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“Doing nothing is hard. You never know when you’re done.” — Steve Martin

Welcome to June in Palm Springs! The temps are hot, and the pools are cool, so it’s the perfect time for a rain-free vacation in the land of sun and stars. 

Days are spent lounging poolside, shopping for vintage, or enjoying a nosh at one of our local restaurants. If it’s particularly warm, and you can’t take the heat, you can spend a day up in the cool of Mount San Jacinto State Park (take the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up). If you’re going to hike make sure to take water, follow the trail, bring a flashlight, and check for the time of sundown. No one likes to get stuck on the mountain, although it is interesting for locals watching your little lights trying to find their way down at night. 

Speaking of night, there’s still plenty of stuff to do, but make sure you spend a few moments gazing at the stars. We have low light pollution outside of the major streets, so there are lots and lots of bright twinkly stars to be seen in the night sky. 

Must-dos in Palm Springs this June

A woman pours dressing on her shrimp and crab Louis salad at Ingleside Inn in Palm Springs, California

Melvyn’s Restaurant at the Ingleside Estate is participating in Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week. Photo courtesy of Melvyn’s

June 1: PS Card Show convention offers all the collectibles in cards — sports, Pokémon, whatever else card collectors collect, I have no idea. I am trying to get rid of stuff. But you do you. No judgment. (Maybe a leeetle — just a skoosh!)

May 31-June 9: Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week — pick a couple of places you’ve always wanted to go, and benefit from their discounted prices. Not everything on the menu will be available at this special rate, but you’ll get a good taste and a feel for the place.

June 7 and 8: Big Gay BBQ — June is Pride month for most cities who celebrate, but we have it in November. That doesn’t mean we can’t throw a party in June though. On Arenas.

June 11: Movies in the Park: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in the Downtown Park next to Marilyn. 

June 18-24: PSIFF presents ShortFest at the Palm Springs Regal Theaters. Short films from around the world. Check it out.

June 20: GameAcon West at the Palm Springs Convention Center. “Where fans unite for competition, cosplay, merchandise, parties, and more.” I hope they dress up and come out to play. I miss Let’s Make A Deal.

Crystal Fantasy Psychic/Healing Fair on Saturdays and Sundays. There’s usually at least two psychics/readers in different practices. Plus they’ve got crystals galore. Robert Downey Jr. has been a customer for over six years.

Historical Society private tours — group walking and biking tours are over for the summer, but you can still book a private tour. You bring the ride, they provide the guide. 

PS I Love You scavenger hunt at PS Art Museum — unleash your inner detective as you delve into the heart of Palm Springs. Engage with friendly locals, discover intriguing tales of history and culture and capture the essence of the city in photos, videos, and audio files.

Cascade Lounge in Agua Caliente Palm Springs. Check website for special events. Throw some money in a slot while you’re there, or save your dough and have dinner in their terrific steakhouse.

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum and Séc-he Spa

Get cultured

PS Underground — there’s nothing like it anywhere but Palm Springs: creative and themed live shows featuring some of Palm Springs’ finest entertainers, with delicious culinary delights sprung straight from the mind of Chef Dave. Great event space, too.

Revolution Stage Company — you should definitely book an evening or afternoon show here. There’s nothing like live entertainment, and Palm Springs is all entertainers and artists, so Revolution has a little bit of everything. Musicals, cabarets, comedy, piano riots, burlesque shows, and well, you just never know. Their homegrown productions have been fantastic so far, and next up is Baby the Musical running through June 9. 

Coming in from far away places:

June 15: Irene Tu, an L.A.-based stand-up comedian of Comedy Central and Netflix fame. 

June 27, 28, and 29: The Edgar Allen Poe Speakeasy, a chilling cocktail experience lifting four of his stories off the page and onto the stage. Poe historians are pairing each tale of horror with four classic cocktails to set the mood. 

Palm Springs Cultural Center — film festivals and special events fill the Center during the summer. Located in the historic Camelot Theatre, they have the largest screen in the Coachella Valley.

June 14: Leanna and the Free Agents Space Odyssey, an immersive music experience

Wine, tequila, and tacos — what more do you need?

The Plush Cosmo in a martini glass

The Plush Cosmo at V Wine Lounge. Photo by Gregory Douglass

V Wine Lounge — Live music Monday through Friday (Karaoke on Wednesday)

Reforma Nightclub — it’s a nightclub and a restaurant. Check their schedule for DJs and music. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tequila Tuesday’s at Zin — 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., get 25% off tequila cocktails. (OT: I recently had their mussels in wine and frites. Thumbs up!)

