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Just a few minutes from the thumping beat of the nightlife on Arenas is The Hacienda at Warm Sands, LUXlife magazine’s 2020 and 2021 Best LGBTQ Resort in North America. If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t know — it’s discreetly camouflaged by a perfectly manicured privacy hedge standing sentry over the Spanish villa-style artistry that waits inside. Carved into the hedge, a gorgeous wooden gate with lanterns on either side to show you the way.

Welcome to The Hacienda at Warm Sands. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

Inside, a rich tapestry of winding Saltillo tile pathways are surrounded by lush foliage and dotted with surprises along the way: an outdoor fireplace, an in-ground spa, a tranquil water feature, and the two clear blue pools that anchor the 10 suites surrounding them. And if you’re impressed with the outside of the property (if you aren’t, you’re dead inside), the rooms are gonna knock your socks off.

Before we get to that part of the tour, you should meet your hosts: Jim Moje and Maurice Minno. Jim is, as he puts it, “a frustrated architect” with a degree in finance, and Maurice has a master’s degree in hotel and restaurant administration from Cornell University. For the past 21 years, they’ve put all their hopes, dreams, and skills into turning The Hacienda at Warm Sands into the 5-star experience that it is.

The experience begins the moment you book your room — that’s when the Hacienda’s team begins to prep for your stay. Something special you’d like upon arrival? Would you like the food pantry stocked with specific items? Perhaps you’d like a private chef for a delicious dinner? If you can dream it, the team will do everything within their power to make it happen. 

It gets even better when you’re a repeat guest because it’s easier to anticipate your needs, and that’s what the resort is all about: offering “anticipated but unexpected Hacienda moments” to their guests. And they do it unobtrusively, like your guardian angel. The ratio of staff to guests is one to one with a turnover that’s nearly non-existent — even after a pandemic. That’s because Hacienda values their staff as much as they do their clientele and made provisions to take care of them while the resort was closed for about six months due to COVID-19. Now that they’re back open, every precaution is taken to keep you safe inside their hedges. 

The Deluxe Grand Suite. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

There are five styles of well-appointed suites. The smallest is just under 500 square feet, and the largest around 900 square feet — all with furniture and amenities chosen for functional elegance. Every suite has a kitchenette that is ingeniously disguised to look like an elegant wet bar, a sitting room, and a large luxurious bathroom with so many L’Occitane amenities it’ll make your body giddy with anticipation. 

The Deluxe Junior Suite bathroom. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

Multiple heads and horizontal water sprays turn each shower into a spa, with large plush towels waiting to dry you quickly once you’re done. In your closet, there are two robe options available: a waffle weave for daytime and a heavier-weight robe to provide extra warmth and comfort on cooler evenings by the fire.

The beds are fit for a king (or queen): thick comfy mattresses dressed in crisp linens with a variety of luxury pillows available from the resort’s “Pillow Menu.” It’s a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears — keep trying them until you find one that’s just right.

The continental breakfast spread. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

An expanded, seemingly endless continental breakfast and a restaurant-crafted catered lunch of wraps, sandwiches, and salads are served daily, along with your favorite beverage (red or white wine, fresh-brewed iced tea, or lemonade). You can enjoy your meals while languishing in the outdoor spa, by one of the pools, or next to the outdoor fireplace. Above you, only palm trees, breathtaking mountains, and blue skies frame this extraordinary 5-star oasis in Palm Springs.

It’s no surprise that no matter where you look, all the reviews of The Hacienda at Warm Sands are five stars. Jim and Maurice have spent 21 years cultivating the best staff and service known to mankind, as well as perfecting a luscious landscape of earth, water, and fire surrounding their spacious and exquisite suites, providing so much worldly comfort and pampering you’ll feel like a royal.

Night falls on the hotel. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

Tracy Turco is painting the town red … and orange, yellow, blue, green, and purple.

The colorful owner of The Art Hotel, The Tiki Hotel, and The Cheetah Hotel, Tracy is also a designer, artist, and entrepreneur. Along with her husband, real estate developer Jerry Turco, Tracy has spent the last few years leaving her mark on Palm Springs’ hotel scene, transforming old properties and bringing them back to life.

“I do the soup to nuts,” Tracy says, and it’s true — she selects all of the decor, furnishings, flooring, and paint at their hotels, and has created designs for wallpaper, bedding, clocks, and stools. Tracy is known for embracing bright colors and pattern play, and takes inspiration from all things Palm Springs.

The Tiki Hotel at twilight. Photo courtesy of Tracy Turco

“What I love most about Palm Springs is nature’s beauty,” Tracy says. “I love the sunsets, love the mountains with the palm trees, and all of the fruited trees. You can pick grapefruit and figs from your backyard, and while walking and taking hikes, you see all of these gorgeous flowers in full bloom all year round. The beautiful bougainvillea makes it like you’re living in technicolor. It’s just magical.”

