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Amin Casa embodies the quiet sophistication of Palm Springs, with a twist of old Hollywood glamour.

Once the residence of actress Gloria Swanson, Amin Casa made its debut in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood in November 2016, following several months of major renovations both inside and out. “Amin” means “ours” in Tagalog, while “casa” is Spanish for “home,” and owners Ramon Bautista and Nelson Cooley want it to feel like “your home away from home.”

“On property, guests will find the relaxing, club-like ambiance and genuine, heartfelt hospitality they have come to treasure,” Ramon said.

The compound dates back to the 1920s, and when fully occupied, the property only accommodates 14 guests, adults only. The bungalows come with living rooms, kitchens complete with microwaves, coffeemakers, blenders, and dishes, eco-friendly toiletries, and bathrobes and slippers, plus the Swanson residence with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a fireplace, and the property’s largest kitchen. There are stunning gardens, fountains, a swimming pool, cabanas, and an outdoor dining area with a grilling station.

Above all else, Ramon and Nelson, who have experience at some of the finest hotels in the world, strive to give the patrons of Amin Casa one thing: “Intuitive, gracious service provided by a staff passionate about pleasing our guests.”

A Place In The Sun Hotel

Norma and Ron Van Meeteren didn’t set out to own and operate a hotel, but in October 1999, the couple found themselves embarking on an exciting journey now in its 20th year.

At the time, Norma and Ron had been selling real estate and doing property management in Palm Springs for 16 years. They learned about a property that was going to be converted into a hospice but had fallen out of escrow. Most of the units were like apartments, with living rooms, bedrooms, full kitchens, and private walled garden patios, and since the Van Meeterens were experts in residential income properties and had clients looking for apartment buildings, they arranged a meeting with the seller.

“To make a long story short, ten days later we were the proud new owners,” Norma said. “It’s been quite the journey, but our exceptional staff and happy guests make it all worth it.”

A mid-century boutique inn, A Place in the Sun Garden Hotel was built in 1951 as a retreat for the production crew working on the movie A Place in the Sun, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Shelley Winters, and Montgomery Clift.

“We get to meet so many interesting people, from all walks of life.”

The property has 18 units, with standard studios, one-bedroom bungalows with kitchens, living rooms, and private patios, and a 1,300-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow with a large kitchen, fireplace, and private jacuzzi. There is free fast internet, a heated saltwater pool, spa, artificial turf putting green, and a poolside gazebo with misters and heaters.

For Norma, getting to know the people who stay at A Place in the Sun is the best part of owning such a unique property.

“So many come back again and again, year after year, and it’s like welcoming back friends,” she said. “Many have happy memories of coming to A Place in the Sun as a child, and now are grown and bringing children of their own. We get to meet so many interesting people, from all walks of life.”

It’s holiday season here in Palm Springs and the town is buzzing with activity and fun events. Schedule a getaway and get in some room-side pool time and holiday shopping while you’re in town checking out these don’t miss LGBTQ events in Palm Springs:

Holiday Dinner Show: Judy’s Old-Fashioned Christmas  12/1/19 – 12/29/19

At Michael Holmes’ Purple Room, this special holiday show is a blend of hysterical comedy and outstanding music that explodes into an evening of nonstop belly laughs, glamour and high camp, as celebrated entertainer Michael Holmes parodies Judy Garland, who in her 1964 television variety show, played host to some of the greatest female icons of the Golden Age of Hollywood. The spirit of Judy Garland is alive and well and in Palm Springs! Find out more here.

Judy's Old Fashioned Christmas

 

Sanctuary’s Holiday Spectacular  12/8/19

‘Tis the season to support the fourth Annual Holiday Spectacular – Holiday Socks, benefiting the Sanctuary Palm Springs. On Sunday, December 8 from 5 to 7:30pm, at the iconic Spencer’s Restaurant, this fun-filled cocktail reception, smashing hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment, not-so-silent auction and a rousing live auction benefits LGBTQ+ youth who are aging out of the foster system. Hear a grand performance from Broadway veteran David Burnham; celebrity emcee – comedian, actor and adoptive parent and star of Desperate Housewives Alec Mapa; and Dottie and Maude (aka Les Dames du Soleil) will add flair to the auctions. Limited tickets available. Find our more here.

