Author: Andrew Schaeffer

I’m not an outdoorsy guy. I’m in my element when I’m lounging on the couch binging something on Netflix. But, I needed to change that habit and get out and get moving—and what better way to do so than by going somewhere with plenty of outdoor activities?

By Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong, Gay Travelers Magazine

Palm Springs, California is a wonderful place for anyone to visit but it is especially significant for gay travelers. Palm Springs has an inclusive, welcoming vibe, excellent entertainment and dining options, beautiful views and a variety of quality gay resorts to choose from.

Early evening, and the still-blistering heat of Palm Springs, California conspires with the cooling blue of an outdoor swimming pool. I consider downing my Martini, ripping off my dinner wear and diving in.

An older gay gentleman with the right idea comes walking towards me, palm outstretched, smiling widely.

When it comes to holidays, nothing says “gay” as loud as Halloween. While Arenas never lacks for action, it can’t be beat at Halloween — there’s a wild party with bands and costumes galore. It’s merrier than Christmas.

And you know what Halloween rolls right into, right? Pride! So why not come out and stay for both? Most of the men’s boutique resorts in Palm Springs have their own fridge, with many, if not all, supplying breakfast, and a few even have lunch brought in for their guests. You just need to worry about dinner. Some hotels have kitchenettes, and some are homes away from home with lots of living space, kitchens, and patios. Of course they all have pools — this is Palm Springs!

With many businesses allowing their employees to work remotely, you can (if necessary) bring your laptop and plug in. We have work space available if being in your room, poolside, or at a coffee shop is not your style (but we’ve got plenty of those too).

Halloween

“There is magic in the night when pumpkins glow by moonlight.” Unknown

Halloween is so special in Palm Springs that it has its own website. But there are other very fun and notable Halloween-y events not on their agenda.

Oct. 27: From the owner of Chill Bar, new-ish nightclub Reforma is having a four-hour party with Gasolina for a night of reggaeton, a combo of EDM, hip hop, and Latin American-spiced music en español. I haven’t been yet, but word on the street is, “It’s fuego.”

Oct. 28: Four Twenty Bank & Dispensary is haunting the very cool lounge with some spooky fun. Enjoy a game of billiards or giant chess, play Operation or pinball, or just groove back and enjoy the atmosphere and the music.

Oct. 27, 28 & 31: Every year, PS Underground brings Bite back to life. The twist? Each resurrection it morphs into something different, straight from the brilliantly twisted brain of Michael Fietsam, but it’s always a thriller of a dinner show.

Oct. 31: If scary movies are your jam, catch Night of the Living Dead on the big screen at PS Cultural Center. Wear the adult diapers.

Pride

If Halloween is Gay Christmas, then Pride is Gay Independence Day. And it’s an even bigger, gayer party than Halloween. Let’s get into it.

Leather Pride

Oct. 26: Leather Pride Pop Up Museum benefit party in Hotel Zoso lobby

Oct. 28: Leather Pride Pool Party — The title says it all, except whether leather speedos are required. If you’re interested, you likely already know.

All the Pride

Nov. 4: Pride Ride from Townie Bagels — Grab a bagel with some protein, and get one for the road with a schmear. If you brought your own bike, yay. If not, your Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel likely has a cruiser you can use.

Nov. 3-5: Desertopia Festival — An entire weekend planned for you at some very cool places. You’ve gotta find your own hotel though, and luckily I know a guy. Gays go here. All the other letters go here.

The hyperlinks on the official Pride website weren’t all working, so I’ve broken them out because I got you, boo.

First is the official Pride Guide with every event and a few working links; there’s also a party for those in recovery. For folks that aren’t traveling that road, you’ll definitely want to go to Friday night’s kickoff party, and of course I’m going to give you the link to parade details.

Curious about the colorful LGBTQ+ history of Palm Springs? Here’s a primer.

I can’t encourage you hard enough to book your Palm Springs stay now. It’s one of the busiest times of the year, and absolutely the best party you’ll ever attend outside your own wedding — and the success of that relies entirely on your family. Do the math.

See you on the street!

A Black man and a white blonde man in the pool at Santiago Resort in Palm Springs, California

The Santiago Resort is getting 2024 off to a great start with its ultimate Palm Springs getaway giveaway.

