“In August most of Europe goes on holiday.” ―Tony Visconti

In Palm Springs, just like Europe, many local shops/restaurants close, and take a vacation. That doesn’t mean we roll up the streets and close the blinds – we’re not a ghost town by any stretch of the imagination. We’re still mostly open, and have a ton of wonderful getaway hotels for you to have the perfect lazy break from the every day. Generally, prices go down a bit, so you can catch a real bargain.

And yes, Splash House is happening, but if you don’t already have tickets, you’re SOL. But I’ve still got some stuff you might fancy doing, so grab a coffee or a cocktail (I’m not judgy, it’s been a crap year.) and read on:

Gre Coffee House

Early mornings are still okay for a quick walk to a coffee shop; you can read about them here.

Want more than coffee? How about a breakfast-y, lunch-y, brunch-y situation? Here’s a great article about all of your brilliant choices. There is also newcomer, Sam’s Place, (now serving alcohol) where Ruby’s Diner used to be (2020 RIP).

Afterwards, wander up and down the strip. Most of it is enhanced with misters, so you’ll stay pretty cool while you do it. Don’t forget your hat and sunscreen though. And pay attention to where you’re walking, you might be stepping on one of your favorites on our Walk of Stars.

Stop in at Crystal Fantasy and have a reading (psychic, tarot, palm), or get a piece of jewelry with the latest TikTok must-have crystal, Moldavite. I’m told there’s a new girl in town that’s about to blow up on TikTok – you can ask their well-informed staff all about it, and what might work best for you. They also have woo-woo classes you should check out if you’re into the woo.

Time for a nap, right? How about a little sunbake (with sunscreen) by the pool. But not after 11 a.m., and don’t forget to hydrate your insides while you think about nothing until cocktail hour. We have some outstanding restaurants, and I’ve written another post about all of our international delights. We have outstanding American restaurants here, I just didn’t include them.

And…Wash. Rinse. Repeat. That’s what sane people do on a lazy getaway.

For those who are toeing the edge of sanity, aka anyone who needs to “do something”, then read on:

Shows:

PS Underground – see the full list here. They’ve got a new one, collaboration with Nickerson/Rossi Dance called Repertoire that looks pretty cool.

Music: 

Cascade Lounge in the Agua Caliente Spa courtesy of DJBaz

Wednesdays: Jazzville is back, and it has a new home! DJBaz brings in the best jazz players from around the country, so book these fabulous shows well in advance. At the Cascade Lounge in the Agua Caliente Spa in downtown Palm Springs.

Woody’s Motown Monday nights, Saturdays is the Stanley Butler Band, Sunday night entertainment is happening but so far it’s TBD.

Comedy!

August 6: Off The Charts Dispensary and Lounge brings nationally touring comedians to their Williams Road dispensary. “Raffles! Prizes! And Goodie Bags!” says the flyer. Seating is limited. Take an Uber. I don’t know the parking situation there. Nor is the event on their website. But I have a flyer, dammit.

The Cascade Room is not only bringing jazz, but also comedians to Agua Caliente Spa Casino.

8/20: Jamie Kennedy

8/27: Deon Cole

You’re A Star:

Snazzy Sassy Songsational Summerific Sing-a-Long

If you’re a fan of musicals, drag queens, gay choruses, and movie sing-a-longs, you’re gonna love this. The All-Summer Sing-A-Long at the Palm Springs Cultural Center.  If you’re into lifting your voice with like-minded people, this is church. Hosted by the fabulous Rosemary Galore. Book here.

We’ve also got the Retro Room, where you can Karaoke the night away, and it’s all about you, up on stage, belting your heart out.

Michael Holmes and the Purple Room are returning on 8/31. His Judy Show is my favorite show in Palm Springs – he plays Judy Garland, Bette Davis, and Pearl Bailey and he’s hilarious. When I told Michael I was looking forward to it, he said, “I’ve gained so much weight during Covid, I may have to do Totie Fields instead.” I’ve seen him, he looks great. Judy will go on, as will the other great acts he brings in from all over the country.

I can’t say this loud enough, BOOK FOR PRIDE NOW! Book your hotels, and book your seats for the parade. Roly China Fusion has the trifecta on parade day: Drag Queens, Drag Brunch, and a rooftop spot to watch the parade. Make reservations here. Or you can wing it on the street. But the hotels?  Do that for sure now.