Tuesdays at Maleza (in Drift Hotel) there’s live Latin music from 7 to 9 p.m.. Happy hour starts at 3 p.m.

Thursdays at Drift: 7 to 10 p.m. is Jueves de Drift. Tap into the Cabo spirit weekly with live DJs, $5 tacos a la plancha, $5 beer, $8 cocktails, and night swims.

Village Fest — Thursdays, 7 to 10 p.m., Tahquitz and Palm Canyon is a great place to start. Parking can be an issue, but not if you’re staying in one of our downtown boutique hotels! 

Wang’s in the Desert is back. In the Rat Pack era it was called Jilly’s (he was one of Frank’s guys). I just checked and they’re bringing back entertainment, and it looks like Keisha D will be headlining. She’s a terrific performer with an incredible voice, so have a meal and let one of our desert divas take you to church!

And last, the Twin Palms neighborhood has opened a mid-mod little free library on Navajo Road between La Jolla Road and Marion Way. The neighborhood is also sponsoring a $2,000 scholarship in architecture. 

And that’s it for June. Stay hydrated, wear sunscreen, and please stay and shop local. It’s imperative in small towns, and if you’ve ever been here, you know ours is pretty special. 

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.

Palm Springs’ vibrant vibes are attracting more and more people from around the world. Outdoor restaurant patios are filled and lovely shops cater to a wide variety of budgets and tastes. Listen closely and you’ll hear happy visitors discussing their great finds or raving about the small boutique hotels they’ve discovered, which serve as a base to launch their Palm Springs explorations.

During the 1950s and ’60s, small boutique hotels flourished as getaways for Hollywood stars. Then, as the economy changed and celebrities discovered other places to spend their time, some hotels languished. But in the early aughts, new hoteliers with creative design ideas and a desire to create a welcoming environment became a significant driver for revitalizing the Palm Springs economy.

Now fast forward to 2022. AvantStay, a premier next-generation hospitality organization, has arrived in Palm Springs. They manage and/or partially own four iconic boutique properties: The Monkey Tree Hotel, The Wesley, The Marley, and Hotel El Cid.

What can be expected from AvantStay? 

AvantStay is not a newcomer to running vacation properties — the company manages or owns more than 1,000 properties around the globe. Its goal is to make each lodging a highly curated experience. They recognize that time is valuable, and won’t waste yours with unwanted or unnecessary interactions. 

Guest support is offered 24 hours a day, with concierge service available via an 800 number. Agents are always available to help and are rarely more than 15 minutes away from a property.

Hotel El Cid  

A family that parties together stays together. Okay, there’s no scientific proof this is the case, but there is a way to plan a reunion that offers amenities for all members of the family. Hotel El Cid is an ADA-approved facility that accommodates one select group at a time, allowing guests of all ages to come together for a relaxing getaway. It’s reminiscent of the experience of Hollywood royalty.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to bring everyone together for a catered dinner under the cabana by the pool, or hire a masseuse for Uncle Joe when he has a pain that won’t go away? With AvantStay’s concierge services, they can help make these things happen.

There is a caveat: Fufo the dog isn’t allowed on property, but maybe that family member needs a break from pet duties anyway.

The Marley’s spacious pool. Photo courtesy of The Marley

The Marley 

Searching for a place to hold a corporate retreat or bachelorette party? Here’s an idea to consider: Rent an entire property with nine bedrooms that sleep 22 people. If that sounds intriguing, The Marley could be your answer.

With The Marley’s modernism architecture, one of the stalwart styles of Palm Springs, you will be able to experience one of the more iconic buildings designed and built by the Alexander Company. Today, their homes demand a hefty price and are often the site of open houses during February’s Modernism Week. When you stay at The Marley and get to sit around the pool, soaking up the warm Palm Springs sun, you’re making memories in a place few people get to experience.

Guests love to float in The Monkey Tree Hotel’s pool. Photo courtesy of The Monkey Tree Hotel

The Monkey Tree Hotel

Visitors come to Palm Springs from around the world to learn about the modernism style of the 1950s and ’60s. What if you could stay in a place designed by one of the city’s famous architects, Albert Frey? If that’s your dream, consider booking The Monkey Tree Hotel.

