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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

The late 1940s and ’50s was the start of modernism in Palm Springs, but it wasn’t until 2006 that Modernism Week first cast its spell on the world. Since then, the number of people attending has risen each year, with 2023 bringing in over 100,000 visitors, creating a revenue stream of $55 million.

They have over 350 things to do, and this post will help you navigate the event, but I’m gonna tell you about some of our preferred small hotels that are on the Modernism Week bus tour. You can make the event an exceptionally authentic one by also booking one of these boutique hotels. And this year, one of them is actually featured as a Modernism Week event. 

A Palm Springs classic: Casa Cody

Casa Cody, the city’s oldest operating hotel, isn’t from the modernism era — it was built in the late 1910s — but the property has been well maintained and has a fantastic history. Harold and Harriet Cody left Hollywood and came to Palm Springs (by wagon) in 1916, as Harold’s frequent tribulations with pneumonia were worsening and the dry desert air was considered a health benefit for anyone with lung ailments. Harold was a Los Angeles architect, and purportedly the cousin of the legendary Buffalo Bill Cody. 

Initially, Casa Cody was just their home, but in 1920 Harriet hung up a hotelier’s shingle, and the rest is Palm Springs history. Some of their more famous guests included Charlie Chaplin, American opera singer Lawrence Tibbett, and AnaÏs Nin. Harriet is said to be a direct descendant of Sir Thomas Moore and from one of the wealthiest families in Philadelphia.

Today, Casa Cody has 31 guest rooms and private rooms, two swimming pools, a jacuzzi, a spa treatment room, and a marketplace, and you can see it all on Feb. 19, 2024, during the hotel’s special Modernism Week event. You’ll get to go on a behind-the-scenes tour and hang out poolside, with cocktails and brunch items available. All of this can be yours for the low, low price of $50.

Even when it’s not Modernism Week, Casa Cody has movies by the pool and art events available to guests. This party is a great opportunity to roam the grounds and check out all of that history!

That’s not all…

The other boutique hotels you’ll see on the Modernism Week bus tour are:

Korakia Pensione — Originally called Dar Marroc and styled after Tangier, Morocco, Korakia was built in 1924. It’s the former hideaway of Scottish painter Gordon Coutts, and the rumor is that Winston Churchill painted (not the walls, canvases) in the Artist’s Studio. Forbes Traveler named it one of their sexiest hotels in America.  

Ingleside Inn — Home of the popular Melvyn’s Restaurant and Lounge, this estate began as a private home built in 1924 for Ethel Richards Birge and sold to Ruth Hardy in 1935 (you may have heard of her park, located on Caballeros). Even if you don’t stay here, go for a cocktail at Melvyn’s to check it out. Très cool. 

The Orbit In's retro pool surrounded by loungers and vintage umbrellas

The Orbit In is a spectacular mid-century modern classic. Photo courtesy of Orbit In

Orbit In — Designed in 1948 by Herbert W. Burns, a builder and innkeeper behind a number of small inns and private homes in Palm Springs during the 1940s and ’50s. His Town and Desert Apartments live on as The Hideaway, one of the Orbit In’s two boutique hotels. From Orbit you can see Swiss architect Albert Frey’s masterpiece builds (Frey I & II) in the mountains above you. Burns designed many of the buildings on Baristo, just west of Belardo.

Movie Colony Hotel — This property was designed by Frey, who left his mark all over Palm Springs. Built in 1935, its original name was the San Jacinto Hotel, a three-unit townhouse. Currently, the Bauhaus-inspired property is a 17-room boutique hotel (they expanded, they did not cut up three townhouses to make 17 rooms). If you can, book Unit 29 — it is considered the least changed from Frey’s original design.

A pink flamingo float in the pool at Skylark Hotel Palm Springs with the mountains in the background

The views are fantastic from the Skylark Hotel pool. Photo courtesy of Skylark Hotel

Skylark Hotel — Recently updated, the mid-century modern property was built in 1955 and was the backdrop for the movie Palm Swings. 

Willows — Located a stone’s throw south of the Art Museum, Albert Einstein used to stay here when he’d visit Palm Springs (and would “take the sun” in the buff). This is one of the 10 oldest structures in Palm Springs, and its eight guest rooms each have modern amenities while retaining their historic charm. You are right on the mountain, so you know you’re going to have a spectacular view.

