Vibe Style and Design

One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced during this ongoing pandemic is gathering our families in a safe setting. So here is a great idea. When we are allowed to safely travel again, why not consider bringing your family to one of the lovely small boutique hotels in the Palm Springs?

Recently, representatives from several of these hotels shared their experiences and thoughts with me about planning gatherings of families and close friends.

Many of these hotels encourage guests to buy out the entire hotel. There are many advantages to a buyout, such as knowing you are with a familiar group (your own “bubble”) while not interacting with strangers. You can also relax with confidence knowing that the hotels have taken all kinds of protective measures so that your stay is safe. At the same time, you can enjoy the beautiful Palm Springs setting.

Since the start of the pandemic, Dive (playfully decorated in a St. Tropez style) has hosted more than a dozen gatherings of families and close friends. Like many small hotels, it is well designed to accommodate small groups. Guests can enjoy spacious outdoor gardens, pools, multiple lounging areas, and fountains spread across a half-acre lot, making socially distancing easy and comfortable. Dive, which has 11 rooms, welcomes small groups, but if you need more than five rooms, the hotel requires a full buyout, which means you would have exclusive access to the property and a dedicated staff for support.

The Weekend, a small, mid-century modern hotel, where I have stayed and which I love, has ten deluxe suites, most with two bedrooms and two baths, along with living rooms, kitchens, and patios.  During the pandemic, the owners prefer that the entire hotel be bought out so you will not encounter other guests besides your family members.

One advantage at The Weekend and most other small boutique hotels is there are no hallways or elevators and the rooms open directly to the pool so there are plenty of opportunities for social distancing.

Both Hotel El Cid and The Marley (sister hotels) are private boutique hotels that rent to only one group at a time so they are perfect for families or close friends. They are also lovingly decorated and totally luxurious. The Marley has nine bedrooms and El Cid has seven bedrooms.  Both hotels are completely walled and gated for total privacy. Each hotel has full kitchens that allow guests to cook for themselves or groups can bring in professional chefs

Dining options are varied but ample at most of the small hotels. The Weekend delivers a lavish continental breakfast to each suite every morning. Their suites have a kitchen (no stove) with a full-sized refrigerator, ice maker, and four-seat dining room table. At Dive, two amazing chefs are available to support whatever dining needs guests have. In addition, each guest receives a complimentary organic breakfast each morning. During the current Covid situation, all food and drinks are served in single-use containers to ensure guests’ safety.

The safety and well-being of guests are the top priorities at the PSPSH hotels. Each hotel has enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures in place. All staff members are equipped with proper PPE — sanitizers, gloves, and masks. At The Weekend, staff members have daily temperature checks.  At all the hotels, guests are asked to wear masks coming and going from the hotel and to socially distance while relaxing at poolside. Outside visitors are not allowed.

So many of us have been mostly confined to our own homes for the last many months and, if you are like me, you are chomping at the bit to get out and start traveling again. Staying at a small boutique hotel is an ideal way to reconnect with close family members and friends while enjoying a luxurious setting in a fabulous location. Even if you live close to Palm Springs, you will feel as if you have really gotten away. Just go to the PSPSH website to find out when hotels are open and then you can explore the many enticing options for small groups in Palm Springs.

Sparrows Lodge pool

We’re back with the next feature in our series on Instagram-able small hotels in Palm Springs, featuring the rustic chic Sparrows Lodge.

Originally built in 1952 as Castle’s Red Barn by MGM actor Don Castle, the property was a popular getaway for Hollywood stars, and rumor has it that actress Elizabeth Montgomery (best known as Samantha in the original “Bewitched” television series) was married there.

After passing through various ownerships and doing stints as Catalina Palms and El Rancho Lodge, the property was again purchased and a major renovation was completed in 2013, resulting in a beautiful property that combines luxury with summer camp vibes and lots of Instagram-friendly photo ops.

The 20-room property, located in south Palm Springs, features the ‘50s original barn, now renovated to house a bar and lounge seating. Exposed redwood beams, concrete floors with hand-inlaid pebbles and functional wood window shutters lend a cabin-y vibe to both the exterior and interiors. Rooms are outfitted with custom-made redwood beds featuring plush mattresses topped by Swiss Army blankets, as well as metal footlockers and leather butterfly chairs.

