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You woke up in Palm Springs — what a great way to start the day! You may be wondering, what kind of things are there to do other than shop, eat, and soak up the rays poolside at my wonderful boutique resort? 

Tons, people, tons! And these are all outdoors so you can enjoy the spectacular weather. Here are some suggestions, ranked in order of how much energy you’re willing to part with.

I’ve got about an eighth of a tank

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
This could belong in every category depending on what you choose — the red pill or … nah, no pills involved, except perhaps Dramamine; the gondola can sway a titch. For the ‘not too active,’ shop in the gift store, ride the gondola up, have lunch, check out the views, ride the gondola back. For the very active, get a list of the trails and stick around. If you do some planning before you go, you can hike just about anywhere. But that’s for a very aggressive day, which I hear some people like. You need a full tank and a generator for those.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Downtown Park
By the Palm Springs Art Museum. Peep the Marilyn statue, the babies, the car, and snap some very cool photo ops. Highly Instagram worthy.

Sunnylands
Bird walks and outdoor films. Truly gorgeous grounds.

Palm Springs POWER baseball
Not a lotto game, but our baseball team. Games start in June. Wear a hat.

Living Desert
It’s a beautiful zoo — the animals are well cared for, and you can feed the giraffes. FYI: They’re not walking around willy-nilly and you feed them a leaf in passing, during supervised feeding times. Sorry if I crushed any dreams.

The Living Desert. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Red Jeep Desert Tours
Take a ride in a Jeep and go see things. They’ve got plenty of options.

Path of the Bighorn (self-tour of bighorn sheep sculptures)
Scattered all over the Coachella Valley are 33 bighorn sheep sculptures. The Peninsular desert bighorn is an endangered species, and the Path of the Bighorn gives visitors the opportunity to appreciate incredible art and the beauty of the animal. I haven’t seen an IG story about them yet, so someone get on that.

A bighorn sheep in the wilds of Palm Springs. Photo credit: Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels

Hot Air Balloon Rides in Indio
Is it romantic, is it thrilling, or will it scare the birthmark off of you? You decide. But the Coachella Valley is spectacular from the sky.

Skywatcher star tours
State-of-the-art telescopes give you views of the cosmos, while “experienced guides weave together the myths and legends behind each constellation,” Skywatcher’s website states. These tours combine “breathtaking views and awe-inspiring astronomy with the heroes, lovers, and tragic figures from cultures around the world.” Also, they’re pretty.

The Dinosaurs Exhibit
Artist Ricardo Breceda’s public art installation Jurassic World consists of 11 life-sized dinosaurs, complete with name tags (one’s name is Steve, he’s a T-Rex. Okay, that’s just what I call him). This one is courtesy of Museum of Ancient Wonders and Cathedral City. Brecada also has sculptures in Borrego Springs.

I’ve got at least a half a tank

Boomers
Fun for all ages: Go-karts, three mini-golf courses, batting cages, bumper boats, arcade games, and a rock wall. I went here for my birthday one year and I’m an overgrown adult.

Bucket of balls
At Indian Canyons Golf Course. They’re like $8, and after you’re done, you can have a cocktail at the full bar and eat a tasty lunch in the clubhouse. And the grounds are stunning.

Palm Springs Historical Society walking and biking tours
So many to choose from! Put on some comfy shoes, pick your decade, and giddy-up.

Full tank and four-wheel drive

Smoke Tree Stables
Probably should have saved the giddy-up for this sentence. Instead, I’ll tell you that there are three ride options, but one is on hold. Prices per person are $80-$200, depending on your choice. Closed Wednesdays and Thursdays.

If you’re enjoying riding one of the bikes provided by your hotel and want to go exploring, then check out the City of Palm Springs bicycle routes map.

Guests at Talavera Palm Springs can use these bikes to tool around town. Photo credit: Talavera Palm Springs

Bring your balls

In bold are the sporty things you can do at our local parks.

DeMuth Park
4200 E Mesquite Ave., in Demuth Community Center
Colorful playground, four lit tennis courts, baseball fields, and a youth center.

Ruth Hardy Park
700 Tamarisk Rd.
This 22-acre park features tennis, basketball and sand volleyball courts, plus picnic tables and grills.

Sunrise Park
480 S Sunrise Way
Basketball court, baseball field, picnic tables, grills, drinking fountains, restroom facilities, and play structures, including water-squirting turtles. Also here: Library Center, Swim Center, Palm Springs Stadium, and Palm Springs Skate Park.

