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Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels — a collection of more than 70 boutique hotels — have reopened just in time for those who crave the sun and need a change of scenery from the recent California lock-down orders. Many hotels have special offers to celebrate the reopening, including free nights and percentages off.

“Palm Springs small hotels are ideal for those who need a change of scenery but aren’t ready to be around many people,” says Michael Green Chair of the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels/TBID commission. “It’s the perfect time to escape to somewhere bright, sunny and safe.”

The comfort and safety of guests continues to be a top 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 HVAC.

Hoteliers will continue to take every precaution during this time, from sanitizing surfaces throughout the day to rearranging patio furniture to ensure social distancing,” says Green.

As Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels are independently owned with unique property designs and configurations, each one will have 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. Those who have visited before can expect some changes when it comes to checking-in and food and beverage services.

Some hotels, such as The Alcazar Palm SpringsLa Serena VillasLos ArbolesVilla Royale, Holiday House, and the iconic Ingleside Inn, have restaurants on site. Additionally, many Palm Springs restaurants and bars offer cocktail and food curbside pickup and hotel delivery services for those who don’t plan to leave their pool lounge chair.

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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 FacebookInstagramYouTube and Pinterest. Please visit Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels special offers page for details.

 

First, I regret the announcements: Not quite ready to take the plunge, Splash House has been rescheduled for August; Pride will happen in November. I know! I’m verklempt too. However, there’s still an awful lot of fun to be had this June in Palm Springs. And I hear they’ll be back soon.

Oh, before we get to events, it’s good to mention that we’ve got a few specials going on. Each boutique hotel has a different vibe and their own brand of swagger. Make sure to check them out here.

Okay. June. Planned events, then some build-your-own adventures. Let’s go!

Special Events

June 22-28 – At the top of the list is Palm Springs Short Film Festival. Per Variety, “Palm Springs Shortfest will be the first film festival of 2021 in California to hold all of its screenings in-theater when the event takes place at the Camelot Theatres (aka Palm Springs Cultural Center). Check them out too.

June 17th – Cast & Crew screening of Palm Springs Women in Film & Television’s two short films, “Accidental Date” and “Aftermath.” 6pm reception, 7pm screening followed by a Q&A for both films. Camelot Theater (PS Cultural Center) in Palm Springs.

Oscars – they keep adding events (yay!), so here’s what’s listed as of this writing. Check the link to see if there are additions.

  • Melissa Manchester @ Oscars June 17 & 18
  • Gunhild Carling @ Oscars June 10 5:30 & 9:30, Sweden’s Queen of Swing. Famous for playing trombone, she also plays bagpipes, trumpet, recorder, string instruments and will often play them all in one song, sometimes casually breaking into a tap dance or singing.

Four Twenty Bank and Lounge – The dispensary, lounge, and entertainment venue is located on Palm Canyon and Baristo (this is important, used to be at 777 Palm Canyon). They’ve got a great stage, but check their calendar. There was a Bowie tribute band and a Journey tribute band scheduled when I checked a day ago, but they’re gone, and others added. Things are still coming together on their line-up, but the Lounge is still pretty badass.

PS Underground: Book well in advance; these are the hottest shows in town. Ticketing links below.

  • June 11:  IMAGINE. A multiple course journey of music and food. “What would it feel like to climb into music and let it tantalize your every sense?”
  • June 13: GOSPEL –  a multiple course Sunday brunch with fantastic food and toe-tapping, hand clapping gospel music from the band onstage.
  • June 18: ENIGMA – a puzzling or inexplicable experience or occurrence. “Things are not always as they seem as we navigate through this feast for all senses. …an over-the-top unexplainable out-of-the-box immersive dinner experience.”
  • June 25: LIGHT – “Wear white and bring to the table an open mind and a sense of adventure. Prepare yourselves for an evening of the truly unexpected.
  • June 27: OVATION – A jazzed up Sunday Brunch, “Surprise performers and musicians…free-flowing, bubbly and Bloody Mary’s are included.

On-Going Events

I’m recycling some of these from last month because, FUN! Once again, an asterisk denotes that I have been and it’s fabulous.

*Thursday afternoons are free at Palm Springs Art Museum from 5-7 p.m. Make a reservation.

Saturdays: Saturday Night Flight at PS Air Bar.”Boarding time”  5 p.m.

