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With its tropical courtyard and mature palms, BelleVue Oasis is a hidden paradise in Palm Springs.

A mid-century modern property dating back to the 1950s, BelleVue Oasis officially opened for business in September 2019. Formerly Escape Resort, it is no longer a men’s clothing-optional hotel.

Located in Tahquitz River Estates, the 13-room, 21-and-over hotel has undergone some renovations and updates, including to the bathrooms. It has a retro yet modern feel, with pops of orange and turquoise standing out against the clean white walls and linens. The rooms come with kitchens or kitchenettes, plus furnished patios that let guests enjoy the sunshine.

The lush grounds are what inspired the hotel’s new name, with senior hotel manager Charles Zalepeski saying once you walk onto the property, “it’s kind of shocking, you don’t expect it to be as beautiful and as big as it is. The pool is beautiful, and the mountain views are ridiculous.”

The San Jacinto Mountains are visible across the grounds, but are most spectacular when spotted from the spacious and sparkling pool and invigorating jacuzzi. There are loungers and umbrellas surrounding the pool, offering shade during the day. Once guests are ready to explore the town, they won’t have to go far — places like the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium and Palm Springs Art Museum are just a short walk or drive away.

Location, location, location!

For those that love modernism, Old Las Palmas politely screams “I am quintessential Palm Springs.” Stretching west from Palm Canyon to the San Jacinto Mountains, the neighborhood is rich in history and real estate — many starchitects built here, and all aesthetics are represented, from the House of Tomorrow to Swiss Miss homes and everything in between and beyond. 

The roads wind into the mountains and are as dramatic as the homes once owned by Liberace, Dinah Shore, and Kirk Douglas (to name-drop a few), as well as the opulent sprawling estates commissioned by the studio bosses of yore. There’s even a mini-Hearst castle in the mix.

To get there, turn off Palm Canyon onto Via Las Palmas, a quiet residential street, where you immediately feel like you’re in another world. The stores and businesses melt away and the road splits in two (very Robert Frost). If you choose wisely, you’ll go left where a well-lit cobblestoned path bordered by desertscape grasses leads the way to an elegant white-bricked, mid-century modern hotel with giant palm trees and a copse of plumeria on either side of the bright orange door. You are now entering The Weekend, the only boutique hotel in Old Las Palmas. 

Welcome to The Weekend Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

Once inside, the sparkling water from the rectangular pool dances in the sunlight, and it’s so stunning it takes a minute to notice that your surroundings are just as sleek and modern as the entrance. All white apart from the 10 orange doors that pop against the exotic green foliage, each suite faces that picture-perfect pool, with the sleeping quarters in the back (open the sliding doors to get to the private patio). We should emphasize: this is not a party hotel, this is a peaceful and luxe respite from the humdrum of the everyday, exhibiting clean lines and the simple elegance of modernism. 

Suites have their own private patios. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

Formerly Las Palmas Gardens Luxury Apartments, and purportedly once owned by gossip queen Rona Barrett, the property was built in 1964 and advertised sunken tubs, private patios, and two-bedrooms digs. 

When hotelier Mark Hermann purchased the property in 2016, he made some major design decisions. Sunken tubs were replaced with roomy rain showers, and he took down the wall and cabinets separating the kitchen/dining areas from the living room, creating an open concept living space. Hermann honored the rich mid-century history of Palm Springs with bold color, artwork, and brickwork in the new great room. 

Although modernism is the epitome of style over comfort, Hermann managed to accomplish both — sophisticated yet supremely sittable furniture, and thick luxurious mattresses to snuggle into at night. Amenities spill over into the bathrooms with Frette towels and robes, and L’Occitane bath products.

The living rooms are perfect for lounging. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

The kitchen has everything except fire – a.k.a. a stove or oven, but honestly there are so many great restaurants you’ll want to try, who needs or wants to cook? You’re on vacation. Besides, there’s a microwave and a big old bowl for popcorn, plenty of room in the fridge for beverages and salads, lots of storage for snacks, dinnerware/cutlery, bottle openers (of course), and a Keurig coffee maker.

