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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

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.

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).

Start the new year off with some fun events in Palm Springs!

Backstreet Art District

Artwalk at the Backstreet Art District     1/1

On the first Wednesday of each month, the galleries of the Backstreet Art District in South Palm Springs open their doors for an evening of art, community, refreshments and fun.  https://backstreetartdistrict.com/

 

Palm Springs International Film Festival

Palm Springs International Film Festival     1/2 – 1/13

The Palm Springs International Film Festival is one of the largest film festivals in North America, held annually during the first week of January. The event kicks off with the Film Awards Gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center, featuring the presentation of awards to top stars in the previous year’s best films. Throughout the week, hundreds of film screenings are held throughout the city, including domestic and foreign films, along with educational talks and panels. https://www.psfilmfest.org/

 

Palm Springs Vintage Market

Palm Springs Vintage Market     1/5

The monthly Palm Springs Vintage Market is held at the Palm Springs Cultural Center on the first Sunday of the month from October through May, featuring vintage furniture, art, decorative items, clothing, jewelry and more from local and national vendors, as well as delicious food and live entertainment. http://www.palmspringsvintagemarket.com

 

Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway house

Elvis Birthday Celebration     1/11

The Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway House, where Elvis and Priscilla Presley spent their honeymoon in 1967, is hosting a special Elvis birthday celebration show, featuring acclaimed impersonator George Thomas. The event begins with a tour of the property, followed by a live performance. https://elvisinpalmsprings.com/tours/

 

Red Carpet Run

PSIFF Red Carpet Run     1/11

The Palm Springs International Film Festival Red Carpet Run includes both a 5K and 10K run/walk, beginning and ending on the red carpet and following a route that includes former Palm Springs homes of iconic Hollywood stars. Participants don gowns, tuxes and other festive attire during this fun and crazy race, and finishers are presented with their own Oscar trophies. https://organizations.hakuapp.com/organizations/3221744e287a6441c1dd/events/562099c3caa8cadca357

 

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Let’s Talk Speakers Series – The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow    1/23

Learn about one of the desert’s most treasured landmarks, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, during this informative and entertaining talk at the Palm Springs Cultural Center. Greg Purdy, the tram’s VP of Marketing and Public Affairs, and Cara Youngman, Public Relations Manager, will explore the visionaries who conceived of the tram, the people behind its design and construction, its importance to Palm Springs today, and plans for the future.

https://pshistoricalsociety.org/products/lets-talk-the-palm-springs-aerial-tramway-yesterday-today-and-tomorrow

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?”

If you thought Palm Springs becomes a ghost town during the summer, think again.

Picture relaxing evenings poolside, dinners, and parties with your friends, watching the sun go down behind our rugged mountains. Wouldn’t you like to be assured you’ll have sun during your vacation, not rain? 

Packing a suitcase for Palm Springs

Here’s the good news: Let’s say you took a chance and bought a plane ticket that only allows a carry-on bag. You’ll be just fine, as your clothing needs will be minimal during a summer visit. 

Palm Springs residents pride themselves on hip, colorful, casual dressing, even when going to the grocery or hardware store. Nothing fancy, just bright and comfortable. A suggestion: Go through your closet and pull out the most colorful summer clothes you own. Many people like to wear black on airplanes — I learned long ago that spills don’t show up on black tops — but once you land in Palm Springs, it’s likely the last time you’ll be dressed this way during your stay.

Yes, gentlemen, you can pull out the Hawaiian shirts languishing in the far corner of your closet. Palm Springs residents seek out vintage Hawaiian shirts, so you can be assured you’re in style no matter when you acquired them. 

Clothes waiting to be packed. Photo credit: elCarito on Unsplash

Shorts, dresses, or slacks?

It is a matter of choice. However, after living here for eight years, I have concluded that flowing, loose dresses are more comfortable, since they can catch the occasional summer breeze that unexpectedly surfaces. Leave the polyester ones behind; you want a fabric that breathes. 

The summer attire for men in Palm Springs is shorts. Yes, they can be colorful. Again, it’s time for you to break out of your conservative attire. Let loose here. You will blend in instead of sticking out in the crowd. 

