Posts

Chaps Inn caters to the gay leather and bear communities

The Chaps Inn offers comfort and relaxation in a secluded environment.

Stuart and Ian have owned the resort for almost 20 years, coming to Palm Springs from the UK.

“We had nothing to do with the hotel business at all, we just went straight in cold turkey,” Ian said. “We woke up one morning and thought, ‘Now what?’ It’s been a very good experience.”

The Chaps Inn is a 10-room clothing-optional gay resort, with a saltwater pool and spa. Most rooms have kitchens or kitchenettes, some have private patios, and the hotel is within walking distance of downtown Palm Springs. It caters to the leather and bear communities, and sees a lot of return guests.

“They always tell us what a wonderful time they’ve had, and that they will be back,” Ian said.

When they purchased the property, it was a straight resort and not clothing optional, but Stuart and Ian quickly picked up a client base through word of mouth. The couple enjoys getting to meet their new guests and greet return ones, and they don’t mind when the temperature soars.

“The weather is fabulous,” Ian said. “We’re both from England, so we absolutely love the heat.”

The Wesley is all about the fun. From giant Jenga and Connect 4 to the splashworthy courtyard pool, guests make memories here that will last forever.

The Wesley is essentially a gated community, ensuring privacy

The Wesley is a mid-century modern micro resort, where the flats are fully-stocked and the pool is always the perfect temperature.

The property, managed by AvantStay, has nine flats, and each one has its own kitchenette, toaster, refrigerator, and microwave, with Flat 10 equipped with a full kitchen, complete with a stove top and oven. The flats range from studio to two-bedroom, two-bath, and most have gas grills and private patios with views of lush gardens.

Thought went into every aspect of the property. There are complimentary bikes and board games for guests to use, a common grill area, and fun activities around the beautiful pool and spa area, including giant Jenga and Connect 4 and corn hole.

“You feel really invited to just relax and unwind when you get there,” AvantStay Customer Experience Specialist Dylan Perese said. “There’s robe to pool appeal — literally you can wander out with your morning coffee and take a dip in the pool. It’s right there and completely available to you. It’s your pool, it’s your pool house.”

Guests rave about the low-key vibe and how private the property is — The Wesley is essentially a gated community, and in order to gain access to the grounds, guests must have a code to put into the lock pad, and another code to enter their room. There isn’t a front desk, which gets guests to their flats faster, but assistance from hotel staff is just a phone call or text away.

The hotel attracts guests from all over the world, as well as locals looking to have a staycation. “We see a lot of overseas guests, and it’s really exciting that they get to experience the magic of Palm Springs,” Perese said. The Wesley also offers buyouts — families can rent all of the flats for a reunion, while corporations can have their own private oasis for team building.

“That’s when people can really relax and unwind and stretch out on their own time,” Perese said. “This is a place for you to create memories.”

The Wesley is what you make it, Perese added, and they are always looking for ways to make the property “more spectacular.”

Neil Mehta was impressed as soon as he walked onto the grounds of the Hotel California.

The Hotel California is consistently voted as one of the top hotels in not just Palm Springs, but the entire country. That’s just one of the reasons why Neil purchased the 14-room hotel in January 2019.

“It has a really nice intimacy to it,” Neil says. “There are a lot of different areas where you can get away and be by yourself. If you want to have a cup of coffee and stare at the mountains, you can do it in two or three different spots upstairs. But if you want to be surrounded by other guests, you can go to the pool.”

Originally built in 1942, the Hotel California is decorated with Spanish charm. It has a private courtyard, heated pool, spa, poolside cooling misters, fire pits, barbecue patio, and secluded outdoor cigar lounge.

At the same time Neil bought the Hotel California, he also purchased the Desert Riviera Hotel. As it turns out, both hotels once had the same owner.

“That great customer service culture was implemented at the Hotel California and Desert Riviera by the same owner long ago, and they’ve done a great job upholding that standard of service,” he says.

The Hotel California has a loyal following, with guests coming back year after year. Neil is looking forward to interacting with visitors, and is “extremely excited about the prospect of not only continuing the legacy of the prior owners, but also trying to find areas where we can improve and make guests feel even more like family,”

Neil has spent the last 10 years doing real estate development, and also owns a residential real estate company in Orange County. In 2014, he bought his first hotel in Newport Beach, and fell in love with the hospitality industry. Neil feels “lucky and blessed” to now own both the Hotel California and Desert Riviera, and is looking forward to getting settled in town.

“I am a big fan of the city of Palm Springs and of the culture that has always embraced diversity,” he says. “I’m excited to be part of it, to grow our business, and to provide positive experiences for guests.”

The Santiago Resort celebrated its 20th anniversary by undergoing a complete transformation, but its mission remains the same — to provide guests with outstanding service in a serene environment.

The Santiago first opened its doors in the 1990s, and came under new ownership in March 2015, when three partners purchased the hotel and set out to “redefine what a premier gay resort can be,” general manager Kent Taylor said. All 23 rooms have been completely upgraded in the Modern Ranchero style, with custom-designed furniture, luxurious linens, Saltillo tile, and FLOR carpet.

