It’s June, and you know what that means — it’s time to forget Father’s Day! 

One year, my dad skipped church (I’m kidding, he never went to church) so my mom and my sibling and I went and learned it was Father’s Day. Gah! If it had been at the Baptist Bible school my parents sent us off to in the summer, we could have made something out of glue and macaroni, but this was the Presbyterian church, and they weren’t crafty. It was also the 1960s, and on Sundays nothing was open, so there was no way to remedy the situation. We went home defeated and, I’ll admit, a little nervous.

When we got there, Dad was moving the lawn. One look and we knew that he knew we didn’t know, and then he just wiped his brow and continued riding his mower (we had less than three-quarters of an acre, so that was kinda boujee). I now realize that is exactly what he wanted to be doing on that day, yard work, because it was away from the three females who vexed him 365 days a year. 

I hear they’re making dads a little bit more cuddly these days, so they’ll likely appreciate doing something with their kids, and I’m here to help you out. If you’re grown, you don’t need my help. Everyone knows it’s brunch for mom and dad gets to watch sports and drink beer all day.

For dads who have young’uns and like spending time with them (hopefully all of you!), bring the family down to the most laid back and grooviest little big place in the state of California: Palm Springs.

Quick note: I’ve pre-sorted a list of all of our family-friendly resorts for you here. There’s quite a few, and I’d love to tell you about all the wonderful and unique things offered by each, however this is about what to do once you score your stay. I encourage you to click and peruse, as well as add your own amenity filters. 

Now, if everyone’s gone tinkle and buckled up, let’s get this motor running and get out on the highway, looking for adventure…any more of that and I may have to pay royalties, so away we go:

Edutainment

Museum of Ancient Wonders — Comprised of 375 artifacts and fossils (many are replicas), the Museum of Ancient Wonders provides an opportunity for visitors of all ages to immerse themselves into the mesmerizing life of a pharaoh, the legends of Greek mythology, and ancient African mysticism, and to experience the international fossil record in one of the most comprehensive and diverse fossil collections ever assembled and rarely seen outside of their respective museums.

Windmill Tours — From golf cart tours to self-driving tours, it’s all about the energy of these turbines, how they work, and how much electricity they produce. I hear it’s marvelous. Likely not for toddlers, though. 

Palm Springs Air Museum — Climb aboard old planes, see memorabilia from the flyers, and even ride on an old warbird.

Next year, Discovery Children’s Museum of the Desert will be open again, and it’s full of wonder. They won’t let you in without a kid, but I got a tour once, and I wanted to play with everything.

Fascination

Create Center for the Arts — It’s hard to believe we have a place this special in our little valley, but we do. Formerly a high-end doggie and people spa, it’s been repurposed into a feast for creativity. Please, do yourself and your kids a favor and check out their website and just go. I can’t tell you everything here, but if there’s a smidge of an artist in you and you’ve got imagination, this place is a dreamcatcher. On top of that, one of the best bakeries in the valley, Aspen Mills, has a satellite shop there, and there is an art store. The whole place feels like an elegant castle. Bonus — they kept the salt cave!  

Rancho Mirage Observatory — The witching hour is 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Starts in the lobby of the library. There is no cost and no registration. Tours are limited to about 20 people. Also check out their stargazing at night.

Silly Fun

Cabazon Dinosaurs — Mr. Rex, Dinny, and their more than 50 dinosaur friends provide perfect photo ops. The dinosaur walk features a dino dig and fossil panning that kids will enjoy. 

 Jurassic Wonders — I guess we love dinosaurs? This is a new installation on Highway 111 in the vicinity of the Mary Pickford Theater. They’re pretty ferocious looking — not like Dino from The Flintstones. Great photo ops.

Boomers — Are you a golfing dad? You can scratch a little of that itch at Boomers mini-golf, and maybe hit some video games and the go-carts. They also have a batting cage, but I’ve never seen anyone use it.  

Living Desert — Real live exotic animals doing real life stuff so you may have to explain, “When two lions love each other very much….” Or, you can get them interested in feeding the giraffes instead.

Get Air Trampoline Park — Something for kids of all ages. Seriously, go to their website and check it out and tell them I sent you. They have no idea who I am. It’ll be fun!

Skate Park — If you’re an action parent with an action kid, this is where you want to be.

Into The Wild

Lake Arrowhead — Take a ride on the Lake Arrowhead Queen (it’s a boat), and/or take water skiing lessons. Go to Santa’s Village where you can zipline and learn to fly fish. Or just have lunch and an ice cream.