Wine tastings at Bouschet. They keep adding dates so I’m just linking to their website. Also, their California Caesar is bowl-licking good (the fancy bowl makes it hard, though), and a friend likes their macaroni salad so much he asked for the recipe.

Saturdays: Not Your Grandma’s Bingo at Chill Bar from 12-2 p.m. The name says it all.

*Sundays: Palm Springs Drag Brunch, with Rosemary Galore and her queenly court at Roly China Fusion.

*Saturdays and Sundays – I have written about Palm Springs magic before, but Crystal Fantasy is our go-to guide for crystals, sage, tarot cards, and all things material to interact with or distract the spiritual realm. Saturday and Sundays they have a Psychic/Healing Arts Fair, where you pick your psychic (or did they pick you, hmmm?). Check the website for times and the cool classes they have during the week.

*Sundays: It’s the Pro-Jazz Jam from 2-5 p.m. at Palm Canyon Roadhouse. It’s all the best players in the Coachella Valley led by solid jazz musician, Mikale Karr.

And, drumroll please, the most raucous dance party in Palm Springs is back! It’s Oscar’s T-Dance, Sunday’s from 4-8 pm. You can hear it blocks away. Mostly gay men, but I’ve been and it was a gas!

Day-Time Activities

*Like Mid-Mod? Or the architecturally significant homes of the stars? Palm Springs Life has a self-guided tour app. It’s a great fix as we wait for tours to restart, and Modernism Week to return.

*CannaBUS Express Tours, there’s no other like it. Any canna-curiosity you might have will be replaced with knowledge from their Extreme Green Team. BONUS: it’s hella-fun.

If you’re staying in a boutique hotel, there’s a good chance there’s work by a local artist hanging on a wall, or sitting on a table. That’s because creativity is off-the-charts flowing unlike the rain in Palm Springs. Art has many expressions, and at the indoor Mojave Flea Trading Post, artists and crafters of every ilk come together in a 10,000 sq. ft. marketplace of makers & merchants from Joshua Tree, the Coachella Valley, and beyond.

And guys, check this out: you can take a ride in an old warbird at Palm Springs Air Museum! The Warbird Ride has six options: C-47 Skytrain, T-28 Trojan, PT-17 Stearman, P-51 Mustang and the T-33 Shooting Star Jet.  While you’re there, make sure to take a tour of the *Palm Springs Air Museum. It’s cooler than you might think.

That’s it for events, but I’m super excited to play show and tell with all of the fun and funky spots for your Instagram page. I found some fabulous filters, so I used them. Hope you likey. It’s my first try. You’ll find out why this chair sits on a pedestal.

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

It’s important that people stay safe and close to home during this unprecedented crisis — doing so slows down the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and reduces the risk for contagion. That’s why large gatherings have been suspended in California, and citizens are being advised to avoid non-essential travel.

We understand that people will have concerns about traveling for some time to come, especially in regards to getting on an airplane or cruise ship, and we want to make it clear that there have been no coronavirus cases linked to any of our more than 70 boutique hotels in Palm Springs. 

Please know that the health and safety of guests who stay at our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels is — and always will be — our top priority. That’s why we are monitoring the latest news on the coronavirus, with our hearts going out to everyone affected.

Eventually, a road trip to Palm Springs may be a relaxing — and safer —alternative.

Once this passes and you feel confident traveling again, we hope you’ll consider Palm Springs for your first vacation destination. 

For those who are within driving distance — we’re looking at you, L.A., Phoenix, San Francisco, and Las Vegas — you can feel good about hitting the road and staying here in Palm Springs. All of our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels are intimate, with most having around a dozen or so rooms, meaning guests don’t have to fear large gatherings (in some cases, you might go all day without seeing a fellow traveler!). 

From check-in to check-out, our hoteliers ensure that our guests have the best possible experience. One way they do this is by providing a clean environment — rooms, dining areas, common spaces, and bathrooms undergo a diligent cleaning at least once a day, with heavily-trafficked portions receiving special attention.

For those who may still be a little concerned about dining out, several of our hotels also have in-room kitchenettes and outdoor grills where you can whip up your own meals.

Late spring is when Palm Springs hits its peak — the weather is great and the pools are at just the right temperature. It may be the perfect time to treat yourself to a relaxing getaway, tailored to your comfort. Explore our hotels — we know you’ll find one that’s a good fit. We’ve got your stay. 