A rock wall acts as a divider for the bathroom area, which includes enameled horse troughs for bathtubs and an open shower made of concrete and inlaid pebbles.

Most guest rooms have private patios, and two larger suites offer a little extra space and luxury: the Owner’s Suite, with a large sitting area and a sunken bedroom area with a functional fireplace, and the Cabin, with a kitchen and dining area separate from the bedroom.

Outdoor amenities at Sparrows Lodge include a saltwater pool and spa, a fire pit and horseshoes, and guests can enjoy spa services in the Massage Tent. There are hammocks throughout the property, as well as bikes available for guests to use their stay.

Daytime dining is available in the Barn Kitchen, along with outdoor seating surrounded by fruit trees. Chef Gabriel Woo also preparestwo special family-style dinners each week: a chicken dinner on Wednesday evenings and a steak dinner on Saturdays.

The property is very pet-friendly, so you can bring your furry friends along for some fun in the sun!

If you’re heading to Sparrows Lodge, just look for the nameless sign bearing two small birds and you’ll know you’ve reached this laid-back and inspiring retreat.

Stay tuned for our next installment as we explore the most Instagram-able Palm Springs small hotels!

 

Images via Instagram, Jaime Kowal and Camron Carrier.

If you’re obsessed with going behind the scenes, look no further! We’ve created a series of insider videos that take you behind the gates and into the mindset of Palm Springs’ savviest hoteliers. From high-end retreats to budget-friendly getaways, you’ll discover how each boutique hotel has a distinctly different vibe.

   

  • Discover the lush grounds of Azure Sky hotel in Palm Springs. Owner Henry Courtemanche shares his vision for this freshly remodeled mid-century modern hotel and luxurious pool in the Deep Well neighborhood.
  • Visit Dive Palm Springs with Operations Manager and Events Coordinator Steven Janji. Explore this charming retro French Riviera inspired hotel and discover all of the amenities that will help you to disconnect from your busy world.
  • This classic (and surprisingly affordable) bohemian/mid-century styled hotel, the Inn at Palm Springs, is located near the Uptown Design District in Palm Springs.

A new video is released every few weeks, so be sure to follow us on You Tube for notifications.

By Susan Montgomery

I have often dreamed of living in a lovely hotel for a while.  I can just envision the heavenly experience now — sipping coffee by the pool each morning with a good book, enjoying a delicious breakfast in my own little kitchenette, taking leisurely strolls around the nearby shops, dipping in and out of a refreshing pool during the day, relaxing in the evening with a glass of wine on my own delightful patio as I watch a glorious Palm Springs sunset over the mountains, and then snuggling peacefully each night on a comfy bed with luxurious linens.

It’s always good to get away from the day-to-day frenzy of at-home obligations where myriad household and work tasks always beckon. Fortunately, there are quite a few boutique hotels, all part of the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels group, that cater to my dream by encouraging long stays (two weeks or more).

Below are some hotels where you could live out this dream. All these hotels offer swimming pools, coffee pots, refrigerators, and kitchenettes, which are essential for long stays. Many offer other amenities such as furnished patios and barbecue grills for guests. Some cater to adults and some even welcome pets.

The Wescott Palm Springs

At the Wescott, you can enjoy a relaxing cocktail hour each evening on the patio around the soothing fresh water pool.

This historic hotel (opened in the 1930s), caters to adults and offers a Hollywood ambiance and art deco design with recently updated rooms. Since the Wescott is located in the trendy Uptown Design District, lots of shops and restaurants are within easy walking distance. A complimentary breakfast is offered each morning and there is a relaxing cocktail hour each evening around the soothing fresh water pool.

Adara Hotel Palm Springs

Ideally located near downtown Palm Springs, this charming, nicely furnished hotel is conveniently located right across from the Stein Mart Plaza Shopping Center. This quiet oasis features swaying palm trees and beautiful landscaping, making it a true getaway. Every room features a striking view of the San Jacinto Mountains and everything you need for an extended stay visit, such as flat-screen TVs, microwaves, refrigerators, and coffee makers.