Magic Mountain at Big Bear Lake boasts:

The Alpine Slide, Southern California’s only authentic, year-round bobsled experience. Take a chair lift ride to the top, then control your speed as you twist and turn down a quarter-mile-long track. Check the website for ages/heights. 

The Soaring Eagle, where you whoosh through the air at incredible speeds.

The Mineshaft Coaster is the first and only mountain coaster in California. On the way up, check out the breathtaking views, then you control your speed through thrilling hairpin turns, dips, tunnels, bridges and 360-degree corkscrews on a mile long track.

There’s also go-karts, an 18-hole mini golf course, and … drumroll please … a double water slide!

Whatever you decide to do, can I go with you? Asking for my inner child. And please have a very happy Father’s Day!

Guidelines for Palm Springs Visitors

With temperatures in the 70s and the sun shining brightly, we are welcoming visitors who need to travel for essential reasons. There are restrictions you need to aware of as of December 11, 2020.

According to the state of California’s Public Health Department, essential reasons for travel include “work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chains, health, immediate medical care, and safety and security.”

As you drive into town, you will see this banner across our main throughways into town. We local citizens are doing a great job of wearing masks and social distancing. We ask our visitors to honor us by doing the same.

Boutique Hotels

Unfortunately, our quaint and inviting hotels are not open except for essential Covid mitigation. At this time, we have no way of knowing if this restriction will remain in place after December 27, 2020. If a member of your household is at risk or has been exposed to Covid, you may safely seek shelter at one of the hotels.

Shopping

Retail stores are open. However, they are at 20% capacity. The good news is you can be sure of your safety in the store, for social distancing and masks are required.  You will want to call and check on hours for stores are adjusting their hours to accommodate the flow of traffic.

Dining

Hopefully, you have been here before and know which are your favorite restaurants, because the only way you can enjoy their food is by curbside pick-up or delivery service. The City of Palm Springs just passed a new ordinance that cut the delivery service’s amount and enhanced the amount the restaurant will get from your purchase.

At least through December 27, 2020, there is no outside or indoor dining.

Art and Museums

Unfortunately, museums remain closed. However, we have over 70 public art installations in Palm Springs. There is nothing like taking the paths less traveled downtown and finding them in unexpected places, like behind the Desert Art Center, located on Palm Canyon Drive.

Thursday Night Street Fair

This fun and engaging activity remains closed until further notice.

Certified Saturday Market

Located on the grounds of the Palm Springs Cultural Center, the vendors continue to provide farm-fresh produce.

Hiking

Palm Springs is renowned as a community of great hiking with spectacular views. Trails are open and attract hikers of all degrees of endurance. These hikes also offer the possible chance of seeing our famous mountain sheep. A reminder: Take plenty of water with you and wear a hat. Our sun here is hotter than you might think.

Walks and Bicycling

Each of our neighborhoods takes on its unique kind of personality. Old Las Palmas provides you with a look at mansions built in the late 40s and 50s. Gigantic palm trees and lush plants thrive in the desert air. A walk through the Movie Colony is always enjoyable.

Bike paths are prevalent in Palm Springs. You may want to rent a bike, so you can explore our many streets and view our palatial residents and modernism style homes.

Many of our attractions are closed. Yet, we local citizens never get tired of the sunrises as we sip our coffee in the morning, the sun dancing on the mountains during the day, or cocktails as we watch the sun setting behind these glorious mountains in Palm Springs.

Rocky ledges and palms surround the beautiful pool at Sparrows Lodge Hotel in Palm Springs, California

Is your daily life starting to wear you down? Are you experiencing symptoms of undue stress — constant worrying, sleepless nights, feelings of anxiety? Or, maybe you’re just looking for a change of scene.

It may be time for a true getaway, and Palm Springs is your perfect destination. Not only is the weather beautiful, but there are lots of “get-away-from-it-all” activities and a plethora of charming, peaceful boutique hotels in the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels group that provide the ideal places to relax and regroup.

Here are some tips that may help you plan a real getaway in Palm Springs:

First, decide if you are going to get away alone or with another person, like a partner or friend. Sometimes another person can just add to your stress or distract you from focusing on relaxation — in that case, a solo getaway may be your best option. On the other hand, a traveling companion may enhance your getaway experience. It all depends on the person and what you are seeking in a getaway.