Before heading out west, Tracy lived in New York, where she studied at the New York School of Interior Design; launched the brands SalonTea, Tea&Co., and Tracy Stern Shoes; and wrote two books, Tea For You and Tea Party. Tracy has always been a tea connoisseur, and enjoyed creating tea blends and opening tea rooms in Manhattan, Paris, and Dubai. Her SalonTea outlet in New York was at the City Club Hotel, and this gave Tracy a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to operate a boutique hotel. 

“I always wanted to run a bed and breakfast as a little girl,” she says. “That’s why I started my tea parties — to give someone a beautiful experience.”

A peek inside The Cheetah Hotel. Photo courtesy of Tracy Turco

Tracy first fell in love with Palm Springs during visits from New York, when she would fly in and spend the night at a hotel before driving to her geodesic dome in Joshua Tree. Tracy and Jerry spent more time here together on their honeymoon, and he liked it so much that they decided to start a business in the city. 

“Everyone here is so inviting and friendly, and I love the support of our community,” Tracy says. “The community has been nothing but gracious to all of our ventures and endeavors.”

When Tracy isn’t busy at one of their properties, she’s at home conducting research, trademarking her logos and designs, and selling her designs on Society6. The Turcos have purchased an old apartment complex that they are turning into an Art Deco-themed hotel, and they are hard at work developing their passion project: the Modernism Museum. The museum will offer guests an interactive and immersive experience, showcasing collections of mid-century modern kitsch, art, and memorabilia, along with a bowling alley, roller rink, and pizza place.

The Art Hotel’s pool. Photo courtesy of Tracy Turco

Tracy has also started an entrepreneurial group for women, where members can share tips and tricks and offer support for one another as they start or grow their businesses. 

“It’s important to share and give back,” Tracy says. “There’s a lot of fear, and people don’t know how to get from the concept to fruition.” 

Every day at work is different for Tracy, but one thing is constant: she brings her 8-month-old daughter with her to their hotels, where she watches as her mom hangs drapes and picks out paint colors. 

“I hope she sees what I do and grows up to be creative and an entrepreneur,” Tracy says.

Tracy Turco having fun at the Tiki Hotel. Photo credit: Catherine Garcia

Blogger Elaine Masters wanted a classic Palm Springs vacation, and that’s exactly what she had, soaking in the city’s sights and visiting some of the most popular hotels, from the Spanish-style Los Arboles to the Art Deco-inspired Westcott.

Are you looking for a place with a serene setting to relax and forget about your hectic schedule? Look no further than the Amin Casa boutique hotel, where you can spend hours sitting and listening to the sounds of a three-tiered water fountain and birds chirping. 

Located just steps away from bustling downtown Palm Springs in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood, you can park your car at Amin Casa and take a rest from the congested roads that may be part of your daily life. If you fly in, no need to rent a vehicle — the airport is a quick 10-minute trip by taxi. 

Amin Casa owner and manager Nelson Cooley. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Owner and manager Nelson Cooley is quick to bounce out of his office to greet you upon arrival. He has your keys in hand, and the online registration filled out ahead of time told him everything he needs to escort you to one of the property’s eight bungalows, your home for the next few days.

A historic place

This repurposed hotel was once the home of famed Hollywood actress Gloria Swanson, considered one of the most photographed women of her time. Indeed, there are numerous photos around the property of her walking the grounds with people from the entertainment world. It is rumored Joe Kennedy was a frequent visitor, so imagine the entourage he brought with him.

Another interesting factoid: During this period, Swanson was the highest-paid entertainer in the world. She starred as Norma Desmond in the 1950 classic Sunset Boulevard, one of the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time.

The Amin Casa grounds. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Gorgeous grounds

Swanson recognized quickly that the four-bedroom house needed a swimming pool and, of course, a guest house to help maintain her privacy. The pool and tennis court were added to entertain her guests, who were also summoned to participate in Swanson’s famous movie nights. Today, the tennis court has been replaced by a lawn, which is home to a 100-year-old cactus.

A new chapter 

As Swanson’s career skyrocketed, she decided to sell her home to a newspaper heiress from Rhode Island, and moved to a new place in the Movie Colony neighborhood. The Swanson property was transformed into a hotel, with a kitchen added to the guest house (those quarters still have the original all-oak paneling). The inn was called Arenas Garden Hotel, which gave homage to the road it is located on and the gardens that wind their way through the property. 

New owners bring life back to the property

In recent years, the property languished for lack of visitors and no caretaker to make sure repairs were done. It was becoming an eyesore, and fear was mounting that this beautiful place would come to face the fate of a wrecking ball.  

Cooley and partner Ramon Bautista were frequent visitors to Palm Springs, and when they saw the hotel, they appreciated the architecture of the building and understood its historical significance. By chance, Bautista went to a dinner party in Los Angeles and was seated next to a woman he knew well, who told him, “I need your help. I have a friend who owns a small boutique hotel in Palm Springs inherited from a childhood friend who had no heirs, so he left the place to my friend. She lives in Chicago and does not know what to do with it. Would you look at it?”