Because of its aesthetic and the uniqueness of the property, The Weekend is a favorite of international travelers looking for an authentic mid-century modern Palm Springs experience. Couples traveling together enjoy the two-bedroom options, while those looking for a romantic getaway love the peace and quiet of the one-bedroom suites.

A comfortable bedroom at The Weekend. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

Keyless check-ins make for easy ins and outs, and there are wonderful options for libations and food on Palm Canyon, all with great provenance. Copley’s restaurant is on the old Cary Grant estate, Eight4Nine Restaurant was once the Palm Springs post office, and Ernst Coffee and Bootlegger Tiki are in the old Don the Beachcomber’s space. Also, the shopping along Palm Canyon has some kick-ass vintage resale stores. Looking for high-end boutiques, and the thrum of downtown? Tahquitz is about a 15-minute walk. 

If you’re in the mood for a nice stroll, the House of Tomorrow (a.k.a. Elvis’ Honeymoon Hideaway) is about 10 minutes from your door, and there is an unexpected connection. Barrett (who is still with us at 86) also owned a home right next to the House of Tomorrow where Elvis and Priscilla planned to wed. Knowing she’d make it a circus, Elvis contacted Frank Sinatra, who sent a limo to pick them up and under the cover of night, he whisked them off on his private plane to Las Vegas where, for better or worse, they exchanged their vows. 

Although that relationship was complicated, The Weekend is not. If you’re a fan of uncompromising elegance in the mid-century modern aesthetic, The Weekend is the perfect choice.

The Weekend is a fabulous escape, Monday through Sunday. Photo courtesy of The Weekend

If you like to plan ahead, keep an eye open for PSPSH’s summer offers. The hottest deals can be found with mid-week and long stays with new ones offers added regularly.  There’s no better way to beat coastal May Gray or June Gloom than a trip to Palm Springs, where the days are hot, the nights are cool, and the hotels are a cut above special.

“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.

Oh my goodness, October’s weather was exceptional, and it’s just going to be better in November. Unlike the majority of the United States, November in Palm Springs brings bright, bright, bright sunshiny days. Everyone is riding bicycles and walking because it’s just too gorgeous to be inside a car. The nights are cooler, but can also get a tad chilly, so make sure to pack a light jacket or sweater just in case. I don’t want you to catch cold — we’ve had enough catching things!

Of course, Pride is this month. The parade is on November 7, but there are tons of activities the week leading up to it. Really hope you booked earlier in the year, but if not there may still be some openings at our boutique hotels and resorts, so scurry on over to Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels to see what’s still available. Good luck!

And now, in no particular order, November’s events and happenings:

Courtesy of Hunters

Hunters is taking their entertainment, literally, to the sky. Airotic Soirée is a brand-new sensual burlesque-style circus cabaret combining the best of burlesque, cirque-style entertainment, and astounding acrobatics. Shows are scheduled every Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. through the end of the year. It’s gonna be so hot you can leave your sweater at home.

The Best Shows in Town

Purple Room — Sunday is The Judy Show! Squee!

Melvyn’s at Ingleside Inn   Sunday Jams are back. $10. Make a reservation…it’s a hot ticket.

PS Underground — Rouge, Ami Kumar, Dirty Bingo, Cavern, and Bacon are the shows and dinners scheduled for November. A big congratulations to owners Michael and Dave who, after 25 years together, tied the knot. Mazel!

Oscar’s — Great Pride lineup: Bruce Vilanch and Poppy Champlin, Priscilla Presley, and more.

Toucans Tiki Lounge — Everything is dragtastic!

Cascade Lounge at Agua Caliente Casino Palm Springs has Jazzville, Latin nights, and comedy all month.

Keep your eye on Copa Nightclub. I hear Lipstick may be returning this month, along with Jason Weber in his 5:30 to 7:30 show Thursdays, replacing Mod Squad (which had replaced Jason Weber!). We’re hoping Mod Squad finds a new home…it’s a great show!

November 19 to 21: SoCal 356 Club’s Palm To Pines road trip for those with the need to…never mind, it’s a leisurely trip, no speed necessary.