One winner will receive a three-night stay at the Santiago Resort; a $500 travel voucher; dinner for two at Maleza; and tickets to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. 

“We love to share Santiago with new friends, especially those who’ve never stayed at a men’s resort before,” Santiago Resort General Manager Charles Zalepeski said. “The giveaway will award one lucky winner the opportunity to experience Santiago’s elevated amenities and beautiful accommodations free of charge.”

About the Santiago Resort

The Santiago Resort is a men’s swimsuit-optional boutique hotel known for its outstanding service, beautiful rooms, and lush grounds. It has the largest pool of any men’s resort in Palm Springs, plus a 12-man spa and spacious sun deck. Every day, guests can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast and poolside lunch.

How to enter the giveaway

The contest will run from Jan. 8 – Feb. 29, 2024, and entrants must be 21+ to participate. Click here to enter. Complete contest rules can be found here.  

The Santiago Resort at dusk. Photo courtesy of the Santiago Resort

Before you book your next stay at a men’s clothing-optional hotel in Palm Springs, take a virtual tour of some of the city’s finest resorts.

These YouTubers did the legwork for you, showcasing in their videos the best of the best when it comes to gay boutique hotels and other LGBT-friendly restaurants, shops, attractions, and hot spots.

Spartacus International Gay Guide takes viewers on a journey through the city, discussing its history and showcasing the different clubs, bars, and restaurants that heat up after dark. This video puts the spotlight on several men’s clothing-optional resorts, including Hacienda at Warm Sands, INNdulge, Escape Resort, Santiago, and Triangle Inn. Host Philip Kanchana called Palm Springs “the coolest, hottest place I’ve ever been, and I will be back.”

“Palm Springs has the atmosphere of a small village, but one that’s very gay friendly. That’s a combo you won’t find in a lot of places.”

Esteven and John shared their Palm Springs couple’s escape, vlogging about the sun-filled vacation. They stayed at Escape Resort — where they loved the comfortable robes and the fact the hotel is owned by a gay couple — and INNdulge, where they appreciated the massive room, complete with a kitchen, and beautiful pool. They also visited several restaurants and got a taste of the nightlife. “I’m ready to come back,” Estevan said while lounging by INNdulge’s pool, “and we haven’t even left yet.”

Josh Rimer of Gayosphere trekked across Palm Springs for his video about fun things to do in the city. He went hiking in Indian Canyons and Palm Canyons, swung by the Palm Springs VillageFest, and lounged by several pools. Palm Springs, he said, “has the atmosphere of a small village, but one that’s very gay friendly. That’s a combo you won’t find in a lot of places.”

Finally, Who’s Hot in Palm Springs checked in to the Santiago Resort in order to show viewers the recent changes made to the property. He didn’t leave any part of the hotel out — he showed off the continental breakfast available for guests, filmed close-ups of the room, interviewed a few of his fellow guests, and even shot footage of the grounds after dark. “One of the best qualities of Santiago is the service,” he declared. “When I said the guys are the greatest, they really are.”

By Steven Skelley and Thomas Routzong

Our Palm Springs adventure began as we stepped off our plane into the Palm Springs International Airport. The first thing we noticed was the aroma. The open air design of the airport means that passengers are immediately greeted by the fresh, clean Palm Springs air. After six hours on a plane, it is a simple pleasure.

While Palm Springs may be best known for its sunny skies and daytime activities — such as hikes and walks, bike rides, shopping sprees, and leisurely swims in gorgeous pools —its nightlife is just as abundant and enticing. There are many fabulous bars and nightclubs open until the wee hours, but here are five ideas for your nighttime excursions — from the inspiring and romantic to the hopping and rocking.  These are all classic Palm Springs experiences.

The Purple Room Supper Club is one of my favorite spots for both stellar entertainment and delicious food and drinks. Located in the Trinidad Hotel, the Purple Room will carry you back to the rat pack era of the sixties, when celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Junior crooned on its stage.  There are live shows every night (except Mondays) and all the ones I’ve seen have been wonderful.  On Sundays, owner Michael Holmes presents the Judy Show, a wildly popular parody of Judy Garland’s television show. Other nights feature a variety of talented performers. You can enjoy the shows while savoring classic supper club fare (shrimp cocktails, prime rib, etc.) and specialty cocktails that are reminiscent of days gone by.