Yes, it was the hotel the two men had admired from afar. In March 2016, they bought the property and the work began. Cooley, a former high tech executive, took over the outside and interior structural aspects and day-to-day management of the hotel. Bautista is the mastermind behind interior design while continuing his medical practice in Pasadena, where he specializes in international travel medicine. Their goal was simple: to maintain the integrity of the architectural structure, interior, and grounds

Amin Casa’s bungalows are fully equipped for your stay. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Staying at the Amin Casa

When getting ready to launch Amin Casa, the men wrote down everything they disliked about going to other hotels. The list included parking fees, resort fees to use the amenities, and extra charges for special cleaning, satellite television, and Wi-Fi. Today, when you go to check out at Amin Casa, you will find no surprises on your bill — everything is included in the cost of your room. 

This hotel heats its pool all year, giving guests the opportunity to swim or read a book and sip a cocktail poolside during winter, spring, summer, and fall. Since Palm Springs has 350 days of sunshine, you can work on your tan at the same time. 

Amin Casa’s sparkling swimming pool. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Longterm guests are welcome, with many already booked for years to come. Amin Casa’s bungalows are well-appointed with everything one may need to live comfortably — in the deluxe bungalow, I was surprised to see fine china displayed in the glass-door cupboards. If you want to prepare a gourmet dinner for special friends, you have everything you need to impress even the most persnickety.

The bungalows have lovely living rooms, which could be used as part of a movie set. Attention to every detail has been magnificently executed throughout the entire property. 

Yes, there is a great deal of history in this 94-year-old structure. It is one of our premier Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels standing open and ready to invite you to bring your family here for a reunion or a wedding. However, most of the year, it is a beautiful place to relax and meet fascinating people. If you want to escape the real world for a bit, this is the place to step back in time and be pampered. 

If you thought Palm Springs becomes a ghost town during the summer, think again.

Picture relaxing evenings poolside, dinners, and parties with your friends, watching the sun go down behind our rugged mountains. Wouldn’t you like to be assured you’ll have sun during your vacation, not rain? 

Packing a suitcase for Palm Springs

Here’s the good news: Let’s say you took a chance and bought a plane ticket that only allows a carry-on bag. You’ll be just fine, as your clothing needs will be minimal during a summer visit. 

Palm Springs residents pride themselves on hip, colorful, casual dressing, even when going to the grocery or hardware store. Nothing fancy, just bright and comfortable. A suggestion: Go through your closet and pull out the most colorful summer clothes you own. Many people like to wear black on airplanes — I learned long ago that spills don’t show up on black tops — but once you land in Palm Springs, it’s likely the last time you’ll be dressed this way during your stay.

Yes, gentlemen, you can pull out the Hawaiian shirts languishing in the far corner of your closet. Palm Springs residents seek out vintage Hawaiian shirts, so you can be assured you’re in style no matter when you acquired them. 

Clothes waiting to be packed. Photo credit: elCarito on Unsplash

Shorts, dresses, or slacks?

It is a matter of choice. However, after living here for eight years, I have concluded that flowing, loose dresses are more comfortable, since they can catch the occasional summer breeze that unexpectedly surfaces. Leave the polyester ones behind; you want a fabric that breathes. 

The summer attire for men in Palm Springs is shorts. Yes, they can be colorful. Again, it’s time for you to break out of your conservative attire. Let loose here. You will blend in instead of sticking out in the crowd. 

Evening attire

It depends on what activity you are doing after the sun sets. Poolside, anything goes, so don’t stress. 

You may have already learned that making reservations for most restaurants is necessary, even in the middle of summer. Palm Springs is known for its varied cuisine, and Coachella Valley residents are also vying for reservations in some of our more popular restaurants. 

Ladies, the evening allows you to bring out a special dress, which might include rhinestones or some sparkle. You should bring along a shawl, since some restaurants crank up their air conditioning.

Gentlemen, here are a few guidelines for you: At some of our high-profile restaurants, like Melvyn’s at the Ingleside Inn, slacks and a shirt with a collar are required. Ties, however, are not, although if you decide to don one with a jacket, you certainly will fit into the setting. (I know, a double standard.) Women can wear dress sandals, but no sandals for men; sorry, they don’t want to see your toes. 

You’ll want to grab a drink or two at Melvyn’s bar. Photo courtesy of Ingleside Inn

Give caftans a chance

You may be surprised by the number of colorful caftans you see in our valley. Designers Sheri Johnson, Aneka Brown, and Trina Turk have helped make caftans — loose, draped garments — a staple in the wardrobes of both Palm Springs men and women. During your vacation, you might want to find a caftan to try on and see how freeing it feels to wear one. (I checked — both men and women can wear a caftan to Melvyn’s. Sorry, fellas, they still don’t want you to wear sandals with it, so closed-toed shoes need to stay on your packing list.)

