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Oh my goodness, October’s weather was exceptional, and it’s just going to be better in November. Unlike the majority of the United States, November in Palm Springs brings bright, bright, bright sunshiny days. Everyone is riding bicycles and walking because it’s just too gorgeous to be inside a car. The nights are cooler, but can also get a tad chilly, so make sure to pack a light jacket or sweater just in case. I don’t want you to catch cold — we’ve had enough catching things!

Of course, Pride is this month. The parade is on November 7, but there are tons of activities the week leading up to it. Really hope you booked earlier in the year, but if not there may still be some openings at our boutique hotels and resorts, so scurry on over to Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels to see what’s still available. Good luck!

And now, in no particular order, November’s events and happenings:

Courtesy of Hunters

Hunters is taking their entertainment, literally, to the sky. Airotic Soirée is a brand-new sensual burlesque-style circus cabaret combining the best of burlesque, cirque-style entertainment, and astounding acrobatics. Shows are scheduled every Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. through the end of the year. It’s gonna be so hot you can leave your sweater at home.

The Best Shows in Town

Purple Room — Sunday is The Judy Show! Squee!

Melvyn’s at Ingleside Inn   Sunday Jams are back. $10. Make a reservation…it’s a hot ticket.

PS Underground — Rouge, Ami Kumar, Dirty Bingo, Cavern, and Bacon are the shows and dinners scheduled for November. A big congratulations to owners Michael and Dave who, after 25 years together, tied the knot. Mazel!

Oscar’s — Great Pride lineup: Bruce Vilanch and Poppy Champlin, Priscilla Presley, and more.

Toucans Tiki Lounge — Everything is dragtastic!

Cascade Lounge at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs has Jazzville, Latin nights, and comedy all month.

Keep your eye on Copa Nightclub. I hear Lipstick may be returning this month, along with Jason Weber in his 5:30 to 7:30 show Thursdays, replacing Mod Squad (which had replaced Jason Weber!). We’re hoping Mod Squad finds a new home…it’s a great show!

November 19 to 21: SoCal 356 Club’s Palm To Pines road trip for those with the need to…never mind, it’s a leisurely trip, no speed necessary.

Courtesy of Palm Springs Air Museum

For those with a need to speed, purchase a ticket for a warbird experience at Palm Springs Air Museum, where you get to ride in the warbird of your choice! Follow it up with the F-117 Stealth Fighter Experience in late November. This is your chance to see an F-117 Stealth Fighter #-833 up close and personal at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Each day will feature a 90-minute speaker engagement to enlighten the crowd on the historic aircraft. Purchase your tickets in advance from their website as space is limited. Note: these fighters are not usually on display.

Theater

November 4 to 21: Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Desert Rose Playhouse. I’ve got my tickets!

Tuesdays at 7 p.m.: Electricity at Oscar’s – I’ve see this two-man play, and it’s very good.

November 7 at Chill Bar: Jennifer Holiday — the original Dreamgirl. 

For car lovers: The 25th annual McCormick’s Palm Springs Exotic Car Auction on November 20, 21, and 22 will feature over 500 classic, exotic, sporty and high-end cars. Admission is free all day Friday; Saturday and Sunday are pay days.

Palm Springs Cultural Center

November 18: Get dressed in your best circus costume and head over to the Greatest Showman interactive event. Join us for cocktails at 6 p.m., with the DJ spinning the hits at 7 p.m. (We will DANCE!) Theater doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the singalong starting at 8 p.m.

November 19: Martinis and Moxie, a musical salute to Sinatra with special guests…some of whom had first-hand experience with the Chairman himself.

Photo credit: Lani Garfield

Pride

Above photo by Palm Springs resident Lani Garfield

Learn more about Palm Springs’ rich gay history, and the origins of Pride, here.

Have questions about this year’s big event? The official website has all the answers.

Some stand out events include:

November 5: Coming Out Celebration – A Night of a Hundred Stars

November 6: Skater Girlz Jam presented by Lesbo Expo. Cool event featuring women skateboarders with some great talent. 5 to 7 p.m. at PS Skate Park.

Third Eye Blind, Jody Watley, and A Flock of Seagulls are among the performers who will hit the stage at Pride — this great article from Palm Springs Life has the details.