Amin Casa — Formerly the home of Gloria Swanson, this beautiful estate dates back to the 1920s and accommodates 14 guests, adults only. For a unique experience, you can book Swanson’s original residence, a swanky two bedroom, two bath cottage with a grand living space.

That’s all we’ve got time for today, Modernettes. Hope to see you on the streets during Modernism Week!  

Dive into savings with Palm Springs Summer Splash 2023, a free pass offering deals at locally-owned and operated boutique hotels, attractions, and stores across Palm Springs, California.

The Palm Springs Summer Splash pass is digital, and there is no app to download. After registering, a pass will be delivered to your phone via text and email once it’s ready to use. The pass is available from June 1 through Sept. 15, 2023, and to redeem a discount, just show the pass on your phone while at one of the participating businesses. A companion Summer Eats pass, offering discounts at various restaurants, is also available.

More than two dozen Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels are taking part in Summer Splash 2023, offering a variety of specials, including free nights, lower rates, early check-in and late check-out, and daily dining credits.

This year’s boutique hotel participants are: Alcazar Palm Springs; Aloha Hotel; A Place in the Sun Hotel; ARRIVE Palm Springs; Azure Sky Hotel; Blackhaus; Casa Cody; Dive Palm Springs; Descanso Resort; Desert Hills; El Mirasol Villas; The Hacienda at Warm Sands; The Hideaway; Hotel California; Hotel El Cid; Inn at Palm Springs; Mahala; The Marley; The Monkey Tree Hotel; Old Ranch Inn; Orbit In; Santiago Resort; Skylark Hotel; Triangle Inn Palm Springs; Twin Palms Resort; and The Wesley.

“The Palm Springs Summer Splash pass is a great way to discover Palm Springs during the Summer,” Michael C. Green, co-owner of Triangle Inn Palm Springs and chair of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels said. “These deals and discounts make it easier to do more things around town, try new businesses, and even extend a vacation. There’s nothing better than having an extra day or two in Palm Springs, and the money saved on lodging can be used for a fabulous dinner downtown, tickets for a show, or to purchase souvenirs at a favorite boutique.”

Palm Springs Summer Splash 2023 is a joint collaboration between Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels, VisitPalmSprings.com, Desert Gay Tourism Guild, and Small Hotels of Palm Springs. 

In Chicago, St. Patrick’s Day is such a huge deal — they dye the Chicago River green and have a huge parade, then everyone does a pub crawl, downing Jameson shots with green beer chasers, before going home and calling in sick the next day.

At least that’s what I’ve heard.

Palm Springs loves a good parade, which is why, on St. Patrick’s Day, we don’t have one. No parade worth its floats wants to follow Pride. (Yes, Pride was in November, but it was a party!)

So, no parade, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t pubs to celebrate that 2% of Irish your DNA results revealed. We’ve got Shamrocks Irish Pub, and … that concludes our tour of Irish pubs in Palm Springs.

Inside Shamrocks Irish Pub. Photo courtesy of Shamrocks

We do, however, have a few places where you can chow down on corned beef and cabbage (C&C), the Americanized version of the meal the Irish consume on the day (in Ireland, it’s all about pork and potatoes).

Here are a few definite hits for the boiled delight, and a few that have celebrated in the past (a.k.a. may or may not this year).

Hits

Sherman’s Deli — The corned beef is always tender, and there’s not much you can do to hurt a cabbage.

Manhattan in the Desert — Located on the south end of Palm Springs, these guys make corned beef and cabbage on the regular menu.

Welcome to Manhattan in the Desert. Photo courtesy of Manhattan in the Desert

Village Pub — This multilevel party place has had some pretty swinging St. Paddy’s days in the past. This year the party goes from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m.

Palm Canyon Roadhouse — On Palm Canyon just southeast of Ramon Rd., this rock ‘n roll old school playground will have corned beef and cabbage on 3/17, as well as entertainment. I am not linking their website because they’ve been hacked, and unless you have a need for OTC Viagra, it’s currently useless. Link takes you to FB (which, in the grand scheme of things, is not much safer).

Agua Caliente Casino — Check with the steakhouse for C&C (not yet listed) but they DO have music in the form of Lee Rainey and the Midnight Players.