 The inviting pool at Azure Sky. Photo courtesy of Azure Sky

If you do decide to visit Palm Springs with someone else, make sure that the two of you either have similar ideas for your trip or that the other person respects your desire to experience a true getaway. If you just want to relax at your hotel and lounge around the pool, and your companion wants to hop around to museums and entertainment venues, then you need to respect each other’s wishes. You don’t have to do everything together. 

Set your getaway goals before you arrive in Palm Springs — do your research and make a list of activities that interest you, keeping in mind that trying something new is a wonderful way to get away from your daily routine. Consider going to  a spa or booking a massage, or how about that long-overdue pedicure? But please don’t over-plan. Doing too much in one day can be stressful. Allow plenty of time for naps! 

A bedroom at Sparrows Lodge. Photo courtesy of Sparrows Lodge

Choose a hotel that meets your relaxation goals. I have probably stayed at about 10 PSPSH boutique hotels in Palm Springs and I must say that they were all wonderful places to relax, but some are busier than others. They all have a relatively small number of rooms, so you will not be inundated by the distractions of lots of other guests. Many of these hotels are for adults only, and this is important if you don’t want cute but noisy little kids jumping over your lounge chair while you’re trying to lose yourself in a good book or take a serene snooze. Do you want a vibrant music scene around the pool or a more soothing atmosphere? Read the hotel reviews or call and ask about the atmosphere.

Consider a getaway where you can escape technology and the media for awhile. Several PSPSH hotels have no televisions or in-room phones, such as Azure Sky, Sparrows Lodge, and Korakia Pensione. (But of course, even if you stay in a hotel with a TV, you don’t have to turn it on.) You can also put your mobile phone and laptop away for a few days and just enjoy the sun, the sky, the pool, and a few friendly exchanges with other hotel guests. Be sure to bring some good books for relaxed reading.

The Artist Studio at Korakia Pensione. Photo courtesy of Korakia Pensione

Think about keeping a daily journal. Jot down random thoughts that come into your head. Record goals for maintaining a stress-free life when you return home. Or write about the many positive aspects of your life, and what you appreciate right now. Don’t focus on your problems — focus on what is good.

Meditation and mindful exercise or stretching routines like yoga can also be helpful in finding tranquility. Maybe you can start each day with a meditation on what you love about your life and how you hope to find peace in the future. There are also many wonderful hiking options in the Palm Springs area. Investigate those ahead of time and perhaps plan to take a daily walk or hike. There is nothing like nature to soothe your soul.

A hike in Indian Canyon is always a good idea. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

During your getaway, emphasize healthy eating and keeping alcohol to a minimum. Focus on fruits, vegetables, and fiber, which contribute to a healthy digestive system. A glass of wine occasionally is fine, but don’t overdo the cocktails. Many PSPSH hotels have small kitchens in their rooms so you can bring these healthy foods with you. Or you can order out from local restaurants if you don’t want to leave the hotel. 

Plan to stay long enough to really decompress. A week’s stay is ideal if possible.

I guarantee if you follow some or all of these suggestions you will leave refreshed and ready to embark on your daily challenges with renewed vigor. Remember the three Rs — relax, renew, refresh. Savor every moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Images via Instagram and courtesy of Villa Royale.

There are tons of gay-owned gems and LGBTQIA+-friendly shops to explore in Palm Springs, which is great news if you’re in town for a getaway or live here in the Coachella Valley. Our desert oasis is a cornucopia of quirky gifts, mid-century modern household goods, thrift stores that give back to the queer community, and everything in between. So if you’ve got $500 that’s just burning a hole through your wallet right now, consider making some time for a little retail therapy. Here are my votes for the best queer shopping in Palm Springs:

Adult gifts (for men)

Gear Leather & Fetish

For men who like to play hard, Gear Leather & Fetish on East Sunny Dunes Road carries some of the best fetish products from the top manufacturers in the world. Go grab a beer at the Tool Shed next door for some inspiration first.

Rough Trade Gear Palm Springs

The Arenas District in Palm Springs is home to Rough Trade Gear, featuring some of the sexiest men’s street, fetish, sport, and play wear. It’s just one of many shopping options in the ever-popular Arenas District “gayborhood.”

Antiques shopping

Palm Springs Vintage Market

The Palm Springs Vintage Market features the best selection of Southern California vendors selling vintage and antique furniture, art, clothing, jewelry, and home furnishings. Experience it for yourself on the first Sunday of every month (October through May), from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Palm Springs Cultural Center (formerly Camelot Theatre).