Two places where you might need warmer clothes

If you’ve never been up to the San Jacinto Mountains via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, you’ll want to schedule this experience. Make sure you get tickets in advance. 

Keep in mind, the tram drops you off at 8,516 feet, and the temperature can be up to 40 degrees cooler than the desert floor. More than one person has spent time shivering up there because no one told them to take an extra layer of clothes. 

The nearby mountain town of Idyllwild is another spot for a wonderful day trip. Known for its artistic influences, Idyllwild can also be cooler than you anticipated, so an extra layer just in case is recommended. 

Don’t leave home without these items

Sunscreen should be foremost on your list. Our sun in the summer can be pretty intense — even in the morning, the rays are bouncing off your skin. Quick reminder: Be sure to put sunscreen on your ears.

Your eyes will be happy you bought those new, chic designer sunglasses — glasses coupled with a hat will help protect you on your adventures. 

If you don’t have a reusable water bottle, you’ll have many opportunities to purchase one at attractions across Palm Springs. Because of the heat, carrying a water bottle with you at all times is a must. 

If you plan on spending any time in a pool or spa, throw a bathing suit in your suitcase — or two, for good measure.

Palm Springs is open for business, and we look forward to you exploring our community. Book a reservation at one of our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels as soon as your vacation dates are set, and get started planning your adventure.

All packed and ready to go. Photo credit: brianamatopoeia

This winter, forget about shoveling snow and bundling up. Treat yourself to a vacation in Palm Springs, where your biggest concern is which bathing suit to wear down to the pool.

Several of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels — all boutique properties with no more than 50 rooms — are offering winter specials. Whether you’re looking for a mid-century modern property, a romantic getaway, or a men’s clothing-optional experience, we have your stay.

A Place in the Sun Garden Hotel: Stay Sunday through Thursday nights and enjoy a 20% discount, or stay Friday and Saturday nights for a 15% discount. Plus, up to two pets can stay with you for free. Offer available Nov. 1, 2019 through Jan. 31, 2020. Off not valid Nov. 27 through 30, Dec. 24 through Jan. 1.

Alcazar Palm Springs: Book 2 weekday nights (Sunday through Thursday) and receive 50% off the second night. Offer available Dec. 1, 2019 through Jan. 31, 2020. Not available on Courtyard Queen and Poolside Queen rooms. Use promo code: WDB

Bearfoot Inn: Through Jan. 31, 2020, rooms start at just $99 per night. Offer not valid on holidays or with any other promotion. This is a men’s clothing-optional resort.

El Mirasol Villas: Stay 2 nights, get a 3rd night free, Sunday through Thursday. Offer available Dec. 1 through 15, 2019. This is a men’s clothing-optional resort.

INNDulge: Weekday stays (Sunday through Thursday) are just $119 per night for Superior rooms, non-pool view. Regular season rates begin at $219 per night. Offer available Dec. 1, 2019 through Jan. 31, 2020, excluding holidays. This is a men’s clothing-optional resort.

La Maison: Book 2 nights, get a 3rd night free. Offer available Dec. 1 through 21, 2019. Use promo code: Winter Stay

Los Arboles Hotel: Receive 20 percent off Sunday through Thursday night stays, from now until Dec. 19, 2019. Offer available for all rooms, excluding Petites (these rooms are already just $89 midweek!). Use promo code: Fall Drop

Monkey Tree Hotel: Receive a 10 percent discount for all weekday stays (Sunday through Thursday) during November and December 2019. Offer not valid Nov. 27, 28, 29. Use promo code: Small Hotel Discount

Mykonos Desert Suites: Book two nights (Monday through Thursday) at regular rates and get one night free. Offer available through Jan. 31, 2019.

Santiago Resort: With every 7 night stay, receive 1 free night. Offer available through May 1, 2020. This is a men’s clothing-optional resort.

Triangle Inn Palm Springs: During select weeks, stay at least 2 nights and receive 15 percent off. Offer available Dec. 1 through 23, 2019 and Jan. 3 through 15, 2020. This is a men’s clothing-optional resort.

Tuscany Manor Palm Springs: Book 3 nights, receive the 4th night free. Offer valid through Dec. 2, 2019. Use promo code: Turkey. Tuscany Manor is a clothing-optional resort, and day passes for Sunday through Thursday are also available at a special rate of $30 per couple or individual, a $20 savings. Offer valid through January 2020, and is subject to availability.

 

Click here for more information on all of our winter deals.

From the boldly chic Cheetah Hotel to the artsy Fleur Noire, visitors to Palm Springs now have even more options for boutique hotels.

“We are delighted to welcome these new hotels and their owners to Palm Springs,” Michael Green, owner of the Triangle Inn and chair of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels, said. “They bring such creative vision and energy. And now visitors will have even more fabulous places to stay.” 

