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The Andalusian Court is peaceful and romantic.

There are many words guests use to describe The Andalusian Court — romantic, private, serene, stunning — but one is used over and over again: Magical.

“The grounds are lush and full of water features and fountains and at night it is lit up like a magical fantasyland,” manager Elaine Manion said. “We had one guest tell us he’s not a sentimental guy, but the property at night almost brought him to tears.”

The Andalusian Court was originally built in 1921, and retains its Spanish revival charm. There are seven private villas, each one with a bedroom, fully-equipped kitchen, luxurious bathroom, dining and living room, and fireplace, and some have private outdoor jacuzzis. The gardens are gorgeous, the courtyard pool and fire pits are inviting, and the guest barbecue is a fun touch. There’s also a Hollywood history — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz often stayed at The Andalusian Court in Villa 4.

“Everything is unique about this property,” Elaine said. “Every villa is fully contained; it is literally turnkey, so you don’t need anything else. The customer service is impeccable, it’s number one, and the grounds are peaceful. The property is quiet because everyone is on the same page; there’s no loud music at the pool, no screaming. It is adults only, so it does have a very peaceful and serene environment.”

The owners have retained the hotel’s original architecture while adding plush new beds and linens, water heaters, and WiFi to each villa. As a bonus, when guests check-in, they are greeted with a goody bag of snacks and bottled water, and they always know that the staff at The Andalusian Court is ready and excited to help them make the most out of their stay.

“We hear wonderful reviews from our guests, and they recommend us to others,” Elaine said. “That word of mouth has led to us having lots of repeat guests.”

Paul Kurdian and Sam McDermott started their married life off with a bang.

While they were dating, the couple imagined one day starting a business together, and the opportunity arrived on the morning after their wedding.

“On our way to Sunday brunch at my brother’s house, Paul received a call from a former client who had owned another hotel he sold for her,” Sam said. “She told Paul she was ready to retire completely and called to see if he could help with the sale of this hotel. We decided to purchase it ourselves, and nearly eight months later, we began our journey, and the rest is history!”

There were several things about the 18-room property in Palm Springs that appealed to Paul, a real estate broker with corporate experience in operations and management, and Sam, who has a background in strategy, marketing, and business development. The timing was “pretty remarkable,” Sam said, especially since she had once “flirted” with the idea of buying a hotel, and owning one was something Paul had always dreamed about.

“How this came about was surreal because we wanted to extend our life partnership in a new and exciting way,” Sam said. “Many newlyweds have children within their first year of marriage — we gave birth to a new business.”

The hotel was in need of some serious sprucing up, and Sam and Paul started by removing “anything old and outdated.” They replaced “everything that guests could see and touch,” and added conveniences like Qi wireless charging stations in every room. 

All of the carpeting was ripped out, new flooring was installed, and each room now has its own air conditioning and heating unit. The walls are covered with fresh paint, the rooms are filled with new furniture, beds, linens, and towels, and the pool is surrounded by colorful umbrellas and loungers. Perhaps the biggest change Sam and Paul made was giving the property a new name: The Inn at Palm Springs.

“Inn at Palm Springs is the very first property you see on your way into Palm Springs on Highway 111,” Sam said. “We like to tell people we are the Gateway to Palm Springs. When you visit, you’ll see a happy and colorful vibe throughout the property.”

The hotel is dog-friendly — Sam and Paul’s own pup, Gus, lives with them on-site — and able to host small groups for special occasions. 

“We’ve had several guests tell us they plan to come back with a group and take over the inn,” Sam said. “We find joy in helping our guests create great memories with their friends and family, and we look forward to hosting more intimate gatherings in the future.”

Because Paul and Sam have both traveled so extensively for work and fun, they came into this with a clear vision for their hotel: It had to be comfortable, clean, and private, a space where guests felt welcome the instant they stepped onto the property and left feeling they had a positive experience that was an excellent value. The effusive response they have received from patrons shows they accomplished what they set out to do.

“We’ve been very grateful for the wonderful guests who have stayed with us,” Sam said. “It is the positive feedback we receive from guests that keeps us motivated each day.”