All indoor venues require a vaccination card or a recent negative COVID-19 test, so be prepared and be safe. A mask is like a condom — it helps contain the spread of disease. And because life is a bit weird in a mask, it may help prevent pregnancy, too.

See ya in December!

Looking for the perfect way to romance your partner on Valentine’s Day? You’ve come to the right place. I don’t have one, so I can spend all of my time figuring out the swoon factor for you. And I think I’ve got it. How about a Palm Springs spa vacation at one of our small resorts? I know, it’s perfect, right? What’s better than enjoying a night or a weekend in the lap of luxury in the place locals call paradise (because it is).

That gives us five options, and two of them have a fancy restaurant on site. So here’s a link for that. But don’t go anywhere just yet, I’m going to tell you a little bit about them, as well as give you some dinner options in case you’d like to leave the property for a few hours.

Hotels and resorts

La Serena Villas — Just behind the heart of downtown, where you can enjoy a romantic stay and still be close to the action. Whispers for spa services, and Azucar for romantic meals, as well as a rooftop bar.

A massage at Whisper’s is the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. Photo courtesy of La Serena Villas

Andreas Hotel & Spa  — In addition to the spa, Andreas is located downtown, and has a patio bar for poolside drinks.

Korakia Pensione — Super eclectic and truly unique to Palm Springs. It might fall under the boho chic category, with that pensione vibe, yoga, hot breakfasts, and tea service. Massage treatments can be booked in the indoor/outdoor spa lodge or in guest rooms.

The Monkey Tree — Recently restored, this mid-century modern hotel is on the north end of Palm Springs away from all the noise. A truly relaxing space, and while they don’t actually have a spa (a.k.a. massage services), they do have a heated saltwater pool and a Scandinavian spa, which includes a newly built sauna, hot tub, and cold plunge.

L’Horizon Palm Springs — The wow factor here is off the charts. The spa has massages, facials, and body treatments, aromatherapy, and a fresh juice bar. I’ll let them tell you about their restaurant: “Dramatic, refined, and intimate, SO•PA offers a unique alfresco dining experience. Join us for dinner in an intimate setting.” Finished with fire pits and fountains, this Steve Hermann-designed space is the desert’s most distinctive restaurant.

The grounds at L’Horizon. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Restaurants

As I mentioned in the events blog, we now have Michelin Guide restaurants in Palm Springs. Bar Cecil, Boozehounds, Workshop Kitchen and Bar, Cheeky’s, 4 Saints, The Barn at Sparrows Lodge, Colony Club, and Tac/Quila. Super proud to say that two of those options can be found at our boutique spas and hotels: Cheeky’s (breakfast and lunch) is with Alcazar Palm Springs, The Barn is at, as the name states, Sparrows Lodge.

The Barn at Sparrows Lodge. Photo courtesy of Sparrows Lodge

Here are some other dinner options:

Le Vallauris — Recently remodeled and is now part of the Soho House Group. The patio is the place to be for romance.

Farm — Styled in French farmhouse decor, it’s like ducking into the countryside. The food is French, the service is not. Great choice for dinner or brunch.

Tac/Quila — Owned by the folks that brought us Farm, Tac/Quila is Jalisco-style elevated Mexican fare. If you’ve never had fried avocado, you haven’t lived. Sounds awful, but it’s SO good. It’s in a tempura batter. Yum. The decor is pretty special too.

John Henry — Locals like to keep this place to themselves, and that’s been fairly easy as it isn’t that easy to find. Located on Tahquitz, just past Sunrise, blink and you’ll miss it. Parking is weird, but so are you. Book the patio, you won’t regret it.

An experience:

Lesbian Foray, a pop-up event on Feb. 18. 188 S. Indian Canyon.

The Purple Room — A three-course dinner while being serenaded by the song stylings of Rose Mallett.

Oscar’s — Jack Donahue and dinner. About Jack: he is an award-winning singer, songwriter, and actor who has performed in many of the great jazz and cabaret venues across the country and recorded four critically-acclaimed CDs. Jack was also twice selected by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs as Best Male Jazz Vocalist.