A room at the Tiki Hotel. Photo courtesy of Tiki Hotel

Husband and wife team Tracy Turco and Jerry Turco have revamped and renewed three mid-century modern Palm Springs properties, all within a few blocks of each other. Their first project, the 8-room Art Hotel at 1339 N. Indian Canyon Dr., is vibrant and colorful, with the works of local artists on display across the grounds and a large outdoor mural by Damon Johnson greeting guests. Next, they transformed the former Carlton Hotel at 1333 N. Indian Canyon Dr. into the 11-room Tiki Hotel, a Polynesian paradise with ukuleles in every suite and a gift shop with necessities for every Palm Springs vacation. 

A Cheetah Hotel bedroom. Photo courtesy of The Cheetah Hotel.

Their latest property is the 12-room Cheetah Hotel at 354 E. Stevens Rd., featuring a black and yellow color scheme and cheetah icons designed by Tracy (she picks out or creates all of the wallpaper, linens, and furniture for the Turco hotels). All of the rooms are just steps away from the courtyard pool and separate spa, and $10 from each booking goes to the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

“What I love most about Palm Springs is nature’s beauty,” Tracy said. “I love the sunsets, love the mountains with the palm trees, and all of the fruited trees.” While walking around town, Tracy loves to stop and take in the “gorgeous flowers in full bloom all year round,” she added. “The beautiful bougainvillea makes it like you’re living in technicolor. It’s just magical.”

A room at the Descanso Resort. Photo courtesy of Descanso Resort.

At the new Descanso Resort, it’s all about that indoor/outdoor living. This men’s resort, formerly the East Canyon Resort & Spa, is the brother property to the Santiago, and provides the same luxe accommodations. Located at 288 E. Camino Monte Vista, the hotel underwent a total transformation, with all guest rooms and areas undergoing renovations. The rooms are equipped with new furniture, high-end linens and bedding, and Gilchrest & Soames luxury bath products. The pampering starts as soon as guests arrive — at check in, a snack bag is provided, and complimentary food and beverages are available in the cantina; a continental breakfast and poolside lunch is also offered. The private grounds feature native plants, a heated pool and spa, day beds, and a garden shower.

A beautiful mural at Fleure Noire. Photo courtesy of Fleur Noire

The Fleur Noire at 1555 N. Indian Canyon Dr. offers an eclectic mix of 21 casitas, bungalows, and suites, each one with its own distinct design — and a refrigerator that is stocked daily with complimentary water. There are stunning floral wall murals by artist Louise Jones (a.k.a. Ouize) on display across the property, and guests can lounge by the heated pool and multiple fire pits or in the club house, which has a communal pantry and working and dining areas. La Boisson, a speakeasy champagne and rosé bar, is opening later this spring.

An Azure Sky bedroom. Photo courtesy of Azure Sky

Azure Sky, a 14-room luxury hotel at 1661 S. Calle Palo Fierro, is set to open in the early spring, and is already causing a stir. Originally built in 1959, new owners Acme Hospitality and Eastern Real Estate have lovingly restored the property, bringing in vintage lighting and custom woodwork to dazzle guests. Most of the rooms have private patios with hammocks and kitchenettes, with built-in beds, stone tile flooring, and mid-century modern inspired design accents. The lounge boasts a premium cocktail bar, and outside, there’s a sparkling pool, fire pits, two courtyards, and a large hot tub that can hold up to 25 people. 

Whether it’s for a weekend getaway, a romantic retreat, or a long much-needed workcation that’s not too far from home, there’s a small boutique hotel waiting for you in Palm Springs with just the vibe you crave.

About Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels is an association 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. Subscribe to our Monthly e-Newsletter, Boutiquely Palm Springs. From tips on what to do, see and eat in Palm Springs, to interviews with hoteliers, it’s the insider’s guide to everything great about Palm Springs and its iconic boutique hotels. Follow the fun on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.

While on assignment for BBC News, Tayfun King was interviewing the owner of a boutique hotel in Buenos Aires when it hit him — he wanted to be the one running an inn.

As a travel reporter, Tayfun was immersed in the hospitality industry, crisscrossing the globe to learn more about the world’s most fabulous hotels. This wasn’t his original career choice — while studying mathematics and management at Cambridge University, he made a promise to himself: if he graduated with a first class honors degree, he would turn down the financial job offers he had received to follow his passion and become a professional Latin American dancer. Tayfun graduated with honors, and embarked on a dancing career, which led to him becoming a television journalist and host with the BBC, presenting programs on technology and travel.

“The travel show is where I developed my passion for boutique hotels,” Tayfun says. “I traveled to over 70 countries and 200 cities, and more than anything, staying at these amazing boutique hotels around the world stood out.”

Tayfun was fascinated by how these properties were able to forge their own identities, with each room connected despite their individual distinct themes. The owners he spoke with had “a passion that was coming through so clearly,” Tayfun says. “It was hard work for them, but they loved it and being able to express their creativity.”