It will soon be easier than ever for people around the country to fly into Palm Springs.

Southwest Airlines announced earlier this month that it will launch year-round service through Palm Springs International Airport later this year. The low-fare carrier flies out of more than 100 locations, and in a statement, Southwest Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said Palm Springs is “a great California destination.” 

Palm Springs City Manager David Ready said local officials worked for years to get Southwest to the Palm Springs International Airport, and thanks to “our year-round sunshine, relaxed desert lifestyle, and multi-million dollar public and private reinvestments in our city’s hotel stock, Convention Center, and downtown, Palm Springs has experienced a sensational renaissance and we are now one of Southern California’s premier resort destinations.”

Allegiant Air also recently revealed that this fall, it will start offering nonstop flights from Palm Springs International Airport to Boise, Idaho, and Eugene, Oregon. Already, the low-cost airline has service from Palm Springs to Bellingham, Washington. Boise flights will begin on Nov. 19, followed by Eugene flights on Nov. 20, with fares starting at $49 each way. Allegiant said both routes will operate twice weekly.

While Los Angeles and Palm Springs are only about two hours away from each other by car, those who want to go back and forth faster can take Delta’s new year-round daily service between the two cities. The flight from L.A. will leave at 7:45 p.m., arriving in Palm Springs at 8:35 p.m., and the flight departing Palm Springs will take off at 7:15 a.m., landing in Los Angeles at 8:08 a.m. This service will begin on Nov. 20.

“We’re very excited to have that,” Palm Springs Mayor Geoff Kors said after announcing the news. “That obviously is good for people who prefer not to drive, especially on busy weekends.”

Additionally, Alaska Airlines is adding non-stop service to San Jose, Reno/Lake Tahoe, and Boise from Palm Springs starting on Dec. 17, and JetBlue will launch non-stop seasonal service to Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida beginning Dec. 17, with flights twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays. American Airlines is also adding a seasonal weekly flight to Philadelphia, starting Dec. 19. 

 

By Katie Carrier

 

Palm Springs boasts a treasure trove of small hotels with big style that are ideal for guests seeking the perfect Instagram moment. Holiday House Palm Springs is one of the more recent additions to these local offerings, featuring an eye-catching blue and white design motif with pops of red.

Holiday House was originally designed in the 1950s by Herbert Berns, with strong midcentury lines and architectural details that were emblematic of the period. The hotel, located in downtown Palm Springs, was redesigned and relaunched in 2017 after an extensive makeover by renowned interior designer Mark D. Sikes, who is known for his signature blue and white color palette.

Each of the property’s 28 rooms feature unique combinations of patterned wallpaper, textiles and furnishings, as well as an impressive art collection that includes works by John Baldessari, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Alex Katz. The lawn adjacent to the hotel’s pool features a large Donald Sultan sculpture called “Red Poppies” that is one of the popular Instagram-friendly features on the property.

The blue and white striped furniture on the patio is another great spot for a snap for the ‘gram, surrounded by lush banana leaves and mature fruit trees. The hotel also offers fun amenities on site that are just begging for a social media shoutout, including a huge pool, blue and white polka dot bicycles that are available for guests to use and an original shuffleboard court.

The hotel lobby is also full of Instagram gold, including the “library,” which is covered in a striking blue pattern on every surface, an oversized David Hockney Sumo book, and the bar, which has a catchy neon art piece that makes a frequent appearance on social media.

The hotel’s cocktails are also super Instagrammable, featuring fun garnishes and swizzle sticks that make for the perfect poolside drink-in-hand pose!

Holiday House features one of the more unique dining experiences in the desert, with a family-style fried chicken dinner held each Friday night that is open to both hotel guests and the general public. Attendees dine al fresco at a beautifully-decorated long table, enjoying the delicious culinary creations of Chef Gabe Woo. Cantina Tuesdays are another great time to visit Holiday House, with gourmet Mexican fare and margaritas served a la carte in the patio dining area.

If you’re an Instagram fan, you will definitely want to experience Holiday House Palm Springs soon! Be sure to also stay tuned as we explore other great Instagram-friendly small hotels in Palm Springs in a new series of blog posts coming out each month.