With its iconic architectural design — a pool surrounded by rooms, brightly colored umbrellas, and lounge chairs strategically placed to catch the sun rays so you can go home with a golden tan — you won’t be disappointed when you arrive at this pet-friendly hotel. Located in North Palm Springs, the 16-suite Monkey Tree Hotel is a cheerful place, with sunshine yellow dominating the color scheme.

The Wesley’s rooms are known for their fun decor. Photo courtesy of The Wesley

The Wesley 

A 10-minute ride from the Palm Springs International Airport, The Wesley is a tranquil, private, and gated oasis. Visitors come here to rejuvenate, and every self-contained suite beckons you to slow down. Most have fully equipped kitchens, so it is a great place to practice cooking some of our Southwest cuisines.

The patio, part of your suite, is surrounded by lush landscape and provides the perfect place to sip a cocktail while you finally sit down and take time to read the book that’s been on your list. Louis, your adorable pug, is welcome to accompany you. When the urge strikes, head out to the heated pool and meet other guests under the cabanas scattered throughout the grounds.

If you want privacy and an environment you can call your own, one of these hotels just might be the right fit.

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

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

Missed Parts 1 and 2? Read them here and here.

Now, we’re delving into boutique hotels that have food and beverages available for guests only — but I’ve also got a few surprises tucked in here as well. 

With these resorts, breakfasts are almost always included, and the afternoons have other delectable amenities. It’s all about shutting out the rest of the world. These hotels really do provide everything you’ve ever wanted in a luxurious getaway — and more.

The beautiful grounds at Dive. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Dive — This funky and stylish 21+, 11-room resort is a visit to the south of France (on the southern end of Palm Springs). Be on the look out for their neon 1940s, bathing suit-clad young lady in mid-dive, and you’ll know you’re in the right place.

That diving lady is one of the Lulus, and there are two more behind the stucco privacy walls that hide the soul-quenching slice of Saint Tropez waiting inside. The grounds are nook-filled, with a historic and very swimmable pool, and each room is a work of art. The place is truly unique.

When you’re ready for food, you can either pop by and place an order at the window, or text them from your phone and someone will bring it to you, because you’re on vacation and you’re posh. I can’t wait to tell you all about Dive, which I will do soon. Just know that you are going to lose your ish over it. Seriously.

The Marley’s spacious pool. Photo courtesy of The Marley

The Marley — Bring your besties, because this nine bedroom, nine bath property only books one group at a time (it can accommodate up to 22 guests!).

There is a gorgeous Viking catering kitchen so you can hire a chef and not have to worry about a meal. There is also a spacious pool and a fire pit. It’s the perfect place for a bachelorette weekend, a milestone birthday, a corporate workshop, or a yoga retreat. How about a college reunion with your old chums?

This place is equal parts sassy and dreamy. I encourage you to check out the photos on their website — I had trouble trying to figure out what part of it to show you!

Poolside at The Willows. Photo courtesy of The Willows

The Willows Historic Palm Springs Innn — I used to deliver rack cards for the Purple Room to this eight room resort, and I was never allowed past the gate, that’s how exclusive it is. It has a delightful history — this boutique hotel was once an old mansion, and Albert Einstein had a favorite bench here.

Guests are served a three-course gourmet breakfast in front of a 50-foot waterfall, and in the afternoon, wine and hors d’oeuvres are served in the lounge. Fresh fruit is available all day, and guests not wanting to leave for lunch or dinner can order room service from Le Vallauris, the French restaurant across the street.

One of the pools at Korakia Pensione. Photo courtesy of Korakia Pensione

Korakia Pensione — Downtown, but tucked away from any distractions, is Korakia Pensione, described by The New York Times as “one of the sexiest hotels in America.” 

Korakia is housed in two lovingly restored historic villas, and rests on 1.5 lush acres. There are bungalows, guesthouses, gardens, and pools. It positions itself as more of a retreat than a resort, although it’s not lacking in amenities. Expect a full breakfast, lunch options by the pool or in your room, yoga, meditation and afternoon Moroccan tea. They even have a bazaar for shopping (guests only). 

Truly an escape from the rest of the world.

The Orbit In at dusk. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Orbit In — One of the cutest retro hotels around, even the staff gets into the ’60s vibe. Breakfast consists of gourmet yogurts and granola, there are pool snacks at lunch time, and Orbitinis are served during the cocktail hour. Nice pool, nice people, on a quiet street near Spencer’s (yum!).