Baristo Park
296 S Calle Encilia
Local two-acre park with play equipment, a basketball court, picnic tables, and grills.

You’re not my mom. No, I’m not, but I care. So wear sunscreen, always have water on hand, and drink it (rinse, repeat). Also, throw a few snacks in the backpack. No one likes a hangry hiker. Especially not the (ridiculously handsome) EMTs who have to rescue your sorry tush because you didn’t hydrate.

If you think about it, tag us in your photos. We love seeing your adventures, and with your permission and photo credit, we’d love to share them here if that’s cool with you. 

Speaking of cool, no — you are.

It’s that time of year, when Palm Springs throws The Dinah — the biggest, baddest lesbian party in the world. 

Running from Sept. 20-24, The Dinah will be held at the big hotels, and if you like being in the thick of it 24/7, then read no further. If you’d prefer your own getaway from the getaway, then I have some suggestions. If you’re coming in a group, I have ideas for that, too.

Palm Springs boutique hotels for groups

The Marley is a hotel with one rule: you gotta rent the whole place. From their website: “The Marley isn’t like all the other Palm Springs boutique hotels. In fact, it isn’t like any other boutique hotel. After all, we designed it to fit the exact needs of one unique group of guests at a time. So you and your friends can relax like Hollywood royalty — in total privacy.”

Women use floats in the pool at The Marley in Palm Springs

Hang out with the whole gang at The Marley. Photo courtesy of The Marley

The Three Ten Hotel, recently renovated and remodeled, is a mid-century modern property that’s rented out to just one group at a time. The gated hotel’s seven rooms are all brightly decorated and have queen-sized beds, kitchenettes, full bathrooms, and patios. There is also an arcade/game room and washer and dryer on the property, and all bedrooms have a view of the sparkling central pool. On top of all that, there’s a firepit, barbecue and outdoor dining space, lounge chairs, hot tub, and a hammock, surrounded by lovely desert landscaping. No on-site staff.

The living room space with a couch and arcade game at The Three Ten Hotel in Palm Springs

The Three Ten Hotel has an arcade in the common room. Photo courtesy of The Three Ten Hotel

Limón Palm Springs is a one-group-at-a-time property, and its “celebration specialists” will help with everything from reserving transportation and golf tee-times to hiring a gourmet chef to make a delicious meal onsite. Upon arrival, guests are greeted with a charcuterie board featuring locally-sourced ingredients, plus chilled bottles of prosecco and sparkling rosé.

A colorful bedroom at Limon Palm Springs with patterned wallpaper and a bed with a yellow blanket

One of the colorful bedrooms at Limón Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Limón Palm Springs

Blackhaus is a truly unique space. Just look at it! I’m not going to say any more — I just urge you to look for yourself.

An aerial view of Blackhaus hotel in Palm Springs

Four separate buildings make up Blackhaus. Photo courtesy of Blackhaus

There are other places to stay, and ostensibly do a buyout. I’ve done the sorting for you — just go here.

More cool places to stay during The Dinah

Dive! Stunning hotel, marvelous pool, and exceptionally well-curated rooms. There’s also a soundproof after-hours room, so you can continue the party well into the morning.

A gilded elevator cage that has been converted into a bed frame at Dive Palm Springs

The Paris Suite at Dive showcases a 1919 brass and copper elevator cage. Photo courtesy of Dive Palm Springs

Drift, one of our newest hotels, is located downtown and has a plethora of social events. It’s a stunning hotel, just steps away from everything.

The pool at Drift Palm Springs surrounded by lounge chairs with the hotel's building in the background

The poolside views at Drift are delightful. Photo courtesy of Drift Palm Springs

Villa Royale is a 38-room hotel in the south end of Palm Springs. Built in 1947, it was owned and managed by a woman named Evelyn Pell. You can stay in her namesake villa, a private residence with its own hot tub and garden.

A chair and fireplace in a room at Villa Royale Palm Springs that has a tile wall and hanging picture of Debbie Harry

The Villa Royale is known for its stylish and art-filled rooms. Photo courtesy of Villa Royale

Old Ranch Inn  is done in a western style, and damn it is gorgeous! The eight-suite, dog-friendly property is completely walled and gated for your privacy. It’s centered around the pool, which is heated to a perfect 88 degrees. Old Ranch Inn is an intimate hideaway to call your very own, and as a bonus, it’s located one block west of Palm Canyon, making downtown your playground.