Sanctuary's Holiday Spectacular

The Skivvies – I Touch My Elf  12/13/19 & 12/14/19

For two nights at The Purple Room, enjoy dinner and a show: “Alt-cabaret, new burlesque: Whatever you call it, the jolly musical comedy of the Skivvies, a troupe of entertainers who perform in their underwear, joyfully rock.” – New York Times. Acclaimed undie-rock stars, THE SKIVVIES, head to the entertainment capital of the world for “PALM SPRINGS STRIPPED”! Special guests to be announced. Presented by The Purple Room in association with Chris Isaacson Presents. Enjoy dinner at 6pm and a show at 8pm. Find out more here.

The Skivvies - I Touch My Elf

Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus “A Modern Family Holiday” at The Annenberg Theater  12/20/19 – 12/22/19

“A Modern Family Holiday” will be a showcase of traditional favorites along with new music from some of today’s most talented composers and lyricists. The theme of the evening is all about embracing our new modern families. Ticket prices range from $25 – $55. Shows at 7pm on Friday and Saturday and 3pm on Sunday. Find out more here.

PS Gay Men's Chorus - Modern Family Holiday

31st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival – Gay!La (Date TBA)      1/1/20 – 1/13/20

The famous Palm Springs International Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming over 135,000 attendees each year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Gay!La event, honoring the LGBTQ community and film industry. This event is an annual highlight during the Palm Springs International Film Festival. With lots of great music and lots of great fun, you won’t want to miss this evening’s vibrant event. The full festival offers 12 days of events and film screenings featuring over 200 films from 60+ countries. We welcome you to join us at our venues in Palm Springs and Cathedral City. See you at the movies! Find out more here.

Palm Springs International Film Festival - Gay!La

At the beloved Desert Riviera, guests become family. This mid-century modern hotel has a loyal — and even international — fanbase, with some guests coming to stay multiple times a year.

The Desert Riviera has everything you need for a fun, carefree getaway.

Poolside firepit at the Desert Riviera

Built in 1951 and designed by Herbert W. Burns, this mid-century modern hotel is now under new ownership, but nothing will change for guests. The Desert Riviera still offers fantastic complimentary amenities, including use of retro bikes, continental breakfast, and concierge services to help with everything from restaurant reservations to golf tee times.

“We’re all about the customer service and community,” general manager Misty Roland says.

The Desert Riviera has a loyal fanbase, with repeat guests coming back annually — and in some cases, multiple times a year. They love that the pool is heated to 93 degrees in the winter, and parties are held throughout the year to mark special occasions — on Valentine’s Day, guests might find a chocolate fountain set up outside, and on the Super Bowl, the big game will be on, with a big spread of snacks.

“Guests like that we’re a boutique property, where the pool is open 24 hours,” Misty says. “There’s an open layout, and they enjoy that we have a lot of greenery and sunshine, instead of a concrete pool area.”

The Desert Riviera attracts guests from around the world — China, Russia, Kenya, England — who love the Palm Springs experience.

“Sometimes, we don’t even have anyone here from the United States,” Misty says. “It’s about understanding one another, and we’ll all sit around the fire pit and talk and play card games.”

When you fly or drive into Palm Springs from the West, you cannot miss the sudden, dramatic appearance of hundreds of windmills. To be exact, 2200 at this writing. Few people know that it is possible to take a tour of this windmill farm. Standing at the bottom of a windmill and looking up is a thrill for even the most skeptical participant.

Windmill Farm Background 

The formation of the windmill farm, as it is now called, began in 1984. The location was chosen because it is consistently the windiest place in the United States. Winds are clocked regularly at 30 mph because air current is trapped and funneled between the two mountain ranges.

With the 1980s oil crisis came the need to increase the development of alternative energy; thus, this area received international attention and became a focus for rapid design and development of more efficient windmills. Today, constant research is done by four companies, including one from Spain.

Public Access 

With changing times, the Windmill Tour Company pivoted. Previously, a bus trip through the area was accompanied by a volunteer narrator for the tour. Now, one can take a vehicle with up to eight people and drive through the farm with a video or audio narration.