Canyon Club Hotel

The Canyon Club Hotel has an exceptionally spectacular pool.

This 32-room, clothing optional, gay men’s resort is within easy walking distance from Palm Canyon Drive where there are lots of shops and restaurants. Eight rooms have private patios and there is a beautiful 50-foot diving pool plus a gym, spa, sauna, steam room, and a large park in the back that even has a fun maze. And you can bring your furry friends.

Avance Hotel

This relaxing getaway is an adults-only property that offers nine different kinds of suites, all but one with king-sized beds and four with private patios. These suites are like modern apartments and several have full kitchens. The courtyard is beautifully landscaped and the inviting saltwater pool is heated. Avance is very private but centrally located, only about a mile from downtown Palm Springs. Views from all the suites are spectacular. Complimentary bicycles are available.

Desert Hills Resort Hotel

At the Desert Hills Resort Hotel you can enjoy a flower-filled courtyard with a beautiful pool.

Ideally located at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains in the historic Tennis Club District, this adults-only, mid-century modern hotel is serene and very private. There is a barbecue grill and ice machine for guests. One and two-bedroom suites have beautiful patios that overlook a lovely flower-filled courtyard with a beautiful pool and spa. Many rooms have complete kitchens and all the linens are luxurious cashmere. This is a serene getaway for those who want a quiet, peaceful retreat.

Hotel California Palm Springs

Designed in a classic California mission style, with Spanish touches, this lushly landscaped hotel offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and 14 beautifully furnished rooms around a glistening pool with refreshing cool misters. There are grills for guests to barbecue and even a private outdoor cigar lounge. This is a romantic getaway with a rustic ambiance. Loyal guests come back here year after year, in part because of the impeccable friendly service.

Andalusian Court

Andalusian Court is a Spanish Revival Hotel that exudes romance and charm.

This charming Spanish Revival hotel exudes romance and is ideally located in the historic Tennis Club District. The grounds are nicely landscaped and highlighted by flowing water features. Each of the seven villas has a full kitchen, bedroom, luxurious bathroom, dining room, and living room. This is a true getaway and perfect for a serene extended stay. No wonder Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz often stayed here.

Little Paradise Hotel

This quiet hotel caters to adults and features eight spacious, modern rooms, each with fully equipped kitchens and two furnished patios. A beautiful salt-water pool is surrounded by lots of lawn chairs for the utmost in relaxation as you listen to the magical sounds of tinkling waterfalls. This “little paradise” is located about a mile from downtown Palm Springs, and there are also some nice restaurants within easy walking distance.

Les Cactus Palm Springs

Named after the 60s French rock ‘n roll hit by Jacques Dutronic, this historic hotel has been lovingly updated with stylish décor. A mix of one-bedroom suites and studios make this a perfect place for a long stay. Amenities include a massage room, a hot tub, a hammock garden, and a glorious rooftop deck — an ideal home away from home that may even be nicer than home.

Tuscany Manor

Tuscany Manor features an enchanting courtyard and a newly refurbished pool.

Clothing is optional at this peaceful retreat, which caters to single women and couples. The 24 apartment-like suites, with one or two bedrooms, fully equipped kitchens, and living and dining areas, are perfect for long stays. A plus for many guests is that the property is entirely smoke-free. A spacious, enchanting courtyard features a newly refurbished pool, spa, and barbecue area. While the intimate setting is very private, the hotel is only a short walk from downtown Palm Springs.

There are other PSPSH hotels that may meet your needs for extended stays, so check out the PSPSH website. And don’t worry about the summer heat during your extended stay in Palm Springs. All these hotels are air-conditioned, of course, and you can dip in and out of a refreshing pool all day.

“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.” – Russell Baker

July, the hottest month of the year. That means Palm Springs is hot, hot, hot. But it’s a dry heat, in a cool, cool place, with sparkling pools, a million stars in the sky, and those mountain views. If that’s not enough to grab you, we have delicious local restaurants, and nightlife coming out of our pores. And as always, we’re Just Fabulous (shameless plug, terrific local store).