On a personal note: We are a tight knit community. We know how lucky we are to live here. Palm Springs is a very special place. We care about each other. To that point: If you have been vaccinated, please, come enjoy the mask-free environment. If you haven’t been vaccinated, for whatever reason, I have a 93 y.o. uncle I’m trying to keep alive and thriving, so please wear a mask.

 

Dry Heat Creates Cool Experiences

PALM SPRINGS, California (May 25, 2018) —Summers in Palm Springs sizzle, but given its low humidity, summer is celebrated in ways that other destinations simply can’t match. From museums to Botanical Gardens, homemade gourmet ice cream to mile-high fun, Palm Springs is perfect for luxuriating in dry summer heat.

In Palm Springs, the pools are legendary. Imagine an oasis with hundreds of sparkling pools, each one with its own personality. Alcazar‘s saltwater purified pool is surrounded by misters and shaded by palms, while The Santiago’s huge swimming pool — it’s 20 feet by 50 feet — is the largest hotel pool in the city.

Once a month, Arrive presents a Dive-In Movie, with the flick starting at dusk. Open to the public (21+), there are seats available poolside, and if you get there early enough, you can grab a float and watch the movie from the pool. This summer’s selection includes The Hangover (May 25), Austin Powers (June 29), Risky Business (July 27), and Grease (August 31). You’ll want to buy a beverage, but the movie and popcorn are free. And to satisfy a late night craving for cold, Arrive’s Ice Cream and Shop(pe) stays open until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday.

The Moorten Botanical Garden is home to more than 3,000 types of cacti and desert plants, grouped by geographic locations. To keep guests cool, it’s only open in the summer from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. “The Moorten Botanical Garden is so cute,” Kathy Friedle, owner of The Monkey Tree Hotel, said. “If you’re not from this area and haven’t seen cactus life, go there.”

In just 10 minutes, the rotating Palm Springs Aerial Tramway lifts visitors up to the top of Mt. San Jacinto State Park, where the temperatures are always lower and the views unparalleled. Grab dinner at the Peaks Restaurant or Pines Café, and stop for a drink at the Lookout Lounge. Several Palm Springs Boutique Hotels, including Los Arboles and La Maison, offer tram packages to eliminate waiting in line to purchase tickets.

Felipe Castañeda, owner of Los Arboles Hotel, recommends visiting the Palm Springs Air Museum, which boasts 59 flyable and static planes inside four air-conditioned hangars. “You can look at the planes, and if you’re lucky, some of the servicemen who flew them hang out there and when they see you are interested, start telling stories,” he said.

Another suggestion: check with the hotel host for summer recommendations. Boutique hoteliers often distinguish themselves by offering an insider’s perspective to Palm Springs hidden summer treasures.

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Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels is a consortium of independently owned, boutique hotels, which are an essential part of this desert resort town’s unique culture and economy. From quirky, to charming, mid-century modern to clothing optional, Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels has got your stay. Follow the fun on Facebook and Instagram.

Blogger Debra Schroeder of Traveling Well for Less found herself captivated by the Albert Frey-designed Monkey Tree Hotel, with its mid-century modern architecture and fun vintage decor.

“Too much of a good thing is wonderful.” — Liberace

When you Google “best gay cities,” my results did not include one single listicle mentioning Palm Springs. What? People, our entire city council is LGBTQIA, and from Wikipedia’s entry for Gay Village: “An estimated 33 to 50 percent of Palm Springs, California, are gay male or other parts of the LGBTQ community; this statistic makes them the largest percentage community in the US.”

In 2016, Palm Springs received a final score of 100 points in the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index Scorecard. Our city exceeded the highest possible final score of 100 with a raw score of 109, and we’ve kept that score through their last report of 2020.