Upon arrival, you are handed a sanitized iPad in a plastic bag.  Then you drive through the designated path, which is marked, and look for the blue barrel with a number that matches the narrative on the video. At each stop, there is room to park so that you can get out and take as many pictures as you want.

Highlights of the Tour 

For engineer types, there is a display of the original turbines with detailed descriptions of the design. We learned that the original open-tower design proved noisy and caused the demise of many birds. Thus, it was back to the drawing board for redesign, especially the blades. Today, the fiberglass blades can be 144 feet long, almost the width of a football field.

One of the stops allows you to get right up to the windmill with a column that extends 300 feet into the air. The majesty of this engineering feat is difficult to comprehend.

This approximately 1.5-hour tour is truly a magnificent experience. You learn, take in the fresh desert air, and your appreciation of windmill power will increase tenfold.

 

Helpful Hints: Make reservations on their website. There are no restrooms available. Make sure you take plenty of water and a hat, for there is no shade on this tour. Finally, when you sign up for the tour, be sure to copy the directions. It is handicap accessible. 

Palm Springs Windmill Tours
www.windmilltours.com
62950 20th Avenue
Palm Springs, CA 92262
800-531-5834

 

Say goodbye to your home office and hello to Palm Springs

For those who have been working from home for months now, a change of scenery is in order — and the best views are in Palm Springs.

Since Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels — a collection of more than 70 boutique hotels — began reopening on June 12, some guests have been settling in for work and play. El Mirasol Villas owners Paul Pressman and Bruce Wishnefsky have had several people specifically request rooms conducive to working remotely, ensuring that they have strong WiFi and a desk available.

“As they have been self-quarantined or already work remotely, they wanted to get out of the house or home office and work in a relaxed desert environment,” Paul says. “They love taking breaks between conference calls or Zoom meetings and laying in the sun, taking a swim in the pool, or relaxing in the jacuzzi. One guest who has work that crosses time zones said he loved the desert nights on his patio or poolside where he could set up his laptop and work.”

“Monday through Friday work vacations are definitely becoming a thing,” says Robert Hunt, general manager of Alcazar Palm Springs, a 34-room boutique hotel in the uptown Palm Springs art district. “It makes perfect sense because there are fewer people around mid-week and the rates are lower than on the weekends.  People are craving a change of scenery but they want someplace quiet and safe where they can still get their work done.”

Sabrina Sakdikul is a community relations manager for a nonprofit in the San Francisco Bay Area, and drove down to Palm Springs to spend a few days at the Los Arboles Hotel. After spending several months working from home alongside her roommates, it was a relief to have a space of her own.

The property felt like “an oasis,” Sabrina says. She switched up her location throughout the day — sometimes working in her room, other times by the pool or on a patio — and with everyone wearing masks, she felt safe. When it was time for lunch, she would walk a few steps to the on-site restaurant, El Mirasol, and if she needed to clear her head, would take a quick dip in the pool.

“Palm Springs is a very laid-back place, and it does make me feel like I’m in paradise,” Sabrina says. “In Google and Zoom meetings, they have backgrounds that look like you’re somewhere cool and calming, and I was actually in a place that was cool and calming.”

Going on this getaway to Palm Springs left Sabrina feeling energized and refreshed, her stress melting away in the desert sun.

“I feel like I was able to really get away from all the craziness that has been going on,” Sabrina says. “It was nice being able to do something different.”

Several small hotels, like The Weekend Palm Springs, The Rossi, Casa Cody Country Inn, The Triangle Inn Palm Springs, and Les Cactus – among others – offer small suites or casitas with kitchenettes, which allow space for weeklong guests to prepare their own meals. Some hotels such as Villa Royale, Arrive Palm Springs, La Serena Villas, and Alcazar have restaurants on site. Many Palm Springs restaurants deliver meals and cocktails directly to hotels so guests can dine poolside.

 

Comfort and Safety Prioritized

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels are legendary for their style, safety, and comfort–all of which continue to be a priority. Over the past few weeks, the owners and general managers of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels have collaboratively created a baseline of safety sanitation standards.