The Santiago Resort’s pool and spa. Photo courtesy of The Santiago Resort

Men’s resorts

Santiago Resort — Gorgeous resort, with tropical plants and exotic flowers. Not only do they feed you breakfast and lunch, but there are spa services and a pool that is such perfection it’s nearly hard to describe.

Descanso Resort – Hipster hotel that’s as cool as you are. Breakfast and lunch are served at the resort, and massage services are available as well. You can read all about it here.

Hacienda at Warm Sands — It’s lush and tropical with a wonderful pool and spa. Breakfast is continental and lunches are ordered in: salads and sandwiches. You can read more here.

INNdulge — One of the larger resorts, it has a magnificent pool, and amenities include daily continental breakfast and evening social hour. The owner is a huge art fan, and there are fun and funky pieces throughout the property. More info here.

Triangle Inn – Built in the 1960s as The Impala Lodge, Triangle Inn has a help yourself continental breakfast, and on special occasions you can find Michael (one of the owners) outside cooking up a southern feast. This is the only resort I am mentioning that has kitchens/kitchenettes because they have a houseman that does your dishes for you. You get all of the fun of cooking, but none of the drudgery of cleanup.

Many of our resorts have full kitchens and kitchenettes but that’s not what this is about. This is about you doing nothing. And loving every second of it.

Of course, you can turn any hotel into a restaurant by using Postmates, UberEats, or Grubhub, but there’s comfort in knowing there is delicious sustenance readily available should you experience a food or drink 911.

Joking aside, it’s a very serious world right now, and I think we all need to take a break from the news and regroup. These small resorts offer unforgettable experiences, and each one strives to make their property uniquely their own. All are wildly different, but one thing they have in common is unparalleled hospitality — and you deserve a pampered and luxurious getaway.

Palm Springs in the summer is a bit of a scorcher, and because some people are extra precious, there are deals to be had. I encourage you to check those out.

As we say in Palm Springs, stay cool by the pool! No, we don’t say that. Not out loud. That would be a little cringe. We just go ahead and do it without talking about it because it’s a great way to beat the heat.

Not gonna lie, the A/C is super helpful, too.

Sensualist: a person given to the indulgence of the senses or appetites

The word indulgence has a bit of a taboo feeling to it, doesn’t it? Like, I shouldn’t, but it looks so good. The original meaning was actually a kindness, or a favor. So, you’d be offering your body a kindness or a favor by giving it what it wants, which is the elevation of its senses through visual appeal, taste, and aroma — and I’m not necessarily talking about food. I mean, I am, but I’m not. It kinda applies to anything. So, I’ve made you a little list about how to gratify your senses in Palm Springs. 

Sensualists want to try all the things. They crave new experiences. They want every day to have at least one “ooooh and aaaah” in it, and that’s on a bad day. They are not tourists, they are more than an adventurer, they are cultivators of magical moments. Moments they can relive over and again in their memories. So if that’s you, I’m going to do my best to add Palm Springs to your favorite moments in time. Follow me.

Let’s start with where to stay. The aesthetic of a room’s design should give you a hit of dopamine every time you enter. The freshly laundered, crisp linens on your skin, and the clean aroma should give flood your body with endorphins as you slide between the sheets into the ecstasy of a comfy bed. 

There should be grounds to explore, something peeking out from behind something else. Everywhere is a point of interest. Everywhere. 

There are, of course, more boutique hotels than what I’ve listed. We have more than 75, each offering a unique experience. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and this is what I have curated for you. Do some clicking down below — and this time I mean just the links. Nothing else. So calm down, Tiger.

Boutique hotels to stay at in Palm Springs 

A bed under a crystal light fixture with a lavender wall and white shutters on the windows

The Lavender Suite at The Velvet Rope is an ode to Elizabeth Taylor. Photo courtesy of The Velvet Rope

The Velvet Rope — It’s new, it’s different, it’s old Hollywood with a fun and modern twist. 

Casa Cody — Romantic, historic. Did I mention romantic? The grounds are incredible.

Dive — It’s the rooms. Look at the rooms. Just LOOK AT THEM! And THAT POOL! Lots of peeking things to see.

Villa Royale — Secluded and seductive, with the Del Rey restaurant and bar.

The Wescott — Art Deco, breakfast, poolside cocktail hour. No. 1 rated B&B in Palm Springs.

The Willows — Historic, romantic, the mountains, the gardens, THE VIEW.

Sparrows Lodge — Upscale cottagecore/farmhouse glam. A long sexy pool. 