Quick Note About August: Splash House is completely booked for passes and hotel packages, but you can still get After Hours, Tables and Cabanas. Here’s the evening line-up for the PS Air Museum concerts, pretty sure there’s a link to tickets. As for hotels, you can stay steps away from the fray in one of our famously fabulous boutique hotels while supporting local businesses. It’s seriously the best of two worlds. Our hotels are gorgeous.

Okay, let’s heat it up.:

Events:

Fourth of July Events:

11:00am Water Palooza, Victoria Park. Music, water games, free hot dogs and snow cones.

3:00 pm Independence Fest and Movie, Sunrise Park,

3:00 pm Family Pool Party: 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. Palm Springs Swim Center features water games, music and great food.

4:00pm Fourth of July Concert and Laser Show at Ruth Hardy Park (Free)

7:30pm The O’Donnell House at the Willows (so fancy! And for a good cause)

Theater (real live people on stage theater!):

Desert Rose Playhouse:

LGBTQ affirmative, this theater company produces delightfully side-splitting romps. Now located where Zelda’s used to be (next door to Bouschet and Spaghetteria), Desert Rose is a sweet hybrid of stage acts, theater, with a ‘lounge-like” atmosphere. Cocktails are served before and during the shows.

  • Wednesday-Sunday through July 4: Miss Firecracker Contest
  • Friday/Saturday July 9 & 10: A Night On Broadway
  • Saturday: July 17: An Evening of Comedy with Jason Stuart, With Shann Carr and Selene Luna
  • Wednesday-Sunday July 22-August 8: The Great American Trailer Park Musical

Dinner Theater:

PS Underground:

  • July 9: Enigma: A multiple course meal and hosted bar. An over-the-top inexplicable, immersive dinner experience.
  • July 11: Bacon: The bacon bloody marys and bubbly will be free-flowing at this fantastic ode to the best ingredient known to man.
  • July 17: 54 Underground: A recreation of the Studio 54 vibe with a contemporary twist.
  • July 18: Gospel: A multiple course Sunday brunch with toe-tapping, hand clapping gospel music from the band onstage.
  • July 22: Hip To Be Square: Guilty pleasure songs (Neil Sedaka, Johnny Mathis, Captain and Tennille) with great storytelling by Francesca Amari and a 3 course meal by Chef Horgen.
  • July 23 & 24: Lost Cherry: A dark, smoky, sultry cabaret.
  • July 25: Ovation: A jazzed up Sunday brunch.
  • July 25: Bodacious Bingo: This ain’t your gramma’s bingo night at the local VFW. Mack Diamond and his mama, Jetta Burell host this hilarious bingo adventure.
  • July 30: A Night At The Chi Chi: An evening in celebration of the stars who graced the CHI CHI room stage.

Shows: 

Oscars Cabaret:

  • July 2: Crimson Crow: featuring songs from the 60’s up to today, with special emphasis on the 80’s and 90’s.
  • July 3: Patrice and the Women of Soul: Songs of Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, Tina Turner, and Patti LaBelle for starters.

On-Going:

To keep this short-ish, here are links to my previous blogs from May and June because a lot of it is ongoing. Also, check out all our blog posts. There’s some really great information to be had in there.

VillageFest Courtesy of Sun Line Transit.sunline.org

 

VillageFest is reopening July 1st 2021. 7pm -10pm every Thursday on Palm Canyon Drive between Amado Road and Tahquitz Canyon. It’s a great stroll stroll down our main street while you check out the crafts, and the food, like The HeyDay, their smash burgers, cubanos, and (sometimes lobster) rolls. In fact, try all the street food. It’s really good. Shops and restaurants remain open, and music buskers are on every corner. And all the bars are open for copious drinking. Not encouraging bad behavior, I’m just letting you know your options.

Fridays: DOA Sessions: live jazz featuring rotating jazz musicians from 8p-11p at Dead or Alive. The bar gets a little lost in the shadow of El Mirasol Cocina, but it’s a gem. No martinis here, wines and craft beers only. When you step inside, it’s so unexpected. Very cozy, and kinda sexy. On your first visit, go after dark for the full effect. If the moon outside of the bar is on, they’re open. Not the real moon, that would be weird.