In 2014, Tayfun launched a hospitality company in Los Angeles. He opened a property in Venice Beach, and then turned his attention east to Palm Springs. He was interested in a particular hotel for sale, but when his realtor showed him 641 E. San Lorenzo Road — the resort formerly known as Escape — Tayfun knew this was the place.

An aerial view of BelleVue Oasis

An aerial view of BelleVue Oasis. Courtesy of BelleVue Oasis

“I didn’t expect that,” Tayfun says. “I was there to have a matter-of-fact look around, but once I walked in and saw the entrance, I had an emotional reaction. The feeling you get when you’re there is so welcoming. It’s so natural, and there’s so much greenery with the grass, the trees, and the flowers. If I were coming to Palm Springs for a stay, I would love to stay here.”

A lot has changed at the mid-century modern property, starting with the name. Tayfun chose BelleVue Oasis because “belle vue” means “beautiful view” in French and “was what I was experiencing in the moment,” he says. The 13-room hotel has a new pool, pool deck, and interiors, plus recently installed turf and two putting greens. The mature palms and tropical landscaping are still in place, and guests rave about being able to enjoy the serene setting from their private patios.

“A common reaction is this is a hidden gem in Palm Springs — it’s beautiful, it’s lovely, it’s an oasis,” Tayfun says. “We have a high number of guests who keep returning to the property, and people who say their friends told them to stay here.”

Tayfun plans on developing a boutique hotel brand that will first grow in California before expanding, and is excited to get it started in Palm Springs. For him, it’s important that hotels tap into the history and true essence of the cities they are in, and he wants to make sure that people know as soon as they arrive at BelleVue Oasis that they are in Palm Springs.

“I love Palm Springs,” he says. “I love the energy, the people are friendly, it’s spread out, and it’s so well groomed.

From the time they book to the time they check out, Tayfun aims to make it so guests enjoy every part of the BelleVue Oasis experience. He wants them to look forward to their stay, building it up ahead of time and then having their expectations surpassed once they arrive, and to leave with lasting memories of their visit.

“It’s so fulfilling and exciting hearing what guests have to say,” Tayfun says. “That has been so rewarding and greater than what I thought it would be.”

BelleVue Oasis spa at night

Night falls on BelleVue Oasis. Courtesy of BelleVue Oasis

After many tedious weeks of quarantining and sheltering at home, our country is starting to open up again. But it will be, as they say, “a new normal.” For those older or at-risk people who have been strictly following the quarantine protocols (such as my husband and me), moving back into the real world may be a bit frightening – especially as we embark again on our much-missed world of travel.

Do we really want to hop on a plane?  Or do we want to go out to eat or stay in hotels?  And how can we make this transition back to the real world without causing ourselves undue anxiety and stress? We know we are vulnerable, but we also want to live our lives to the fullest. We refuse to live in fear, but we want to be cautious.

For those of us who live in Southern California, we have a wonderful, safe, and nearby option as we venture out again—Palm Springs.  If you live in Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego or Riverside counties, you can drive to Palm Springs in two hours or even less.  So there is no need to worry about a nerve-racking plane flight.

And when you arrive in Palm Springs, a small boutique hotel is your ideal destination. There are more than 70 hotels in the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels group and it looks like most of them will be re-opening by June 12, 2020. These small hotels are already set up for comfortable social distancing. Almost all of them have private exterior entries from courtyards and do not have long hallways like the “big box” hotels. They do not have large lobbies where lots of people congregate.  Because they have small numbers of rooms, they will also have fewer guests. Most of them have courtyards around gorgeous pools where you can relax without being crammed next to other guests.

And the PSPSH hotels have collectively established a baseline of safety standards to insure guest comfort and safety.  For instance, hotels that serve breakfasts will generally serve them in individually wrapped containers rather than offering buffets. Fewer lounge chairs will be placed around swimming pools. Hand sanitizers will be readily available and hotel staff will be continually sanitizing surfaces. Some procedures may vary but each hotel will provide guests with their COVID-19 specific guidelines.

The City of Palm Springs requires that everyone wear a mask covering their mouths and noses while in public and that everyone practice social distancing. The hotels, of course, support these guidelines. No one with COVID symptoms will be allowed on PSPSH properties.

In the past, we have stayed at several of the PSPSH hotels and we can’t wait to go back. Our first trip out of our quarantined home will be to Palm Springs. I can just imagine lounging around the pristine pool at Alcazar or relaxing around a glowing fire pit at La Maison. Or perhaps we’ll soak up the rays at La Serena Villas or The Weekend Palm Springs.  And although some restaurants in Palm Springs will be open soon, we’ll be able to order our meals (and even cocktails) to be delivered directly to our room. And many of the hotels will also let us bring our dog (who, like us, is ready to be out and about.)  It’s also wonderful to know that these hotels have friendly staff members dedicated to making their guests feel welcomed and comfortable.