Near hits

Paul Bar — This little gem is a local treasure. Hidden in a not-so-tidy strip mall on the corner of Gene Autry and Vista Chino, they have served C&C in the past. Don’t let the lack of curb appeal fool you, the inside is as classy as you can get.

Paul Bar. Photo: Kay Kudukis

And that, my friends, pretty much covers it, unless you want to make your own celebration; then, try some karaoke where you can belt out “Danny Boy” or “My Wild Irish Rose” until the other patrons throw shamrocks at you.

Don’t forget to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, though; it’s worn to keep you safe from those pesky, pinching leprechauns Palm Springs is known for (they’re not).

Happy Irish Day everyone!

May The Force Be With You — Star Wars

There’s a lot to do in the merry, merry month of May, so I’ll shut up so we can get on our merry, merry way:

Special Days

Mother’s Day — May 8

Melvyn’s — Special menu for Mom

Le Vallauris — Brunch in a gorgeous setting

849 — Beautiful space, good food

Labor Pains — A musical Mother’s Day brunch, at PS Underground

Courtesy of PS Underground

Lulu — Another special menu for a special lady

Farm — Take Mom to the south of France in Palm Springs. Downside: no reservations

L’Atelier Cafe — The cutest little cafe serving delicious quiche, pastries, coffee, champagne, and more

Modernism Week, May Jewelry Event — “You’ll love this Mother’s Day weekend spectacular of jewelry and fiber art! The variety of color, texture, and design from our featured artists is truly dazzling.” The first glimpse is Friday, May 6th, from 5 to 7 p.m. at 550 N. Palm Canyon Dr. (refreshments served). The showcase is also open Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Memorial Day

Clothing-optional pool party at Tuscany Manor

Annual Memorial Day Air Fair and Flower Drop, May 30. The Palm Springs Air Museum says: “This is a very special day … our brief memorial service is dedicated to all of our fallen comrades, who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. In their honor, we highlight the service with a fly-by and flower drop of over 3,000 red and white carnations from a B-25 Mitchell bomber. This most impressive ceremony is our way of saluting our fallen comrades. Visitors are welcome to pick up a flower to take home.” Admission from $17.50 to $19.50.

Special Events

Modernism Week — May. A very paired down Modernism event, but their offerings look pretty amazing. It’s the first time they’ve done this, so check it out, and act quick. The parties always sell out fast.

May 4: Rock The Park, featuring a Tina Turner Tribute. Downtown Park Palm Springs.

May 11 – 15: Oasis Music Festival. There are many locations for this event, with many different musical artists. Too many to list here. Check it. They’re going to try to do it every year.

Courtesy of Oasis Music Festival

May 29: AsiaSF Palm Springs/The Sonoran Ceremony Pool Party. Music by DJ Edward Frame and DJ Ryan Kenney. Hosted by Epiphany Mattel. Special performance by the Ladies of AsiaSF. Noon to 7 p.m.

May 29: UNITY. Music by DJ Twisted Dee. Special performance by Gia Banks of Haus of Tischi. 10 p.m. to LATE.

The above two events are sponsored by LYMI (Love You Mean It) Productions. AsiaSF is located in an event space known as The Sonoran. You guys, it’s gorgeous. I went to the opening of AsiaSF and the party was poolside. There were fire pits, seating, and built-in food stations, and even with more than 100 of us in the space, it still wasn’t crowded. And the mountains are right there. It’s especially stunning at twilight.

May 20 and 21: Rare Books. More than 40 antiquarian booksellers from across the country will share their love of books, fine prints, maps, ephemera, photography, and more. $25. Hotel ZOSO.

The Annenberg Theater at Palm Springs Art Museum: Check out their calendar for some great jazz and dance.

Plunge 2: Leather Order of the Desert at Canyon Club, clothing optional men’s resort.

Clubs/Nightclubs/Dinner Theater

The Alibi  This will get you to their ticketed and free shows. This link is for shows not listed on their calendar.

Courtesy of The Alibi

PS Underground — Just as cool as it sounds.

The Purple Room — Rat Pack vibe and interior design, with a new whiskey bar. Live entertainment Tuesday through Sunday. The year the ticketed events seem to be a broader spectrum of players. They’re all excellent, and of course, say it with me: The Judy Show is my favorite show in town.

Oscar’s — Well-known inclusive club with LGBTQ+ entertainers and allies. They’re really stepping up their entertainment with some incredible international acts.