Palm Springs Cultural Center — Enjoy Bruce Vilanch interviewing Lesley Ann Warren, one of the stars of Victor/Victoria, with a tribute performance by “le Jazz Hot” Ethylina Canne, then stick around for a special screening of the film on the big screen.

Melvyn’s — Located in the iconic Ingleside Inn, enjoy dinner and live music from the Casablanca Lounge.

The elegant dining room at Melvyn’s. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Chocolates and flowers

Brandini Toffee — Located right in the heart of downtown next to The Plaza Theater. I’ve linked to their terrific story, and I promise you it’s the best toffee you’ll ever taste. Hands down.

My Little Flower Shop — They say it’s the best in town.

If you don’t have a sweetheart, and you’re a little bitter about the whole romance thing, then PS Underground is the place you want to be for Stupid Cupid. It’s raunchy, it’s good dirty fun, and you can soothe yourself with booze and great food. PS Underground is always a good choice.

As Porky Pig so elegantly proclaimed many many years ago…“Aba-de-ba-da-di-ba-da – that’s all folks!”

Twin Palms Resort is Palm Springs’ newest kid on the block. 

An upscale boutique hotel, Twin Palms is a brother property to the Santiago and Descanso. This trio of remarkable resorts offer gay men a gorgeous selection of naturally chic, swimsuit-optional retreats right in the heart of Palm Springs, and having now experienced all three properties myself, I can happily say “the third time’s a charm” with Twin Palms Resort.

Welcome to Twin Palms Resort. Photo by Gregory Douglass

Santiago was my first experience at a men’s resort in Palm Springs, back in 2018. As a 40-year-old gay man living in Los Angeles at the time, I’d never felt such freedom and restoration from a long weekend away from my big-city life. It was a game-changing experience for me.

I was curious how the other men-only resorts here in the Coachella Valley compared to the distinguishable Santiago experience. “How different can they all be?” I wondered. Having now experienced the majority of gay hotels here, it’s a privilege to be writing about what a spectrum of enticing options we have — each with its own flavor, vibe, and healing benefits.

The modern clubhouse. Photo courtesy of Twin Palms Resort

Twin Palms Resort is no different from its brother properties when it comes to top-notch luxury and leisure. The “casually extravagant” experience is what many have come to expect from a Resorts Palm Springs property, and yet Twin Palms already has a distinct personality of its own. Santiago has a modern Spanish aesthetic, while Descanso boasts a “California garden patio” motif. Twin Palms is the first to celebrate a true mid-century modern concept inside and out.

Nested in Palm Springs’ first modernist neighborhood, Twin Palms Estates, the resort looks as timeless as it does fresh in style, with its pops of yellows, blues, and greens. These colors accent that classic, clean white modernism style that makes Palm Springs architecture so iconic. It might even rival the hotel’s historic start — opened in 1959 as the Brentwood Apartments, the property was originally developed to blend in with the neighborhood’s 90 modernist tract homes, designed by one of the founding fathers of Palm Springs modernism, William Krisel.

Hotel guests can use these bikes to tool around town. Photo courtesy of Twin Palms Resort

What really makes Twin Palms Resort unique is its communal layout. The perfectly heated saltwater swimming pool acts as a centerpiece to its 20 single-story guest rooms, yellow umbrellas, and chaise lounges that all wrap around the pool like a rainbow. The 12-man spa is just as welcoming as the luxurious patio space, which faces a breathtaking view of the San Jacinto Mountains.

You have to love those mountain views. Photo courtesy of Twin Palms Resort

Like Santiago and Descanso, the Twin Palms experience also includes a hip clubhouse guest lounge, a communal fire pit, an outdoor mist cooling system, a 24-hour canteen with complimentary beverages, a daily complimentary continental breakfast, and complimentary poolside lunch.

You can expect the same level of guest service as well from Twin Palms’ friendly staff, and in-room welcome amenities too. Some highlights include beautiful modern gay artwork, a resort texting hotline for direct communication with the staff, lamps with charging stations, luxurious heavy-weight bathrobes, some fun “adult goodies” in the drawer of each bedside table, and even a personalized welcome note upon your arrival.

A plush king room at Twin Palms. Photo courtesy of Twin Palms Resort

In addition to an outdoor shower and pool bathroom communal showers, every room features grand marble bathrooms with spacious walk-in glass showers, sporting both rain and handheld shower heads – lending even more community appeal to the place.