Antique Galleries of Palm Springs

If you can’t catch the Vintage Market, you can discover all sorts of inspiring things at Antique Galleries of Palm Springs. They have one of the largest collections of antique, vintage, and retro everything in the Coachella Valley.

This is just one corner of Antique Galleries of Palm Springs. Photo credit: Gregory Douglass

Clothing (for men) 

GayMart USA

In the heart of the Arenas District, GayMart USA proudly refers to itself as “America’s Favorite Gay Superstore.” Their specialty is swimwear and underwear of all kinds, but they also sell entertaining cards, presents, and toys for adults.

GayMart USA has it all. Photo credit: Gregory Douglass

Division Palm Springs

If you really want to dress the part of a Palm Springs local, Division Palm Springs is the place to shop. Also nestled in the Arenas District, Division always has a beautifully curated contemporary collection of button downs, clever T-shirts, classy swimwear, and ever-popular short-shorts that practically every gay man in town wears with pride.

Division’s storefront gives you a hint of what’s inside. Photo credit: Gregory Douglass

Gifts

Queertique Palm Springs

There’s no shop more unique in Palm Springs than Queertique. They are a queer lifestyle shop dedicated to amplifying the voices of independent queer artists and their art and apparel. You can even take a selfie in the store’s fabulous dressing room (and be sure to tag them in your Instagram post if you do)!

There is so much to see at Queertique. Photo credit: Gregory Douglass

Just Fabulous Palm Springs

Just Fabulous Palm Springs is, well, … just fabulous! Located next to Koffi North in the Uptown District, Just Fabulous is a lifestyle boutique with artwork, original gifts, mid-century modern photo books, and modern home decor items that are as inspiring as they are entertaining. Their greeting card selection alone could keep you entertained all afternoon.

Home furnishings

Ace Hardware

Yes, you read that right. Palm Springs Ace Hardware isn’t just your daddy’s hardware store (or is it)? It’s every gay man’s ideal version of a hardware store, and then some. From beautiful mid-century modern patio furniture to a vast selection of HVAC air filters, Ace is the place (sorry, I couldn’t resist) for all of your desert household needs. And they are as LGBTQ+ community-focused as a local business can be.

PS Homeboys

PS Homeboys are primarily home-staging specialists, but they’ve got a stunning showroom in the Arenas District full of beautiful, reasonably priced indoor/outdoor furniture and home decor. You can even browse through their inspiring wallpaper library to find the perfect look for your desert dwellings.

Design inspiration abounds at PS Homeboys. Photo credit: Gregory Douglass

Thrift stores 

Revivals

Revivals knows how to put the “care” in health care! The most socially-conscious gay locals shop and donate their furniture, appliances, jewelry, artwork, and time at Revivals. This is because all four Revivals store locations in the Coachella Valley donate 100 percent of their revenue, amounting to more than $1 million annually, to support comprehensive healthcare at DAP Health (the Desert AIDS Project).

Mitchells Palm Springs

Mitchells Palm Springs offers contemporary designer clothing, shoes, and accessories from the 1970s through ’90s for men and women. Boasting carefully-curated vintage and iconic designers, like Gaultier and Versace, Mitchells always aims for sleek and sexy. Picture a day of shopping before passing through the velvet ropes to get into Studio 54 — that’s the Mitchells experience!

Fabulous vintage clothing can be found at Mitchells Palm Springs. Photo credit: Gregory Douglass

Sometimes, a girl just needs to shop. And sometimes a girl only has a few shekels to spare (at least that has been this girl’s experience.) For me, nothing is more satisfying than finding a treasure at a bargain price. And to-be-found treasures abound in Greater Palm Springs. Take it from the groaning rod in my closet. (That is lowercase “rod” and not a euphemism, people; eyes up here.)

There are some very tony enclaves in our little valley, and those fashionistas will donate items that have often only been worn once, and sometimes not at all. They write it off and you get to score. The old win/win.

Add to that, repurposing is the new green. Instead of purchasing so-so made items from foreign countries, buy well-made, time-told, one-of-a-kind items that no one else will have (you’re an original!). This is good for the planet, and we’ve only got one of those.

First up are the thrift stores, the real bargaineers out there. With the exception of Revivals, most of them are not label checkers, so if you do some digging, you can often find some fashion items on the cheap.

Second, and aptly, we have the second-hand stores that know what they’ve got. And they’ve got some pretty cool stuff. Almost all of them are an eclectic mix of everything, but some (like Iconic Atomic) are mostly retro fashions.