Girl, put your records on, the Retro Room and Karaoke are back! Open daily except Tuesdays. Host KJ Norm weekdays, and KJ Dion on Sundays.

Lipstick is back at The Copa photo courtesy of Brian Wanzek

Lipstick returns July 15! Thursdays at Copa Nightclub catch Bella Da Ball and a cast of fabulous queens featuring the best local singers. I hear Copa is bringing back other favorites, so keep an eye out for them.

Oscar’s: Saturdays: Mimosa Men Brunch Sundays: Bitchiest Brunch Sundays: T-Dance update! First Sunday of every month will be hosted by Chi Chi LaRue.

Sundays: V Wine Lounge presents Dragtastic Bubbly Brunch.

Sundays: Melyvn’s Pro Jam is back! Located in The Ingleside Inn

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge – bringing us the drag glam for two decades! For shows, see below, for tickets, go here.

  • Mondays: All Latin Drag Review “Latin Fever Monday” hosted by Jesus Coria.
  • Thursdays: RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season Six followed by PLAYHOUSE which has a special guest host every week.
  • Fridays: PLAYHOUSE hosted by Gorgeous Chameleon Jazmyn “The People’s Queen” Simone, with “an all-star cast of the fiercest, most sickening Queens on the planet.”
  • Saturdays: PLAYHOUSE with host Kickxy Vixen. “It’s an orgy of Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. Dragsanity!”
  • Sundays: Tommi Rose & The Playgirls. Tommi is legendary and the Queen and resident Drag Mother. The desert’s longest-running drag review.

Tips

  • The Summer Eats Pass is free. Each time you use the pass to check into a website or a participating eatery, you’ll be eligible for a weekly drawing to win a $50 gift card to a Greater Palm Springs restaurant. You’re welcome.
  • PRIDE IN NOVEMBER: Book your rooms NOW. Palm Springs throws a helluva party, and Pride is a blow out. I don’t want you to miss it.
  • Wear sunscreen, hydrate, walk or rideshare if you’ve been drinking. You know, stuff that can ruin a vacation. Plus, our doctors and nurses are tired, y’all.

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

Every summer in Palm Springs the temperatures soar, but it is still a wonderful place to visit, especially if you stay at a Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel with an inviting, sparkling pool and a charming, cool, air-conditioned room.

In general, there are several ways you can stay cool in very hot weather. Drink lots of water and stay well hydrated.  Also remember that alcohol can dehydrate you. It’s a good rule of thumb to drink two glasses of water for each alcoholic drink you imbibe. Wear hats for shade and perhaps move a bit more slowly than usual. Plan outdoor hikes and exercise for early in the morning. And take frequent refreshing dips in your hotel pool to cool off.

I recently spoke with two PSPSH hotel owners about the use of air-conditioning in their guest rooms. It turns out that there are easy ways to stay cool and effectively manage your AC, but there are also some possible problems you will want to avoid. Michael Green of Triangle Inn Palm Springs and Karina Castaneda of Los Arboles Hotel had plenty of good advice to keep your rooms and bodies cool.

It turns out that some guests turn the temperatures on their AC thermostats down really low when they enter their hotel rooms — an understandable tendency when you’re coming inside from the high heat. However, if the temperatures are forced to drop too quickly on the thermostat, the units can freeze over and then the AC won’t work at all for a while. The key is to bring the temperatures down slowly, which is what most hotels do before their guests arrive.

The rooms at Los Arboles stay nice and cool and have easy pool access.

Here are some good tips for keeping your hotel AC working efficiently:

  • Keep your indoor space at a modest temperature like 76 to 79 degrees. Not only will this keep your AC working effectively, but you will be more comfortable than if you were entering your room from an outside temperature of 110 or more degrees and then shocking your body with 62 degrees. It is also much less likely that your AC unit will freeze over and stop all together if you keep the temperature at a reasonable level.
  • Keep doors and windows closed so the cool air does not escape. (It’s surprising how many guests turn their AC on full blast while leaving their doors and windows open.)
  • Turn the bathroom fan on while you shower and keep the fan on for about 20 minutes after you shower to remove hot moisture from the air.
  • When you leave your hotel room, you might want to turn the temperature on your AC thermostat up but not off.
  • Keep your AC fan on AUTO and not on ON. When you turn your desired temperature down very low and you have the fan on ON, this is likely to freeze up the AC unit. It’s much better to leave the AC at a reasonable temperature that automatically adjusts.
  • Some hotels have both air-conditioning units and what are called desert or swamp coolers, which were traditionally used many years ago before air-conditioning came on the scene. Swamp coolers blow air over water to cool and don’t work well in very hot weather, in part because they add humidity to the air. AC units and swamp coolers should not be turned on at the same time.
  • Keep in mind that AC units tend to be different in each hotel. Make sure you follow the specific directions in your room and ask the hotel management if you have any questions.

The Staff at Los Arboles Hotel preset the thermostat to ensure a cool arrival.

Most small hotels try to make sure the AC is properly set and the room is comfortable and cool before guests arrive. In general, it should not be necessary to adjust the AC at all and, if some adjustment is necessary, it should be minimal.

Enjoy your summer and stay cool!

By Susan Montgomery

La Maison, a thirteen-room boutique hotel, offers guests a lushly landscaped oasis in the heart of Palm Springs. It is owned by Cornelia Schuster and Richard Slosky who opened their doors in February, 2012, although the property had been the site of a small resort since the 1950s. I had the good fortune to stay at La Maison a few weeks ago and savored every relaxing moment.

I learned that the owners moved here from Canada where they had owned a four-room bed and breakfast on lovely rural Salt Spring Island. They enjoyed this experience but eventually realized they needed a more viable hotel business without such a short season and more rooms. They had visited Palm Springs many times and loved the area so it was only logical that is where they looked for another inn to own and manage.  After more than a year of searching, they found the perfect property, which they named La Maison.

This property seemed ideal for them even though it needed some renovation. They liked the layout with the rooms on two sides of the lovely pool and the outdoor breakfast nook. They added a wall on one side and lots of greenery, including ficus. They renovated every room with unique consignment pieces, mostly found in the Palm Springs area, that have helped create what Cornelia describes as a simplified twist on a Country French style.

When I first arrived at La Maison, all I saw was a secluded black door in a wall, but when I opened the door I was greeted by an enchanting patio with welcoming comfortable furniture, outdoor fireplaces, tinkling fountains, verdant landscaping, and a glistening pristine pool. The ambiance is all-enveloping, making La Maison a heavenly retreat from the hubbub of daily life.  Cornelia says many of their guests have told them what a wonderful getaway the property is.  Some have even made life-changing decisions while contemplating their lives in this peaceful setting.

The luxurious rooms offer every comfort and amenity. My room was a deluxe king with warm terracotta floors, charming vintage furnishings, and so many other nice touches such as high quality linens on the beds, along with a little lavender sachet.  Later in the afternoon, guests can enjoy wine around the pool and a cooler is always full of iced water, beer and soda for guests.  La Maison also offers guests bicycles and a fully equipped outdoor barbecue grill.

Each morning a bountiful breakfast is served with such treats as pastries, croissants, fruit, yogurt and juice, plus each breakfast features a special item. When I was there, Cornelia made her famous rosemary, grapefruit cake, which I savored.  Cornelia explained that serving “serious coffee” is important to them so they have a professional coffee machine, which can produce exceptional cappuccino, lattes, and espressos.

Three years ago Marsha and Stephen Ferguson joined the staff at La Maison as the on-site innkeepers. This arrangement has worked out beautifully as far as Cornelia is concerned although she and her husband are also very hands-on. Richard is a handyman who can fix almost anything around the property and who also makes early morning coffee for guests. Besides baking wonderful breakfast items, Cornelia works on the books, inventory, and social media. The couple, who have three daughters (one still living at home), have really enjoyed this venture together in their lives.

Cornelia and Richard like focusing on offering their guests special attention and personalized service. They both love getting to know their guests and, in many cases, making new friends who come back again and again. Guests come to La Maison from all over the world. Europeans especially love the old-world ambiance and all guests enjoy the intimate serenity the hotel offers.