The outdoor shower is one perk of staying at Twin Palms. Photo by Gregory Douglass

Twin Palms Resort is also as earth-friendly as it is gay-friendly, offering off-street guest parking with four electric vehicle chargers, sustainable bath products from Public Goods, and even bicycles you can borrow to explore the neighborhood.

It’s easy enough to retreat from the community as well. Every room features remote lighting and window shades, as well as private rear patios. Even the mini-fridge is tucked away in the bathroom vanity, which I thought was a clever decision.

The author enjoying his room at the Twin Palms. Photo by Gregory Douglass

What makes the communal aspect of Twin Palms Resort so special is its potential for new friends and new connections to be made. In an environment somehow as nonchalant as it is enveloping, it was seamless to connect with fellow guests and then naturally go our separate ways. 

I’ve learned that every resort has a “scene” of its own. Time will tell what the Twin Palms scene is — but the stage is set for all sorts of possibilities. I suspect it will help spark a long line of lasting friendships that will all begin at the charming little gay hotel in Twin Palms Estates.

Unwind in the resort’s pool and spa. Photo courtesy of Twin Palms Resort

“Lock the doors, lower the blinds, fire up the smoke machine, and put on your heels, cause I know exactly what we need…let’s have a tiki.”  — Scissor Sisters-ish

ALOHANA is upon us and that means it is tiki time in Palm Springs. Of course, tiki culture lives all year long in Palm Springs, but this is a celebration of all things tiki.

So, what is tiki? I’d love to tell you, thanks for asking. A tiki is a carved statue, and the Maori name for the first human male. Tiki culture is a celebration of all things Polynesian, and became huge in America when a bootlegger named Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt opened Hollywood’s Don the Beachcomber in 1933 (after prohibition was repealed).

Mark your calendars for ALOHANA. Photo courtesy of ALOHANA

Twice a year, in spring and autumn, the Palm Springs Cultural Center celebrates ALOHANA (a combination of the words “aloha” (hello/goodbye) and “ohana” (family), a fantastically fun event that’s coming up on November 13 from noon to 5 p.m.

This year, there’s a tiki artisan marketplace featuring Smokin’ Tikis tiki carvings, signs, and masks; Volcano Designs original caftans, playsuits, dresses, and cabana wear for both sexes; Ms Formaldehyde’s tropical tiki couture; and TeeKi Togs one-of-a-kind, must-have jewelry designs.

On the entertainment side, expect several returning favorites, including Kūhai Palm Springs performing hula, drag performer Miss Bea Haven, and DJ Modgirl. There will also be food and tikitails (made it up, and I like it). 

“ALOHANA was created to experience the welcome of aloha and the spirit of ohana,” ALOHANA co-producer Maureen Thompson says. “This time we look forward to introducing some new vendors to our marketplace with their original creations and we welcome Slack Key ‘Ohana, an award-winning musical group whose music has a way of transporting you to the Polynesian islands.”

Bootlegger Tiki serves craft cocktails in the original Don the Beachcomber space. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Want more tiki after 5? We currently have four tiki bars where you can Mai Tai one on: Bootlegger Tiki, which is in the old Palm Springs Don the Beachcomber space; Tonga Hut (since 1958); The Reef (I love this place); and Toucan’s Tiki Lounge, all tiki and drag!

You should also check out Shag, a local artist who does wonderfully kitschy pieces (not cheap, but worth it), and the Sunny Dunes Antique Mall located at 507 E. Sunny Dunes, which has a huge selection of tiki items.

For the tiki aficionado, there is the new Tiki Hotel, originally built in 1961 and recently restored by Tracy and Jerry Turco. It’s an 11-room boutique hotel with tiki memorabilia throughout the entire property, and ukuleles in every room.

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

If you decide to do a hike up in Indian Canyons (and you should), do a drive-by of Royal Hawaiian Estates, Donald Wexler and Richard Harrison’s Polynesia-meets-mid-century-modern condos on South Palm Canyon. You can’t actually visit the interior, but you could buy one and live in tiki town year-round.