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge and Cabaret — Hosts the longest running drag show in Palm Springs, and much much more.

PS Air — It’s a speakeasy inside a wine shop that looks like the interior of an airplane. The entertainment is fun, and the food is good!

Theater

Into The Woods at Palm Canyon Theater

Mid-Century Moderns The Musical at Desert Rose Playhouse

Recurring Events

Palm Springs Historical Society Tours So many tours! I want to do them all. Except the ones on a bike. (I don’t do bikes.)

Palm Springs Cultural Center

Vintage Market – May 1 ONLY. (First Sunday of every month)

For a list of all of their events and tickets, go here. There’s a lot of great music and shows to see.

Of Special Note: Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival 

Sun-Dazed Drag Brunch poolside at The Sonoran, presented by AsiaSF and Heklina. Sundays.

Illusions Drag Show Brunch and Illusions Drag Show Dinner at Pete’s Hideaway

Cascade Lounge at Agua Caliente Casino

Latin Nights on Sundays

Mimosas, Martinis & Music hosted by Don Wardell on Mondays

Desert Blues Revival on Wednesdays

Jazzville on Thursdays

Caliente Comedy on Fridays

Thursdays, free admission at Palm Springs Art Museum (from 5 to 7 p.m.) and Village Fest (6 to 10 p.m.)

MOGO Silent Disco Tour — Fridays and Saturdays, put on your headphones and dance down the streets of Palm Springs listening to specially curated songs as you tour some of our more famous spots.

Palm Springs Air Museum

Kitties! Opening in June, Frisky Business (at Gene Autry and E. Palm Canyon) is where you can go to snuggle a kitty for an hour and help the owner’s rescue efforts. They’re partnered with the Palm Springs Animal Shelter and will offer services (TBA), merchandise, and events in a fun, unique, relaxed environment for both cats and people.

Masks are off, sunscreen is on, and see you in June!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Azure Sky bedroom. Photo courtesy of Azure Sky

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

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

About Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels is an association of independently owned boutique hotels, which are an essential part of this desert resort town’s uncommon culture and economy. From quirky to charming, mid-century modern to clothing-optional, Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels has got your stay. Subscribe to our Monthly e-Newsletter, Boutiquely Palm Springs. From tips on what to do, see and eat in Palm Springs, to interviews with hoteliers, it’s the insider’s guide to everything great about Palm Springs and its iconic boutique hotels. Follow the fun on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.

It has been over a century since Hollywood put Palm Springs on the map. Rudolph Valentino may have been the first to bring it to national recognition when he honeymooned with Natacha Rambova at Florilla White’s Palm Springs Inn. What’s so newsworthy about that? Well, he was not quite legally divorced from his first wife, actress Jean Acker, and he was arrested for bigamy. Escándalo! 

Since then, a lot of privately owned resorts in Palm Springs have opened, and they are all very special. Some had a prior life as private homes for recognizable Hollywood names, others were built by starchitects, and many have wonderful stories about well-known people who stayed there. Each has its own personality and all of them are charming. Several have that old Palm Springs feel and some are classic mid-century modern retreats, but there is one men’s resort that has combined the old Hollywood feel with the new Hollywood aesthetic: the Descanso Resort near the Uptown Design District.

Courtesy of Descanso Resort

The English translation of the Spanish word “Descanso” is “break,” as in “you deserve a break,” and young professionals looking for that Hollywood Roosevelt pool feel with a tropical vibe will definitely appreciate the look, feel, and social amenities at Descanso. The resort has only been open for a few months, but the reviews are already in — and they’re five-star raves.   

Built in 1946 and last known as East Canyon Resort, the property has good bones — a classic, sought-after exterior design, with its large suites around a beautiful pool and spa — but by the time 2020 rolled around, it was very much in need of some TLC. A “group of guys from Portland” (who now live in my head as the Portland Authority [the Authority™]) recognized its potential, paid the man, and got to work.

They started by tackling the landscaping. The view of the pool was completely obstructed by greenery covering the eaves, so straight away they cut some Louise Brooks bangs, or fringe if you’re posh (and we are), and began finding out what was underneath the overgrown flora.