Courtesy of Palm Springs Air Museum

For those with a need to speed, purchase a ticket for a warbird experience at Palm Springs Air Museum, where you get to ride in the warbird of your choice! Follow it up with the F-117 Stealth Fighter Experience in late November. This is your chance to see an F-117 Stealth Fighter #-833 up close and personal at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Each day will feature a 90-minute speaker engagement to enlighten the crowd on the historic aircraft. Purchase your tickets in advance from their website as space is limited. Note: these fighters are not usually on display.

Theater

November 4 to 21: Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Desert Rose Playhouse. I’ve got my tickets!

Tuesdays at 7 p.m.: Electricity at Oscar’s – I’ve see this two-man play, and it’s very good.

November 7 at Chill Bar: Jennifer Holiday — the original Dreamgirl. 

For car lovers: The 25th annual McCormick’s Palm Springs Exotic Car Auction on November 20, 21, and 22 will feature over 500 classic, exotic, sporty and high-end cars. Admission is free all day Friday; Saturday and Sunday are pay days.

Palm Springs Cultural Center

November 18: Get dressed in your best circus costume and head over to the Greatest Showman interactive event. Join us for cocktails at 6 p.m., with the DJ spinning the hits at 7 p.m. (We will DANCE!) Theater doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the singalong starting at 8 p.m.

November 19: Martinis and Moxie, a musical salute to Sinatra with special guests…some of whom had first-hand experience with the Chairman himself.

Photo credit: Lani Garfield

Pride

Above photo by Palm Springs resident Lani Garfield

Learn more about Palm Springs’ rich gay history, and the origins of Pride, here.

Have questions about this year’s big event? The official website has all the answers.

Some stand out events include:

November 5: Coming Out Celebration – A Night of a Hundred Stars

November 6: Skater Girlz Jam presented by Lesbo Expo. Cool event featuring women skateboarders with some great talent. 5 to 7 p.m. at PS Skate Park.

Third Eye Blind, Jody Watley, and A Flock of Seagulls are among the performers who will hit the stage at Pride — this great article from Palm Springs Life has the details.

All indoor venues require a vaccination card or a recent negative COVID-19 test, so be prepared and be safe. A mask is like a condom — it helps contain the spread of disease. And because life is a bit weird in a mask, it may help prevent pregnancy, too.

See ya in December!

Not only does Palm Springs beckon one to come to visit for its countless sunshine days, but there is also a new reason to plan your vacation to this increasingly hip town. At least once a week, contemporary public art is being unveiled.

Palm Springs is quiet and has crispness in the air as one ventures out to get a cup of coffee on Palm Canyon at our downtown Starbucks. Clamoring for your attention is the PS I Love Letters, with its brilliant red color glistens in the filtered sunlight through the palm trees. It’s the perfect place to take an Instagramable photo.

Nona Watson, CEO of Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce, conceived the artwork. She enlisted the design talents of Maru Palmersheim, and Palm Spring Canyon Print and Grit Development provided the space.

(This particular morning, a family of three was standing near the sign. The little girl was having fun frolicking around the sign, so we thought she would be the perfect model. The mother later sent us an email requesting a copy of the photo. She is pianist Jeewon Park.)

Unity, a mural with Inaugural Poet Amanda Gorman’s portrait, graces one of the “art pit” walls at the corner of Belardo Road and Museum Way.  This temporary art installation will be there through December 2021.

MisterAlex, a Los Angeles-based artist, depicted Amanda surrounded by butterflies. “During my research of Amanda, I discovered she overcame a speech impediment. In addition, during her young life, she dedicated her many hours of hard work to bring people together; thus, I chose Unity for the theme.”

The Fault Line Meditation

Curator and artist, Jevpic considers himself a fortunate man. During the pandemic, he received his largest commission ever. While digging in the “art pit” to create this art installation, many local people supported him. They picked up shovels and helped him develop his vision, which looks entirely different during the day than it does at night.

In Jevpic words, “The path in the shape of the San Andres Fault is a metaphor for the faults we encounter in our life. Faults have existed before us and will be after us. Just learn, grow and move on.”