This concludes your tiki tour of Palm Springs. Don’t forget to check around for personal items, watch your step as you exit, and shop and stay local. Aloha hoa! (I’m not calling you names, Google says that means “goodbye friend” in Hawaiian, so it must be true…)

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!

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

I hope you all made it through 2022 as unscathed as possible. No matter the reason, you absolutely deserve a getaway vacation to Palm Springs. The late night temps are in the low 50s, while it’s in the mid-70s by noon and the sun is warm on your skin. Perfect tanning weather, and a heated pool will bring all of the aaahhhs.

Whether you want to keep the party going, or you’re looking to unwind from party season, Palm Springs is a cure. Have a look at our boutique resorts to find your particular jam. There are A LOT to choose from, each one unique in its own way — on the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website, you can use a filter to narrow down the choices. I’d do it for you, but you didn’t tell me what you were looking for, so I’m stumped. It’s pretty easy to navigate, so unless you’re a single cell organism, you’ll do fine.

The biggest thing going on this month is the Palm Springs International Film Festival, and I’m going to tell you about that in a different post, but you should get tickets yesterday if you want to attend. Other than that, we’ve got a lot of the usual suspects, a few one-offs, and a brand new nightclub. I’ll do a post about my favorite restaurants before Valentine’s Day so you can make a plan. But first, January 2023. Ready? Let’s go.

One and done

Jan 1: Vintage Market at the Palm Springs Cultural Center — First hour is $10 to get in (first pick!), $5 after 9 a.m. Vendors from all over the country.

Jan. 4: Leslie Jordan: Gone Too Soon. At Quadz Palm Springs, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Jan 5-16: Palm Springs International Film Festival Cruise the website yourself, or you can read about it here.

Jan 19-22: Palm Springs Winter Break — Line dance party.

Items for sale at the Vintage Market. Photo by Katy Carrier

Recurring tours

Historical Society Walking Tours — 14 different tour options, all spectacular.

Architectural Bike Tours — Your guide, Brennan, is all about mid-century modern. He is also a bus tour guide during Modernism Week. Many of our resorts have bikes available, so snag one for a few hours and book the tour.

Desert Tasty Tours — Get a taste of downtown Palm Springs with this fun walking tour. You get some great history, some adult beverages, and some delicious food from our locally owned spots. It’s a great mid-day adventure. Get $5 off when purchasing your tickets by using promo code “PSPHotel.”

MOGO Silent Disco — Get your boogie on with this dance tour. To be clear, you are the dancer. Curated music is pumped through your headset as you disco down Palm Canyon Boulevard. You won’t look weird — you’ll bring friends and make new ones. Use code “pspsh10” at checkout for a 10 percent discount for our readers!

Dance your way through downtown Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of MOGO Silent Disco Tour

Clubs with entertainment

Caliente Comedy at the Cascade Lounge on Fridays

Jazzville at the Cascade Lounge on Thursdays

The Purple Room — Rat Pack styled club with top notch entertainment from all over the country.

PS Underground — If you’ve read this blog before, you know I love this experience. Everything is spectacular, from the venue to the entertainment and the food. One of the most creative and fun events you will ever witness. Everyone becomes BFFs forever, including your hosts and creative team, Michael and Chef Dave.

Oscar’s — There’s a lot going on here, so peep the calendar. If you’re gay (or wanna hang with your gays), the T Dance is the best recurring party in town. If you’re straight, stay away from the bathrooms.

Oscar’s. Courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

PS Air — One-of-a-kind “speakeasy” masquerading as an airplane; it may even have a cockpit, I’m not sure (I mean, it is Palm Springs). But there is in-flight entertainment, and often a naughty stewardess.

Toucan’s — A drag queen institution and dance club on the north end of town near the very popular Boozehounds.

Come On Up Palm Springs Cultural Center (formerly known as — or concurrently, I’m unclear — the Camelot Theater) is stepping it up. They still show movies, and there are two theater companies during season (which is now), as well as Come On Up, featuring recurring musical acts on different weekdays. There’s a lot of parking, so you can bring a crowd.

Nightclubs

Reforma (brand new) — Right next to BevMo. It just opened, and I mean just, like yesterday.

Pretty Faces (fairly new) — I haven’t checked it out yet. LMK if you go.