Now landscaped for maximum comfort and privacy, every lounge chair, every structure, every spot in the resort has a clear eyeline to the shimmering (saltwater!) pool, the majestic palms dotting the horizon, and the grandeur of the San Jacinto Mountains backdropping the picturesque view. 

Courtesy of Descanso Resort

The property is swanky but not fussy; it has a casual elegance that makes you feel like something special is about to happen. Two white columns flank the entrance, which leads to a breezeway filled with lush exotic greenery and white wrought iron and frosted-glass gates. 

The all-glass lobby is cheerful with its funky 1970s green and white flowered front desk and attached sitting room. All of the wall art is mid-mod style, including photos by Slim Aarons and current local William Dey. Paintings are by Shawn Savage, who is known around these parts as the “Palm Springs Lifestyle GURU and the go-to guy for top interior designers.”

Courtesy of Descanso Resort

Varying in size from 400 square feet to 515 square feet, with either a poolside or balcony view, the 16 suites are festooned in the hues of the desert —  armless couches wrapped in palm tree green, rich charcoal and cloud-white checkered accent chairs, sleek platform king beds dressed in crisp white linens, accent walls in blues and greens, and desertscape seagrass floor tiles. It is sleek mid-century modern design with a firm nod to minimalism. 

The suites also come with a fridge, a safe, an iron, and a hairdryer, but let’s talk about the bathrooms. You guys, they have freestanding deep white porcelain tubs, Gilchrest & Soames luxury bath products, and little white tables on either side of the tub to rest your cocktail. Big fluffy green towels are for après bath. 

Courtesy of Descanso Resort

Because a vacation should be all about the aaaahhh, and not about waiting for an available table, Descanso provides a full-on craft services breakfast: fruits, yogurts, croissants, ham and cheese, granola, etc. Lunch is ordered in from a Palm Springs eatery, like Aspen Mills Bakery, with offerings including delectable sandwiches and salads. Snacks and beverages are readily available in the 24-hour cantina, but dinner is all about going out to one of our fabulous restaurants and joining in the merry at the many bars that cater to the gay community. Of course, you’re not restricted to gay establishments; the world is your oyster in Palm Springs. So, spice it up, throw on some Tabasco, and enjoy. 

If you’re looking for recommendations, the Descanso’s staff is more than accommodating, so just ask. The Wi-Fi is strong with this one — if you want to do your own research on where to go for drinks or dinner, or have to work on that script or secure that deal, you’re in the money.

Courtesy of Descanso Resort

Feeling adventurous? Grab one of the bikes (complimentary use for guests!), tool around downtown, then pop back for a quick outdoor shower and have that massage you’ve been looking forward to (the one you booked from Descanso’s well-curated list of male massage therapists).

When your massage is finished, have a soak in the spa beneath the courtyard’s misters — a lovely combination of cooled air and steamy body, but not so wet as to douse the flames from the fire pit. If it’s the weekend, you might like to time it around Wine O’Clock, Descanso’s happy hour. Mix it up with new friends, or have an intimate date for two, or three — no one’s judgy here. We’re too busy spending every day in paradise. 

Courtesy of Descanso Resort

“We’re not interested in being the most expensive resort in Palm Springs, but we are interested in being the nicest.” — INNdulge owner Jon Jackson

Warm Sands is a beautiful Palm Springs neighborhood with sprawling estates, their edges lined with walls of perfectly-manicured, oversized hedges requesting you respect their privacy. You often don’t know what’s behind them — is it one of the many private homes, or is it one of the many men’s clothing-optional resorts? There’s a lot of bush going on there, it’s hard to tell.  

On that alone, INNdulge stands out. 

From the classy stone marquee on the tip of the property and generous parking spaces, to the rainbow flag waving above the mid-century modern structure of steel and tinted glass that screams “I’m a hotel lobby,” the INNdulge resort is out and proud on the street.

But that’s only a perk if you are directionally impaired. What really makes INNdulge stand out is what’s through the door. 

It’s entirely unexpected: A lobby that is the definition of minimalist, with a teak desk that’s functional art on marble tile flooring. Where there aren’t floor to ceiling windows, there is art. Gorgeous art. 

The INNdulge lobby. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

Off the lobby is a retro bistro table next to an open wall of glass that lets the outside in, and that outside is so mid-century perfect that your mind’s eye can see Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter soaking up the rays on the lip of the pool, or maybe Cary Grant and Randolph Scott cheekily cavorting in the water. 