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.

It’s important that people stay safe and close to home during this unprecedented crisis — doing so slows down the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and reduces the risk for contagion. That’s why large gatherings have been suspended in California, and citizens are being advised to avoid non-essential travel.

We understand that people will have concerns about traveling for some time to come, especially in regards to getting on an airplane or cruise ship, and we want to make it clear that there have been no coronavirus cases linked to any of our more than 70 boutique hotels in Palm Springs. 

Please know that the health and safety of guests who stay at our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels is — and always will be — our top priority. That’s why we are monitoring the latest news on the coronavirus, with our hearts going out to everyone affected.

Eventually, a road trip to Palm Springs may be a relaxing — and safer —alternative.

Once this passes and you feel confident traveling again, we hope you’ll consider Palm Springs for your first vacation destination. 

For those who are within driving distance — we’re looking at you, L.A., Phoenix, San Francisco, and Las Vegas — you can feel good about hitting the road and staying here in Palm Springs. All of our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels are intimate, with most having around a dozen or so rooms, meaning guests don’t have to fear large gatherings (in some cases, you might go all day without seeing a fellow traveler!). 

From check-in to check-out, our hoteliers ensure that our guests have the best possible experience. One way they do this is by providing a clean environment — rooms, dining areas, common spaces, and bathrooms undergo a diligent cleaning at least once a day, with heavily-trafficked portions receiving special attention.

For those who may still be a little concerned about dining out, several of our hotels also have in-room kitchenettes and outdoor grills where you can whip up your own meals.

Late spring is when Palm Springs hits its peak — the weather is great and the pools are at just the right temperature. It may be the perfect time to treat yourself to a relaxing getaway, tailored to your comfort. Explore our hotels — we know you’ll find one that’s a good fit. We’ve got your stay. 

As fall arrives and with winter approaching rapidly, one’s thoughts often turn to places in the sun. With an average of 269 days of sunlight every year, Palm Springs is a sound choice.

With a perfect combination of ambiance, amenities, and location, a wise choice to stay is Alcazar Palm Springs. This quiet, 34-room, secluded hotel is one block from the central artery into downtown Palm Springs. Yet, the beautiful grounds makes you feel as if you have arrived in Paradise.

Alcazar is part of local restaurateur and hotelier Tara Lazar’s F10 Creative, which focuses on developing and upholding sustainable methods of operation, maintaining genuinely happy and inspired team members, and creating unique and memorable moments for every guest.  The F in the corporate name stands for “fun, food, festivals, family, fashion and friends.” The 10 stands for 6+2+2 — their address 622 North Palm Canyon Drive.

Once you park in the spacious lot, you will see the impressive artistic gates, which give homage to the site, which was once known as the Pepper Tree Inn. These gates are large and display a local artist’s interpretation of the pepper trees once prevalent in the Palm Springs area.

When you walk through the archway to the registration desk, you immediately feel this is an extraordinary place. At the registration desk, you are graciously welcomed, offered drinks, and pastries as you take a breath and begin your time away from home.

Like a cathedral, the palo verde trees provide a canopy over this inviting space. The water screen helps provide the sense of serenity; and quickly calms any travel anxiety. At night, this area becomes a magical, communal space to enjoy the desert sky.

After you settle in, the saltwater pool beckons you to come for a swim. Lounge chairs and towels are readily available and provide the perfect accessories for you to relax after your drive or flight. As your drinks are served in the jacuzzi, you take a deep breath and realize you are now on vacation.

Hungry? No problem, you do not have to leave the premises nor take a shower and dress up. Just take the walkway to Cheeky’s. This restaurant is part of F10 with the same owners as the hotel. Farm-fresh ingredients are used to produce an ever-changing delectable breakfast and lunch menu. On weekends, you find locals waiting in line for late breakfast. Its bacon flight is a perennial favorite of tourists and locals alike.

With your car safely parked, you have access to free bicycles to start exploring Palm Springs. Each neighborhood has distinctive architectural and landscape, which makes any direction you take on our many clearly marked bike paths an exceptional experience. After each use, bicycles are thoroughly disinfected as part of Alcazar’s Covid-19 protocol.