Guadalajara Artist Gonzalo Lebrija‘s temporary creation, History of Suspended, is directly in front of the Palm Springs Art Museum. The Palm Springs Art Commission worked with the museum to prepare the space and erect the art installation referred to as “A Moment for the Impossible.”

Lebrija wants to encourage thought “suspension of the passage of time – focusing on the precise moment of stillness and impact. This installation encourages one to walk around and even visit at different times of the day. The reflection in the pool also calls one to reflect on the time and space around them.

MIDABI, a Palm Springs artist who has his art in front of the Desert Center Art Center, now came up with another relevant sign. WOW on Indian Canyon Drive, near Andreas, cannot help but make you smile.  When is the last time you saw art that says, “Wow?”

His metal, esoteric sculptures are created using his thought process:  a. Always be a student b. Have a heart of a child and c. Remember you are a human being first and foremost before any other identity.

Popsicles is a temporary art installation near Townie Bagels on Sunny Dunes by Salina, California artist John Cerney. John is known as the “cutout artist” for his larger-than-life creations along California and Midwest highways. This a great place to capture selfies for your social media.

John started as a portrait artist, then began drawing. He noticed barren walls and old barns with expansive walls and convinced owners murals would enhance their spaces. The next step was designing a way for more people to see his figures. At first, he made the life size, but they realized they were not big enough for people to see as they whizzed by on the highways. Thus, these plywood cutouts are now bigger than life.

Besides a vibrate art scene, retail shops are thriving, and new restaurants are popping up everywhere. If you haven’t been to Palm Springs, you are sure to see lots of changes, including constructing the 1.5 acres of new City Park being built steps away from the Palm Springs Art Museum.

So find your stay, maybe even take advantage of a summer special and make your reservation today.

One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced during this ongoing pandemic is gathering our families in a safe setting. So here is a great idea. When we are allowed to safely travel again, why not consider bringing your family to one of the lovely small boutique hotels in the Palm Springs?

Recently, representatives from several of these hotels shared their experiences and thoughts with me about planning gatherings of families and close friends.

Many of these hotels encourage guests to buy out the entire hotel. There are many advantages to a buyout, such as knowing you are with a familiar group (your own “bubble”) while not interacting with strangers. You can also relax with confidence knowing that the hotels have taken all kinds of protective measures so that your stay is safe. At the same time, you can enjoy the beautiful Palm Springs setting.

Since the start of the pandemic, Dive (playfully decorated in a St. Tropez style) has hosted more than a dozen gatherings of families and close friends. Like many small hotels, it is well designed to accommodate small groups. Guests can enjoy spacious outdoor gardens, pools, multiple lounging areas, and fountains spread across a half-acre lot, making socially distancing easy and comfortable. Dive, which has 11 rooms, welcomes small groups, but if you need more than five rooms, the hotel requires a full buyout, which means you would have exclusive access to the property and a dedicated staff for support.

The Weekend, a small, mid-century modern hotel, where I have stayed and which I love, has ten deluxe suites, most with two bedrooms and two baths, along with living rooms, kitchens, and patios.  During the pandemic, the owners prefer that the entire hotel be bought out so you will not encounter other guests besides your family members.

One advantage at The Weekend and most other small boutique hotels is there are no hallways or elevators and the rooms open directly to the pool so there are plenty of opportunities for social distancing.

Both Hotel El Cid and The Marley (sister hotels) are private boutique hotels that rent to only one group at a time so they are perfect for families or close friends. They are also lovingly decorated and totally luxurious. The Marley has nine bedrooms and El Cid has seven bedrooms.  Both hotels are completely walled and gated for total privacy. Each hotel has full kitchens that allow guests to cook for themselves or groups can bring in professional chefs

Dining options are varied but ample at most of the small hotels. The Weekend delivers a lavish continental breakfast to each suite every morning. Their suites have a kitchen (no stove) with a full-sized refrigerator, ice maker, and four-seat dining room table. At Dive, two amazing chefs are available to support whatever dining needs guests have. In addition, each guest receives a complimentary organic breakfast each morning. During the current Covid situation, all food and drinks are served in single-use containers to ensure guests’ safety.