Speaking of the ’20s, 100 years ago, Palm Springs began its journey as a playground for celebrities and the LGBTQ+ community thanks to Dr. Florilla White and her sister Cornelia. The two “independent and eccentric women” (code: lesbian) purchased the Palm Springs Hotel and spiffed it up a bit. Rudolph Valentino spent his second honeymoon there (it was escandalo!), and Greta Garbo demanded the premiere of Camille be held at the new Plaza Theater while she stayed at the hotel. Side note: if it weren’t for the founding mothers of Palm Springs (the White Sisters, Nellie Coffman, Lois Kellog —she was a wild one! — and Pearl McCallum McManus), it might still be a dusty little town. And the Cahuilla likely wouldn’t be where they are today without the 1950s all-women tribal council. Historically, in Palm Springs, men beat the drum of awareness while the women quietly made history. Sisters, amirite?

Liberace.

Palm Springs is so gay Liberace, Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, Barry Manilow and gay icons Cher and Carol Channing had/have homes here. Not to mention the other “maybe they were, maybe there weren’t” plethora of stars. Although there is speculation, it doesn’t really matter, because Palm Springs has always offered personal privacy. No one is getting “outed” if they don’t want to be out.

Courtesy of CV Independent

In the 1980s, two anti-gay and AIDS-related bills were soundly trounced and, according to a 2017 article in Palm Springs Life, in 1991 club owner Gloria Green opened the first gay bar on Arenas Road, A Streetbar Named Desire (now known as Streetbar). I qualify that with the Palm Springs Life article because most accounts attribute the bar to Dick Haskamp and Hank Morgan, who apparently purchased it in the same year. So something is a little sketchy about the origins — however, Arenas would soon build up to become an all-gay city block with clubs and stores catering to gay men.

Pride was first celebrated in Palm Springs with a showcase called Sizzle. It wasn’t well received or advertised, and Sizzle fizzled out until 1992. By 1997, The Desert Sun estimated 30,000 people watched the (now) Pride parade.

Our gayness isn’t limited to Arenas. Oscar’s is alive almost every night with gay-leaning entertainment and Sundays is all about celebrating your gayness at the T-Dance. You can hear the party from blocks away.

We have so many drag queens they could hold court for an entire generation of royals, and they’re damn fine. Late night entertainment at The Copa and Toucans include long-running drag shows that pack the rooms, and drag brunches abound in our exceptionally inviting cozy town.

The San Francisco establishment of transgender performers AsiaSF chose Palm Springs as its second home. They opened just before the pandemic, and I’m told will reopen again in November — maybe December — of this year. I went to the opening in early 2020 (before you know what): these ladies are hot AF.

Some of the finest dining in Palm Springs is brought to you by gay restaurateurs. Roly China Fusion, Tropicale, Eight4Nine, Trio, PS Underground (an exciting take on dinner theater), The Purple Room (supper club), and 533 Viet Fusion to name just a few not on Arenas.

Desert Rose Playhouse is the one and only LGBTQ theater company and venue in the Coachella Valley. Now in Palm Springs proper at the old Zelda’s Nightclub space, they produce, support and elevate LGBTQ stories, actors, playwrights, and musicians. I have never been disappointed by their productions. So far this year I have seen The Great American Trailer Park Musical and Rocky Horror, and have tickets to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It’s a great space with a great vibe and the shows are delicious.

We have an LGBTQ+ community center, PFLAG (for supporters), and a retirement community for gays called Stonewall Gardens. We have two gay radio stations, the Gay Desert Guide, and the Palm Springs Cultural Center, with a mixture of artsy blockbusters and showcasing gay-themed films.

If you check out our website (already sorted for you!), you’ll find we have 11 resort hotels catering to gay men, some clothing optional. The Warm Sands area is generously dotted with gay boutique hotels.

One of my favorite things that hasn’t yet returned in the pandemic is our star drag queen Bella da Ball (aka Brian Wanzek) reading stories to kids at the Palm Springs Library. Bella even has her own star on our Walk of Stars.

There’s DAP, Desert AIDS Project, a terrific medical establishment that not only caters to gays living with AIDS but also administers to MediCal patients. I was on MediCal for a bit and they provide stellar care (I was sad when my insurance switched). They also run the resale stores Revivals which have terrific bargains on gently-used items, and some brand-new stuff too. Profits benefit DAP.

And of course there is the big event, Palm Springs Pride.

Some “must” events sent to me by Bella Da Ball:

November 1, 6 to 7 p.m.: George Zander Candlelight Vigil and March, 101 N. Museum Dr.