After your bike ride, swim, and shower, it is time for dinner. Just a few steps from Cheeky’s is Birba, where the menu is seasonal and the ingredients perfectly fresh. This outdoor restaurant has a great story. The owner’s husband’s family is from Italy. When F10 decided to add another restaurant to its portfolio, he said, “I would like a restaurant where we could use my grandmother’s recipes.

The name, Birba, in Italian means “Little Rascal.” It was the name his grandmother called him when he grew up.  Reservations are recommended.

Robert Hunt has been the manager of this hotel since it became Alcazar in 2011. He has watched over every detail of its creation. When the cleanliness of even the courtyard chairs was mentioned, he replied, “I’m a little OCD about keeping this place immaculate, sometimes to the despair of my team.”

Eleven years is a long time for a hotel manager to be in one place; the obvious question was, “What has kept you here so long?” He said, with a broad smile, “We realize we have to change with time. I am a fortunate person to make creative suggestions, and once approved, I am the one to implement them. Besides, gesturing his hands to the beautifully serene courtyard, “Can you think of a better workplace than this?”

The Santiago Resort celebrated its 20th anniversary by undergoing a complete transformation, but its mission remains the same — to provide guests with outstanding service in a serene environment.

The Santiago first opened its doors in the 1990s, and came under new ownership in March 2015, when three partners purchased the hotel and set out to “redefine what a premier gay resort can be,” general manager Kent Taylor said. All 23 rooms have been completely upgraded in the Modern Ranchero style, with custom-designed furniture, luxurious linens, Saltillo tile, and FLOR carpet.

Outside, guests can lounge around the pool, which is the largest of any of the men’s gay resorts in Palm Springs, make their way through the tranquil gardens, and stop by the 24-hour cantina with complimentary beverages and snacks. As the resort is swimsuit-optional, there is a large hedge surrounding it, ensuring privacy for all guests.

The staff goes out of its way to make sure guests are comfortable and feel welcome, and they enjoy getting to meet a variety of people. “We have world travelers who have so much to say and so many interesting stories to tell,” Kent said. “I love that every single day is different. One would think it is the same thing over and over, but it’s quite the opposite — every day is a new experience, a new challenge, and new faces.”

The Wesley is all about the fun. From giant Jenga and Connect 4 to the splashworthy courtyard pool, guests make memories here that will last forever.

The Wesley is essentially a gated community, ensuring privacy

The Wesley is a mid-century modern micro resort, where the flats are fully-stocked and the pool is always the perfect temperature.

The property, managed by AvantStay, has nine flats, and each one has its own kitchenette, toaster, refrigerator, and microwave, with Flat 10 equipped with a full kitchen, complete with a stove top and oven. The flats range from studio to two-bedroom, two-bath, and most have gas grills and private patios with views of lush gardens.

Thought went into every aspect of the property. There are complimentary bikes and board games for guests to use, a common grill area, and fun activities around the beautiful pool and spa area, including giant Jenga and Connect 4 and corn hole.

“You feel really invited to just relax and unwind when you get there,” AvantStay Customer Experience Specialist Dylan Perese said. “There’s robe to pool appeal — literally you can wander out with your morning coffee and take a dip in the pool. It’s right there and completely available to you. It’s your pool, it’s your pool house.”

Guests rave about the low-key vibe and how private the property is — The Wesley is essentially a gated community, and in order to gain access to the grounds, guests must have a code to put into the lock pad, and another code to enter their room. There isn’t a front desk, which gets guests to their flats faster, but assistance from hotel staff is just a phone call or text away.

The hotel attracts guests from all over the world, as well as locals looking to have a staycation. “We see a lot of overseas guests, and it’s really exciting that they get to experience the magic of Palm Springs,” Perese said. The Wesley also offers buyouts — families can rent all of the flats for a reunion, while corporations can have their own private oasis for team building.

“That’s when people can really relax and unwind and stretch out on their own time,” Perese said. “This is a place for you to create memories.”

The Wesley is what you make it, Perese added, and they are always looking for ways to make the property “more spectacular.”

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.”