You can safely quarantine at these hotels in luxury and in utmost seclusion. After many weeks of isolating at home, a change of scene is so appealing.  I envision a day of sleeping late and then sipping coffee on our own private patio. Then we might play scrabble and have lunch and a cocktail delivered around the pool. Then perhaps we’ll take an afternoon nap on a comfy bed with a good book. At some of the hotels, we could grill out our own dinner and enjoy a good bottle of wine. Or we could venture out and dine at one of the Palm Springs restaurants that has safely opened. But I think we may just order a delicious dinner from a nearby restaurant. The hotels will be able to tell you where you can order food to be delivered.

To see your many enticing hotel options, go to the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website.

Hope to see you soon in Palm Springs!

February – the month that fills you with overthinking about your love life.
– Anonymous

Not to brag or anything, but damn our weather has been exceptional. Nice sleeping temps at night — it’s in the 50s — and bright sunny days in the mid-70s to low 80s. It’s Palm Springs perfection!

February has a lot of stuff going on, so I won’t keep you with a bunch of chatter. Here’s the skinny:

Rock The Park event flyer. Courtesy of Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce

February 2: 

Rock the Park, 7 p.m., first Wednesdays of every month. Kicking off the whole affair will be TLR – Experience the Eagles Music, a hardworking and much in-demand tribute band based in Los Angeles. Other tribute groups scheduled to appear include those devoted to the music of Elton John, Madonna, Tina Turner, Fleetwood Mac, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Located at the park next to Marilyn and by the Art Museum.

February 3: 

Village Fest — every Thursday, 6 to 10 p.m., on Palm Canyon Road. Foot traffic only from Alejo to Ramon, with vendors on every side of the street, buskers, crafters and food kiosks. All of the stores are open as well. It’s a great stroll, with tons of people watching and things to try. Friendly pooches welcome.

February 3: 

Palm Springs Art Museum Free Thursdays – every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.

February 3: 

Black History Month Opening Reception at Palm Springs Art Museum

February 6:  

Come celebrate Black History Month with a local vendor bazaar and the musical stylings of Keisha D Sings and her band. Tickets are $20 and include a seat for the show and cocktail. Tickets are now available. Venmo $20 to @Keisha-Halverson to secure your seat. Bazaar is free from noon to 3:30 p.m. 3200 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way.

NOTE: Keisha D is a BANGING vocalist and performer, nails every style she sings. A truly terrific vocalist and performer.

February 6:

Palm Springs Vintage Market, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2300 E Baristo Road.

February 10-13:

Intersect Palm Springs has traditionally occurred in conjunction with Modernism Week at the Palm Springs Convention Center, and presents post-war and contemporary art. Formerly known as Art Palm Springs, it has been running since 2012.

February 12:  

24th Annual Tour de Palm Springs/Coachella Valley, taking place in downtown Palm Springs on North Palm Canyon

February 12: 

Brave Bessie Coleman-Pursue your Dreams, Palm Springs Air Museum, 1 to 2 p.m.

The Boomer Boys Musical. Courtesy of Palm Springs Cultural Center

February 12:

The Boomer Boys Musical at the Palm Springs Cultural Center

February 13: 

Watch the Super Bowl at one of our local sports bars: The Village, Hair of the Dog, Shamrocks, New York Pizza, Fame Wine and Cigar Lounge, Smokin’ Burgers

Tuskegee Airmen Art. Courtesy of Palm Springs Air Museum

Through Feb 28: 

Famed Aviation Artist Stan Stokes-Tuskegee Airmen Collection
Original artwork immortalizing the members of the Tuskegee Airmen who heroically took to the skies during World War II, despite the obstacles of racial segregation and a U.S. military policy that tried to prevent them from flying. Look into the eyes and read the stories of these brave aviators who broke barriers and pushed aside stereotypes in their struggle to fight for their country against the forces of Nazism. Included with regular museum admission.

There’s Nothing Like A Dame flyer. Courtesy of Palm Canyon Theatre

February 9: 

There’s Nothing Like a Dame Concert at the Palm Canyon Theatre
Palm Springs’ finest divas take the stage in a one-night-only performance. You should go — I’ll be there!

February 15: 

The Classics of Rock & Soul at the Palm Springs Cultural Center

February 16:

Martinis and Moxie at the Palm Springs Cultural Center
Featuring the music of Dean Martin and Dinah Shore, with special guests.

February 19: 

Dr. Ed Gordon: Judgment at Nuremberg: Defending Humanity 1 to 2 p.m. at the Palm Springs Air Museum. In this program, historian Ed Gordon will tell the important story of how Nazi leaders were brought to trial, charged, and defended.

February 26:  

35th Annual Black History Month Parade and Town Fair
The parade will begin on Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs. Immediately following the parade, the town fair will be held at New City Park, across the street from the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Theater: 

February 25: 

Palm Canyon Theatre: Palm Springs Getaway! 
This new musical is a nostalgic romp through Palm Springs featuring the history and entertainers that made our city famous. The show takes audiences from the early desert landscape to the vibrant city it is today — and every decade in between.