It all has a sophisticated playfulness to it, something you’ll find sprinkled throughout the rest of the property. It’s one of the benefits of having an owner who has an intense passion for visual mediums. 

Speaking of playfulness, it’s hard to miss the two large statues flanking the pool, both with very large Flintstone-esque feet. 

This statue keeps watch over INNdulge. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

“It’s by an artist named Mavis McClure,” INNdulge owner Jon Jackson tells me, clearly as fascinated with the artist as he is the art. “We met her when she was a professor at Berkeley. She does both male and female figures with oversized hands and feet. She did these at Berkeley; the models were two cousins from Italy that were exchange students.”

Most of the art is by gay artists, but Jackson doesn’t discriminate. If he loves it, he buys it.

Unexpected art is scattered across the entire property, and every suite is not only clad in the mid-century modern aesthetic, but each has their own original paintings. 

A room at INNdulge. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

Another thing that sets INNdulge apart from other men’s resorts is that with 31 rooms, it lands in the mid-sized category. At this particular resort, more people equals more fun, which is one of the reasons INNdulge has an 80 percent guest return rate.

“Everything is designed around the pool in such a way to encourage people to meet, and every evening we have a social hour,” Jackson explains. “It’s BYOB because of the California liquor licenses. But we do it to encourage people to foster conversation and friendships. That’s why people come back.”

Most of the suites are poolside, with only about 10 of them away from the pool, and those have quieter patios in case you’re looking to have a cup of coffee away from the bustle.

Poolside views. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

Speaking of coffee, INNdulge lays out a couple of fabulous spreads for breakfast. Yogurt, berries, croissants, ham and cheese, and of course juice, coffee, and tea.  

There’s a lot to do in Palm Springs, and Jackson has found that first-time visitors often book themselves with activities every minute of every day, from modernism tours to tennis lessons. 

“When they come back the second time, it’s just to hang out by the pool,” Jackson says. “Of course, they go out to dinner, but they sort of get in this vibe. I don’t claim that, it’s not INNdulge’s vibe, it’s the Palm Springs vibe. And we try to recreate that here.”

And nothing says Palm Springs like a soak in a 12-man whirlpool spa that is open 24/7, so if you can’t sleep and think some friendly bubbles might soothe you, just hop on in. The water’s the perfect temperature, and the desertscape at night is breathtaking.

“We do a major remodel of something every single year primarily for our repeat clients,” Jackson says. “We do that because they come to expect what they know — this is the best value in the desert.”

The INNdulge grounds. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

From the beginning, the land the Cahuilla called Se-Khi (“boiling water”), the place Spanish explorers dubbed the ridiculously wordy La Palma de la Mano de Dios (“the palm of God’s hand”), and the city now (succinctly) known as Palm Springs, should probably have been named what it is: Paradise.

In the early 1900s, Palm Springs was the spot to cure lung ailments, and evolved into a place where scads of tennis-happy movie stars and U.S. presidents with a penchant for golf and impeccable hospitality came to live their best lives away from the cameras. 

More recently it’s evolved into a foodie paradise with 18-carat jazz, award winning cabaret, and fantastic theatre. (I know, Americans spell it “theater,” but generally stage companies use the British spelling because … drama.) All the musicians and actors tired of the rat race live and thrive in 350 days of sunshine per year, with a gorgeous mountain backdrop (including the second highest peak in California) and a million stars dazzling the night sky. So, if you’re a bit earthy/crunchy, and crave a relationship with the Earth, Palm Springs is your mecca. 

We can’t float your boat (our water’s mostly underground), but we can sizzle your bacon (in the summer, with just the sun) in our soul-satisfying, untouched wilderness.

Hiking in Palm Springs

Palm trees and rocks against a blue sky in Indian Canyons in Palm Springs, California

A hike in Indian Canyons is always a good idea. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Indian Canyons — Located at the end of South Palm Canyon, this is the ancestral home of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. Out here, with the exception of the Trading Post at the “end” (and a few hiker amenities), it’s just you and nature. One blog purports that you may “run into some old rock art, house-pits, irrigation ditches, dams, trails or food preparation areas while hiking in the canyons,” and now I have to go back and find them all, damnit.

There are three canyons to hike here (weirdly I thought there were more) and just like the rooms in your house, they’re all a bit different.