Seymour’s is an iconic speakeasy secretly hidden within Mr. Lyon’s, a popular upscale steak house. The secret entrance and dimly lit ambiance harken back to Prohibition days when patrons could sneak in to enjoy illicit alcoholic beverages in an intimate setting. This clandestine bar serves original craft cocktails as well as classic Prohibition-era cocktails, such as my favorite, the Last Word, made with gin, Green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and fresh lime juice. Vintage film clips above the bar add to the feel of days gone-by. This is the perfect place to wind down after a night on the town in Palm Springs. I’ve met the most interesting people at Seymour’s and the bartenders are personable and full of entertaining stories.

The Casablanca Lounge at Melvyn’s, adjacent to the charming Ingleside inn, is another special place where you can immerse yourself in the Hollywood glamour of the fifties and sixties. After a classic dinner at Melvyn’s, where tableside cooking is featured, you can adjourn to the lounge for an after-dinner drink, a lively piano bar, and perhaps a little dancing. You can just imagine Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe sipping martinis at this favorite getaway from the hubbub of Hollywood.

Moxie’s on Sunday nights is the place to go for a rocking, hip drag show called Foxie at Moxie — widely celebrated as one of the best drag shows in Southern California (also featured during a Sunday brunch). The rotating, talented cast of gorgeous, talented queens will entertain you while you sip on craft cocktails and nibble on delicious appetizers.  There is also live music and dancing on Friday and Saturday nights. The casual rooftop bar is a great place to relax and soak up the midnight skies. For a memorable, authentic Palm Springs experience you can’t miss Moxie’s.

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge is another swinging nightclub where something is hopping every night of the week. This trendy spot features Palm Springs’ longest continuing drag show, Tomi Rose and the Playgirls. Each night has a different theme, such as Latin Fever, Jungle Boogie and Pop Diva Karakoke, and, if you’re lucky, the “Go Go Boys” dancers may make an appearance. The drink specials are creative and fun.

There’s no need to pack a big suitcase for stays at these Palm Springs resorts.

The city is home to more than 20 men’s clothing-optional boutique hotels, where guests are free to roam the property sans attire. These resorts are known for their gorgeous pools and spas, steam rooms, gardens, and comfortable accommodations. For first-time visitors, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a clothing-optional hotel.

Small boutique hotels that cater specifically to gay men and women, or anyone who wants a clothing-optional experience, provide spaces that are “worry-free, stress-free, and nonjudgmental,” says Michael Green, owner of The Triangle Inn Palm Springs. “There are people who come from all over the world — sometimes from places, regions, or even countries where they are not accepted but also persecuted for being gay.”

It’s key to remember that not wearing clothes is optional, and if a guest doesn’t feel comfortable removing their garments right away, that’s OK — they can wait until they feel more comfortable, or remain clothed during their entire stay.

“Clothing-optional resorts attract all ages of gay men seeking a safe refuge, where they can feel free from outside influences,” INNdulge owner Jon Jackson says. “Only about half of our guests enjoy nudity, but all of them love having the option. Most come for the social aspect of spending their holiday exclusively with like-minded gay men.”

Another important thing to research before booking a stay is the sexual “temperature” of a resort, as this varies from property to property.

“A lot of people choose a clothing-optional resort because there is less pretense when a person is naked,” notes Ric Gomez, owner of Tortuga del Sol. “One of the myths I believe still exists is that gay clothing-optional resorts are sexually-charged hotels with low standards and minimal amenities. In reality, the majority of gay clothing-optional resorts are owner operated and exceed the hospitality and amenities levels of larger, mainstream hotels.”

These resorts are judgment-free zones, Gomez says, and in Tortuga del Sol’s common areas, “guests are free to openly demonstrate affection for their companion, or make a new friend or friends.” There are also guests with all body types, because “Nudism is a lifestyle that embraces the human body in all its forms,” Robert Aikens, head innkeeper at La Dolce Vita Resort and Spa, says. “There are many reasons people come to clothing-optional resorts, but always be friendly while respecting other’s rights to privacy.”

Palm Springs is known internationally for welcoming members of the LGBTQ community, and they flock to these resorts because they “are able to find an experience they literally cannot find anywhere else,” Green says. “Lots of our guests get to the resort, do some shopping, then come back and pretty much never leave except to shop or hike or see the sights. We are a destination within a destination for them.”