Beginning at the new downtown park (Museum Way and Museum Drive), this rally and march is in honor of George Zander. Six years ago to the day, George and Chris Zander were attacked in downtown Palm Springs, resulting in George’s death on December 10, 2015. This remembrance of George’s life keeps his memory alive, so that no other individual falls victim to a crime of hate.

November 7, 5 to 10 p.m.: Effen Vodka main stage, near the Hyatt Hotel on North Palm Canyon Drive. Party. Huge stage. Special video screens.

But wait, there’s even more eye candy than the parade! On November 5 and 6, enjoy the West Coast premiere of Global Rainbow by American artist Yvette Mattern. Specially designed lasers project a large-scale abstraction of a natural rainbow (the same colors in Gilbert Baker’s rainbow flag) celebrating the diverse LGBTQ+ communities and symbolizing hope and peace. Beamed high above Palm Canyon Drive at Amado Road, as far as the eye can see, until finally diminishing to a colorful glow over South Palm Canyon.  

Hitting the stage on November 5:

5:30 p.m. — Charles Herrera 

6 p.m. — Steven Michael’s Dance Machine, dancers, flaggers, drag

6:15 p.m. — Jason Stuart

6:30 p.m. — Shannon 

7:15 p.m. — Sassy Ross

7:30 p.m. — Jeanie Tracy

8 p.m. — Jody Watley

8:45 p.m. — The Perry Twins

The unadulterated joy and magic the Palm Springs LGBTQ+ community brings to our little town is unparalleled. That’s right, I said it: unparalleled.

Not gay? No one cares, we are a mecca for all who want to be included…unless you’re homophobic, then according to the website Abodo, you should vacation in Buffalo, New York.

See you at Pride!

Holy Ned, October is jamming! We’ve got Modernism Week Preview plus Palm Springs Leather Pride. If neither of those float your boat, there’s HALLOWEEN! It’s a huge holiday here in Palm Springs, and Halloween on Arenas is sick (in the best way possible). Costumes are off the charts creative, and the whole town is one big party.  

And now that it’s cooling down, all of our venues are heating way up. Keep in mind many indoor events require a vaccination card and a mask. Hey, the world is a bit of a horror show these days, but Palm Springs knows how to be safe and party. 

So now, without further ado, say hello to October events:  

Jazzville Shows at Agua Caliente Casino Cascade Lounge  

MFUO Featuring Jacques Lesure — Thursday, October 7, 7 p.m. 

Rumproller Organ Trio at Jazzville Palm Springs — Thursday, October 14, 7 p.m. 

Dan Delgado Sextet — Thursday, October 21, 7 p.m. 

Agua Caliente Casino Caliente Comedy 

Craig Conant  — Friday, October 1, 8 p.m. 

Pablo Francisco Comedy — Friday, October 8, 8 p.m. 

Brian Scolaro — Friday, October 15, 8 p.m. 

Tom Arnold — Friday, October 29, 8 p.m. 

Lalo Guerrero Tribute Show — Thursday, October 28, 7 p.m. 

Cultural Center – Camelot Theatres 

Drag O Rama featuring Rosemary Galore
Sunday, October 3, 2:30 p.m. (repeating Sundays)
Tickets starting at $15

 

Presenting Drag O Rama

 

REPO! The Genetic Opera — special screening of the cult horror film
Thursday, October 7, 6 p.m. social hour, event at 7 p.m. 

Chip ‘N’ Dru: Our Favorite Sings
Saturday, October 9, 6 p.m.

Multi-talented singer Dru Rutledge and veteran Broadway pianist Chip Prince present Our Favorite Sings. Featuring a multi-genre selection of songs in the style of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Debussy, Puccini, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, Broadway, Opera, Top 40 chart toppers, and more!  

Martinis and Moxie: A Society Social
Friday, October 15, 6 p.m.

A “My Way” society revue celebrating the life and music of Frank Sinatra.  

2021 Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival
Thursday, October 21, 7:30 p.m.

Founded in 2000 by the late mystery author and Palm Springs community leader Arthur Lyons, the popular Film Noir Festival includes an eclectic mixture of prestigious and obscure black and white B movies from the classic film noir period. The festival is known for unearthing and screening rare films, restored classics, and for the special appearances of the stars who were in them.  