Murray Canyon This is the only trail I have personally hiked in Indian Canyons. It’s a lot of flat land with nothing going on until you hit the copse of palm trees in the distance, and then I think a chorus of angels sang as we stepped beneath the trees and into another world. Suddenly it was all flora and wildlife, and I swear someone turned on an air conditioner. We crossed a couple of streams, one a bit bigger than expected, and we both chose a different path across. I was on the other side when I heard my friend shriek “RATTLER!” I did not see it (just the snake sunbathing at the entrance where we parked. I don’t know if he’s there every day, though. You know how snakes are.) We never made it to the small waterfall at the end. Someone, who was incredibly out of shape, got tired. Might have been me. 

Andreas Canyon — At 1.2 miles, it is the shortest of the three hikes, and I wish I’d known that. From their website: “A scenic foot trail leads through the canyon passing groves of stately skirted palms, unusual rock formations, and the perennial Andreas Creek. One can still see bedrock mortars and metates used centuries ago for preparing food. This tranquil setting is excellent for photography, bird-watching, or a picnic at one of the tables along the trail.”

Palm Canyon — At 15 miles, it’s the Mack Daddy of the trio. At the top is that Trading Post I mentioned earlier and just beyond the lip is one of the most breathtaking views you’ll see in your lifetime. In fact, here’s this tidbit from their website: “Palm Canyon is one of the areas of great beauty in Western North America. A moderately graded foot path winds down into the canyon for picnicking near the stream, meditation, exploring, hiking, or horseback riding.”

While it falls under the Indian Canyons banner, the Tahquitz Trail is just west of downtown, and was the stand-in for Shangri-La in the 1937 film Lost Horizon. It’s that stunning. This is not a difficult hike (I did it with ease), and you are rewarded at the end with a beautiful waterfall gushing into a pool of water. And yes, you can hop on in.

All of the above: $12 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, $6 for children. Military get in for free (thank you for your service!). Equestrian fees are $11 (where riding is allowed).

Horseback riding around town

Two people ride horses through the Palm Springs desert landscape

Just horsin’ around in Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

For centuries, this was the only way to get around in Palm Springs — everybody was on a horse. Palm Springs is a great place to experience what it was like in the Old West, and Smoketree Stables will get you as close to that feeling without the hardship. I love horseback riding, but throughout the years haven’t been particularly successful at it. I had one horse that decided I needed to experience a run at full gallop my first time riding. Yet, I persisted. Several horses have tried to knock me off with low hanging branches, and one time the saddle was improperly buckled, and the saddle and I ended up perpendicular to the horse’s belly. Cats and dogs, on the other hand, love me as long as I don’t try to ride them. 

This link has everything you need to know for a much better experience than the ones I’ve had. They’ll hook you up so you can ride through Murray Canyon on a personal or group ride.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway gondola moving up Mt. San Jacinto

Temperatures are much cooler at the top of the tramway. Courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Most of us go for the gondola ride to the top, and have a nice lunch then gaze at the city below before we get in line for the ride back down. However, if you are an action figure, Mt. San Jacinto State Park is the place for you. Luckily, you are already in it. From their website: “Mt. San Jacinto State Park offers over 50 miles of hiking trails located within a 14,000-acre pristine wilderness, one of the last in California. All trails are accessed by exiting the Mountain Station and descending a concrete pathway to Long Valley. There you will find picnic tables, the ranger station, flush toilets, and several easy trails.”

This is the link that will lead you to the trails and a map. And the outdoor fun is not just limited to hiking. During the winter you can snowshoe and cross-country ski, and if you’re a crazy person you can camp. This stuff requires a wilderness permit, but it’s free.

For those who are certifiably insane, you can hike the tram station to Idyllwild. That link is to a great little website that tells you everything you need to know about any particular trail, plus hiker experiences, current temps, and difficulty. Tram to Idyllwild is a tough hike that is 9.6 miles and takes roughly six hours point to point. 

Stargazing in the desert

Palm Springs is shy on street lamps, which keeps the light pollution at bay. Many of our preferred hotels are tucked away in even less lit neighborhoods so you can hang by the pool in a chaise lounge and oooh and ahhh with a cocktail in your hand. But for those who are looking to get up close and personal with the cosmos, book with Sky Watcher. A knowledgable guide with telescopes and special glasses (not filled with alcohol) will take you on a tour of our planetary neighbors. 