And finally, vinyl. Because you just bought an old-timey turntable and you need some 33s. At least that’s what I did. Just a cheap suitcase turntable, but it sure does take me back to the angst of my youth. Ah…memories. Better to listen to them on vinyl, and evoke good memories than wait for bedtime when all those bad decisions you made in your 20s flood your dreams. Just me?

Revivals. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Thrift stores:

Revivals

For the past 13 years, Wil Stiles has donated its unsold seasonal stock to Revivals Thrift Store. They’re savvy and know what they’ve got, but it’s still a bargain — I once got a Kate Spade coat here for $75. Sales benefit DAP Health, which was originally for those living with AIDS. It’s a terrific institution that also sees IEHP patients. Great cause, great doctors, great services, great items including some new furniture.

The $75 Kate Spade jacket. Photo by Kay Kudukis

Palm Springs
611 S Palm Canyon Dr

Cathedral City
68-401 CA-111

Palm Desert
72-885 CA-111

Goodwill

I have found some great clothes here. I generally don’t purchase used shoes because feet, but just recently I found some Bass loafers with chunky heels for $8.99 in pristine condition. People don’t expect much from Goodwill, but they’re missing out.

Cathedral City
67-555 E Palm Canyon Dr

Rancho Mirage
72014 CA-111

Angel View

I have found fashion labels here for under $10 with tags. Angel View’s mission is helping children and adults with disabilities reach their maximum potential. And the stores are HUGE.

Palm Springs
462 N Indian Canyon Dr

Cathedral City
67625 CA-111

Desert Hot Springs
64669 Dillon Rd
66389 Pierson Blvd
12840 Cactus Dr

Rancho Mirage
72747 Dinah Shore Drive

Palm Desert UCR
37023 Cook St

Palm Desert
72705 CA-111  (in Palms to Pines West Shopping Center)

Bermuda Dunes
77898 Country Club Dr, Ste. 91

Sun City
78395 Varner Rd

La Quinta
79400 CA-111
77975 Calle Tampico

Vintage resale:

You’re going to pay a lot more here, but they’ve done the digging for you, and the items are pristine.

Gypsyland
2675 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs

Iconic Atomic
1103 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs

Little Shop of Treasures — I want to live here. Seriously cool store.
616 E Sunny Dunes Rd, Palm Springs

Sunny Dunes Antique Mall — has everything from everywhere. Many stores combined into one.
507 E Sunny Dunes Rd. Palm Springs

Pre-Loved — a collection of currently pre-loved labels for the fashionably conscious
668 N Palm Canyon, Palm Springs

Vinyl:

Don’t forget to check at all of the above stores as well — I bought two albums at Gypsyland.

Gre Coffee House

Palm Springs Vinyl Records 

Winzer Records

Music Heals

Looking for the perfect way to romance your partner on Valentine’s Day? You’ve come to the right place. I don’t have one, so I can spend all of my time figuring out the swoon factor for you. And I think I’ve got it. How about a Palm Springs spa vacation at one of our small resorts? I know, it’s perfect, right? What’s better than enjoying a night or a weekend in the lap of luxury in the place locals call paradise (because it is).

That gives us five options, and two of them have a fancy restaurant on site. So here’s a link for that. But don’t go anywhere just yet, I’m going to tell you a little bit about them, as well as give you some dinner options in case you’d like to leave the property for a few hours.

Hotels and resorts

La Serena Villas — Just behind the heart of downtown, where you can enjoy a romantic stay and still be close to the action. Whispers for spa services, and Azucar for romantic meals, as well as a rooftop bar.

A massage at Whisper’s is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. Photo courtesy of La Serena Villas

Andreas Hotel & Spa  — In addition to the spa, Andreas is located downtown, and has a patio bar for poolside drinks.

Korakia Pensione — Super eclectic and truly unique to Palm Springs. It might fall under the boho chic category, with that pensione vibe, yoga, hot breakfasts, and tea service. Massage treatments can be booked in the indoor/outdoor spa lodge or in guest rooms.

The Monkey Tree — Recently restored, this mid-century modern hotel is on the north end of Palm Springs away from all the noise. A truly relaxing space, and while they don’t actually have a spa (a.k.a. massage services), they do have a heated saltwater pool and a Scandinavian spa, which includes a newly built sauna, hot tub, and cold plunge.

L’Horizon Palm Springs — The wow factor here is off the charts. The spa has massages, facials, and body treatments, aromatherapy, and a fresh juice bar. I’ll let them tell you about their restaurant: “Dramatic, refined, and intimate, SO•PA offers a unique alfresco dining experience. Join us for dinner in an intimate setting.” Finished with fire pits and fountains, this Steve Hermann-designed space is the desert’s most distinctive restaurant.