The pool at Old Ranch Inn with blue chairs around it

The pool is always 88 degrees at Old Ranch Inn. Photo courtesy of Old Ranch Inn

There are so many more Palm Springs boutique hotels, in so many different styles, that it’ll blow your mind. Visit the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website to find the place that will boost your Dinah experience.

Have fun!

Tune in on Saturday, April 8 at 4 p.m. PT for the latest episode of “Palm Springs Sunshine Stays,” the show that’s all about things to do and see in Palm Springs.

In this episode, “Spring in Sunny Palm Springs,” Big Blend Radio’s Lisa Smith and Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels’ Kimberli Munkres will chat about April events in Palm Springs, the new Frisky Business Cat Cafe and Boozehounds restaurant, and the five “gayest” drinks in Palm Springs, as chosen by PSPSH blogger Gregory Douglass.

Palm Springs Sunshine Stays is a partnership between Big Blend and PSPSH, with new shows premiering on the second Saturday of the month. Guests include Palm Springs hoteliers, restauranteurs, and business owners who share their insights on Palm Springs and tips and tricks on how travelers can make the most out of their visits to this vibrant city.

There are several ways to listen to Palm Springs Sunshine Stays, including via YouTube, the Big Blend Radio website, and SoundCloud.

With summer officially in full swing, hospitality staff at Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels are turning their attention to pampering visitors from all over the world. 

The pools are cool, the nights are warm, and everyone is languid. Yes, it’s hot, but hey, midday, head to the museums, the top of the mountain on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (where it’s always 30 degrees cooler and the views are breathtaking), or hit the air-conditioned stores and galleries to take advantage of their sizzling summer sales. Most Palm Springs restaurants remain open — however, they may adjust their hours, so be sure to check their websites. 

The sooner you book your stay, the better. For the past couple of summers, Palm Springs’ small boutique hotels, many with a vibe to fit your travel style, have been busy. That said, you can save some serious money and time by booking directly with a boutique hotel inside of going through a third-party travel platform. Plus, you’ll have a much better experience in general.

“Small hotels have distinct personalities. That’s one of the things that makes them special,” says Michael Green, owner of the Triangle Inn Palm Springs. “So if you want to stay at one, go direct. You’ll get the best sense of the hotel itself.”

Here are six reasons you should book directly with a boutique hotel or resort:

1. Room choice

Many of Palm Springs’ small hotels and resorts (those with no more than 50 rooms) have been remodeled, often resulting in new additions, removal of walls to make larger suites, and a carefully-curated environment to enhance the guest experience. 

Third-party booking companies are given a block of tickets to sell in a particular area of the hotel, with no knowledge of where rooms may be located or details on the hotel’s total environment. 

“Room choices are often ‘run of house’ with third parties, as opposed to the guest booking directly with the hotel and locking in their room,” explains Sarah Martinez, general manager of Azure Sky, a new luxury boutique hotel in Palm Springs. Green concurs, saying, “Booking platforms generally only get a select piece of inventory from hotels, and especially from small hotels — maybe just one room type — so for the full picture, it’s always better to talk to the hotel directly.”

Sarah Martinez, general manager of Azure Sky.

2. Accountability 

We’ve all been there. You booked a flight through one of the discount sites, and it gets delayed due to weather, there’s a schedule change, or you have a family emergency. You need to contact someone for help, and that’s when the epic nightmare of a time sink begins.

After a long wait on the phone, the airline says they can’t help because you booked through a third party, so you must call them. The person who answers does not understand the situation or doesn’t have the authority to make changes and says there is no way they can help. You push for a higher manager, and the saga continues. The same scenario can happen when you use a third party to book hotel reservations.

“Because third-party reservations lock us out of any changes or adjustments, it’s easier to adjust a reservation that has been booked directly,” says Kent Taylor, general manager at Descanso Resort.

3. Flexibility 

The text arrives: Aunt Mable decides she wants to come along on the trip after all. Great — you have a built-in babysitter! — but now there aren’t enough beds for everyone.

“If you booked directly with the hotel, it’s super easy to call it and modify your reservation … perhaps to a suite or whatever accommodation hotel management suggests. Flexibility is number one,” Martinez says. “Once a guest books a room through a third party, the hotel cannot make changes to the reservation and the guest has to deal with the third party directly. It created a middleman which can lead to frustration because it may appear the hotel is not helpful.”

