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Visitors to Palm Springs have a new way to save with Stash Hotel Rewards loyalty program. The program will launch with nine Palm Springs boutique hotels. 

The hotels are Alcazar Palm Springs, Dive Palm Springs, Inn at Palm Springs, Los Arboles Hotel, Talavera Palm Springs, Mahala, Desert Hills, Orbit In, and The Hideaway. Having the Stash Hotel Rewards platform lets them provide added value to their guests while gaining repeat business.

What is Stash Rewards?

The La Reve Room at Dive Palm Springs with a floral design on the ceiling and hardwood floors and a white bed

The La Reve Room at Dive Palm Springs is a Parisian dream. Photo courtesy of Dive Palm Springs

Founded in 2010, Stash Hotel Rewards is a free loyalty program for independent hotels, with 300 partner properties worldwide and counting. Travelers who sign up for Stash Hotel Rewards earn points when they stay at any participating hotel, and those points can then be cashed in for free nights. The points do not expire and there are no blackout dates. 

Independent boutique hotels are the heart and soul of their cities, and Stash Hotel Rewards Founder Jeff Low believes that’s especially true in Palm Springs. “No chain hotel can compete with the mid-century revivals, the bold eccentric designs, or the laid back, breezy hospitality of these iconic places,” he said. “This is what people come to Palm Springs seeking, and these hotels deliver.”

Since Stash Hotel Rewards points can be redeemed at any participating property, travelers have options: they can always stay at old favorites, try new hotels, or do a combination of both. Newly enrolling members can earn 1,000 Stash-funded Points by signing up at stashrewards.com/palmsprings.

A great deal for travelers

A room at Mahala Hotel in Palm Springs, California, with a large art print of Cher on the wall above a bed with white linens

Cher is the star of the show in this room at the Mahala. Photo courtesy of Mahala

Palm Springs boasts more than 75 boutique hotels, and each hotelier knows how to cater to their clientele and make their property a destination. 

“In today’s market, we’re all looking for the best deal,” Adam Ramirez, founder of Luxe Hospitality Consulting in Palm Springs, said. “Consumers are smart and savvy and know what to look for, and what’s so great about the Palm Springs market is it has such a huge array of independent boutique hotels.” Stash Hotel Rewards gives travelers “an incentive opportunity to stay and get something back time and time again,” he added. “They get to enjoy these hotels and their unique experiences.”

“Big box retailers in the hotel space have their loyalty programs, and Stash allows independent hotels a piece of that pie,” Ramirez said.   

“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?

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

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. 

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.

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

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. 

Blackhaus has everything you need from a home base while in Palm Springs.

Open since February 2023, Blackhaus is the newest AvantStay property in Palm Springs, joining The Wesley, The Marley, Hotel El Cid, and The Monkey Tree Hotel. It was conceptualized as a “hotel-style asset” and brought to life by Chris Pardo from Elemental Architecture, who served as the architect and project manager.

An aerial view of the four black buildings that make up Blackhaus with the San Jacinto Mountains in the background

An aerial view of Blackhaus. Photo courtesy of Blackhaus

Welcoming groups of 2 to 40

The hotel was “built specifically for the new way people are traveling together via vacation rentals, with the flexibility and ability to rent the perfect space for any size of group and with contactless check-in,” Daniella Vito with AvantStay said. “Blackhaus, along with all of AvantStay’s boutique hotels in Palm Springs, offers the option of booking individual suites, a group of suites, or the entire hotel for complete seclusion.”

For a complete buyout, one group has access to the hotel’s four separate buildings, for a total of 16 bedrooms that can accommodate up to 40 guests. This is a popular option for those who want to host weddings, reunions, bachelor or bachelorette getaways, and corporate or wellness retreats. 

“You and your group can spread out and enjoy the pool and all of the amenities without any other guests in your space,” Vito said.

Everything you need to feel at home

A room with white walls, an open sliding glass door, and a large bed with a white comforter on it

Blackhaus can accommodate up to 40 guests. Photo courtesy of Blackhaus

The crisp and clean bedrooms are appointed with high-end bedding, towels, and toiletries, as well as flatscreen televisions and small private patios. The shared spaces are “filled with games, activities, and opportunities for groups to connect over food and entertainment,” Vito said, “so we made sure to include a pool, fireplaces, and outdoor cooking, as well as multiple shared bocce ball courts around the property.”

A bocce ball court at Blackhaus in Palm Springs, California, with pink clouds and palm trees in the background

This bocce ball court provides hours of fun. Photo courtesy of Blackhaus

Those are just some of the amenities offered at Blackhaus, and the team can arrange further pampering.”AvantStay offers add-on upgrades and experiences such as spa and massage packages, private chef options, stocked fridges on arrival, and even drip IV therapy to hydrate and replenish after a night of enjoying cocktails in downtown Palm Springs,” Vito said.

The pool and barbecue area of Blackhaus at sunset with pink clouds and palm trees in the background

You’ll want to end your day with an evening swim in the pool. Photo courtesy of Blackhaus

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

“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?” — Steven Wright

The heat is on. Just walking to your car is like doing hot yoga without doing the yoga. But honestly? It’s still paradise. The skies are the bluest, the mountains remain majestic, and the nights are always blanketed with a billion stars. Pair that with a cocktail in the pool, and that’s the Palm Springs way. We’ve got that laid-back, small town feel, but I humbly submit that we are the 5-star, A+ rated, James Beard version.

July isn’t really hopping with activities because triple digits, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t fun things to do. (For the Independence Day celebrations, check out our blog post here). We also have some upcoming posts about places to stay in Palm Springs that will keep you well fed and full of libations without ever having to leave the pool — because if you can’t be in the A/C, you’ll want to be in the water.