Outside, guests can lounge around the pool, which is the largest of any of the men’s gay resorts in Palm Springs, make their way through the tranquil gardens, and stop by the 24-hour cantina with complimentary beverages and snacks. As the resort is swimsuit-optional, there is a large hedge surrounding it, ensuring privacy for all guests.

The staff goes out of its way to make sure guests are comfortable and feel welcome, and they enjoy getting to meet a variety of people. “We have world travelers who have so much to say and so many interesting stories to tell,” Kent said. “I love that every single day is different. One would think it is the same thing over and over, but it’s quite the opposite — every day is a new experience, a new challenge, and new faces.”

A Place In The Sun Hotel

Norma and Ron Van Meeteren didn’t set out to own and operate a hotel, but in October 1999, the couple found themselves embarking on an exciting journey now in its 20th year.

At the time, Norma and Ron had been selling real estate and doing property management in Palm Springs for 16 years. They learned about a property that was going to be converted into a hospice but had fallen out of escrow. Most of the units were like apartments, with living rooms, bedrooms, full kitchens, and private walled garden patios, and since the Van Meeterens were experts in residential income properties and had clients looking for apartment buildings, they arranged a meeting with the seller.

“To make a long story short, ten days later we were the proud new owners,” Norma said. “It’s been quite the journey, but our exceptional staff and happy guests make it all worth it.”

A mid-century boutique inn, A Place in the Sun Garden Hotel was built in 1951 as a retreat for the production crew working on the movie A Place in the Sun, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters, and Montgomery Clift.

“We get to meet so many interesting people, from all walks of life.”

The property has 18 units, with standard studios, one-bedroom bungalows with kitchens, living rooms, and private patios, and a 1,300-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow with a large kitchen, fireplace, and private jacuzzi. There is free fast internet, a heated saltwater pool, spa, artificial turf putting green, and a poolside gazebo with misters and heaters.

For Norma, getting to know the people who stay at A Place in the Sun is the best part of owning such a unique property.

“So many come back again and again, year after year, and it’s like welcoming back friends,” she said. “Many have happy memories of coming to A Place in the Sun as a child, and now are grown and bringing children of their own. We get to meet so many interesting people, from all walks of life.”

The Aloha Hotel embraces its vintage vibes. Built in 1947, this Tahquitz River Estates property has 11 poolside rooms containing original furniture and decor (don’t worry — the mattresses are new!).

The Aloha Hotel is a woman-owned property in the Tahquitz River Estates

A visit to the Aloha Hotel is a step back in time.

“People like the nostalgia of the 1950s, and we own it,” the hotel’s owner, Mona, said

Built in 1947, the property was purchased in 1971 by Mona’s mother, who previously owned the Four Trees Restaurant in Hollywood. She came to Palm Springs because it helped with her asthma, and ran the hotel for 40 years before Mona took over.

“I am so blessed to meet so many wonderful travelers,” she said. “The foreigners love it, and most feel like it’s home.”

The 11-room Aloha Hotel is the first property in the Tahquitz River Estates, and while the poolside suites are all restored with new beds, they contain the original 1950s furniture and decor. Several movies, music videos, and magazine spreads have been shot at the kitschy hotel, and when upgrades are available, especially mid-week, Mona gives them to guests, free of charge.

At one time, the hotel was called the Palo Verde Inn — the building once had a big “P” on it, and Mona found a vintage key and embroidered blanket with the name — but it was renamed the Aloha Hotel in order to be the first hotel in the phone book.

“Aloha means ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye,’ and everyone comes back, even 30 years later,” Mona said. “So, there are no goodbyes. Aloha, and mahalo!”

Step foot on the Dive Palm Springs property, and you’ll immediately be transported to the French Riviera of the 1960s.

Dive Palm Springs opened in August 2019 after a two-month renovation. The hotel was built in 1954 as the Sunrise Villa, a western-style hotel. Over the years, it changed names and themes, ultimately becoming the Alpine Gardens before transforming into Colt’s Lodge in 2015. Since being purchased earlier this year, the 11-room property has been “extensively redesigned, both inside and out,” new owner Abdi Manavi says. “We have developed a sense of luxury in all the rooms, and a feeling of serenity throughout the different areas of the grounds.”

The hotel features furnishings by Serena & Lily and Anthropologie, premium linens, and original murals. Most of the King rooms come with an outdoor patio, complete with an oversized daybed, and one has a private hot tub. The most magical room is the La Reve, French for “The Dream.” This room has a custom ceiling mural and wallpaper by Christian Lacroix, a solid brass queen bed with an ultra-comfortable Tuft and Needle mattress, and a red-tiled bathroom with a rainfall shower and smoked glass two-way mirror between the bedroom and shower.

“Dive is more than a hotel,” Abdi says. “It’s a private luxury time machine. Evoking the casual elegance of Saint Tropez in the 1960s, we created Dive to transport our guests to a romantic forgotten world where it’s still safe to relax, play, explore, and release all the trappings of modern life.”