Taylor agrees, saying, “We try very hard to be as flexible as possible. There are so many unforeseen situations in our world these days, the last thing anyone needs is more complications while just trying to take a vacation.”

4. Packages and special deals

Especially during the summer, when making a reservation with a hotel, ask if there are any packages available. Palm Springs is a very close-knit community, and often attractions work with hotels to offer guests special rates for the abundance of things to experience. 

“Many hotels offer perks to those who book directly, such as upgrades or cancellations without penalties,” one hotelier revealed. “But it’s usually on a case-by-case basis, so you’ll never find them on one of the third-party booking platforms.” Martinez is more blunt, declaring, “Hotels offer various deals and packages not found on third-party sites.”

5. Pricing 

Being a responsible traveler and planner, you are probably accustomed to checking out third-party websites. Always a good idea, but do not stop there. Once you have selected the hotel that appears to meet your needs, check out their website and call the number listed. Be ready with your accommodation needs and ask them for their advice and the price. If it appears the price is higher than you found online, tell them — they would rather give you the discount than pay the third party a fee. 

According to Martinez, hotels will often price match, except when the third party is directly undercutting the hotel or is packaging the room with other sales, such as airfare or car rentals.

“We prefer direct bookings to reduce the commission cost of 18 percent from the OTAs (other travel agencies),” says Robert Hunt, general manager of Alcazar Palm Springs. This alsoallows the front desk agent to discuss the type of room that best fits the guest’s needs, since we have 10 different room types available on the property.”

Plus, sometimes a “deal” from an OTA or booking platform really isn’t. Taylor shares this cautionary tale: “I had a small group call about booking a specific weekend with several rooms. After giving them the information they needed, they decided to all book themselves on the website. Everyone but one booked directly with the hotel. One member of the group booked with a specific website that offers a portion of a free hotel night, if a certain number of rooms are booked in the year. The one guest who booked with that third-party website was paying approximately $25 more a night than everyone else in his group. I was shocked to see it! He was paying in advance for his ‘free night’ … and then some.”

“Some OTAs use tricky, misleading tactics to make it appear the guest rate is lower than the hotel,” Martinez warns. “The initial average room rate can sometimes look less expensive but as the guest books, there are large fees added to the booking and the guest is not actually paying a lower rate.”

Kent Taylor, general manager of Descanso Resort

6. Book direct and make better memories

The special touch offered by front desk agents at Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels will make your stay more memorable.

“The very nature of a third-party booking website removes the personal touch,” Taylor says. “We take many reservations over the phone and people ask a variety of questions that inform their vacation on the whole. Where can we go for our special dinner? Is there a gym close by? Do you serve vegan yogurt at breakfast? Only someone helping you at the hotel will know the answers to these types of questions. It is like having a direct connect to a local for help in creating the best vacation you can have.”

Pro tips to remember:

If you book your hotel directly and need to make a change, they can help you do so with one short phone call.

A direct relationship with the hotel gives you a lot more flexibility because they are in the hospitality business, not the booking business.

When you speak to an employee at a boutique hotel, they can answer your questions about the property, unlike third-party agents who are not familiar with the offerings.

Some booking platforms make it look like you’re getting a lower price, but they tack on hefty fees at the end, increasing the final total.

“I need to disappear, escape for a little bit / Take a trip to Palm Springs if you’re into it.”Mistel Marie, “Palm Springs”

It’s hot and getting hotter in Palm Springs, and unless you’re a Bedouin, it’s a bit too too for outdoor adventures. How do desert rats even exist?

I’d love to tell you, thanks for asking.

We stay in and around the pool with snacks and (adult) beverages close at hand. We wear sun bonnets (we don’t) and sunscreen (we should). Our rosé is always chilled, beer mugs frosty, tequila iced, and our martinis are shaken, not stirred. The only thing missing is someone to do all the cooking, cleaning, and bartending.

And that’s where these resorts enter our three-part (!) story.

They all have gorgeous pools, and some have massage services, but they all have a restaurant or food options so you never have to leave. No cooking and cleaning for you, my friend. You are completely carefree to don swimwear all day, and work on your tan and alcohol intake in a place that is far, far away from the madding crowd, in the enchanting city called Palm Springs.

In this part, I’ll introduce you to the larger boutique resorts that have full restaurants.