In the meantime, check out these events that’ll keep you happy outside of your resort during your stay in Palm Springs:

Palm Springs POWER Baseball
Recurring weekly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until July 16.

Arrive Hotel

Mondays and Tuesdays: Night Swim, 7 to 10 p.m., no fee for guests. Locals can reserve a spot for $10.

Wednesdays: Dive-in Movie. Watch a flick poolside on the giant inflatable screen, with snacks and drinks available for purchase. 7 p.m. showtime.

Fridays: Poolside BBQ & Yappy Hour,  3 to 6 p.m. Enjoy Happy Hour specials, complimentary dog treats, and BBQ favorites available for purchase

Saturdays: Pool Party from noon to 6 p.m., with DJs spinning from start to finish. Limited day passes available for locals.

Sundays: Bottomless Mimosas at Brunch. $30+tax per person, with a two-hour time limit.

Palm Springs Cultural Center/Camelot Theaters

July 2: Mamma Mia! Sing-a-long 

Indoor Palm Springs Certified Farmers Market
Recurring weekly on Saturdays until Sept. 3

Agua Caliente Cascade Lounge

Jul 1: Cascade Nights Dance Party

Mondays: Mimosas, Martinis & Music with Don Wardell

Thursdays: Jazzville

Fridays: Caliente Comedy

Sundays: Latin Nights

That’s Amore! Photo courtesy of PS Underground

PS Underground

Three-course gourmet meals with a crazy good explosion of musical creativity and talent.

July 8: “That’s Amoré” — Gilmore Rizzo talks and sings about growing up Italian.

July 10: Cheese Brunch — cheesy songs, cheesy menu.

July 16: “The Sunny Side of the Street” — a tribute to Frank and Ella with Keisha D & Tod Macofsky.

July 17: Broadway Blind Brunch — one Broadway show and composer. Which one will it be?

July 22: Light — it’s the mack daddy of their shows. It’s pricey — $249 plus tax — but oh so special.

Desert Rose Playhouse

The only LGBTQ Theater in the valley. And they’re SO good.

Crimes of the Heart — through July 3.

I Dreamed a Dream Girl a two-man journey through stories and music, with the stars of Bravo’s The People’s Couch. One night only, July 9.

Grey Gardens — Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale were bright names on the social register, before becoming East Hampton’s most notorious recluses. It’s a musical! July 22 through 29.

V Wine Lounge. Courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

V Wine Lounge 

Retro wine lounge in a historic Hugh Kaptur building on Tahquitz (TAAH-quits). Don’t be fooled by the photo — that’s just the bar. There are a bunch of other set pieces as well as a very large patio.

Mondays: LeAnna and Miguel

Tuesdays: I ❤️ Taco Tuesday

Wednesdays: Karaoke

Oscar’s

Jazz, comedy, dinner, drag, and a tee dance, All are welcome.

July 1: Yve Evans — I love, love, love this woman and her music. Equal parts jazz pianist, jazz vocalist, and “jazz” comedian, she’s unique and super talented.

July 8: Nadya Ginsburg presents Anxious and Dangerous! The producer and star of the critically acclaimed Madonnalogues brings her new stand-up show, Anxious and Dangerous! to the desert. “Madonna” and “Cher” appear as special guests. Called “the woman of 1,000 voices,” she’s played New York, Los Angeles, and London stages, and has appeared in network television and feature film.

Wednesdays: Marc Antonelli’s Sultry Summer Nights, followed by The Marc & Tony Show.

Saturdays: Bitchiest Brunch (also Sundays), Mimosa Men, and Oscar’s Cabaret celebrate the great women of song. As it says in the description: “We’ve hired the best men for the job.”

An inside view of the Palm Springs Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Palm Springs Art Museum 
Thursday evenings are free from 5 to 7 p.m.

Exhibitions: Outburst: Mr. Wash (ends July 3); Gonzalo Lebrija: Miracle of the Eternal Present, (ends October 2); Pattern Play: The Contemporary Designs of Jacqueline Groag (ends Nov. 20); Leon Polk Smith: 1945-1962 (ends August 28)

Summer Film Series: Y Tu Mama Tambien on July 28

Various events

July 6: Backstreet Art District Art Walk — held the first Wednesday of every month.

Thursdays: Village Fest — a festive, pedestrian street fair on Palm Canyon Drive. 7 to 10 p.m. Perimeters are Indian Canyon Drive to the east, Belardo Road to the west. Vendor booths are set up on both sides of the street, and visitors are able to stroll through the traffic-free event.

July 16: Comedy at the Kimpton on the rooftop — the rooftop bar is one of the best views in town.

CannaBus Express Tours — what Silicon Valley is to tech, cannabis is to the Coachella Valley. One of the best tours you’ll ever take is the CannaBUS Express Tour. Learn all about the cannabis industry as you ride in an air-conditioned Mercedes Sprinter, from growing to distilling to distribution — and finally to some local dispensaries, using the CannaBus discount. Your tour guide is sassy and you’ll have fun while you’re learning.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tram on its way to cooler temperatures. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Don’t forget about the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It’s way cooler up there.

New restaurant alert! It’s fast food, but come on, it’s freakinI ❤️ Mac & Cheese. And it’s open very late!

The Mom Factor: I’m not a mom, so I’m not yours. But I’m gonna mom you. Wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water, then repeat. A lot.

Don’t forget to shop and stay local, and if you come visit, please tag us on your Instagram posts. Our Instagram; our tag #pspsh. Thanks, you’re swell!

I’m gonna be here again next month, yacking away about all things Palm Springs. Hope to see you then!