The grounds at L’Horizon. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Restaurants

As I mentioned in the events blog, we now have Michelin Guide restaurants in Palm Springs. Bar Cecil, Boozehounds, Workshop Kitchen and Bar, Cheeky’s, 4 Saints, The Barn at Sparrows Lodge, Colony Club, and Tac/Quila. Super proud to say that two of those options can be found at our boutique spas and hotels: Cheeky’s (breakfast and lunch) is with Alcazar Palm Springs, The Barn is at, as the name states, Sparrows Lodge.

The Barn at Sparrows Lodge. Photo courtesy of Sparrows Lodge

Here are some other dinner options:

Le Vallauris — Recently remodeled and is now part of the Soho House Group. The patio is the place to be for romance.

Farm — Styled in French farmhouse decor, it’s like ducking into the countryside. The food is French, the service is not. Great choice for dinner or brunch.

Tac/Quila — Owned by the folks that brought us Farm, Tac/Quila is Jalisco-style elevated Mexican fare. If you’ve never had fried avocado, you haven’t lived. Sounds awful, but it’s SO good. It’s in a tempura batter. Yum. The decor is pretty special too.

John Henry — Locals like to keep this place to themselves, and that’s been fairly easy as it isn’t that easy to find. Located on Tahquitz, just past Sunrise, blink and you’ll miss it. Parking is weird, but so are you. Book the patio, you won’t regret it.

An experience:

Lesbian Foray, a pop-up event on Feb. 18. 188 S. Indian Canyon.

The Purple Room — A three-course dinner while being serenaded by the song stylings of Rose Mallett.

Oscar’s — Jack Donahue and dinner. About Jack: he is an award-winning singer, songwriter, and actor who has performed in many of the great jazz and cabaret venues across the country and recorded four critically-acclaimed CDs. Jack was also twice selected by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs as Best Male Jazz Vocalist.

Palm Springs Cultural Center — Enjoy Bruce Vilanch interviewing Lesley Ann Warren, one of the stars of Victor/Victoria, with a tribute performance by “le Jazz Hot” Ethylina Canne, then stick around for a special screening of the film on the big screen.

Melvyn’s — Located in the iconic Ingleside Inn, enjoy dinner and live music from the Casablanca Lounge.

The elegant dining room at Melvyn’s. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Chocolates and flowers

Brandini Toffee — Located right in the heart of downtown next to The Plaza Theater. I’ve linked to their terrific story, and I promise you it’s the best toffee you’ll ever taste. Hands down.

My Little Flower Shop — They say it’s the best in town.

If you don’t have a sweetheart, and you’re a little bitter about the whole romance thing, then PS Underground is the place you want to be for Stupid Cupid. It’s raunchy, it’s good dirty fun, and you can soothe yourself with booze and great food. PS Underground is always a good choice.

As Porky Pig so elegantly proclaimed many many years ago…“Aba-de-ba-da-di-ba-da – that’s all folks!”

We’ve been watching the weather and see snowflakes are starting to fly in many parts of the country. While we’re not fortune tellers, we can tell you a sure way to avoid some of the winter snow: come visit Palm Springs, California, where the sun shines 350 days a year. 

Our pools are heated, and most assuredly, you will find palm trees nearby to take the perfect picture to send back home to your friends. If you want a cocktail in your hand for the photo while you are relaxing, that can be arranged, too.

We may be a little prejudiced, but we think one of our more than 70 boutique hotels will meet the vision you had in your head of a winter getaway. The official definition of a boutique hotel is 50 rooms or less. However, when you start looking, you will discover Palm Springs has many small hotels with under 20 rooms. One of the more intimate hotels was once the home of movie star Gloria Swanson. Now called Amin Casa, it has one studio; four private bungalows with full kitchens, living areas, and bedrooms; and Swanson’s original residence, a premier space with a grand living area and historic stone fireplace.

Our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website is the place to start your exploration, and here’s why:

1. Honest descriptions of our hotels

Journalists and travel writers have written the descriptions of our hotels, so you won’t read hyped-up marketing speak on our site. We strive to tell it like it is and often interview the property managers and owners, so what you read is what you can expect to experience once you arrive at your hotel.

