The Hacienda at Warm Sands is a gay resort for men-only that invites every guest to “Enter Quiet Luxury.” That’s exactly what I got to experience upon my arrival, from the moment I was greeted at the front entrance by The Hacienda’s devoted staff. In fact, there was no checking in at any front desk. I was immediately accompanied to my spacious private suite, then given a fresh Arnold Palmer and tour of the beautiful, peaceful grounds The Hacienda has come to be appreciated for by its faithful repeat guests.

Total relaxation awaits at The Hacienda at Warm Sands. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The Hacienda at Warm Sands has been a staple in the Palm Springs gay resort community since the 1970s. It’s draped in lush foliage, Southwestern plantings, Saltillo-tiled patios and walkways, and breathtaking vistas of the San Jacinto Mountains. It’s an intimate resort that features only 10 luxurious private suites, each equipped with its own dedicated WiFi as well.

There are two large swimming pools men can enjoy day and night, as well as a jetted in-ground spa and adjacent fireplace. Each pool area is surrounded with cush, ultra-comfy chaise lounges that even sport their own fitted towels to lounge on.

The Hacienda at Warm Sands is a swimsuit-optional resort, which is different from a clothing-optional resort. Guests are welcome to wear their clothing (or not) in their suite, in the pools, or on the grounds, but it’s appropriate to be clothed while walking throughout the grounds. This is what differentiates The Hacienda the most from other gay, men-only resorts here in Palm Springs, in my opinion. It’s a place for relaxation more than it is a place for recreation.

Spa time at The Hacienda at Warm Sands. Photo by Gregory Douglass

Another Hacienda motto is “Expect the Uncommon.” My expectations were surpassed when the house manager offered me some vintage “welcome” documents from when The Hacienda at Warm Sands first opened and operated as Hacienda En Sueño (“The House of Reverie”) in the late ’70s. The documents were prepared on a typewriter, and provided a fascinating read and an uncommon glimpse into the covert nature of our LGBTQ+ past here in Palm Springs.

Back then, there was no mention of male guests. It was simply described as a “unique and secluded” special oasis that is a “carefully guarded” and “meticulously groomed retreat.” The hotel used to be monitored by armed, uniformed police protecting the property at least four times each evening. While The Hacienda may no longer offer grocery deliveries and a selection of sun tan oils (ranging from 0-15 SSP), it still honors the same pampered philosophy of “intimate privacy and guest compatibility” that it has since the beginning.

The Hacienda En Sueño’s guests were usually by referral as they did not advertise in those days. They also described the resort as being “particularly attractive to the literate, sensitive, and well bred” — and that also still rings true today from what I observed.

During my stay, I witnessed several guests buried in a book, enjoying extended reading time by the pool. I didn’t experience much social time with my temporary neighbors beyond daily pleasantries like “Good morning.” People were quiet, independent, and very respectful of one another’s personal space and shared need for rest and relaxation.

There were plenty of perks to assist with the restoration process too, including a complete pillow menu in the suite bedroom and personalized pillows with guest names embroidered in them. In addition to the custom pillows, every note was personalized as well. The bedroom closet was equipped with a selection of bathrobes, slippers, and yoga mats, and the bathroom featured two showerheads (should you want some company). In the kitchen, there was a welcome basket with various treats and a binder with menus for a daily complimentary lunch (catered by Manhattan In The Desert).

Custom pillows are a fun touch. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The common area breezeway housed their daily complimentary breakfast selection as well as water coolers (hot, cold, and room temp), guest laundry access, and a daily calendar of local events featured on a bulletin board.

In the spirit of “expecting the uncommon,” there were also intriguing dog paws cemented in the tiles in various spots throughout the property. I asked the manager about them, and while there was no real story or deeper meaning behind the paws, it made for a fun scavenger hunt one afternoon.

What really defines the true Hacienda experience is their five-star hospitality services. I spoke with a manager named Victor and he described their approach as “striving to anticipate guests’ expectations.” They encourage feedback and take it seriously, and have more than 500 Tripadvisor reviews. 