Cornelia says that as owners their greatest satisfaction is knowing their guests are happy and feel rejuvenated when they depart. She believes that small boutique hotels, like La Maison, can offer guests a personalized experience that is hard to find in large resorts.

As if 2020 wasn’t crazy enough, I welcomed my first baby in 2021. Adjusting to life with little Mabel has been a wild adventure, yet mostly done at home. I’ve always loved to travel and especially hop in the car for a road trip. With all things considered, the first weekend of Spring seemed like the perfect time to head out to Palm Springs.

If you’re thinking, they’re crazy to travel with a two-month-old. Don’t worry, my husband, Mike and I also had that thought. Yet, in Palm Springs, there’s no better place to chill-lax and do a lot of nothing except enjoy the views, pool, food, and weather.

We ventured out from Ventura County early Saturday afternoon. In the “old days,” I would have been gung-ho to leave early and make pit stops along the way. This trip? It was all about Mabel’s feeding times and keeping her in a good mood. While she does well on car rides, we love that Palm Springs is under 150 miles. This keeps us at three or fewer hours away. We did end up stopping a bit, yet still arrived while the sun was shining.

Check into the Los Arboles Hotel in Palm Springs

Nestled on the corner of Indian Canyon Drive and Tamarisk Road, we were thrilled to check into Los Arboles Hotel. Los Arboles is centrally located along the chic Uptown Design District and Movie Colony. They’re also a stone’s throw from foodie favorites like Cheeky’s. Need I say more?

With six room types, we made ourselves right at home in an Expanded Express suite. Instead of just grabbing our suitcases, we got baby situated with her playpen, toys, diaper bag, and bottle warmer. Despite the “express” title, our suite was spacious even with our extra load of gear. Our room boasted tile flooring throughout, a dining nook, bathtub, rain shower, an old Spanish-style armoire, and a vase of fresh flowers courtesy of Hermano Flower Shop. We thought the small dining corner would be great as we opted for mostly takeout yet we enjoyed our adorable patio at the entrance foyer. The weather was gorgeous and helped us enjoy the laid-back vibes even more so.

Entrance and patio to the Expanded Express suite at Los Arboles Hotel in Palm Spings

The grounds at Los Arboles take you to many different places. The surrounding desert mountains make it so you never forget where you are. Hacienda-inspired architecture gives you the essence of Spain. The aroma of homemade food from the hotel’s restaurant, El Mirasol, will take you South of the border. My favorite was the tropical inspirations thanks to the array of exotic plants and trees throughout.

Take a splash at the Los Arboles pool

With a baby in tow, we were nervous about her getting fussy. Luckily, Los Arboles’ hotelier, Karina Castaneda, kept this in mind. She reserved us a room tucked away in the back of the hotel with no shared walls. Personal touches like that can be hard to come by. It’s one of my top reasons for staying in Palm Springs. You can tell Karina and her family takes great pride in giving their guests a stay that feels more like “home.”

Comfy bed and suite at Los Arboles

Something I appreciated more than ever during our stay was the food. Days are so filled with taking care of Mabel, that we often slack on meals. Having a terrific slew of restaurants available, from higher-end to casual, was just what mommy and daddy needed.

Grilled Cubano Sandwich from 849

Having previously been to 849, their Scottish Steelhead was on my mind. Within a 5-minute walk of the hotel, 849 is a staple along the Uptown Design District. Its modern, posh dining atmosphere and patio make you want to look cute and maybe get out some heels. Since leggings and tees were more the goals this trip, we opted for takeout. The steelhead was flaky and cooked to perfection. Mike enjoyed the grilled Cubano sandwich with fries. Mabel took in the sights and sounds from the television (great OnDemand lineup with HBO) while we enjoyed our meal.

Takeout perfection from Cheeky’s

Did I mention how close you are to great restaurants? Another one is Cheeky’s. A Buzzfeed darling, Cheeky’s offers up modern takes on traditional breakfast favorites. What gets them the long wait times? Cult favorites like their bacon flight and Bloody Mary’s. One of my favorite highlights of the trip was enjoying our Cheeky’s takeout on the patio back at our room. I devoured my waffle (as always). Mike thought the bacon flight, which is five pieces of flavored bacon, was worth it.