The Purple Room 

Tuesdays: Rose Mallett 

Wednesdays: Michael Holmes and Darci Daniels 

Thursdays: Sharon Sills 

Fridays and Saturdays: Ticketed events 

Sundays: The Judy Show   

PS Underground 

That’s Amore, an Italian feast set to music.
Saturday, October 2, 7 p.m. 

Gospel Brunch featuring great music and Keisha D.
Sunday, October 3, 11 a.m. 

Ovation! A Jazzed Up Sunday Brunch
Sunday, October 10, 11 a.m. 

Death by Cheese, a ghoulishly cheesy Sunday brunch.
Sunday, October 24, 11 a.m.  

420 Bank Dispensary and Lounge 

Cheech Meet & Greet
Friday, October 1, 3 p.m. 

Kottonmouth Kings with DLOC
Saturday, October 23, 9 p.m. 

Rabbit Country
Friday, October 15, 6 p.m. 

Open Mic Night
Thursdays — October 7, 14, 21 

Oscar’s House Parties 

Saturdays: Mimosa Men (Brunch) 

Sundays: Bitchiest Brunch 

Sundays: World Famous T-Dance  

Oscar’s Special Events 

Edie Las Vegas Showgirls: Unleashed (ticketed event) — Saturday, October 2, 7 to 9 p.m. 

Sandra Bernhardt — Monday, October 4 and Tuesday, October 5

Remembering The Golden Girls — Wednesday, October 6

An Evening With Cameron Ross — Thursday, October 14

Melissa Manchester outdoor concert — Thursday, October 21 and Friday, October 22

Theater 

Desert Rose Playhouse Presents Xanadu 

Thursday to Sunday, through October 17 

(Note: So far their season has been spectacular!)  

Palm Canyon Theater 

Sordid Lives — Through October 3 

Shrek The Musical — Beginning October 22 

More options 

Wind and Wine Paint Party
Saturday, October 16, 11 a.m.
Palm Springs Windmill Tours
Wine glass painting class and Windmill Tour  

Paint Splatter at Superbloom Studios
Thursday, October 14, 6 p.m.
Starts at $150.00  

The Gem Show at Palm Springs Convention Center
October 21 through 24   

Modernism Fall Preview
October 14 through 17
 

Halloween 

Palm Springs Cultural Center 

Jazzville Creepy Cocktail Party
Sunday, October 31, 3 p.m. 

Cinema Bizarro: Best of Retro Cartoon Halloween Specials
Sunday, October 31, 1 p.m.  

Jazzville Presents The Jazz Cartel Halloween Special
Sunday, October 31, 5 p.m. 

Hocus Pocus hosted by the Sanderson Sisters
Sunday, October 31, 5 p.m.

A screening of Hocus Pocus with special guests the Sanderson Sisters. Kids receive a (kinda) real magic wand from the spooky woods of Salem.  

Zombie Burlesque Cocktail Party
Sunday, October 31, 6 p.m.  

The Three Michaels playing the Halloween score live, plus private party
Sunday, October 31, 8 p.m. 

An ode to John Carpenter’s Halloween with the musical score, scares, and skits performed live in front of an abbreviated version of the film projected on the big screen. 

Dirty Little Secrets Presents Shock Theater Spooktacular
Sunday, October 31 8 p.m.

California’s longest running burlesque and variety show. From zombies to fire performers, this eclectic shock theater of sensational striptease will keep you laughing and howling all night! 

PS Underground 

BITE – a bloody vampire dinner
October 26, 27, 28, 31, 7 p.m. 

Halloween on Arenas Road – The Queen Of All Halloween Parties
The party starts at 4 p.m. and goes until 11 p.m.. Take an Uber/Lyft, parking will suck, and you’ll likely get pretty boozy. There’s too much to talk about, so I’m just sending you to the link. Prizes up to $1,800! 

For Gay Men Only

The Dirty Show with Skyler Gentry
Wednesday, October 6, 7 p.m.

$25 includes complimentary booze, snacks, pre-show and post-show party after every performance. The venue is outdoors with spaced seating. 

Hot Uncle at the Barracks
Saturday, October 16, 9 p.m.  
 