Fun fact: the final episode of Logo TV’s Finding Prince Charming was filmed at The Hacienda at Warm Sands. And who knows — perhaps you’ll find Prince Charming during your next Hacienda stay!

The welcome basket provided to guests at The Hacienda at Warm Sands. Photo by Gregory Douglass

“We’re not interested in being the most expensive resort in Palm Springs, but we are interested in being the nicest.” — INNdulge owner Jon Jackson

Warm Sands is a beautiful Palm Springs neighborhood with sprawling estates, their edges lined with walls of perfectly-manicured, oversized hedges requesting you respect their privacy. You often don’t know what’s behind them — is it one of the many private homes, or is it one of the many men’s clothing-optional resorts? There’s a lot of bush going on there, it’s hard to tell.  

On that alone, INNdulge stands out. 

From the classy stone marquee on the tip of the property and generous parking spaces, to the rainbow flag waving above the mid-century modern structure of steel and tinted glass that screams “I’m a hotel lobby,” the INNdulge resort is out and proud on the street.

But that’s only a perk if you are directionally impaired. What really makes INNdulge stand out is what’s through the door. 

It’s entirely unexpected: A lobby that is the definition of minimalist, with a teak desk that’s functional art on marble tile flooring. Where there aren’t floor to ceiling windows, there is art. Gorgeous art. 

The INNdulge lobby. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

Off the lobby is a retro bistro table next to an open wall of glass that lets the outside in, and that outside is so mid-century perfect that your mind’s eye can see Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter soaking up the rays on the lip of the pool, or maybe Cary Grant and Randolph Scott cheekily cavorting in the water. 

It all has a sophisticated playfulness to it, something you’ll find sprinkled throughout the rest of the property. It’s one of the benefits of having an owner who has an intense passion for visual mediums. 

Speaking of playfulness, it’s hard to miss the two large statues flanking the pool, both with very large Flintstone-esque feet. 

This statue keeps watch over INNdulge. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

“It’s by an artist named Mavis McClure,” INNdulge owner Jon Jackson tells me, clearly as fascinated with the artist as he is the art. “We met her when she was a professor at Berkeley. She does both male and female figures with oversized hands and feet. She did these at Berkeley; the models were two cousins from Italy that were exchange students.”

Most of the art is by gay artists, but Jackson doesn’t discriminate. If he loves it, he buys it.

Unexpected art is scattered across the entire property, and every suite is not only clad in the mid-century modern aesthetic, but each has their own original paintings. 

A room at INNdulge. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

Another thing that sets INNdulge apart from other men’s resorts is that with 31 rooms, it lands in the mid-sized category. At this particular resort, more people equals more fun, which is one of the reasons INNdulge has an 80 percent guest return rate.

“Everything is designed around the pool in such a way to encourage people to meet, and every evening we have a social hour,” Jackson explains. “It’s BYOB because of the California liquor licenses. But we do it to encourage people to foster conversation and friendships. That’s why people come back.”

Most of the suites are poolside, with only about 10 of them away from the pool, and those have quieter patios in case you’re looking to have a cup of coffee away from the bustle.

Poolside views. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

Speaking of coffee, INNdulge lays out a couple of fabulous spreads for breakfast. Yogurt, berries, croissants, ham and cheese, and of course juice, coffee, and tea.  

There’s a lot to do in Palm Springs, and Jackson has found that first-time visitors often book themselves with activities every minute of every day, from modernism tours to tennis lessons. 

“When they come back the second time, it’s just to hang out by the pool,” Jackson says. “Of course, they go out to dinner, but they sort of get in this vibe. I don’t claim that, it’s not INNdulge’s vibe, it’s the Palm Springs vibe. And we try to recreate that here.”

And nothing says Palm Springs like a soak in a 12-man whirlpool spa that is open 24/7, so if you can’t sleep and think some friendly bubbles might soothe you, just hop on in. The water’s the perfect temperature, and the desertscape at night is breathtaking.

“We do a major remodel of something every single year primarily for our repeat clients,” Jackson says. “We do that because they come to expect what they know — this is the best value in the desert.”

The INNdulge grounds. Photo courtesy of INNdulge