Theater

Jan 20-29: Palm Canyon Theater: Palm Springs Getaway

Jan 13-22: Dezart Performs: A Bright New Boise

Jan 17-29: CVRep: Dirty Blonde

Jan 27-29: Desert Ensemble Theater: Kill the Editor

There’s a new theater company in town, The Bent. I’m not sure if they’re doing anything in January yet, but peek their website. There are rumors that their very popular show, The Lincoln Debate, will be back in February. For those of you not in the know, Lincoln shared a single bed with another man for four years. The show uses that information as a jumping off point.

If you’re new to PS and you are a gay man looking for the action, you’re looking for East Arenas Road (fun article), two blocks of gay Shangri-La. Pair that with a men’s clothing optional boutique resort, and you’ve reached nirvana.

Okay, that’s it for January. Hope to see you around town enjoying our delicious weather. And as always, please shop and stay local, have a blast, and I’ll see you next month.

Happy New Year!

The holiday season has gone its merry way, and we’re all feeling a little less flush in the pocket and a little more snug in the waistband. And that’s okay! We’ve got a full year to refill the coffers and pare down the pooch so screw it, let’s put it all on the back burner and have some glorious “it’s all about me” time basking in Palm Springs’ hospitality. You worked hard all year and you deserve a break, damnit. 

It’s hot tubbing, spa treatments, and hot toddies time! Come on. You know you wanna.

Before we get started, a wee bit of bad news: Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) has canceled its gala due to the new and highly unwelcome Omicron coronavirus variant. Keep an eye on PSIFF’s website for schedules and possible changes. So far, it’s the only event to (wisely) take that precaution, but these are strange times. Everything can change in a nano.

And now, it’s time to plan that “me” time!

Courtesy of PS Air Bar

Starting January 2, check out Disco Boozy Brunch at PS Air Bar. Recurring weekly on Sundays until March 27. Also, check out their Saturday night movies and grab yourself some fine wine from their downstairs parent, Bouschet. And by grab, I mean pay for it.

Desert Rose Playhouse has the world premiere of a new musical, Mid-Century Moderns. Set to the music of 1966, it’s the story of a plucky Wisconsin widow who transforms from frump to fabulous when she finds herself at the center of modernity in Palm Springs. Featuring the music of Tom Jones, Petula Clark, Lesley Gore, Frank and Nancy Sinatra, The Association, The Monkees, and many more. Sounds fun!

Palm Springs Air Museum has tons of great events coming up, including a show about Amelia Earhart. They also still have the Warbird Experience.

PS Underground 
Lots of fun. You never know what to expect. All of their shows are delightful, delicious, and wildly entertaining.

The Purple Room. Photo courtesy of The Purple Room

Purple Room offers entertainment six days a week, with ticketed shows on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Always Rat-Packy, and always classy. I’ll say it again: You’ve gotta see The Judy Show.

Palm Springs Tramway
Wear layers and heavy coats for the top.

Cascade Lounge at Agua Spa in downtown Palm Springs offers Caliente Comedy every Friday night, and Thursdays belongs to Jazzville.

Oscar’s is always coming up with innovative entertainment, so make sure to check their website. Every Sunday is the T Dance and Bitchiest Brunch.

Toucan’s Tiki Lounge is known for the city’s longest continuously running drag show, Tommi Rose & The Playgirls, as well as weekly theme nights, ranging from Latin Fever Monday to Neon Thursday to Dirty Pop Saturday. The club also brings in top tier cabaret and performance talent as part of Toucans Live on Stage.

CannaBUS Express Tours Canna-Sprinter. Photo courtesy of CannaBUS Express Tours

CannaBUS Express Tours
Greater Palm Springs is basically the Silicon Valley of cannabis. This is a very lively and informative 3-hour tour behind the scenes of the big business.

V Wine Lounge has music on Mondays, tacos and margaritas on Tuesdays, and karaoke on Wednesdays. Plus, they have a bomb selection of unusual wines. The lounge has a super cool vibe, so check it out.

Keep an eye out for a new franchise restaurant opening at 190 E. Indian Canyon later this month. Although these restaurants can be found all over Florida and in many other states, this will be the first I Heart Mac and Cheese in California. Comes with a side of Lipitor. (I’m kidding. It’s extra.)