Palm Springs Leather Pride 2021: Unlocked: Full Release
Begins October 26 and runs through October 31. Multiple venues, starting at Eagle 501 bar.  SO MANY EVENTS! Event packages (too easy) here. Need some leather? Try Gear and Rough Trade Gear. 

That’ll do it for October. Don’t forget to shop and stay local. See you in November!  

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.”

By: Susan Montgomery

Palm Springs attracts visitors for so many reasons—from its wonderful weather (the best in the country some say) to its charming boutique hotels, but did you know that this fabulous travelers’ destination is also a haven for some of the most imaginative and delicious cocktails in the world?

My travel partner, Linda, and I recently went on a cocktail tour of Palm Springs (admittedly a tough assignment, but someone had to do it). Our tour resulted in some enticing suggestions for any cocktail aficionados out there. You can find many of these cocktails at the bars or restaurants at the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels. We were visiting on a hot August day and these cocktails provided refreshing reprieves from the warm weather.

Azúcar at La Serena Villas:

Azucar Cocktails
Spicy Melon and Rosearita Cocktails

We stopped for some small plates and cocktails at Azúcar, the delightful restaurant at La Serena Villas. While all their craft cocktails were tempting, we particularly enjoyed the Rosearita with its complimentary flavors of tequila, rose and pamplemousse liqueurs, lemon and raspberry nectars, highlighted by a rose sugar rim. My tasting colleague (who savors spice) loved the Spicy Melon with Mezcal, jalepeno tequila, aperol, watermelon puree, and lemon and agave nectars. An upstairs patio lounge overlooking the serene pool is the perfect place to enjoy these cocktails. The menu also includes small plates such as the savory chicken lettuce wraps and tasty cauliflower tacos that we enjoyed with our cocktails.

Holiday House:

Holiday House Cocktails
Aperol Spritz and Raspberry Mojito

We enjoyed the cozy lobby bar at Holiday House and, while we did not try any food, the menu was appealing. The Aperol Spritz, made with procesco and orange, was particularly refreshing and beautiful to behold. A Raspberry Mojito was icy and fruity with a subtle sweetness. This would have been the ideal relaxing setting to while away the afternoon, but we had more cocktails to try. We’ll be back.

Cheeky’s:

Cheeky's Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary in a boot glass

Cheeky’s is a popular breakfast and lunch spot adjacent to the lushly-landscaped Alcazar Hotel. I have relished breakfast here several times and have always enjoyed their spicy bloody mary, which is the perfect drink for jump starting a day of touring Palm Springs, especially when accompanied by the restaurant’s popular bacon tasting.

Mr. Lyons and Seymour’s:

Mr Seymour's Copa Cobana
Copa Cabana cocktail
Seymours dessert drint
Custom Dessert Cocktail

Mr. Lyons is a quintessential steakhouse where we enjoyed icy cold martinis with our tender, perfectly prepared filets. Then we adjourned next door to the hidden-away Speakeasy, Seymour’s, where Linda sipped a Copa Cobana, enjoying the unique combination of flavors — rum, coconut, mango, basil and nutmeg.  I adored a luscious dessert cocktail created just for me by Zane, the creative bartender, who concocted my drink with vodka, crème de menthe, and muddled mint—all accented with a dash of Aztec chocolate bitters. We loved sitting at the bar and chatting with Zane in the enchanting ambiance of this special hideaway.

Wexler’s at Arrive:

Smokin' Cukes
Smokin’ Cukes Cocktail
Snowcone
All-American Snowcone

Arrive is a modern 21-room hotel with a rocking, high energy vibe. The cocktails in Wexler’s Deli onsite reflect this hopping tone. We tried a Smokin’ Cuke’s cocktail made with tequila, cucumber, lime, and a black salt rim. It was crispy and refreshing on a steamy Palm Springs afternoon, but the highlight was the icy All-American Snowcone, which looked just like your traditional childhood treat—but with booze, of course. We savored these creative drinks with a delicious Smoked Fish Plate.

