Created by ArtsTank Greater Palm Springs grant winner Peter Tigler and attendees of the 37th La Quinta Arts Festival

Welcome to Palm Springs, where the sun shines 360 days of the year. We’re fun, fashionable and Instagram ready, and hoo boy do I have a lot to share. And thank the Stars (Walk of Stars), a lot of wonderful friends helped me with this particular blog. So, big shout outs to Francesca Amari, one of our finest vocalists in the valley; and Nick Singleton, Desert War Veteran, and the social media man who never misses an event.

We’ve got a bit of walking ahead, and it’s okay to bring the dog. But make sure she’s wearing shoes, and you should put on some comfy ones, too. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and treat yourself to an umbrella. It covers those bare arms and shoulders better than a hat. You can get one at Destination PSP, one of the best places to get Palm Springs swag and after you browse (and you will) we’ll get to Instagramming.

Murals & Art Installations:

The Sandbox: Amanda Gorman by MisterAlek, and The Babies, sculptures by David Cerney. Photo courtesy of Jim Powers.

We’ve got a lot of murals in Palm Springs. Some are easy to get to, like the Greetings photo, but some – like the ones next to it in the pit with The Babies by David Cerney – are not. Not because they’re difficult to find but because no one seems to know if you’re allowed in the sandbox yet. After calling four places, I finally got an answer: you’re not. Yet. BUT you can see all of the installations from above and there are more in that general vicinity between the Art Museum and the Kimpton Plaza (KP).

In the Plaza, you can find the Angel Wings, and the PS I *Heart* U installation; they’re just around the corner from each other. The Desert Glow mural can be found on Palm Canyon Drive in the strip of retail stores attached to the KC Mall.

Isabelle by Julian Voss-Andreas

This is my favorite piece of art in Palm Springs. Created by artist Julian Voss-Andreas, Isabelle is different from every view, and with every drop of sunlight, or moonlight. From some angles, she seems to disappear completely.

Heavily-filtered shot of Graffiti Park

Behind the Plaza, is a plethora of art. Let’s start a little north of the Plaza, across from Stout Burgers and Beer and Haus of Poke on the corner of Museum Way and Belardo. It’s called Graffiti Park, and it is teeming with street art.

Courtesy of Jim Powers and Palm Springs Art Museum

On the other side of the Sandbox (where the babies are) is a brand new installation: Gonzalo Librija’s History of Suspended Time. Presented in the lot across from Palm Springs Art Museum’s main campus, it will remain on-site for a year. In this piece, a car appears to defy gravity and time as if hanging suspended over a pool of liquid approximately 40-feet in diameter.

Palm Springs takes pride in their storied history, and Lucille Ball called it her home away from Hollywood for years. She can be found on the northeast corner of Palm Canyon and Tacquitz. Her statue looks a little sad. Stop by and give her some Insta-love.

Scattered throughout the valley is a series of more than 50 benches funded by the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission. The previous link will show you where they all are, and this article, by my colleague, Kathy Condon, tells you all about them. Also, keep your eyes peeled for the new art installations that are going up all over town to beautify our electric boxes and trash cans.

I’ve lived here for seven years now, and I’d never been to The Corridor. Boy, was I missing out. I knew the shops were there, but didn’t realize through their actual corridor there is a “secret garden” with whimsical art installations. It’s beautiful. Truly. And you can enjoy a coffee and then browse the shops.

Nick Singleton with all the neon at Boozehounds

At the north end, just south of the iconic Toucans, is a new place called Boozehounds. If you’ve been walking with your pup, or even if you’re not, stop in for a bite and grab a few snaps while you’re at it. Be forewarned, it’s a bit of a hike in distance, not topography.

Nick Singleton at V Wine Lounge

Time to head back south, and a cocktail is likely in order. Stop into V Wine Lounge and take a photo with the umbrella, and have a nice glass of wine or try Hunters and take a photo with their never-ending mural, and pull up a seat while I spill some tea, and tell you about the chair.

The Tea on Forever Marilyn

Forever Marilyn, created by Seward Johnson, is a representation of one of the most famous images of Monroe, taken from Billy Wilder’s film The Seven Year Itch. She was here for a few years, but left in 2014, and now she’s back! However, there’s quite a bit of furor over her location.

The Palm Springs Art Museum is unhappy that when visitors leave their museum they’ve got a direct eyeshot of her…up-skirt. There is a faction in Palm Springs that is talking #metoo, Some don’t consider it art, and others want it moved where it’s supposed to be, in the park next to Museum Way that’s still being built. There is a pedestal where she is supposed to go, and someone, I have no idea who, put an empty chair on the pedestal.