The safety and well-being of guests are the top priorities at the PSPSH hotels. Each hotel has enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures in place. All staff members are equipped with proper PPE — sanitizers, gloves, and masks. At The Weekend, staff members have daily temperature checks.  At all the hotels, guests are asked to wear masks coming and going from the hotel and to socially distance while relaxing at poolside. Outside visitors are not allowed.

So many of us have been mostly confined to our own homes for the last many months and, if you are like me, you are chomping at the bit to get out and start traveling again. Staying at a small boutique hotel is an ideal way to reconnect with close family members and friends while enjoying a luxurious setting in a fabulous location. Even if you live close to Palm Springs, you will feel as if you have really gotten away. Just go to the PSPSH website to find out when hotels are open and then you can explore the many enticing options for small groups in Palm Springs.

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.

Without a doubt, Christmas in Palm Springs is bright and gay in a variety of ways. And variety is the spice of life, non?

The mornings yield a crisp temp of the low 40s, while the days are sunny and warm, in the 70s — light sweater weather. The spirit and spirits flow freely here, and if you’re not into the boozy side, there are a bunch of fun, family-oriented things to do. There are also some events that are not — family oriented, that is. Read on for all of the naughty and nice awaiting you in Palm Springs’ bright, open, and welcoming arms.

Courtesy of Palm Springs Air Museum

Palm Springs Air Museum Events

Santa Fly-In and Winter Light Show
Dec. 18-22, 6 p.m.

Each evening Santa Claus will arrive at the Air Museum in his helicopter to greet all the good little girls and boys who have come to see him. In addition to sitting for photographs and having a special gift for each child, Santa will open the museum to reveal a Christmas light spectacular for children young and old to enjoy. Details on cost per car or person TBD. 

Men Of The Desert Fashion Show & Luncheon
Dec. 5, 11 a.m.

Now in its 12th year, the Men of the Desert Fashion Show and Luncheon brings together dudes, dogs, and designer duds at the Palm Springs Air Museum. This fashionable event is held in conjunction with Animal Samaritans.

Desert Air
Dec. 10-11

Desert Air, a 21+ event that requires ID and vaccination card, debuts a dance weekend getaway under the desert sky – hosting two intimate days of world class underground dance music amongst the historic aircrafts of the Palm Springs Air Museum. No parking is available at the venue – a shuttle pass is highly encouraged for the best and easiest way to get to and from the Air Museum.

The Air Museum still has their warbird rides, too.

Miscellaneous Fun

Desert Tasty Tours
Available for most of December — check out their calendar for dates

This three hour, $85 walking tour of downtown Palm Springs features food tastings along the way. As Desert Tasty Tours puts it, “Eating your way through the tour is just one of the tasty ingredients — add a dash of history, a cup of culture, and a dollop of famous resident name dropping, and you get a delicious day of fun!” Open to guests 13 and older.

Drink, Dance, and Dine
Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, 4 p.m.

Enjoy professional and educational performances and community dance lessons, plus hang out with the dancers at Persimmon Bistro & Wine Bar and under the sky in the gorgeous Meyerman Sculpture Garden. Presented by Nickerson-Rossi Dance.

Greentank and Friendly Farms Hall of Flowers (Cannabis Event)
Dec. 8, 5 to 9 p.m.

Eat, drink and vape your way through three specially crafted pairings that will take your tastebuds on a journey into the future of cannabis consumption. This event at Flannery Exchange features special flower sponsor guests Ball Family Farms and Humboldt’s Finest and special guest chef Jonathan Leiva from Oakland. This is a NO SMOKING event. All activations provided will be vapor only.

The Palm Springs Art Museum offers complimentary museum admission from 5 to 7 p.m. during Free Thursdays — be sure to make a reservation online ahead of time

Tours

Red Jeep Tours

Palm Springs Tram

Windmilll Tours

Dinner Theater/Shows (food is involved, okay?)

Oscar’s presents Gunhild Carling
Dec. 3 and 4

This was a HUGE hit last time around.

Purple Room
Dec. 3 and 4
The Skivvies — Say It Ain’t Snow
This troupe of entertainers dazzle with their alt-cabaret, new burlesque show.