Evening attire

It depends on what activity you are doing after the sun sets. Poolside, anything goes, so don’t stress. 

You may have already learned that making reservations for most restaurants is necessary, even in the middle of summer. Palm Springs is known for its varied cuisine, and Coachella Valley residents are also vying for reservations in some of our more popular restaurants. 

Ladies, the evening allows you to bring out a special dress, which might include rhinestones or some sparkle. You should bring along a shawl, since some restaurants crank up their air conditioning.

Gentlemen, here are a few guidelines for you: At some of our high-profile restaurants, like Melvyn’s at the Ingleside Inn, slacks and a shirt with a collar are required. Ties, however, are not, although if you decide to don one with a jacket, you certainly will fit into the setting. (I know, a double standard.) Women can wear dress sandals, but no sandals for men; sorry, they don’t want to see your toes. 

You’ll want to grab a drink or two at Melvyn’s bar. Photo courtesy of Ingleside Inn

Give caftans a chance

You may be surprised by the number of colorful caftans you see in our valley. Designers Sheri Johnson, Aneka Brown, and Trina Turk have helped make caftans — loose, draped garments — a staple in the wardrobes of both Palm Springs men and women. During your vacation, you might want to find a caftan to try on and see how freeing it feels to wear one. (I checked — both men and women can wear a caftan to Melvyn’s. Sorry, fellas, they still don’t want you to wear sandals with it, so closed-toed shoes need to stay on your packing list.)

Two places where you might need warmer clothes

If you’ve never been up to the San Jacinto Mountains via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, you’ll want to schedule this experience. Make sure you get tickets in advance. 

Keep in mind, the tram drops you off at 8,516 feet, and the temperature can be up to 40 degrees cooler than the desert floor. More than one person has spent time shivering up there because no one told them to take an extra layer of clothes. 

The nearby mountain town of Idyllwild is another spot for a wonderful day trip. Known for its artistic influences, Idyllwild can also be cooler than you anticipated, so an extra layer just in case is recommended. 

Don’t leave home without these items

Sunscreen should be foremost on your list. Our sun in the summer can be pretty intense — even in the morning, the rays are bouncing off your skin. Quick reminder: Be sure to put sunscreen on your ears.

Your eyes will be happy you bought those new, chic designer sunglasses — glasses coupled with a hat will help protect you on your adventures. 

If you don’t have a reusable water bottle, you’ll have many opportunities to purchase one at attractions across Palm Springs. Because of the heat, carrying a water bottle with you at all times is a must. 

If you plan on spending any time in a pool or spa, throw a bathing suit in your suitcase — or two, for good measure.

Palm Springs is open for business, and we look forward to you exploring our community. Book a reservation at one of our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels as soon as your vacation dates are set, and get started planning your adventure.

All packed and ready to go. Photo credit: brianamatopoeia

“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!

Orbit In to the Palm Springs modern vibe and leave your worries behind as you lounge in luxurious mid-century style. Breathtaking mountain views, cruiser bikes, and cocktails, all served up at a small boutique hotel where vintage modernism meets the 21st century. Click here to read more about this fabulous property.

Chaps Inn caters to the gay leather and bear communities

The Chaps Inn offers comfort and relaxation in a secluded environment.

Stuart and Ian have owned the resort for almost 20 years, coming to Palm Springs from the UK.

“We had nothing to do with the hotel business at all, we just went straight in cold turkey,” Ian said. “We woke up one morning and thought, ‘Now what?’ It’s been a very good experience.”

The Chaps Inn is a 10-room clothing-optional gay resort, with a saltwater pool and spa. Most rooms have kitchens or kitchenettes, some have private patios, and the hotel is within walking distance of downtown Palm Springs. It caters to the leather and bear communities, and sees a lot of return guests.

“They always tell us what a wonderful time they’ve had, and that they will be back,” Ian said.

When they purchased the property, it was a straight resort and not clothing optional, but Stuart and Ian quickly picked up a client base through word of mouth. The couple enjoys getting to meet their new guests and greet return ones, and they don’t mind when the temperature soars.