Del Rey at Villa Royale:

Villa Royale Cocktails
Permanent Friends and Miami Vice Cocktails

The bar at Del Rey, a welcoming refuge on the Villa Royale property, is dimly lit and romantic, a cool oasis on a warm evening. We can see why this was a popular place for Hollywood celebrities in the 50s to hide out. We enjoyed two special cocktails:  Permanent Friends (great name since I was drinking with a permanent friend) is a complex combination of gin, grapefruit and pineapple juice, jalapeno, vanilla, maple syrup and lime. It went down smoothly but with a pleasant kick. Miami Vice is a tasty combination of rum, coconut cream, strawberry puree, and lime juice.  We enjoyed these drinks with two delectable small plates, one of charred octopus with salsa verde and one called Manchego Bomba, which was lightly deep-fried cheese served with a spicy Calabria aioli.

Of course there are many other great cocktails served all over Palm Springs, but this tantalizing list is the best place to start.

Sue Montgomery, contributor

Susan Montgomery is a travel, food and wine writer who has a special affection for Palm Springs, which is about an hour from her Southern California home. She is on the Board of Directors of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association and in the last several years, she has published more than 300 articles on her blog, Life Uncorked and in other publications.

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.

Palm Springs’ vibrant vibes are attracting more and more people from around the world. Outdoor restaurant patios are filled and lovely shops cater to a wide variety of budgets and tastes. Listen closely and you’ll hear happy visitors discussing their great finds or raving about the small boutique hotels they’ve discovered, which serve as a base to launch their Palm Springs explorations.

During the 1950s and ’60s, small boutique hotels flourished as getaways for Hollywood stars. Then, as the economy changed and celebrities discovered other places to spend their time, some hotels languished. But in the early aughts, new hoteliers with creative design ideas and a desire to create a welcoming environment became a significant driver for revitalizing the Palm Springs economy.

Now fast forward to 2022. AvantStay, a premier next-generation hospitality organization, has arrived in Palm Springs. They manage and/or partially own four iconic boutique properties: The Monkey Tree Hotel, The Wesley, The Marley, and Hotel El Cid.

What can be expected from AvantStay? 

AvantStay is not a newcomer to running vacation properties — the company manages or owns more than 1,000 properties around the globe. Its goal is to make each lodging a highly curated experience. They recognize that time is valuable, and won’t waste yours with unwanted or unnecessary interactions. 

Guest support is offered 24 hours a day, with concierge service available via an 800 number. Agents are always available to help and are rarely more than 15 minutes away from a property.

Hotel El Cid  

A family that parties together stays together. Okay, there’s no scientific proof this is the case, but there is a way to plan a reunion that offers amenities for all members of the family. Hotel El Cid is an ADA-approved facility that accommodates one select group at a time, allowing guests of all ages to come together for a relaxing getaway. It’s reminiscent of the experience of Hollywood royalty.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to bring everyone together for a catered dinner under the cabana by the pool, or hire a masseuse for Uncle Joe when he has a pain that won’t go away? With AvantStay’s concierge services, they can help make these things happen.

There is a caveat: Fufo the dog isn’t allowed on property, but maybe that family member needs a break from pet duties anyway.

The Marley’s spacious pool. Photo courtesy of The Marley

The Marley 

Searching for a place to hold a corporate retreat or bachelorette party? Here’s an idea to consider: Rent an entire property with nine bedrooms that sleep 22 people. If that sounds intriguing, The Marley could be your answer.

With The Marley’s modernism architecture, one of the stalwart styles of Palm Springs, you will be able to experience one of the more iconic buildings designed and built by the Alexander Company. Today, their homes demand a hefty price and are often the site of open houses during February’s Modernism Week. When you stay at The Marley and get to sit around the pool, soaking up the warm Palm Springs sun, you’re making memories in a place few people get to experience.

Guests love to float in The Monkey Tree Hotel’s pool. Photo courtesy of The Monkey Tree Hotel

The Monkey Tree Hotel

Visitors come to Palm Springs from around the world to learn about the modernism style of the 1950s and ’60s. What if you could stay in a place designed by one of the city’s famous architects, Albert Frey? If that’s your dream, consider booking The Monkey Tree Hotel.

With its iconic architectural design — a pool surrounded by rooms, brightly colored umbrellas, and lounge chairs strategically placed to catch the sun rays so you can go home with a golden tan — you won’t be disappointed when you arrive at this pet-friendly hotel. Located in North Palm Springs, the 16-suite Monkey Tree Hotel is a cheerful place, with sunshine yellow dominating the color scheme.