Most Palm Springs boutique hotels have fewer than 30 rooms, making them easier to thoroughly clean and keep sanitized. Common areas are typically outside, and a majority of rooms have their own private entrances and air conditioning units.

Each hotel will provide its own safety guidelines in addition to the requirements set forth by the City of Palm Springs and the ones they collectively developed. This information will be shared with guests when they receive their reservation confirmation.

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels is a consortium 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. Follow the fun on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. Please visit Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels Summer Recovery Specials page for details.

The charming Bearfoot Inn is the only gay men’s clothing-optional resort in Palm Springs’ historic Movie Colony neighborhood, putting it just steps away from all the action of downtown.

Once they arrived in Palm Springs, Glen Boomhour and Jerry Pergolesi knew they were in the right place.

The owners of the Bearfoot Inn originally had planned to open a hotel in Florida; as Canadians, this is the “go to sun destination,” Jerry said. Instead, they opened as a bed and breakfast in Toronto, which “gave us time to open our field of vision and take a serious look at Palm Springs,” Jerry said. “We’re glad we did.”

The Bearfoot Inn is proud to serve the gay community, in one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the world.

After 11 years in Toronto, The Bearfoot Inn in Palm Springs officially opened on Jan. 1, 2013, although word spread ahead of time and they opened their doors a few days early to welcome drop-in guests.

“What’s great about Palm Springs is the weather, of course, and Palm Springs is probably the most gay positive city in the U.S.,” Jerry said.

The Bearfoot Inn is in the historic Movie Colony neighborhood, the only clothing-optional gay men’s resort with this distinction, and just steps away from downtown. Its 11 guest rooms all have memory foam mattresses, extra-large showers, and flatscreen televisions, and guests can relax outside in the heated saltwater pool and spa.

“We love the desert and we love that Palm Springs is so cosmopolitan while retaining a small town feel,” Jerry said. “In many respects, that is reflected in our attitude about Bearfoot Inn. We’re small, laid-back, and casual, but a little savvy, too — at least we hope we are.”

Jerry and Glen enjoy being involved in the community, and appreciate the support and sense of camaraderie amongst the hoteliers.

“We’re so happy to be part of something that makes Palm Springs special, from being the city with the most LGBTQ hotels to being amongst the many boutique hotels that give Palm Springs its unique charm as a sun destination or a weekend getaway,” Jerry said.

Wake up in Palm Springs with the sun gloriously shining and grab your glamorous floppy hat, recyclable water bottle, and sunglasses. It doesn’t matter if the museums are closed because there’s so much fabulous public art to explore in Palm Springs.

Start your walking tour in the Uptown Design District on North Palm Canyon.

First Stop – Palm Springs Desert Art Center

The center for Palm Springs creative arts is the Desert Art Center at 550 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262. Often overlooked, this grand building is the home for numerous art classes, exhibits, and theatre performances. One of our city’s latest art installations is on the Desert Center’s palatial grass-covered lawn.

MIDABI is an artist and philosopher focused on large-scale public art using text in sculptures and murals. Residing in Palm Springs since 1998, with family roots going back to the 1950s, MIDABI continues a family tradition of contributing artistically to the desert.

Large, bold, and thought-provoking, MIDABI creates works of art that seek to inspire and challenge the viewer to think for themselves and see reality differently. One may feel shaken, for emotional core values may be questioned.

Since you have your walking shoes on, head on down Palm Canyon; along the way, you will see colorful benches to rest upon, which our local artists created.

Second Stop – Koffi North

If you want to have a cup of coffee, you might want to stop at Koffi North. Be sure to go straight through the store to the back and see the courtyard. The locals hang out here during non-Covid times.

Third Stop – Near the Palm Springs Art Museum

Now that your energy is restored, head down to Museum Way and turn right.

Before you get to the Palm Springs Art Museum and located in what we locals call the “Sand Pit,” (and future home of an underground parking lot) are ten sculptures, 11 ft long X 9-foot fiberglass babies. A barcode replaces any semblance of a face.

Czech artist David Cerny has loaned this art installation to Palm Springs through 2022. He wanted to make a statement about the dehumanization of society due to big tech and data. We are betting you will have an opinion.