“The weather is fabulous,” Ian said. “We’re both from England, so we absolutely love the heat.”

“We’re not interested in being the most expensive resort in Palm Springs, but we are interested in being the nicest.” — INNdulge owner Jon Jackson

Warm Sands is a beautiful Palm Springs neighborhood with sprawling estates, their edges lined with walls of perfectly-manicured, oversized hedges requesting you respect their privacy. You often don’t know what’s behind them — is it one of the many private homes, or is it one of the many men’s clothing-optional resorts? There’s a lot of bush going on there, it’s hard to tell.  

On that alone, INNdulge stands out. 

From the classy stone marquee on the tip of the property and generous parking spaces, to the rainbow flag waving above the mid-century modern structure of steel and tinted glass that screams “I’m a hotel lobby,” the INNdulge resort is out and proud on the street.

But that’s only a perk if you are directionally impaired. What really makes INNdulge stand out is what’s through the door. 

It’s entirely unexpected: A lobby that is the definition of minimalist, with a teak desk that’s functional art on marble tile flooring. Where there aren’t floor to ceiling windows, there is art. Gorgeous art. 

The INNdulge lobby. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

Off the lobby is a retro bistro table next to an open wall of glass that lets the outside in, and that outside is so mid-century perfect that your mind’s eye can see Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter soaking up the rays on the lip of the pool, or maybe Cary Grant and Randolph Scott cheekily cavorting in the water. 

It all has a sophisticated playfulness to it, something you’ll find sprinkled throughout the rest of the property. It’s one of the benefits of having an owner who has an intense passion for visual mediums. 

Speaking of playfulness, it’s hard to miss the two large statues flanking the pool, both with very large Flintstone-esque feet. 

This statue keeps watch over INNdulge. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

“It’s by an artist named Mavis McClure,” INNdulge owner Jon Jackson tells me, clearly as fascinated with the artist as he is the art. “We met her when she was a professor at Berkeley. She does both male and female figures with oversized hands and feet. She did these at Berkeley; the models were two cousins from Italy that were exchange students.”

Most of the art is by gay artists, but Jackson doesn’t discriminate. If he loves it, he buys it.

Unexpected art is scattered across the entire property, and every suite is not only clad in the mid-century modern aesthetic, but each has their own original paintings. 

A room at INNdulge. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

Another thing that sets INNdulge apart from other men’s resorts is that with 31 rooms, it lands in the mid-sized category. At this particular resort, more people equals more fun, which is one of the reasons INNdulge has an 80 percent guest return rate.

“Everything is designed around the pool in such a way to encourage people to meet, and every evening we have a social hour,” Jackson explains. “It’s BYOB because of the California liquor licenses. But we do it to encourage people to foster conversation and friendships. That’s why people come back.”

Most of the suites are poolside, with only about 10 of them away from the pool, and those have quieter patios in case you’re looking to have a cup of coffee away from the bustle.

Poolside views. Photo courtesy of INNdulge

Speaking of coffee, INNdulge lays out a couple of fabulous spreads for breakfast. Yogurt, berries, croissants, ham and cheese, and of course juice, coffee, and tea.  

There’s a lot to do in Palm Springs, and Jackson has found that first-time visitors often book themselves with activities every minute of every day, from modernism tours to tennis lessons. 

“When they come back the second time, it’s just to hang out by the pool,” Jackson says. “Of course, they go out to dinner, but they sort of get in this vibe. I don’t claim that, it’s not INNdulge’s vibe, it’s the Palm Springs vibe. And we try to recreate that here.”

And nothing says Palm Springs like a soak in a 12-man whirlpool spa that is open 24/7, so if you can’t sleep and think some friendly bubbles might soothe you, just hop on in. The water’s the perfect temperature, and the desertscape at night is breathtaking.

“We do a major remodel of something every single year primarily for our repeat clients,” Jackson says. “We do that because they come to expect what they know — this is the best value in the desert.”

The INNdulge grounds. Photo courtesy of INNdulge