Desert Rose Playhouse 2022 schedule. Courtesy of Desert Rose Playhouse

Desert Rose Playhouse announced their new season. Go! Everything they do is spectacular, fun, and at least a little bit gay.

Every Thursday: Jazzville. Exceptionally fine jazz from all over the world performed at Agua Caliente Casino downtown.

Every Friday: Agua Caliente Comedy

Every Sunday: Latin Nights at Cascade Agua Caliente Palm Springs

Mogo Silent Disco: Fridays and Saturdays. Don your wildest outfit (kaftans, cowboy hats, and sequins are encouraged!) and bust a move in front of some of Palm Springs’ most Instagram-worthy spots; have a random dance with the cute stranger walking by; dust off that sick routine you created in your basement and show it off in front of the beautiful San Jacinto mountains. Join us for an outdoor experience you’ll never forget! Lasts approximately 70 minutes.  All ages welcome.  Under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

PS Air at Bouschet: Disco Boozy Brunch, recurring weekly on Sundays until March 27. Also open for lunch daily. Saturday nights are flight nights.

Purple Room: Great showcase of jazz and standards. Different acts every night of the week, with Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays ticketed events.

PS Underground: Wildly creative entertainment and dining experiences. Each show is themed and very different. Food is excellent. I have never seen anything that compares in any city.

AsiaSF has finally reopened for dinner and a show. From the desk of David Perry: “The SoCal branch of the storied San Francisco dinner theater and cabaret, featuring the world-famous transgender ladies of AsiaSF, is back.”

February 17-27 is Modernism Week . Events will take place at various locations throughout the greater Palm Springs area.

And now, for S&Gs (last initial is giggles, you figure out the S) here is a list of everything the internet says you should celebrate or be aware of in February. Not to be outdone by the month, the days have a bunch of things they’d like to point out, too. For the days, I have italicized some of the what???

By Month:

American Heart Month

Black History Month

Celebration of Chocolate Month

International Friendship Month

International Month of Black Women in the Arts

International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month

Library Lovers Month

Marijuana Awareness Month

National Cancer Prevention Month

National Children’s Dental Health Month

Youth Leadership Month

By Day:

February 1: National Freedom Day, National Dark Chocolate Day, National Serpent Day, National Baked Alaska Day, National Get Up Day

February 2: Groundhog Day, National Hedgehog Day, National Tater Tot Day, National Ukulele Day

February 3: Four Chaplains Day, National Missing Persons Day, National Carrot Cake Day, National Golden Retriever Day

February 4: USO Day, World Cancer Day,1 National Homemade Soup Day

February 5: National Weatherperson’s Day, World Nutella Day

February 6: National Lame Duck Day, Pay a Compliment Day, National Frozen Yogurt Day

February 7: National Send a Card to a Friend Day, Rose Day, National Fettuccine Alfredo Day, National Bubble Gum Day* (first Friday), National Wear Red Day* (first Friday), Give Kids a Smile Day* (first Friday)

February 8: Take Your Child to the Library Day* (first Saturday), National Kite Flying Day, Opera Day, Read in the Bathtub Day

February 9: National Pizza Day, World Marriage Day* (second Sunday)

February 10: National Umbrella Day, Teddy Day, National Clean Out Your Computer Day* (second Monday)

February 11: National Inventors’ Day, National Make a Friend Day, National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day, National Make a Friend Day, Get Out Your Guitar Day, International Day of Women and Girls in Science

February 12: Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, International Darwin Day

February 13: World Radio Day, Galentine’s Day, National Tortellini Day

February 14: Valentine’s Day

February 15: National Gumdrop Day, Susan B. Anthony Day, National Bagel Day, Singles Awareness Day

February 16: Do a Grouch a Favor Day, National Almond Day

February 17: Presidents’ Day* (third Monday)

February 18: National Battery Day, National Drink Wine Day

February 19: National Chocolate Mint Day

February 20: National Love Your Pet Day, National Muffin Day

February 21: International Mother Language Day, National Sticky Bun Day, National Caregivers Day* (third Friday)

February 22: George Washington’s Birthday, Be Humble Day, World Thinking Day, National Margarita Day

February 23: National Banana Bread Day

February 24: National Tortilla Chip Day

February 25: National Chocolate Covered Nut Day, Let’s All Eat Right Day, National Clam Chowder Day, National Pancake Day, World Spay Day* (last Tuesday)

February 26: Tell a Fairy Tale Day, National Pistachio Day

February 27: No Brainer Day, International Polar Bear Day, National Chili Day, Digital Learning Day* (last Thursday)

February 28: National Public Sleeping Day, National Chocolate Soufflé Day, National Science Day

As always, wear your mask, and show your vax card — rules are in effect until further notice. Help us keep Palm Springs alive. See you in March!