Dive is an adults-only property, and can host events for up to 150 people, including weddings, retreats, and reunions. Guests have been raving about the lush grounds, cozy daybeds, the restored original Libott pool, the koi pond, and The Orchard — Dive calls this its “vacation spot within a vacation spot,” as it has a two-person swing chair, waterfall, comfortable couches and loungers, and a vintage neon sign of a diving girl, affectionally nicknamed Lulu.

“My business partner Dale Fox and I have created an intimate atmosphere for our guests, as you would have staying at a friend’s house,” Abdi says. “We are here to provide magic and ensure our guests are relaxed and happy during their stay. Though I take on the role of an owner and general manager, my business card says ‘Liaison to Happiness.'”

The charming Bearfoot Inn is the only gay men’s clothing-optional resort in Palm Springs’ historic Movie Colony neighborhood, putting it just steps away from all the action of downtown.

Once they arrived in Palm Springs, Glen Boomhour and Jerry Pergolesi knew they were in the right place.

The owners of the Bearfoot Inn originally had planned to open a hotel in Florida; as Canadians, this is the “go to sun destination,” Jerry said. Instead, they opened as a bed and breakfast in Toronto, which “gave us time to open our field of vision and take a serious look at Palm Springs,” Jerry said. “We’re glad we did.”

The Bearfoot Inn is proud to serve the gay community, in one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the world.

After 11 years in Toronto, The Bearfoot Inn in Palm Springs officially opened on Jan. 1, 2013, although word spread ahead of time and they opened their doors a few days early to welcome drop-in guests.

“What’s great about Palm Springs is the weather, of course, and Palm Springs is probably the most gay positive city in the U.S.,” Jerry said.

The Bearfoot Inn is in the historic Movie Colony neighborhood, the only clothing-optional gay men’s resort with this distinction, and just steps away from downtown. Its 11 guest rooms all have memory foam mattresses, extra-large showers, and flatscreen televisions, and guests can relax outside in the heated saltwater pool and spa.

“We love the desert and we love that Palm Springs is so cosmopolitan while retaining a small town feel,” Jerry said. “In many respects, that is reflected in our attitude about Bearfoot Inn. We’re small, laid-back, and casual, but a little savvy, too — at least we hope we are.”

Jerry and Glen enjoy being involved in the community, and appreciate the support and sense of camaraderie amongst the hoteliers.

“We’re so happy to be part of something that makes Palm Springs special, from being the city with the most LGBTQ hotels to being amongst the many boutique hotels that give Palm Springs its unique charm as a sun destination or a weekend getaway,” Jerry said.

The Andalusian Court is peaceful and romantic.

There are many words guests use to describe The Andalusian Court — romantic, private, serene, stunning — but one is used over and over again: Magical.

“The grounds are lush and full of water features and fountains and at night it is lit up like a magical fantasyland,” manager Elaine Manion said. “We had one guest tell us he’s not a sentimental guy, but the property at night almost brought him to tears.”

The Andalusian Court was originally built in 1921, and retains its Spanish revival charm. There are seven private villas, each one with a bedroom, fully-equipped kitchen, luxurious bathroom, dining and living room, and fireplace, and some have private outdoor jacuzzis. The gardens are gorgeous, the courtyard pool and fire pits are inviting, and the guest barbecue is a fun touch. There’s also a Hollywood history — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz often stayed at The Andalusian Court in Villa 4.

“Everything is unique about this property,” Elaine said. “Every villa is fully contained; it is literally turnkey, so you don’t need anything else. The customer service is impeccable, it’s number one, and the grounds are peaceful. The property is quiet because everyone is on the same page; there’s no loud music at the pool, no screaming. It is adults only, so it does have a very peaceful and serene environment.”

The owners have retained the hotel’s original architecture while adding plush new beds and linens, water heaters, and WiFi to each villa. As a bonus, when guests check-in, they are greeted with a goody bag of snacks and bottled water, and they always know that the staff at The Andalusian Court is ready and excited to help them make the most out of their stay.

“We hear wonderful reviews from our guests, and they recommend us to others,” Elaine said. “That word of mouth has led to us having lots of repeat guests.”

Amin Casa embodies the quiet sophistication of Palm Springs, with a twist of old Hollywood glamour.

Once the residence of actress Gloria Swanson, Amin Casa made its debut in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood in November 2016, following several months of major renovations both inside and out. “Amin” means “ours” in Tagalog, while “casa” is Spanish for “home,” and owners Ramon Bautista and Nelson Cooley want it to feel like “your home away from home.”

“On property, guests will find the relaxing, club-like ambiance and genuine, heartfelt hospitality they have come to treasure,” Ramon said.

The compound dates back to the 1920s, and when fully occupied, the property only accommodates 14 guests, adults only. The bungalows come with living rooms, kitchens complete with microwaves, coffeemakers, blenders, and dishes, eco-friendly toiletries, and bathrobes and slippers, plus the Swanson residence with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace, and the property’s largest kitchen. There are stunning gardens, fountains, a swimming pool, cabanas, and an outdoor dining area with a grilling station.

Above all else, Ramon and Nelson, who have experience at some of the finest hotels in the world, strive to give the patrons of Amin Casa one thing: “Intuitive, gracious service provided by a staff passionate about pleasing our guests.”