hall, Indio Senior Center, and CREATE Center for the Arts Palm Desert.  

Tim J Leary

Tim Leary created a bold geometric and linear bench design.

A resident of Indio.  His work as a visual merchandiser spanned 28 years and three states: Florida, Connecticut, and California. After moving to San Francisco, he completed his formal education, studying spirituality and art, and art therapy. He has a studio in the Backstreet Art District in Palm Springs.

Jessica Frederic

A bright lime-green bench with palm fronds and yellow and black birds came to life by artist Jessyca Frederick.

A resident of La Quinta. After years of searching, she now uses her creativity and problem-solving skills to create art. With encouragement from friends and artists, this bench is her first piece of public art.

Paul Kole

Paul Kole created a word-art bench with a bright white background and multi-colored letters that remind visitors of the joys found in Palm Springs.

He resides in Orange County, Palm Springs, Arizona, and International resort stay-cations. His abstract work on wood and other materials are in the United States and international collections. He has a working studio in Palm Desert, California.

Stroll up and down Canyon Drive to see these creative benches. They most certainly will bring a smile to your face. Oh, if you need to stop and rest, be our guest, and remember, we have great people-watching in Palm Springs.

Next up in our series of articles on the most Instagram-worthy small hotels in Palm Springs is Villa Royale. This beautiful property reopened in 2018 after an extensive renovation by its new owners, turning the property into a very popular destination that is full of photo ops.

Villa Royale was originally built in 1947 and was one of the first small hotels in south Palm Springs. It was frequented by Hollywood celebrities as a getaway that met the “two-hour rule” implemented by Hollywood studios at that time, which required that actors under studio contracts could not be farther than two hours from set.

The redesigned Villa Royale retains the charm of its past roots, while adding unique contemporary design details, such as custom murals and artwork throughout the property. A large mural welcomes guests to the property, entitled “Welcome to Your Paradise,” by Sagent Staygold.

A series of geometric murals by Los Angeles-based artist Sara Radovanovitch are located around the property, as well as her travel-inspired “El Viaje” painting in the poolside lanai, and portraits of Hollywood stars in some of the guest rooms. Additional paintings by Juan Casas and Lou Kregal were painted on site at the hotel, featuring desert landscapes, classic cars and movie and music icons.

Villa Royale is a pet-friendly property, so you can enjoy this beautiful hotel with your four-legged friends!

There are three pools on the property, all with gorgeous mountain views that make them the perfect spot for enjoying the scenery with a cocktail in hand. And speaking of cocktails: the team at Del Rey, the hotel’s onsite restaurant and bar, are known for their excellent drinks, as well as a delicious Mediterranean-inspired tapas menu.

Other Instagram-able details we love include the intricately patterned tiles around the property, the bikes available for guest use during your stay, and the vintage 1960 Oldsmobile 88 parked out front by the hotel’s entrance.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore other great Instagram-friendly small hotels in Palm Springs in this series of blog posts coming out each month!

Images via Instagram and courtesy of Villa Royale.

The people who own and operate the restaurants, shops, bars, spas, and boutique hotels in Palm Springs are the reason why this city is such a beloved destination — because of them, when you crave sizzling fajitas, fancy a stiff drink, or want a fabulous bathing suit to wear by the pool, you can always get what you want.

Due to the pandemic, these establishments need our support more than ever. As part of the new We are Palm Springs campaign, local businesses are raising awareness, letting travelers know the services they offer, and how they enhance their Palm Springs experience.

When we can safely travel again, book your stay at one of our independently-owned Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels — intimate establishments that cater to all travelers, from mid-century modern fans to those who adore Mediterranean architecture.

Once in Palm Springs, there are hundreds of mom-and-pop restaurants to order from, offering to-go, curbside, and delivery. The Los Arboles Hotel is home to El Mirasol, a delicious Mexican restaurant, while next door to Alcazar Palm Springs is Cheeky’s, a breakfast hotspot. After fueling up, you’ll be ready to check out the world-class shopping in downtown Palm Springs, from Wabi Sabi Japan Living to Destination PSP to Bouschet, the place for premiere wines.

Want to show your support from home? Call your favorite restaurant to see about buying a gift certificate you can use the next time you are in town. If you’re within driving distance, place a to-go order and enjoy a meal in the comfort of your own dining room. You can also go shopping — if your favorite boutique doesn’t have an online store, find out if they will let you shop over the phone and ship your purchase.

Spread the love further on social media — tag photos of your favorite shops, restaurants, and hotels with #wearepalmsprings #visitpalmsprings and #PSPSH

With your help, we can keep Palm Springs fabulous!

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.

By Diana Elizabeth Steffen

I discovered one of the most Instagrammable spots in Palm Springs. 

BelleVue Oasis pool

With its tropical courtyard and mature palms, BelleVue Oasis is a hidden paradise in Palm Springs.

A mid-century modern property dating back to the 1950s, BelleVue Oasis officially opened for business in September 2019. Formerly Escape Resort, it is no longer a men’s clothing-optional hotel.

Located in Tahquitz River Estates, the 13-room, 21-and-over hotel has undergone some renovations and updates, including to the bathrooms. It has a retro yet modern feel, with pops of orange and turquoise standing out against the clean white walls and linens. The rooms come with kitchens or kitchenettes, plus furnished patios that let guests enjoy the sunshine.

The lush grounds are what inspired the hotel’s new name, with senior hotel manager Charles Zalepeski saying once you walk onto the property, “it’s kind of shocking, you don’t expect it to be as beautiful and as big as it is. The pool is beautiful, and the mountain views are ridiculous.”

The San Jacinto Mountains are visible across the grounds, but are most spectacular when spotted from the spacious and sparkling pool and invigorating jacuzzi. There are loungers and umbrellas surrounding the pool, offering shade during the day. Once guests are ready to explore the town, they won’t have to go far — places like the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium and Palm Springs Art Museum are just a short walk or drive away.

INNdulge Hotel

The name says it all.

At INNdulge, guests take full advantage of being on vacation, relaxing in the saltwater pool and 12-man jacuzzi and reveling in the property’s gardens. This clothing optional gay men’s resort in the Warm Sands neighborhood is a mid-century modern hotel built in 1958, with 24 rooms. Jon Jackson has owned INNdulge for 10 years, becoming a hotelier after retiring as an attorney.

“My hospitality experience is in restaurants, but those skills easily converted,” he said.

An expanded continental breakfast is served in the morning, and an evening social hour and weekend pool parties bring guests together. Visitors often tell Jon they enjoy “the social aspect of staying with other like-minded gay men,” and in turn, he’s thrilled to provide “a great product and service.”

INNdulge, he added, “is a property that caters to gay men, who appreciate the pride of ownership we take in maintaining our property, and who in turn treat it with the type of respect deserving of a home away from home.”