When lunch rolled around, we found two fantastic and casual options. Favorites among the locals, Native Foods is a 100% vegan menu while Chicken Ranch is an excellent and healthy choice if you’re not looking for entirely plant-based.

Visit the giraffes at the Living Desert

Although past trips have found me taking a ride up the Aerial Tramway, we decided to hold off on it again until Mabel is older. Instead, we drove out to Palm Desert on a sunny Sunday afternoon to experience the Living Desert. 20 miles from Los Arboles, the Living Desert blends an impressive zoo with nature trails and botanical gardens. Visitors young and old will also appreciate their elaborate G-scale train set outlining the California railroad.

Even though it feels a bit more exhausting traveling with a baby, Palm Springs was ideal. I look forward to returning in years to come and tell Mabel that her very first trip was here.

“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.

 

After many tedious weeks of quarantining and sheltering at home, our country is starting to open up again. But it will be, as they say, “a new normal.” For those older or at-risk people who have been strictly following the quarantine protocols (such as my husband and me), moving back into the real world may be a bit frightening – especially as we embark again on our much-missed world of travel.

Do we really want to hop on a plane?  Or do we want to go out to eat or stay in hotels?  And how can we make this transition back to the real world without causing ourselves undue anxiety and stress? We know we are vulnerable, but we also want to live our lives to the fullest. We refuse to live in fear, but we want to be cautious.

For those of us who live in Southern California, we have a wonderful, safe, and nearby option as we venture out again—Palm Springs.  If you live in Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego or Riverside counties, you can drive to Palm Springs in two hours or even less.  So there is no need to worry about a nerve-racking plane flight.

And when you arrive in Palm Springs, a small boutique hotel is your ideal destination. There are more than 70 hotels in the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels group and it looks like most of them will be re-opening by June 12, 2020. These small hotels are already set up for comfortable social distancing. Almost all of them have private exterior entries from courtyards and do not have long hallways like the “big box” hotels. They do not have large lobbies where lots of people congregate.  Because they have small numbers of rooms, they will also have fewer guests. Most of them have courtyards around gorgeous pools where you can relax without being crammed next to other guests.

And the PSPSH hotels have collectively established a baseline of safety standards to insure guest comfort and safety.  For instance, hotels that serve breakfasts will generally serve them in individually wrapped containers rather than offering buffets. Fewer lounge chairs will be placed around swimming pools. Hand sanitizers will be readily available and hotel staff will be continually sanitizing surfaces. Some procedures may vary but each hotel will provide guests with their COVID-19 specific guidelines.

The City of Palm Springs requires that everyone wear a mask covering their mouths and noses while in public and that everyone practice social distancing. The hotels, of course, support these guidelines. No one with COVID symptoms will be allowed on PSPSH properties.

In the past, we have stayed at several of the PSPSH hotels and we can’t wait to go back. Our first trip out of our quarantined home will be to Palm Springs. I can just imagine lounging around the pristine pool at Alcazar or relaxing around a glowing fire pit at La Maison. Or perhaps we’ll soak up the rays at La Serena Villas or The Weekend Palm Springs.  And although some restaurants in Palm Springs will be open soon, we’ll be able to order our meals (and even cocktails) to be delivered directly to our room. And many of the hotels will also let us bring our dog (who, like us, is ready to be out and about.)  It’s also wonderful to know that these hotels have friendly staff members dedicated to making their guests feel welcomed and comfortable.

You can safely quarantine at these hotels in luxury and in utmost seclusion. After many weeks of isolating at home, a change of scene is so appealing.  I envision a day of sleeping late and then sipping coffee on our own private patio. Then we might play scrabble and have lunch and a cocktail delivered around the pool. Then perhaps we’ll take an afternoon nap on a comfy bed with a good book. At some of the hotels, we could grill out our own dinner and enjoy a good bottle of wine. Or we could venture out and dine at one of the Palm Springs restaurants that has safely opened. But I think we may just order a delicious dinner from a nearby restaurant. The hotels will be able to tell you where you can order food to be delivered.

To see your many enticing hotel options, go to the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website.

Hope to see you soon in Palm Springs!