The Monkey Tree — Authentic mid-century modern. IYKYK.

Stay gay (we love you that way)

The pool surrounded by striped umbrellas and palm trees at Santiago Resort in Palm Springs, California

The Santiago Resort’s pool has fabulous views. Photo courtesy of Santiago Resort

Santiago Resort — Romance. And romance.

Descanso Resort — Young, hip, spa services available. Breakfast and lunch (check website) served, but dinner’s on you. The view!

Twin Palms Resort — Brother hotel of Santiago and Descanso. And just like its bro, the view!

Hacienda at Warm Sands — Quiet elegance. The gorgeous greenery. The door. 

Space and time

Stargazing – It’s a pretty amazing experience getting up close and personal with the cosmos.

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum — It is an experience. And a new one at that — this just opened in November 2023.

All the sugar

Tonga Hut — Lava cake, paired with 1934 Zombie (no Zombie for you if you’ve got the car keys).

Truss & Twine — Panna cotta with Harry’s strawberries and lemon thyme syrup, pair with Surfer on Acid. (Also, check out Hoja Blanca, a pop up inside T&T.)

Eight4Nine — Brandini Toffee s’mores fondue, paired with Unshackled by Prisoner cabernet. 

Copley’s — Toffee and date English sticky pudding with Tahitian vanilla ice cream, paired with the chocolate martini.

Jake’s — The three-layer citrus cake (not online, but it’s there and it’s ZOMG), paired with an Aperol Spritz or a sauvignon blanc.

Cocktails, wine, and bites

Clandestino — The vibe, the drinks, the view.

Canopy Wine Lounge — Christopher Kennedy design. It’s sexy and upscale. The bites. 

V Wine Lounge — Creative eats, drinks, and mocktails. Decor is divine. Friday nights have live music with local singer/entertainer Siobhan. She’s funny and a little bit (maybe a lot) naughty. 

Something sultry

Sensuality: A Store for Her — It might be you. Might not. 

Fame Cigars & Wine — Not an experience for everyone, but cigars are pure unadulterated tobacco. Not a single leaf is chemically treated or artificially altered for taste. At least that’s what the internet said. And as was the tradition with Native Americans, a treat just for special occasions.

Blue Wave Hookah Lounge — 120 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Next to the Plaza Theatre.

Brandini Toffee — Named Best Candy Store in California by Yelp

The Tailor Shop — It’s a tiny bar next to Tonga Hut. It’s like the library where men from the 1800s went after dinner to drink and smoke cigars (none of those here). But smaller. It’s a bit of a secret, but out enough that reservations are required.

Seymour’s — No bites, but you’ll feel like you’re in on something. Limited seating, like space for 10. Located behind Mr. Lyon’s (or through the hidden door).

Hike Tahquitz Canyon to the waterfall, and cool off in pool beneath it.

Talk of the town

The latest restaurants in Palm Springs are:

Alice B — In Living Out (new 55+ LGBTQ community). Open to the public.

Crudo Cevecheria — The Corridor, Uptown.

Sonny’s Bar & Grill — Arenas District.

Cipolline’s Osteria — Coming Feb. 17. You can yell FIRST when you walk in. South end of East Palm Canyon.

Hands on a hard body

A woman on a table covered by a white blanket prepares to have a massage at Whisper's Spa at La Serena Villas in Palm Springs, California

A massage is about to start at Whisper’s Spa. Photo courtesy of La Serena Villas

Hotels with spa services:

Andreas Hotel & Spa — Everything. Steps to Cheeky’s, and so, so cozy. 

La Serena Villas — Home of Whisper’s Spa, Sugar High Bar, Azucar restaurant. The view.

Korakia Pensione — Forbes Traveler named it one of the sexiest hotels in America.

L’Horizon — Historic estate, So•Pa Restaurant, it feels like you’re in a romantic film at your millionaire lover’s estate.

Check these out, too:

Séc-he Spa — OMFG! 

Beautiful Spa Massage — Couples massages, five-star rating. 

Fall Spa Massage — North end of Palm Springs, past Uptown.

Bow chicka bow wow

All World’s Resort — Playground for gay men.

Have fun satisfying those indulgences. Bring a special friend, or meet one here. Palm Springs DOES NOT disappoint. Unless you’re a straight cis-woman looking for a straight single man, then that’s quite disappointing. But hey, I’m happy. Hope you are too. If not, pop on out to Palm Springs. We can fix that. 

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!

