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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/

Neil Mehta was impressed as soon as he walked onto the grounds of the Hotel California.

The Hotel California is consistently voted as one of the top hotels in not just Palm Springs, but the entire country. That’s just one of the reasons why Neil purchased the 14-room hotel in January 2019.

“It has a really nice intimacy to it,” Neil says. “There are a lot of different areas where you can get away and be by yourself. If you want to have a cup of coffee and stare at the mountains, you can do it in two or three different spots upstairs. But if you want to be surrounded by other guests, you can go to the pool.”

Originally built in 1942, the Hotel California is decorated with Spanish charm. It has a private courtyard, heated pool, spa, poolside cooling misters, fire pits, barbecue patio, and secluded outdoor cigar lounge.

At the same time Neil bought the Hotel California, he also purchased the Desert Riviera Hotel. As it turns out, both hotels once had the same owner.

“That great customer service culture was implemented at the Hotel California and Desert Riviera by the same owner long ago, and they’ve done a great job upholding that standard of service,” he says.

The Hotel California has a loyal following, with guests coming back year after year. Neil is looking forward to interacting with visitors, and is “extremely excited about the prospect of not only continuing the legacy of the prior owners, but also trying to find areas where we can improve and make guests feel even more like family,”

Neil has spent the last 10 years doing real estate development, and also owns a residential real estate company in Orange County. In 2014, he bought his first hotel in Newport Beach, and fell in love with the hospitality industry. Neil feels “lucky and blessed” to now own both the Hotel California and Desert Riviera, and is looking forward to getting settled in town.

“I am a big fan of the city of Palm Springs and of the culture that has always embraced diversity,” he says. “I’m excited to be part of it, to grow our business, and to provide positive experiences for guests.”

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.'”

The Aloha Hotel embraces its vintage vibes. Built in 1947, this Tahquitz River Estates property has 11 poolside rooms containing original furniture and decor (don’t worry — the mattresses are new!).

The Aloha Hotel is a woman-owned property in the Tahquitz River Estates

A visit to the Aloha Hotel is a step back in time.

“People like the nostalgia of the 1950s, and we own it,” the hotel’s owner, Mona, said

Built in 1947, the property was purchased in 1971 by Mona’s mother, who previously owned the Four Trees Restaurant in Hollywood. She came to Palm Springs because it helped with her asthma, and ran the hotel for 40 years before Mona took over.

“I am so blessed to meet so many wonderful travelers,” she said. “The foreigners love it, and most feel like it’s home.”

The 11-room Aloha Hotel is the first property in the Tahquitz River Estates, and while the poolside suites are all restored with new beds, they contain the original 1950s furniture and decor. Several movies, music videos, and magazine spreads have been shot at the kitschy hotel, and when upgrades are available, especially mid-week, Mona gives them to guests, free of charge.

At one time, the hotel was called the Palo Verde Inn — the building once had a big “P” on it, and Mona found a vintage key and embroidered blanket with the name — but it was renamed the Aloha Hotel in order to be the first hotel in the phone book.

“Aloha means ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye,’ and everyone comes back, even 30 years later,” Mona said. “So, there are no goodbyes. Aloha, and mahalo!”

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.

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

March is one of the best times to visit Palm Springs. The weather is balmy, lots of flowers are in bloom, and activities abound.  Whatever your interest may be — hiking, biking, culture, art, shopping, history, entertainment, eating or drinking — there is so much going on.  Here are some ideas about what to do in Palm Springs in March.

Month of March:  Photographs from celebrated photographer, Michael Childers, will be featured in an exhibit titled “Rockin’ Hollywood,” which opens February 29 at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. The exhibit features portraits of such Hollywood greats as Elton John, Cher, John Travolta, Rod Stewart, and Ringo Starr and includes the fascinating history behind the celebrities portrayed.

March 4First Wednesday Art Walk at the Backstreet Art District, 2600 Cherokee Way, from 7 to 10 p.m. Art galleries and artists’ studios are open for art lovers to enjoy original art by local, national, and international artists. This is an amazing opportunity to interact with artists and to view their paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics and jewelry, while savoring refreshments and vibrant camaraderie.

 

March 5, 12, 19, 26: Palm Springs Villagefest is a street fair held every Thursday along Palm Canyon Drive (between Baristo and Amado roads) in downtown Palm Springs, 6 to 10 p.m. More than 180 vendors feature food, art, crafts, and entertainment. This is always a wonderful time for sampling some great food, mingling, and shopping.

March 6:  Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward will be speaking about his career and current issues. Woodward is best known for uncovering the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein in 1973. Celebrated for his investigative skills and fair, objective approach, Woodward should be a fascinating speaker. He will offer a knowledgeable perspective on what’s happening in politics today. Richards Center for the Arts, 2248 Ramon Road, 7:30 to 9:30. Tickets $30 to $150 can be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/palm-springs-speaks-presents-bob-woodward-tickets-67044334409

March 7 & 8; March 21 & 22:  Desert Art Festival will be held at Frances Stevens Park, 555 N. Palm Canyon Drive, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Artists present their works in all media for visitors to view and purchase. This beautiful setting in Uptown Palm Springs is an idyllic spot for a leisurely weekend stroll. Admission is free.