Every Thursday is the Village Fest, every Saturday is the Certified Farmers Market, and the first Sunday of the month is the Vintage Market. If you’re craving vintage items on a day that is not the first Sunday of every month, then head on over to Sunny Dunes and Industrial Place and the Antiques Mall.

Oasis Music Festival is brand new event, and man do they have a lot of great acts during their five-day run. January 26 to 30 are the dates, and the venues are all over Palm Springs. What a great way to hear some great music and check off some of those venues you’ve been meaning to try. 

The Shag poster for Modernism Week 2022. Photo courtesy of Modernism Week

Notes to your future fun selves:

February is Modernism Week. It is likely many events have sold out (enthusiasts be enthusing), so get cracking on signing up. If you’re too late, you can always scratch your mid-mod itch with a copy of their new Shag poster here, or pop into Shag’s store to get an original. This is the fifth poster for Modernism Week by the local artist.

BNP Paribas Open is in March, so start planning now.

It’s never too early to prepare for Coachella or Stagecoach. Start booking rooms and getting tickets now. Looks like Coachella is already waitlisted!

Reminder: We love you and every single one of our neighbors, which means indoor events require a vax card. I got an electronic copy of mine here, then told Siri to take a screenshot and saved it in my iPhone’s Notes. Super simple.

Stay safe, and I hope to see you around town! 

Kay Kudukis Paints Palm Springs Red

Glorious September in Palm Springs, often offering the perfect balance between sun worshipers and those preferring a more sun-kissed look. With the lower temps and evenings cooling down substantially, the nights are delightfully dreamy. Leisurely strolls down Palm Canyon are back in style, and dining al fresco is de rigueur.

VillageFest courtesy of VillageFest

With the evenings cooling off, the VillageFest is definitely heating up! Our Thursday night street fair/party partially closes Palm Canyon Drive to traffic. Vendors are usually scattered from Amado to Baristo. Palm Canyon Drive is filled with buskers; pop-up restaurants and stores; and artisans of every ilk. Palm Springs is home to a ton of incredibly talented artists and crafters. Downtown businesses remain open, so it’s scads of fun. Even though it’s outdoors, it’s a large event and masks are required. More about that at the end.

And now, onto some most excellent adventures. Some big, some small– you can have it all in Palm Springs:

Dinah Weekend

This is for all the Sappho Sisters who have been waiting for their turn to throw a party. And this is a great one. I will talk more about it in my article All Gay, All Day. It has been my observation that lesbians are underserved in Palm Springs. Although everywhere is all-inclusive, gay bars mean mostly for men. I’ll tell you more about it in the next blog. But

If you’d like to skip my next article, you can go straight (“Never!” said every lesbian) to their website here.

Desert Rose Theater Upcoming Shows and Venue

Theater

Desert Rose Playhouse is just off its massively successful run of The Great American Trailer Park Musical (TGATPM). I saw it, and I laughed uncontrollably throughout the whole show. Those who hadn’t stopped at a dispensary prior laughed just as hard. The Rocky Horror Show will be up on stage until September 12th. Trust me when I say that this LGBTQ+ friendly theater company is full of surprises (the leads of TGATPM were in drag) so I’m looking forward to meeting their Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

Latin Nights at The Cascade Lounge courtesy of Cascade Lounge

Entertainment

Jazzville is back at The Cascade Lounge. If you wear the name jazzbo proudly (as you should) this is where you want to be on Thursdays. Book in advance. Their shows sell out pretty quickly and start at 7:00 PM.

Sunday nights get steamy at Cascade with Nacho Bustillos and Quinto Menguante’s Latin Nights. Their music ranges from salsa, cumbia, banda, bachata, reggaeton to pop. Dancing shoes are highly encouraged.

Melvyn’s Sunday Jams at the famous Ingleside Inn begin at 3pm on Sundays and go until the musicians get tired, aka dinner time. Led by Mikael Healey, it’s a lineup of the best of the best players in PS and beyond. It’s a $30 cover, it’s in Melyvn’s Casablanca Lounge, and – oh no! It’s only running through 9/26! Once again, calling all jazzbos. Also, it’s a pretty fun experience. You get to do a little bit of dress up, and drink martinis just like in the Rat Pack days.