Alcazar Palm Springs. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

Alcazar Palm Springs — Featured in Food & Wine, the Los Angeles Times, and Travel+Leisure, Alcazar has 34 suites and is located in the Uptown Design District. The rooms are modern and sleek, featuring Italian linens, flat screen televisions, fireplaces, and your choice of poolside or private patios. In addition to their immaculate attention to detail, Alcazar offers WiFi, coffee, espresso, tea, juice, daily fresh pastries, and Townie bikes for exploring the neighborhood.

It is also attached to two of the best restaurants in Palm Springs, Cheeky’s and Birba. Although they don’t do room service, there is a passageway from the resort to both restaurants so you can stay as cool as you are.

The Cole Hotel. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

The Cole Hotel — In the same neighborhood is one of the more affordable resorts in Palm Springs: The Cole. It’s a 30-room resort with three different floor plans — the Cole King, Cole Suite, and Pool Suite, plus the 600-square-foot Honeymoon Suite, complete with a private balcony. There’s also a nice, swimmable pool where they have 21+ pool parties. The Cole recently welcomed Freddie’s Kitchen, conceived by Chef Frederic, who has a long history in French cuisine in Southern California and was once chef de cuisine for Joël Robuchon — the chef and restaurateur named “Chef of the Century’ by the guide Gault Millau and awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France.

Alas, they do not serve breakfast, but they do open at noon and snacks and drinks are available poolside until 9 p.m. Dinner starts at 5 p.m.

The Ingleside Inn. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

The Ingleside Inn — Classic Palm Springs, old school vibe, and another very swimmable pool. The Ingleside Inn was built in the 1920s, and transformed into an invitation-only private club by Ruth Hardy (check out her park), where notables Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, and Marlon Brando stayed; Carole Lombard and Clark Gable honeymooned there.

Since then, the property has become open to the general public, but they’ve kept the Hollywood glam intact, including their restaurant, Melvyn’s, a favorite of Frank Sinatra. He was particularly fond of their Steak Diane.

This resort has 30 rooms and is situated on two acres of land, closer to the south end of Palm Springs on Belardo, and is still a home away from home for many celebrities. The Casablanca Lounge has a piano player nightly, and you never know who might sit in — anyone from Neil Sedaka (“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do”) to James Marsden (Enchanted and Dead To Me) to local favorites.

Poolside at La Serena Villas. Photo credit: La Serena Villas

La Serena Villas — Here’s another resort that has it all. It’s located in downtown Palm Springs, but well off the beaten path. They have the Whispers Spa that is for guests staying at La Serena Villas, the Del Marcos, and The Three Fifty Hotel only, so you can be pretty certain you’ll get the services you want, when you want them.

Also, it has a terrific restaurant called Azucar that is open to the public, so you can invite your friends to join you for dinner then invite them back to your suite for a nightcap on your private patio, or take it to the big, gorgeous pool.

The entrance to Smoke Tree Ranch. Photo credit: Smoke Tree Ranch

Smoke Tree Ranch — I have a friend who grew up in Palm Springs, and this is one place she’s never been and really, really wants to go. It’s that exclusive.

Located at the base of the mountains, the views from each of the 49 cottages are stunning. Sunrises and sunsets are actual events you won’t want to miss when you’re staying here. Some of the amenities include: flatscreen televisions, wet bars, refrigerators, coffee makers, cozy down pillows, deluxe down comforters and blankets, luxurious bathrooms with separate tubs and showers, plantation shutters, telephones with voicemail (!), private patios, and WiFi. Most cottages also have carports and wood-burning fireplaces.

Activities? Swimming, soaking, horseback riding, spa services, horseshoes, pickleball, tennis, golf, volleyball, basketball, croquet. And they have babysitting services.

The restaurant is old school; it has a dress code, so that’s kinda fun. Dress in your best summer designer fashion, and enjoy the poshness of it all while dining on the best Chef Tony Marks can cook up, including lobster and the finest steaks he can procure.

And get this — cottages are traditionally sold with three full meals per day in the Ranch House Dining Room. The meal plan begins with dinner on the day of check in, followed by breakfast and lunch the following day, and includes all gratuities.

But wait, there’s more! Coming up next week: a guide to the restaurants and bars at Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels that have no more than 30 rooms.

February is full of fun happenings in Palm Springs!

