“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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.”