Where to stay

Villa Royale Hotel exterior sign with a hedge and palm trees behind it

Welcome to the Villa Royale. Photo courtesy of Villa Royale

Any of our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels will be a great experience, but for this particular type of outing, I have a few specific suggestions.

For that “by the pool under the night sky with a cocktail” experience, Villa Royale is a good choice. On the southeast end of Palm Springs, it’s far enough away from Palm Canyon that the few street lamps we do have won’t hinder your experience. 

For a completely earthy-crunchy immersion, try the exotic Korakia. Dressed up as a pensione somewhere in the Middle East, they’ve got yogurt and yoga and they’re very big on tea.

Deeper pockets will take you to The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn. It sits higher up than most of the other inns (stargazing at a premium) and has a wonderful garden where Albert Einstein himself used to sunbathe nude. If you see dead people, that would be a great sighting. 

Here’s a link for you to sort it out yourself because I have to go. I’m craving granola.

If you’re seeking a unique, inviting getaway tailored to the gay male community, Palm Springs, California, has a vibrant scene that leaves no stone unturned. There’s truly nowhere else quite like Palm Springs for LGBTQIA+ vacationers to unwind and feel embraced, and at the heart of this welcoming culture lies a hidden gem of the hospitality scene: the Desert Paradise Resort Hotel.

Situated at 615 S. Warm Sands Drive, the Desert Paradise Resort Hotel stands as a charming oasis just for men, welcoming visitors from across the globe. As one of the longest-running gay resorts in Palm Springs, the Desert Paradise invites you to “escape to paradise” in a place where you can relax, be authentic, and feel wholeheartedly welcomed.

A bed with a patterned bedspread on it

The rooms at Desert Paradise are cozy and serene. Photo courtesy of Desert Paradise Resort Hotel

The resort’s mission is straightforward: to provide an atmosphere where gay men can escape the daily grind, unwind, and simply be themselves. That’s exactly how I felt during my recent overnight “staycation” at the resort. Nestled within its walls, you’ll find ground-level rooms overlooking the pool and gardens, a spacious heated saline swimming pool, and a hot tub. You can further indulge in the dry sauna, steam room, or the outdoor garden shower.

The outdoor shower. Photo by Gregory Douglass

All rooms come with central A/C and heat, California king beds, ceiling fans, mini-refrigerators, microwaves, and Keurig coffeemakers. Complimentary snacks, Beekman luxury bath and body products, free WiFi and high-speed internet, and a lovely continental breakfast are also part of your stay.

What sets Desert Paradise Resort Hotel apart from other clothing-optional resorts in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley is its cozy, unpretentious, and low-key vibe. The communal property fosters an easy camaraderie among guests, with a relaxed, friendly, and attitude-free atmosphere. The staff is so welcoming, you’d think you’ve stumbled upon a reunion of long-lost friends.

While the rooms offer all the essentials, the outdoor common area steals the show. It features art installations, water features, a clay pot collage flowing into a koi fish pond (sans the koi fish, but with a charming turtle named George), and even a permanent outdoor massage area.

A turtle in a pond

Meet George. Photo by Gregory Douglass

The intimate feel of the place has made it a favorite among repeat guests. Here, you’ll find folks from Seattle to San Diego, Tucson to Puerto Rico, all bonding over the shared love for this desert paradise. The outdoor landscaping, lush with tropical plants and trees, is as much a draw for the local birds as it is for the guests. And let’s not forget the breathtaking view of the San Jacinto Mountains directly behind the property.

Upon arrival, you’ll notice the attention to detail, including little modern vases filled with succulents mounted by each room number. It’s these small touches that make the Desert Paradise Resort Hotel an endearing and memorable experience.

The door to a room with a cactus on it

Welcome to your room at the Desert Paradise Resort Hotel. Photo by Gregory Douglass

Choosing to stay at independently-owned small boutique hotels like the Desert Paradise doesn’t just ensure a special vacation experience. It also supports local businesses and contributes to the unique culture and economy of Palm Springs. So why not make your next gaycation getaway to the Desert Paradise Resort Hotel?

A pool surrounded by blue umbrellas and chairs

The sparkling pool at Desert Paradise. Photo courtesy of Desert Paradise Resort Hotel