Tour de Palm Springs    2/7 – 2/8

The Tour de Palm Springs cycling event is back for its 22nd year, raising money for nonprofit organizations in the Coachella Valley. The event includes food, drinks and live entertainment for participants as they cycle through the city of Palm Springs.

https://tourdepalmsprings.com/

Modernism Week   2/13 – 2/23

The annual Modernism Week in Palm Springs celebrates midcentury modern architecture and design with hundreds of individual events held during an 11-day period, including architectural tours, educational lectures and films, nightly parties, the Modernism Show & Sale at the Palm Springs Convention Center and more.

http://www.modernismweek.com

Art Palm Springs  2/13 – 2/17

The Art Palm Springs art fair, held at the Palm Springs Convention Center, brings together galleries from throughout the US and abroad, showcasing post-war and contemporary art.

https://www.art-palmsprings.com/

Palm Springs Air Museum Gala 2/21

This year’s Palm Springs Air Museum annual gala event will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, featuring celebrity guest and master of ceremony Joe Mantegna, with musical entertainment by Frankie Avalon with Matt Mauser and the Pete Jacobs Big Band.

https://palmspringsairmuseum.org/gala/

A Curated Collection 2/22 – 2/23

Vintage fashion lovers won’t want to miss the A Curated Collection event, happening at Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs. Dealers from across the country will present high end vintage clothing, shoes, jewelry and other accessories.

http://acuratedcollection.com/

“There are three good reasons to be a teacher — June, July, and August.” — Unknown

It’s June, and that means it’s National Accordion Awareness Month. If you’re not familiar with an accordion, it sounds like someone attached a keyboard to a bagpipe and powered it with a leaf blower. At least it did when I played it.

So, I’m here to tell you how to avoid them in the wilds of Palm Springs, all bona fide events/locations almost surely accordion-free zones. That’s right, I care about you. So, read on, my friends. I’ve got you.

June 1: Rock The Park free concert featuring Mirage, a Fleetwood Mac cover band. They do not, to my knowledge, have accordions in any Fleetwood Mac track, so you’re safe. Go downtown before the concert and explore; maybe figure out where you want to have dinner, make a reservation for later, then head on back by Marilyn to rock out. After the concert, go back to said restaurant and you’ll skip all the lines. (Why yes, I have been called an evil genius before. Thank you.)

June 2: Fresh off a sold-out Vegas run, TikTok sensation Broadway Barbara is playing Oscar’s. If you know you know. (And that’s the only time I have ever “known” when someone uses that phrase. I don’t get it, but I know how to use it. Which means I’m evolving.)

June 3-12 is Greater Palm Springs Restaurant Week. This is the week when you can try all of the delicious cuisine Palm Springs has to offer on the cheap. Check out the participating restaurants at the link above. (Highest risk of an accordion, but if you avoid Italian and Hungarian, you should be safe. However, then you’ll be missing out on great Italian and Hungarian food, so…your call.)

June 10-12: Splash House is back. You can get tickets here. (The lack of accordions is astounding.)

Courtesy of Splash House

PS Cultural Center

Sundays: Keisha D — One of the best set of pipes in Palm Springs.

Mondays: Mon Petite Salon

Tuesdays: Leanna & Jazz Collective

Upcoming movie events: Mostly camp, often sing-a-longs, and generally a good old blast from the past. Just recently they did John Waters’ Serial Mom, the epitome of classic campy fun.

PS Underground Creativity with zero flaws. Shows sell out in a hot Palm Springs second, so find your level of fun and get’er booked.

June 3-11: Starstruck (part of Restaurant Week)

June 12: Dirty Bingo

June 24: Game Show

June 26: Ovation Brunch

The Purple Room — World class acts and local phenoms. Always an eclectic mix of music in this great Rat Pack location. Note: The Purple Room is closed for the summer starting June 24.

Tuesdays: Rose Mallett

Wednesdays: Charles Herrera, Michael Holmes & Darci Daniels

Thursdays: Sharon Sills

June 3 and 4: Billy Stritch — Cy Coleman Revisted

June 10 and 11: John Lloyd Young

June 17: Jeff Harnar

June 18: Jonathan Karrant

June 24: Kevin Tokarz, Danny Flahive and Andy Fraga — Three of the desert’s finest musicians playing all the music. This is listed as The Purple Room’s season finale, but the website offers one more…

June 25: Elvis the Early Years w/Scot Bruce

Note: The Judy Show is on hiatus while Michael is recovering from a pretty serious medical issue. That’s also probably why they’re closing up a little early this year. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to more Judy next season!