The beautiful pool at Amin Casa. Photo courtesy of Amin Casa

2. A search tool that works

Whether you’re looking for a gay men’s clothing-optional resort, a hotel where you can bring your dog, or a property with a spa, all you have to do is put the specific term in our search bar and you’ll find what you’re looking for. Speaking of bringing your pup to Palm Springs, this is a very dog-friendly town, and you can take Fido just about everywhere. It’s not unheard of to arrive at a hotel and see a welcome sign waiting for Fido at the registration desk. By the way — be ready to find water bowls in front of storefronts and cashiers asking if your dog can have one of the treats carefully hidden behind the counter. 

3. Dining and shopping recommendations from insiders

With no empty storefronts, this town is thriving, and new shops are enticing visitors and residents alike. Our Boutiquely Palm Springs blog may help you decide where to start, but be aware that it can be hard even for locals to keep up with our ever-changing town, so you may discover some locally owned shops that just popped up.

Our food scene is also attracting some of the finest chefs in the nation, who know sophisticated foodies from all over the world flock to Palm Springs — and they are not about to disappoint. Our bloggers are writing in depth about restaurants and chefs, making our site is an excellent place to start researching restaurants that serve your favorite cuisine.

Everyone — dogs included — love shopping in Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

4. Extensive event guides to find out what’s happening in town

With the busy season starting, you will want to check out the many attractions open and special events taking place in our city during your stay. Our blog has comprehensive articles about everything from Pride and Modernism Week to the best hiking trails in the desert. In addition, you will find articles written about lesser-known places you might want to visit.

5. Maps to show you the way

The Palm Springs International Airport is only about two miles from downtown. The Coachella Valley, home to Palm Springs and eight other cities, is 45 miles long, and some destinations are pretty far from the airport — Indio, for example, is 20 miles away. If you’re not renting a car, you can see why our proximity to the airport is a superb reason to stay nearby. The Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website has a map that shows all of our hotels in relation to the airport, as well as landmarks, attractions, and neighborhoods.

Cruising up to the Palm Springs International Airport in style. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

There is so much to explore in our area, and some planning can help ensure you have a stress-free vacation. Doesn’t it sound easy to sit in your comfy chair at home, favorite drink in hand, and use our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website to plan your dream vacation?

One of the best parts of travel to Europe is waking up to a special breakfast served at a small, boutique hotel. The thought put into these unique and mouth-watering breakfasts, along with a perfect cup of coffee or cappuccino, never fails to excite me.

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels, with its abundance of inns ranging from around 10 rooms to almost 50, offers the opportunity to experience that special treat each morning. My fellow travel writer and I experienced some of these thoughtfully prepared breakfasts on a recent trip.

 

Grapefruit rosemary pound cake

La Maison’s very French setting provides that awakening cappuccino, juice, and homemade Grapefruit Rosemary Loaf lovingly baked by the owner, Cornelia Schuster. As you bite into the deliciously buttery and slightly tart loaf with just a hint of rosemary, you know you are in for a treat. Along with her husband, Richard Slosky, they aim to delight their guests and even offer brandy and macarons in the afternoon.

 

Monkey Tree Hotel Green Eggs and Ham Deviled Eggs

Nestled against the San Jacinto Mountains and designed by renowned architect Albert Frey, Gary and Kathy Friedle have carefully restored The Monkey Tree Hotel, a 16-room boutique inn. Here you will again find that European charm orchestrated at breakfast by Gary. He is a master at creating unique small bites to savor along with a special coffee blend created just for them by Coachella Valley Roasters. Ask for vegan or vegetarian breakfast if that is your desire. We sampled savory tarts, homemade banana bread, Nutella made from scratch, and refreshing watermelon gazpacho shooters all to awake our palate for the day.

Eggs, Peppers, Cream Cheese @ Rendezvous

The 10-room 1950’s themed Palm Springs Rendezvous also boasts a manager, Wayne, who creates a healthy fruit smoothie each morning accompanied by a yogurt parfait of seasonally fresh berries. In addition, I was welcomed with his golden brown French Toast. Another day, I was greeted with savory, thinly sliced ham molded in a muffin tin and topped with roasted red peppers, cream cheese, and eggs. Ask for the Pretty in Pink room where Marilyn Monroe stayed.

 

Cheeky's Bacon Sampler

Around the corner from Alcazar Palm Springs inn, located in the Uptown Design District, is Cheeky’s Restaurant, owned and managed by local chef, restaurateur and hotelier Tara Lazar. The menu offers something for everyone. Check out the World Famous Bacon Flight as well as fresh juices and seasonal items. I tried the Blondie’s Eggs Benedict featuring a zesty cheddar scone and poached eggs cooked to perfection. We loved the outdoor patio area, but if that is too warm, there is a bright and cheery inside area, too.