Check out the wall on your left as you overlook the Sand Pit. You’ll spot a mural by Santa Monica artist, Peter Tigler, who worked with attendees of all ages to create this 7-foot-tall-by15-wide mural at the Annual La Quinta Arts Festival in 2019. Look closely; it was created by finger painting. The bright colors and numerous scenes invoke the sense of “Wish you were here.” It’s a great place to take a selfie to post your social media.

Fourth Stop – Graffiti Park

Across the street from the Sand Pit is our Graffiti Park. While waiting for the area to be developed, artists are encouraged to express themselves through their art. The various cement pillars and stones, remnants of past construction, serve as canvases. The art is constantly changing, so be sure to come back and see it on your next visit.

Fifth Stop – Right Side of Palm Springs Art Museum

The Palm Springs Art Museum is closed, but the parking lot holds a surprise. Check out the Road Signs scattered throughout the premises. They were created by artist Gerald Clark, who identifies himself first as an artist; and secondly, a Cahuilla Indian.

These Road Signs were created for an exhibit of his work in the Palm Springs Art Museum a couple of years ago. Walk to the museum’s right side first, then see the rest of them on the museum’s left side.

Sixth Stop – Left Side of the Palm Springs Art Museum

After you have pursued both sides of the museum, you will see a large semi-truck parked in the parking lot. In the semi is a three-story all-metal house, called the Aluminare House, designed by Albert Frey and A. Lawrence Kocher. The house was donated to the Palm Springs Art Museum for its permanent collection and will be reassembled in 2021. It is considered to be one of the most outstanding examples of Modernist architecture in the world.

We hope you have enjoyed this tour of some of our public art. There are many more installations–both inside and outside–scattered throughout the city. However, we wanted to give you a small taste of the many treasures that await your visit to Palm Springs.

Blogger Elaine Masters wanted a classic Palm Springs vacation, and that’s exactly what she had, soaking in the city’s sights and visiting some of the most popular hotels, from the Spanish-style Los Arboles to the Art Deco-inspired Westcott.

Step foot on the Dive Palm Springs property, and you’ll immediately be transported to the French Riviera of the 1960s.

Dive Palm Springs opened in August 2019 after a two-month renovation. The hotel was built in 1954 as the Sunrise Villa, a western-style hotel. Over the years, it changed names and themes, ultimately becoming the Alpine Gardens before transforming into Colt’s Lodge in 2015. Since being purchased earlier this year, the 11-room property has been “extensively redesigned, both inside and out,” new owner Abdi Manavi says. “We have developed a sense of luxury in all the rooms, and a feeling of serenity throughout the different areas of the grounds.”

The hotel features furnishings by Serena & Lily and Anthropologie, premium linens, and original murals. Most of the King rooms come with an outdoor patio, complete with an oversized daybed, and one has a private hot tub. The most magical room is the La Reve, French for “The Dream.” This room has a custom ceiling mural and wallpaper by Christian Lacroix, a solid brass queen bed with an ultra-comfortable Tuft and Needle mattress, and a red-tiled bathroom with a rainfall shower and smoked glass two-way mirror between the bedroom and shower.

“Dive is more than a hotel,” Abdi says. “It’s a private luxury time machine. Evoking the casual elegance of Saint Tropez in the 1960s, we created Dive to transport our guests to a romantic forgotten world where it’s still safe to relax, play, explore, and release all the trappings of modern life.”

Dive is an adults-only property, and can host events for up to 150 people, including weddings, retreats, and reunions. Guests have been raving about the lush grounds, cozy daybeds, the restored original Libott pool, the koi pond, and The Orchard — Dive calls this its “vacation spot within a vacation spot,” as it has a two-person swing chair, waterfall, comfortable couches and loungers, and a vintage neon sign of a diving girl, affectionally nicknamed Lulu.

“My business partner Dale Fox and I have created an intimate atmosphere for our guests, as you would have staying at a friend’s house,” Abdi says. “We are here to provide magic and ensure our guests are relaxed and happy during their stay. Though I take on the role of an owner and general manager, my business card says ‘Liaison to Happiness.'”