Courtesy of The Purple Room

The Alibi had shows all through May, and have not announced anything for June. If they do, you’ll find it at the link above. It’s a great indie music spot, and I’m giving this one an accordion warning on account of those crazy indie artist kidz.

Copa — It’s not your Barry Manilow version. This one has drag shows and late night dancing. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only (unless a private party).

AsiaSF is still having dinner shows. The food is good and the show is splashy.

We’ve got one theater company that’s still giving us all the entertainment through the summer months, and that’s Desert Rose Playhouse, the only Alphabet Mafia theater in Palm Springs. Every show is a celebration, whether it’s a stage show, comedy show, or musical review. It’s in the space that once housed Zelda’s nightclub, and of course there’s a bar, silly. If you’re in town early June, go see their double-header: Sex, and The Drag. Both written by Mae West, and both with a very naughty history. Always good — sometimes risqué — fun.

Courtesy of Desert Rose Playhouse

Open mic: Neuro Center on Wednesdays with Joel Baker — This is on Alejo, and a few major streets east. However, if you love singing with a real live piano player, Joel’s the guy. Local performers stop by and sing, so if you’re resting your vocal cords, you can enjoy an impromptu show — if you’re not, join in. Bring your accordion! (Kidding, leave that packed in the garage.)

Don’t forget to shop and stay local! And let’s meet back here again next month, k?

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

Let’s take a journey through time and explore some of Palm Springs’ colorful LGBTQ+ history. Palm Springs is known for its stunning landscapes, modernist architecture, and a thriving LGBTQ+ scene that has played a significant role in shaping the city’s unique identity. It has long been a welcoming space for the LGBTQ+ community, with notable celebrities like Rock Hudson, Liberace, and Tab Hunter among the many who sought refuge in the desert.

Palm Springs’ LGBTQ+ history is both fascinating and inspiring, providing insight into the progress made in the fight for equal rights and recognition, and the LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert is a treasure trove of invaluable information dedicated to preserving and celebrating the stories, memories, and experiences of the community. The LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert makes this history accessible to the public through its extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and documents that paint a vivid picture of LGBTQ+ life in the Coachella Valley.

An exhibition by the LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert. Photo courtesy of the LGBTQ+ History & Archives

One of the key events highlighted by the archives is the city’s first Gay Pride Parade in 1986, a significant milestone that showcased the solidarity and resilience of the community. Another pivotal point in Palm Springs’ LGBTQ+ history was the election of Ron Oden, the city’s first openly gay Black mayor, in 2003. This momentous occasion represented a significant step forward in fostering a more inclusive and diverse city.

Today, the LGBTQ+ community continues to thrive in Palm Springs, with numerous events, organizations, and businesses catering to the diverse needs and interests of its members. The annual Palm Springs Pride is a shining example, attracting thousands of visitors from around the world to celebrate love, acceptance, and unity. Just recently, Greater Palm Springs Pride declared Palm Springs a Drag Sanctuary City at the Drag4Drag rally in Palm Springs. The organization is taking a stand against current anti-drag legislation and anti-LGBTQ+ extremism and supporting artistic expression and advocacy, and as a result, the 2023 Pride Week theme will be “Drag Now. Drag Forever.”

What’s more, Palm Springs Mayor Grace Garner and councilmembers Jeffrey Bernstein and Ron deHarte proclaimed April 18 as Drag Celebration Day to honor the city’s vibrant and economically important drag community.

The LGBTQ+ History & Archives of the Desert regularly hosts exhibits, such as “The Power of Story: How Local Media Put Gay Palm Springs on the Map,” as well as events, including a number of “Sharing Our Desert’s LGBTQ+ History” gatherings. Future plans include specialized exhibits, digitalization of various collections, and an LGBTQ+ segment along the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

Staying at one of Palm Springs’ iconic boutique hotels allows you to delve deeper into the city’s rich LGBTQ+ history while enjoying an authentic piece of Palm Springs history experience yourself. Many of these hotels are also members of the Desert Gay Tourism Guild (DGTG), ensuring that your stay is both welcoming and supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. 

