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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.

“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?

Four of Palm Springs’ most stunning boutique hotels are featured in a new commercial touting the benefits of a desert vacation.

The Descanso Resort, Fleur Noire, The Art Hotel, and Hotel El Cid all have their moment in the spotlight, showing off their pools, grounds, and hotel decor. The 30-second commercial, “Unique Stays,” makes it clear that staying at a Palm Springs boutique hotel offers an authentic experience guests cannot find at a large hotel or home rental. 

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels, in collaboration with the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau and Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism, created the spot. The trio worked with Summerland Creative and JNS Media for production and talent, with Panoramic serving as the agency.

Now is the perfect time to plan an escape to Palm Springs — for residents of the West Coast, it’s a leisurely drive for a playcation or workcation, and domestic and international travelers can easily fly into Palm Springs International Airport. Visit the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website to learn more about our unique properties and pick the right boutique hotel for your trip. 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

In need of a respite from daily life, we recently decided to visit Palm Springs with our dog, Fender. Not only did we want to stay at a dog-friendly hotel, but we were looking for a secluded setting with a nostalgic vibe, a wonderful pool for dipping and lounging, and a top-notch restaurant and bar. We found all this and more at Villa Royale, a beautiful hideaway — perfect for getting away in stylish comfort. 

Villa Royale, one of the first small hotels in Palm Springs, was built in 1947 with the Hollywood elite in mind. For many years, it was a sanctuary for celebrities who wanted to escape their hectic lives in Los Angeles, only two hours away. Several years ago, the hotel underwent a complete renovation, which fortunately retained the historic, mid-century charm of the original hotel. Today it is still an appealing popular retreat, not just for the rich and famous but for anyone seeking peace and tranquility in a lovely setting, highlighted by a stunning mountain backdrop.

In the cozy lobby, we checked in and were happy to be welcomed with a delightful cocktail. As we walked to our villa, we were thrilled to see not just one inviting pool surrounded by lounge chairs, but three. There are 38 villas at Villa Royale, each with its own unique mid-century modern character and design. We learned that the property has more than 50 pieces of original art commissioned for the hotel, with one in each room.

Our inviting room at the Villa Royale. Photo by Todd Montgomery

Our very nicely furnished room facing the serene pool was a haven for us and our dog, with a private landscaped back patio, luxurious bedding, and a wonderful walk-in shower. We were happy to learn that we could enjoy fresh coffee and a continental buffet in the morning. 

Welcome to the Del Rey. Photo by Todd Montgomery

In the evening, we were excited to be dining at Villa Royale’s upscale, popular restaurant, Del Rey, which specializes in tapas and small plates with a Spanish/Mediterranean flair. The menu is overseen by much celebrated Chef Louis Martinez. Since our dog was with us, we sat outside on the restaurant’s pleasant, inviting patio. It was a lovely but chilly night; however, we were warm and comfortable because of the very effective heating lamps strategically placed by our table. There was a wedding party dining nearby and, like us, they seemed happy and relaxed. We also checked out the inside of the restaurant which is romantic and intimate, with dim lighting and cozy tables. The restaurant features an inviting oak and marble bar where I would like to while away a few convivial hours someday. 

The inviting fireplace inside the Del Rey. Photo by Todd Montgomery

Del Rey offers a variety of enticing cocktails. We enjoyed a unique and surprisingly delicious Del Rey Martini made with touches of sherry, orange bitters, and olive oil (yes, olive oil). We also relished the El Ultimo cocktail made with strawberry tequila, absinthe, and orgeat syrup, served with lime and mint. In addition, Del Rey offers a full wine list, featuring Spanish wines. Fender was happy with his drink, too, when the helpful staff brought him a bowl of fresh water.

Then, in the Spanish tradition, we ordered a variety of tapas for our dinner. I love this kind of meal because you can sample small bites of a variety of dishes.  We really enjoyed the Basque asparagus, topped with romesco sauce and manchego, and also savored albondigas — beef and pork meatballs covered with a sweet and sour glaze. 

We loved the Chuleta de Cordero, rosemary and lemon marinated lamb chops, which were tender and full of flavor.  Another superb dish was a grilled flatbread called Pan Con Setas that was topped with mushrooms, manchego, red onion, and an herbed olive oil drizzle. For dessert, we savored the delectable walnut bread pudding. The friendly service at Del Rey was impeccable and added to the ambiance of the evening. Satiated, we sauntered back to our villa through the lushly landscaped courtyards with flowing fountains and pools that shimmered invitingly in the moonlight.

The delicious walnut bread pudding. Photo by Todd Montgomery

It was truly a special night and we felt very far away from our busy daily lives. It is surprising how relaxed you can become with just a night away in such a peaceful, glorious retreat. We may not be celebrities, but we felt like royalty at Villa Royale. 

The Villa Royale lights up at night. Photo by Todd Montgomery

For the first time, the Michelin Guide has awarded Michelin Keys in the United States, and four Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels made the list: Dive Palm Springs, Holiday House, La Serena Villas, and Sparrows Lodge.

Michelin said its Keys are bestowed upon hotels that “significantly add to your experience as a traveler, each vetted and judged excellent in five categories: architecture and interior design, quality and consistency of service, overall personality and character, value for the price, and a significant contribution to the guest experience in a particular setting.”

Palm Springs boutique hotels that made the cut

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

The Michelin Key is the equivalent of the Michelin Star for restaurants, with hotels able to earn one, two, or three Keys. Dive Palm Springs, Holiday House, La Serena Villas, and Sparrows Lodge all received one Key, denoting “a very special stay.” 

The colorful art-filled lobby at Holiday House greets guests

The colorful lobby at Holiday House greets guests. Photo courtesy of Holiday House

Michelin praised Dive for having an “atmosphere … nothing short of restorative,” and applauded Holiday House’s ability to “cater to the whims of modern travelers.” As for Sparrows Lodge, it is “like a dreamy hipster version of the summer camp of your childhood,” while visitors to La Serena Villas would be “hard pressed to find a lovelier example of colonial-contemporary architecture and design.”

A view of the pool at La Serena Villas in Palm Springs, California, at sunset with the San Jacinto Mountains in the background

Sunset at La Serena Villas. Photo courtesy of Kirkwood Collection

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.

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. 

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