For sure, she’s coming, But, in the meantime, sit in the chair and Instagram away.

Forever Marilyn and the Chair

Don’t want to overload ya’ll (why, yes, I do have some southern roots) with Insta-ops, so we’ll get to those when you come back. And, you know, you will. #ILOVEPS

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 @palmspringspreferredsmallhotels (yeah, it’s a lot to type, but we appreciate it!)

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.”

You guys, a new cat distribution portal has opened in Palm Springs! Located in the Rimrock Shopping Mall at the base of the Araby Trail/Goat Trails, Frisky Business Cat Cafe appeared in January and unlike other portals it has people amenities: delicious coffee, teas, water, and snacks from Aspen Mills Bakery and Chef Tanya’s Kitchen. Most importantly, for $22 you get a beverage of your choice and 45 minutes of cuddles and playtime with 12 adorable, adoptable kitties. Don’t have time for cuddles (you heartless bastard)? A coffee and a nosh after your hike keeps the portal open.

They don’t go out and grab kitties off the street and throw them into a room with you and watch the “fun,” no. That’s called a night at my cousin’s house in Georgia. These cats are from the Palm Springs Animal Shelter (PSAS) and have all been vetted for health conditions, are fixed/neutered, and pre-socialized. Every person that enters the kitties’ comfy and well-decorated living room helps socialize them just a little bit more with scratches and play times. The wall has photos and the history of each kitty, and it’s a bit of a game matching them up.

If you’ve got a cat, these babies will make you a little less lonely for the feline you had to leave at home. AND you have a beautiful and up close view of the mountain that never gets old.

Allergic? You can still grab a coffee without fear of a sneezing fit as the kitties have their own rooms — one for socializing and snoozing in the afternoon sun, and the other windowless. You know, for modesty reasons. The cafe itself is cat and dander free.

And now for story time. I booked a 45-minute visit on a Sunday. It was actually quite busy, both in the cafe and in the kitty room. I went with a couple of friends, and we got our beverages (I had a cold brew with oat milk and it was delish!) and then we went in the cat room where a family of four was enjoying some kitty time. The cats were curious about the newcomers, and there were some leg rubs and somersaults. We all settled into a lounge area and watched the cats interact and bathe in the afternoon sun as it dipped down behind the mountain. And then an extraordinary thing happened. Three bonded kitties that they’d had little hope of rehoming together got adopted! A couple whose two cats died a few months back adopted all three! The 10-year old kitties’ good fortune brought tears to everyone’s eyes. I wiped away one just now at the retelling. I’m such a mush.

On the other side of town and spectrum is Boozehounds, the dog-friendly spot that recently earned a spot in the Michelin Guide.

Welcome to Boozehounds. Photo courtesy of Boozehounds

Although you and your pooch are relegated to the well-decorated atrium and patio, they are separate, and huge areas. The entire restaurant is 7,000 square feet, so there’s plenty of room for everyone.

There are many Palm Springs restaurants that permit dogs, but it’s generally sidewalk dining. While there’s nothing wrong with that, Boozehounds is completely contained, keeping out the distraction and sounds of traffic so for an hour or more you can kiss the rest of the world goodbye. It doesn’t have the spectacular view of Frisky Business, but it does have a very upscale, creative menu, and food options for your dog.

Here was our lineup: an order of fries for the table (plenty for four and oh so good, ask for more ketchup); two orders of garlic noodles (delicious, but our stomachs were chatting — and by chatting I mean close to getting into an argument — at the play we saw after); one fried fish and truffle fries (delicious, he said); and two slightly green-tinged thumbs up on the avocado toast. Although you can’t tell from our orders, they have a robust brunch menu and their dinner options are mostly Asian inspired.

This won’t matter in a minute, but the patio does not have outdoor heaters, so it was a bit chilly after sundown.

And that’s the animal round up for Palm Springs. As a reminder, many of our small hotels and resorts allow you to bring your pooch; I’ve pre-sorted them for you here.

P.S.: It’s almost kitten season. Frisky Business might just be working on something with PSAS so keep an eye out. Kittens need to be socialized, so you can help while participating in their kitten antics! Squeee!!! A must for people who enjoy the Kitten Bowl (over here!).

P.S.S.: If you’re into horses, try Smoke Tree Stables. I don’t think they have a Pony Bowl, but what do I know. I’m a cat lady.