So, whether you’re a history enthusiast, an LGBTQ+ ally, or simply looking for a memorable vacation, Palm Springs and its boutique hotels are sure to exceed your expectations. There’s truly no place like Palm Springs for vacationers seeking a unique and fun-filled getaway, with a perfect blend of sunshine, culture, and history. 

“I always say, shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist.” — Tammy Faye Bakker Messner

People tend to think of Palm Springs as a place to go and relax by the pool with a cocktail, and it totally is — however, when you leave the luxury of your small boutique hotel, adventures in shopping await.

Don’t believe me? Tammy Faye Bakker Messner and her scandal-of-an-ex-husband had two homes in Palm Springs, one of them in Movie Colony. According to the Los Angeles Times, she was well known for her frequent shopping sprees in the posh clothing and jewelry stores of Palm Springs. That was back in the mid- to late-1980s. Imagine how much it’s grown since then? (You don’t have to — I’m going to tell you!)

These days we have the very visible The Block, an amalgamation of high-end stores from Tahquitz to Museum Way (here’s a great little map of the area). If you’re looking for a distinctive gift to make friends and family feel special, you need to shop outside of the big box. So, let’s venture across the street from the commerciality of the big brands and take a leisurely doggie paddle toward the treasure trove of unique boutiques teeming with the panache of our friendly shop owners who will add an extra dash of holiday cheer to your day. 

They are always available to help you find that perfect gift, or that perfect outfit that puts a big fat smile on your face. (Browsing is perfectly fine, too.) There are a LOT of local retailers, and it’s hard to list every one, so I’ve done a bit of pre-sorting for you with a few links that can get you to the right stores for the category in which you’re looking to purchase. 

Clothing and Accessories Stores

Gifts, Accessories, Collectibles

Specialty Food and Wine

Pets

Art, Galleries, and Supplies 

Collage by Kay Kudukis

If you’re into finding shops on your own, the best tip I can offer is to make sure you duck down into the side streets and a few little alleyways that have their own enclave, like the shops around the corner from men’s store Frank Clothier and celebrity favorite Crystal Fantasy.

We also have a toffee shop, Brandini’s, near the historic Plaza Theater. They have a terrific story and out-of-this-world toffee creations. Absolutely worth the calories.

Along the way are coffeehouses galore, and delightful lunch spots where you can meet or regroup with friends, or if you’re a lone wolf, relax in a sunny spot and plan the rest of your shopping spree. 

Collage by Kay Kudukis

There’s also the Corridor, just north of Alejo on Palm Canyon Drive. It’s a great place to grab a coffee or a bite to eat, enjoy the artwork, then do a little side shopping at Jill’s and Absolutely Fabulous.

Speaking of fabulous, check out the uptown Design District at Palm Canyon Galleria. It’s chock full of vintage high-end wares and home furnishings and many carry numerous mid-century and vintage items. Get a load of Bon Vivant with its vintage glass and jewelry, Froelick Gallery, and more. Inventory has included Blenko glass, vintage Tiffany jewelry, Bakelite pieces, Murano and Ikebana vases, Marbro lamps, Raymor pottery, a Bjorn Windblad porcelain bowl, and pieces by Palm Springs artists. Regular hours are Thursday through Monday. 

If you’re into vintage jewelry and have a few hundred Hamiltons to spend, try Gallerie24, local designer Carlos King’s boutique (by appointment only). On Indian Canyon are a few cool spots, specifically the Mojave Trading Post, where local crafters have their own mini-shops with wondrous things. And because Palm Springs is associated with retro and vintage items, here is a nice little list of all things antique-y:

Home Furnishings and More

Antique Galleries of Palm Springs
505 Industrial Pl.

Sunny Dunes Antique Mall
507 E Sunny Dunes Rd.

Little Shop of Treasures
616 E Sunny Dunes Rd.

Aida’s Antiques
401 Industrial Pl. S

Victoria’s Attic Antique Mall
798 N Palm Canyon Dr.

a La MOD INC
886 N Palm Canyon Dr.

Porter & Plunk
3500 E Tachevah Dr. Ste. H

Vintage Clothing

Iconic Atomic
1103 N Palm Canyon Dr.

Mitchells Palm Springs
106 S Indian Canyon Dr.

The Frippery
664 N Palm Canyon Dr. 

Vintage PS Gal
798 N. Palm Canyon Dr. #VPSG

That’s it for me this year. Hope to see you at one of our cool resorts or walking down our festive streets — I’ll be the one in the mask. Cheers to 2022!