Paul Kurdian and Sam McDermott started their married life off with a bang.

While they were dating, the couple imagined one day starting a business together, and the opportunity arrived on the morning after their wedding.

“On our way to Sunday brunch at my brother’s house, Paul received a call from a former client who had owned another hotel he sold for her,” Sam said. “She told Paul she was ready to retire completely and called to see if he could help with the sale of this hotel. We decided to purchase it ourselves, and nearly eight months later, we began our journey, and the rest is history!”

There were several things about the 18-room property in Palm Springs that appealed to Paul, a real estate broker with corporate experience in operations and management, and Sam, who has a background in strategy, marketing, and business development. The timing was “pretty remarkable,” Sam said, especially since she had once “flirted” with the idea of buying a hotel, and owning one was something Paul had always dreamed about.

“How this came about was surreal because we wanted to extend our life partnership in a new and exciting way,” Sam said. “Many newlyweds have children within their first year of marriage — we gave birth to a new business.”

The hotel was in need of some serious sprucing up, and Sam and Paul started by removing “anything old and outdated.” They replaced “everything that guests could see and touch,” and added conveniences like Qi wireless charging stations in every room. 

All of the carpeting was ripped out, new flooring was installed, and each room now has its own air conditioning and heating unit. The walls are covered with fresh paint, the rooms are filled with new furniture, beds, linens, and towels, and the pool is surrounded by colorful umbrellas and loungers. Perhaps the biggest change Sam and Paul made was giving the property a new name: The Inn at Palm Springs.

“Inn at Palm Springs is the very first property you see on your way into Palm Springs on Highway 111,” Sam said. “We like to tell people we are the Gateway to Palm Springs. When you visit, you’ll see a happy and colorful vibe throughout the property.”

The hotel is dog-friendly — Sam and Paul’s own pup, Gus, lives with them on-site — and able to host small groups for special occasions. 

“We’ve had several guests tell us they plan to come back with a group and take over the inn,” Sam said. “We find joy in helping our guests create great memories with their friends and family, and we look forward to hosting more intimate gatherings in the future.”

Because Paul and Sam have both traveled so extensively for work and fun, they came into this with a clear vision for their hotel: It had to be comfortable, clean, and private, a space where guests felt welcome the instant they stepped onto the property and left feeling they had a positive experience that was an excellent value. The effusive response they have received from patrons shows they accomplished what they set out to do.

“We’ve been very grateful for the wonderful guests who have stayed with us,” Sam said. “It is the positive feedback we receive from guests that keeps us motivated each day.”

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.

The outside of Sakura

George Cebra brought his love of Japan to Palm Springs.

Sakura, the Japanese-style bed and breakfast, offers a unique experience. At Sakura — which means “cherry blossom” in Japanese —  guests can wear kimonos and slippers, and sliding shoji doors lead to the garden and swimming pool. Shiatsu acupressure massage is available.

George is a jazz musician, and has performed in clubs around the United States and world. He spent five years playing in Tokyo, and “planned on living there forever,” he said. “There’s no crime, you can leave your purse or wallet on a train with $1,000 in it and no one would touch it. The food is incredible. You can eat off the sidewalk, everything is immaculate.”

Things changed when he met his wife, whose dream was to live in California. George thought they would only live in the state for a few years, but they stayed, and 20 years ago, as their daughter prepared to go to college, George and his wife opened the bed and breakfast.

“My wife taught me how to make Japanese food,” George said. “People seem to like what I do.”

George’s wife has since passed away, and George runs Sakura on his own. It has just two rooms, and he spends much of his day maintaining the property and getting to know his guests, including many who are first-generation Americans with parents born and raised in Japan. He also sees a lot of people from western Europe and those who “enjoy the Japanese culture.”

“I enjoy hanging out with people during breakfast, we can sit down and talk,” George said. “About 50 percent of guests are from other countries, so it’s nice talking with them about where they are from.”

When George isn’t at Sakura, he is teaching music — everything from violin to the cello to the trumpet — and playing at clubs and with a local orchestra. While George would love to have the chance to go back to Japan and play in the clubs, “If I won $1 million tomorrow, I wouldn’t change anything,” he said.

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.