“There are three good reasons to be a teacher — June, July, and August.” — Unknown

It’s June, and that means it’s National Accordion Awareness Month. If you’re not familiar with an accordion, it sounds like someone attached a keyboard to a bagpipe and powered it with a leaf blower. At least it did when I played it.

So, I’m here to tell you how to avoid them in the wilds of Palm Springs, all bona fide events/locations almost surely accordion-free zones. That’s right, I care about you. So, read on, my friends. I’ve got you.

June 1: Rock The Park free concert featuring Mirage, a Fleetwood Mac cover band. They do not, to my knowledge, have accordions in any Fleetwood Mac track, so you’re safe. Go downtown before the concert and explore; maybe figure out where you want to have dinner, make a reservation for later, then head on back by Marilyn to rock out. After the concert, go back to said restaurant and you’ll skip all the lines. (Why yes, I have been called an evil genius before. Thank you.)

June 2: Fresh off a sold-out Vegas run, TikTok sensation Broadway Barbara is playing Oscar’s. If you know you know. (And that’s the only time I have ever “known” when someone uses that phrase. I don’t get it, but I know how to use it. Which means I’m evolving.)

June 3-12 is Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week. This is the week when you can try all of the delicious cuisine Palm Springs has to offer on the cheap. Check out the participating restaurants at the link above. (Highest risk of an accordion, but if you avoid Italian and Hungarian, you should be safe. However, then you’ll be missing out on great Italian and Hungarian food, so…your call.)

June 10-12: Splash House is back. You can get tickets here. (The lack of accordions is astounding.)

Courtesy of Splash House

PS Cultural Center

Sundays: Keisha D — One of the best set of pipes in Palm Springs.

Mondays: Mon Petite Salon

Tuesdays: Leanna & Jazz Collective

Upcoming movie events: Mostly camp, often sing-a-longs, and generally a good old blast from the past. Just recently they did John Waters’ Serial Mom, the epitome of classic campy fun.

PS Underground Creativity with zero flaws. Shows sell out in a hot Palm Springs second, so find your level of fun and get’er booked.

June 3-11: Starstruck (part of Restaurant Week)

June 12: Dirty Bingo

June 24: Game Show

June 26: Ovation Brunch

The Purple Room — World class acts and local phenoms. Always an eclectic mix of music in this great Rat Pack location. Note: The Purple Room is closed for the summer starting June 24.

Tuesdays: Rose Mallett

Wednesdays: Charles Herrera, Michael Holmes & Darci Daniels

Thursdays: Sharon Sills

June 3 and 4: Billy Stritch — Cy Coleman Revisted

June 10 and 11: John Lloyd Young

June 17: Jeff Harnar

June 18: Jonathan Karrant

June 24: Kevin Tokarz, Danny Flahive and Andy Fraga — Three of the desert’s finest musicians playing all the music. This is listed as The Purple Room’s season finale, but the website offers one more…

June 25: Elvis the Early Years w/Scot Bruce

Note: The Judy Show is on hiatus while Michael is recovering from a pretty serious medical issue. That’s also probably why they’re closing up a little early this year. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to more Judy next season!

Courtesy of The Purple Room

The Alibi had shows all through May, and have not announced anything for June. If they do, you’ll find it at the link above. It’s a great indie music spot, and I’m giving this one an accordion warning on account of those crazy indie artist kidz.

Copa — It’s not your Barry Manilow version. This one has drag shows and late night dancing. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only (unless a private party).

AsiaSF is still having dinner shows. The food is good and the show is splashy.

We’ve got one theater company that’s still giving us all the entertainment through the summer months, and that’s Desert Rose Playhouse, the only Alphabet Mafia theater in Palm Springs. Every show is a celebration, whether it’s a stage show, comedy show, or musical review. It’s in the space that once housed Zelda’s nightclub, and of course there’s a bar, silly. If you’re in town early June, go see their double-header: Sex, and The Drag. Both written by Mae West, and both with a very naughty history. Always good — sometimes risqué — fun.

Courtesy of Desert Rose Playhouse

Open mic: Neuro Center on Wednesdays with Joel Baker — This is on Alejo, and a few major streets east. However, if you love singing with a real live piano player, Joel’s the guy. Local performers stop by and sing, so if you’re resting your vocal cords, you can enjoy an impromptu show — if you’re not, join in. Bring your accordion! (Kidding, leave that packed in the garage.)

Don’t forget to shop and stay local! And let’s meet back here again next month, k?

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