The Wesley’s rooms are known for their fun decor. Photo courtesy of The Wesley

The Wesley 

A 10-minute ride from the Palm Springs International Airport, The Wesley is a tranquil, private, and gated oasis. Visitors come here to rejuvenate, and every self-contained suite beckons you to slow down. Most have fully equipped kitchens, so it is a great place to practice cooking some of our Southwest cuisines.

The patio, part of your suite, is surrounded by lush landscape and provides the perfect place to sip a cocktail while you finally sit down and take time to read the book that’s been on your list. Louis, your adorable pug, is welcome to accompany you. When the urge strikes, head out to the heated pool and meet other guests under the cabanas scattered throughout the grounds.

If you want privacy and an environment you can call your own, one of these hotels just might be the right fit.

Tracy Turco is painting the town red … and orange, yellow, blue, green, and purple.

The colorful owner of The Art Hotel, The Tiki Hotel, and The Cheetah Hotel, Tracy is also a designer, artist, and entrepreneur. Along with her husband, real estate developer Jerry Turco, Tracy has spent the last few years leaving her mark on Palm Springs’ hotel scene, transforming old properties and bringing them back to life.

“I do the soup to nuts,” Tracy says, and it’s true — she selects all of the decor, furnishings, flooring, and paint at their hotels, and has created designs for wallpaper, bedding, clocks, and stools. Tracy is known for embracing bright colors and pattern play, and takes inspiration from all things Palm Springs.

The Tiki Hotel at twilight. Photo courtesy of Tracy Turco

“What I love most about Palm Springs is nature’s beauty,” Tracy says. “I love the sunsets, love the mountains with the palm trees, and all of the fruited trees. You can pick grapefruit and figs from your backyard, and while walking and taking hikes, you see all of these gorgeous flowers in full bloom all year round. The beautiful bougainvillea makes it like you’re living in technicolor. It’s just magical.”

Before heading out west, Tracy lived in New York, where she studied at the New York School of Interior Design; launched the brands SalonTea, Tea&Co., and Tracy Stern Shoes; and wrote two books, Tea For You and Tea Party. Tracy has always been a tea connoisseur, and enjoyed creating tea blends and opening tea rooms in Manhattan, Paris, and Dubai. Her SalonTea outlet in New York was at the City Club Hotel, and this gave Tracy a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to operate a boutique hotel. 

“I always wanted to run a bed and breakfast as a little girl,” she says. “That’s why I started my tea parties — to give someone a beautiful experience.”

A peek inside The Cheetah Hotel. Photo courtesy of Tracy Turco

Tracy first fell in love with Palm Springs during visits from New York, when she would fly in and spend the night at a hotel before driving to her geodesic dome in Joshua Tree. Tracy and Jerry spent more time here together on their honeymoon, and he liked it so much that they decided to start a business in the city. 

“Everyone here is so inviting and friendly, and I love the support of our community,” Tracy says. “The community has been nothing but gracious to all of our ventures and endeavors.”

When Tracy isn’t busy at one of their properties, she’s at home conducting research, trademarking her logos and designs, and selling her designs on Society6. The Turcos have purchased an old apartment complex that they are turning into an Art Deco-themed hotel, and they are hard at work developing their passion project: the Modernism Museum. The museum will offer guests an interactive and immersive experience, showcasing collections of mid-century modern kitsch, art, and memorabilia, along with a bowling alley, roller rink, and pizza place.

The Art Hotel’s pool. Photo courtesy of Tracy Turco

Tracy has also started an entrepreneurial group for women, where members can share tips and tricks and offer support for one another as they start or grow their businesses. 

“It’s important to share and give back,” Tracy says. “There’s a lot of fear, and people don’t know how to get from the concept to fruition.” 

Every day at work is different for Tracy, but one thing is constant: she brings her 8-month-old daughter with her to their hotels, where she watches as her mom hangs drapes and picks out paint colors. 

“I hope she sees what I do and grows up to be creative and an entrepreneur,” Tracy says.

Tracy Turco having fun at the Tiki Hotel. Photo credit: Catherine Garcia