 

Avocado Toast @ Grand Central

While not a boutique hotel, I must mention Grand Central located in the center of Palm Springs. Owners John Diskin and Rita M. Capponi converted an old department store into a diner with a clock reminiscent of Grand Central Station where the two would meet after work. Don’t miss the three standard-sized Mimosas for $20. Try the Avocado Toast on grilled brioche and topped with a poached egg or either one of the French Toasts, one savory and one sweet. Fresh fruit adorns all plates.

These five breakfast places will be the start of a fabulous day and a fabulous stay.

 

Linda Milks, contributorLinda Milks, of Toasting Food Wine and Travel explores all that is food, wine, and travel with a hearty supply of curiosity and enjoyment. Connecting with people to learn about their activities, environment, culture, food and wine inspire her to write for others and rouse an interest in discovering new horizons. Sometimes it’s the hidden gems that bring Linda the most joy.

Workcation hotel room in Palm Springs, CA

Say goodbye to your home office and hello to Palm Springs

For those who have been working from home for months now, a change of scenery is in order — and the best views are in Palm Springs.

Since Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels — a collection of more than 70 boutique hotels — began reopening on June 12, some guests have been settling in for work and play. El Mirasol Villas owners Paul Pressman and Bruce Wishnefsky have had several people specifically request rooms conducive to working remotely, ensuring that they have strong WiFi and a desk available.

“As they have been self-quarantined or already work remotely, they wanted to get out of the house or home office and work in a relaxed desert environment,” Paul says. “They love taking breaks between conference calls or Zoom meetings and laying in the sun, taking a swim in the pool, or relaxing in the jacuzzi. One guest who has work that crosses time zones said he loved the desert nights on his patio or poolside where he could set up his laptop and work.”

“Monday through Friday work vacations are definitely becoming a thing,” says Robert Hunt, general manager of Alcazar Palm Springs, a 34-room boutique hotel in the uptown Palm Springs art district. “It makes perfect sense because there are fewer people around mid-week and the rates are lower than on the weekends.  People are craving a change of scenery but they want someplace quiet and safe where they can still get their work done.”

Sabrina Sakdikul is a community relations manager for a nonprofit in the San Francisco Bay Area, and drove down to Palm Springs to spend a few days at the Los Arboles Hotel. After spending several months working from home alongside her roommates, it was a relief to have a space of her own.

The property felt like “an oasis,” Sabrina says. She switched up her location throughout the day — sometimes working in her room, other times by the pool or on a patio — and with everyone wearing masks, she felt safe. When it was time for lunch, she would walk a few steps to the on-site restaurant, El Mirasol, and if she needed to clear her head, would take a quick dip in the pool.

“Palm Springs is a very laid-back place, and it does make me feel like I’m in paradise,” Sabrina says. “In Google and Zoom meetings, they have backgrounds that look like you’re somewhere cool and calming, and I was actually in a place that was cool and calming.”

Going on this getaway to Palm Springs left Sabrina feeling energized and refreshed, her stress melting away in the desert sun.

“I feel like I was able to really get away from all the craziness that has been going on,” Sabrina says. “It was nice being able to do something different.”

Several small hotels, like The Weekend Palm Springs, The Rossi, Casa Cody Country Inn, The Triangle Inn Palm Springs, and Les Cactus – among others – offer small suites or casitas with kitchenettes, which allow space for weeklong guests to prepare their own meals. Some hotels such as Villa Royale, Arrive Palm Springs, La Serena Villas, and Alcazar have restaurants on site. Many Palm Springs restaurants deliver meals and cocktails directly to hotels so guests can dine poolside.

 

Comfort and Safety Prioritized

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels are legendary for their style, safety, and comfort–all of which continue to be a priority. Over the past few weeks, the owners and general managers of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels have collaboratively created a baseline of safety sanitation standards.

Most Palm Springs boutique hotels have fewer than 30 rooms, making them easier to thoroughly clean and keep sanitized. Common areas are typically outside, and a majority of rooms have their own private entrances and air conditioning units.

Each hotel will provide its own safety guidelines in addition to the requirements set forth by the City of Palm Springs and the ones they collectively developed. This information will be shared with guests when they receive their reservation confirmation.

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels is a consortium of independently owned boutique hotels, which are an essential part of this desert resort town’s uncommon 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, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. Please visit Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels Summer Recovery Specials page for details.