March 7Wildflower 5K Fun Run/Walk at the Civic Center, 43900 San Pablo, Palm Desert. This is a family friendly event with strollers and dogs welcomed. Registration opens at 7 a.m. and RSVPs are required. Registration fee is $30 and includes a t-shirt. RSVP at https://www.desertmountains.org/calendar/2020wf-5k-ccpark

March 9-11:  Max Von Essen is performing at the Annenberg Theatre at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, 6 p.m.  Max has won many awards, including a Grammy.  He has starred in the Lincoln Center’s revival of Falsettos and has appeared in Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Les Miserables. This should be a truly inspiring and entertaining performance. To purchase tickets, go to the Annenberg website (link above).

March 11:  Let’s Talk: Walk a Mile in My Shoes. Anthony Purnel, a member of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, discusses the many challenges he faced during his inspiring 132-day hike from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail. Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 East Baristo Road, 6 p.m. $10 for members of the Cultural Center and $20 for non-members.

March 13-15; March 20-22: How to Survive an Apocalypse is a surprisingly delightful romantic comedy (despite the title) about a young, stylish couple who are convinced that their chic, partying lifestyle is coming to an end. They become hoarders and hunters and learn a lot about their relationship. At the Palm Springs Woman’s Club, 314 S. Cahuilla Rd. Tickets available via website (link above).

March 7, 14, 21 & 28:  The Certified Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning at the Palm Springs Cultural Center, 2300 Baristo Road, from 8 to 12:30. This bustling outdoor market features a seasonal variety of fresh food products, craft items, and chef demonstrations.

March 27:  Palm Springs Community Drum Circle. This unique, inspiring experience is led by sound healer, Scott Meredith, and held at the Gallery at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon Drive, downtown Palm Springs. Free event.

March 29: Slim Man Rat Pack Big Band Show.  Award-winning jazz vocalist, Slim Man, leads a 17-piece big band with favorite songs from the 60s, recreating the era of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bobby Darin and Nat King Cole. At the Annenberg Theatre at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, 5-8 p.m. Tickets available at  www.slimman.com

Also keep in mind that the Palm Springs Historical Society offers a wide variety of walking and biking tours throughout March, such as tours focusing on such topics as Architecture & Glamour, Rat Pack Playground, Frank Sinatra’s Neighborhood, Modernist Treasures, Uptown Design District and many more. To see what is available and sign up, go to the society’s website (link above).

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.

By Mary Farah

Valentine’s Day road trip, anyone? I’m that person who is a sucker for Valentine’s Day. While long gone are the days of exchanging “Be Mine” valentines, I love the chance to get away with my husband. With the pressure of the winter holidays behind us, Palm Springs is an ideal weekend destination for us as we’re under two hours from home in Los Angeles.

Get an Aerial view of Palm Springs 

One of the beauties of a drive out to Palm Springs is hitting the road mid-morning (hit that snooze button one more time) yet arriving in town by the afternoon. A terrific first stop is to the world’s largest rotating tramcar at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Ascend almost three miles to a gorgeous alpine forest and take in the spectacular views of Mt. San Jacinto State Park as you enjoy an intimate lunch at their Forest View Restaurant, or cocktails at the Lookout Lounge. If you and your honey prefer to get down and dirty with a hike, enjoy over 50 miles of trails.

Check in to ARRIVE

For a unique hotel that’s both modern and personable, look no further than ARRIVE. A 21 and over Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel, ARRIVE is not your usual hotel. Check-in is at the pool bar, guests can reach the concierge via text, and their pool offers a lively atmosphere often with DJ’s or movie nights.

Best part? On-site at ARRIVE is Wexler’s Deli, a marvelous diner that made it tempting to stay at the hotel and chill on our patio with their smoked meat dishes; Cartel Coffee Lab, making it extremely easy to roll out of bed and get that first cup of caffeine; Draughtsman, an incredible BBQ house that will make you drool and last but not least, Ice Cream and Shop(pe).

With such an impressive option of meals and light bites, it’s no surprise why we love it at ARRIVE.

Other romantic retreat boutique hotels in Palm Springs include:

La Maison: Consistently voted one of the most romantic hotels in the country by TripAdvisor, the beautifully intimate La Maison is a dream getaway.

Dive:  This 11-room resort conjures the timeless style of St. Tropez with its elegant rooms and lush grounds.

La Serena Villas: Originally built in 1933, this romantically historic hotel sits on over an acre of beautiful landscaped grounds in the heart of downtown Palm Springs.

Ingleside Inn offers a special Valentine’s Day brunch and a decadent 3-course dinner menu crafted with love, including live music.

Enjoy a Night “on the town” at the Palm Springs Art Museum

Not only does the Palm Springs Art Museum display a diversity of beautiful art, but also Cabaret and Broadway performances at their Annenberg Theatre. Just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend, enjoy an evening with Broadway performer, Tony Yazbeck. Best known for his Astaire Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated role in On the Town, Yazbeck will be bringing his suave dance moves and smooth vocals to the museum on February 15th, an ideal evening for theatre lovers like myself.

More Evening Fun

Consider Mr. Lyon’s Steakhouse for a cozy meal for two at a candle-lit table, and don’t miss Seymour’s, their speakeasy, open nightly for an expertly crafted cocktail. If you love a great Old Hollywood atmosphere, head on over to the Purple Room. The urban legend is this is the club where an RCA executive first signed Frank Sinatra and the boys to conceive the Rat Pack. Owner of the Purple Room, Michael Holmes, never keeps it dull with weekly performances on stage at the restaurant as Judy Garland and Old Blue Eyes himself.

Where will Valentine’s Day take you in Palm Springs?