Oscars has some special shows coming up, including evenings with Linsday Wagner and Sandra Bernardt – not together, that would be a bit “too too” even for Palm Springs. Heads would explode from nostalgia overload if the Bionic Woman and Madonna’s ex-bestie shared a stage.

Me and some of my favorite Queens

Drag Shows

Toucans – OM Stars, far too many shows to list. Check the website, prepare to stay out late, and prepare to dance your “katushies” off.

Roly China Fusion Sadly, the Drag Brunch ends on 9/5 (as of this typing). HOWEVER they have a great party planned for Pride, so give it a look-see. More in my next blog.

Bitchies Brunch at Oscars – Like you need me to tell you anything at all about this event.

PS Air Saturday Night Flight – Naughty stewardess, drinks, while you “fly” the friendly skies. Special experience.

The Judy Show starring Michael Holmes at The Purple Room

Dinner Shows

Guys– The Purple Room is back! That means The Judy Show is back! I may have just peed a little. Upcoming guests are Jane Monheit, and Lee Squared: Liberace and Ms. Peggy Lee Coming Out (of covid). Keep checking the website for updated acts, and if you’ve never been, go to The Judy Show. If you’re like me and gained the COVID ten-ish, you’ll laugh a few pounds off.

There are some returning shows and some new forms of musical and culinary insanity from the wildly creative minds of Michael Fietsam and David Horgen of PS Underground. They, too, keep adding shows, and sell-out fast, so you’ve gotta be fast on the click.

Fun and Games

Monday nights Wilma and Frieda’s turns into Ethyl’s Place and Atomic Bingo! Doors open 5:30pm, Bingo! Starts at 6:30pm.

420 Bank and Dispensary Lounge has some events coming up, so check out their events. They also have a sort of “Palm Springs’ Got Talent” show with a recording contract at Melrose Recording Studio here in PS. Hosted by Derek Jordan Gregg, you can email [email protected] for more info and to sign up. Every Thursday, 5:30pm-8:00pm.

Summer Sing Along is still happening at the PS Cultural Center.

Don’t forget about The PS Tramway. Super fun ride to the top of the mountain with plenty of trails to hike. Speaking of hiking, don’t forget to check out our great preserves at Indian Canyons. Tons of trails and they’re all absolutely GORGEOUS. Take water, and wear hiking shoes and socks. We got rattlers.

Scavenger hunts. I know. You were not expecting that. But what fun! It’s a bit more of a group activity, so if you don’t work and play well with others, earbuds by the pool! There are two here in Palm Springs, Viator and Let’s Roam. They are a fun addition to a walking tour, so you get to stroll through history and Palm Springs landmarks while playing a game.

In October, there’s one to support our fantastic, no-kill, Palm Springs Animal Shelter. Here’s the info on the Scavenger Hunt. If you can’t play, a small donation goes a long way. I was going to put a team together, but I only have one friend–and they’re mad at me.

Comedy

Oscars is bringing Last Laugh Comedy to the last Wednesday of every month. Comedian and host Max Mitchell is bringing his funniest friends to entertain us. I’m a comedy ho, so – see ya there.

Upping their Friday game, Cascade Lounge has Cascade Comedy. Presented by Comedy Madness, each show is 90 minutes and features a roster of comedians with past appearances on Tonight Show, Conan, Netflix, America’s Got Talent, Comedy Central, Showtime and more.

One-Off Event

Dîner en Blanc – COMING IN OCTOBER

You really need to do some planning for this one. Everything except your skin color needs to be white. Your outfit, your table and chairs (which you bring) – and your picnic basket (which you also bring…with food in it). You will not know where you will be dining until you get there, but you will be eating your own food – so no allergy issues there. You can learn all about it on their website (which I believe might also be white) where you can also sign up,

Now that our lights are back on, we’re doing our best to keep them that way. The City of Palm Springs requires that all of the clubs require proof of vaccination, so you can either whip out your card, or show them your QR code from the State of California. And, at the time of this writing, masks are required indoors, so when you put on your shoes and your shirt, stick a mask in your pocket. And then–you know what? I’m not your mom, and you’re a responsible adult, right? You know what to do.

Viva Palm Springs!

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.