Dec. 5,12, and 19
Judy’s Old Fashioned Christmas
Dinner starts at 5 p.m., followed by the show at 7.

Dec. 17 and 18
Diane Schuur

Courtesy of PS Underground

PS Underground

There’s so much going on — first we have Spy on Dec. 4, followed by Gospel Brunch on Dec. 5; Holiday Havoc (the elves have taken over!) on Dec. 11; Sounds of the Season on Dec. 12; Sparkle (international holiday traditions) on Dec. 17; and Rouge (1920s Speakeasy) on Dec. 30.

Theater/Movies

Palm Springs Cultural Center

Classic musical movies on the big screen again. 

Dec. 4: Victor/Victoria

Dec. 18: Best Little Whorehouse In Texas

Dec. 25: White Christmas

Palm Canyon Theater 

The Sound of Music

Dec. 3, 10, 11, 17, 18 at 8 p.m.

Dec. 5, 12, 19 at 2 p.m.

Dec. 9, 16 at 7 p.m.

Holiday Sparkle Christmas pageant

Dec. 15

Desert Rose Playhouse

Christmas With The Crawfords
Dec. 9, 16, 23 at 7 p.m.
Dec. 10, 11 17, 18, 24 at 8 p.m.
Dec 12, 19, 26 at 2 p.m.

We find Ms. (Joan) Crawford prepping for her infamous 1940s Christmas Eve radio broadcast, with Christina and Christopher in tow. The show is a 90-minute parade of famous movie stars dropping by unannounced to sing, dance, and generally toss each other around. You know the gang: Hedda Hopper, Ann Miller, Baby Jane Hudson, Judy Garland, Gloria Swanson, Ethel Merman, Carmen Miranda, Mae West. and even the Andrew Sisters.

Brian Justin Crum Holiday in the Desert
Dec. 3 and 4
Brian Justin Crum is an American singer and actor from San Diego. In 2016, he came to national attention competing on the 11th season of America’s Got Talent, taking fourth place.

The Nutcracker, presented by CK Dance Company
Dec. 21 and 22
CK Dance, Palm Springs’ award-winning dance company, returns to the beautiful Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum for its 25th Anniversary performances of the quintessential holiday ballet The Nutcracker.

Music

Jazzville Wednesdays — see calendar for information on shows

Oscar’s — lots of fun recurring events

Martinis and Moxie – A Desert Society Social
Dec. 12 at 6 p.m.
Celebrating the music and life of Frank Sinatra.

Purple Room

You don’t have to have dinner to listen to some great music during the week, but the food’s pretty fab and they have a great happy hour.

Mondays: Charles Herrera and Keisha D’ perform timeless classics that inspire the soul.

Tuesdays: Rose Mallett, jazz legend, sings the music of Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Duke Ellington, and more.

Wednesdays: Michael Holmes and Darci Daniels swing to the music of the Rat Pack era.

Thursdays: Sharon Sills, Sass, Sex and Song. One of the desert’s most popular performers.

Drag and Nekked Men

A May Zing Sundays at Chill

Andy Santiago presents a drag brunch with no compromises. RuPaul’s Drag Race‘s Honey Davenport hosts Drag Race‘s Mariah Paris Balenciaga. Featuring Jazmyn Simone and Lauren Banall.

PS Drag Brunch
Roly China Fusion presents the only Sunday Dim Sum drag brunch in Palm Springs. Multiple dates, with tickets starting at $15.

Savage Men Male Revue
Dec. 3 at 9 p.m. Tickets start at $20.

Hunk-O-Mania Male Revue Strippers Show or is it Illusions? If you figure it out, let me know…
Dec. at 9 p.m. Pete’s Hideaway. Tickets start at $30.

AirOtic Soirée: An open air burlesque cirque style cabaret
Hunters Palm Springs. Tickets start at $48.

New Years Eve, Rock & Roll Bash at the World Famous Palm Canyon Roadhouse
Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $20.

Cheers in the new year at the Light It Up New Year’s Eve Block Party at Agua Caliente Palm Springs’ Cascade Lounge. Dance the night away while DJ Lady Kate takes the stage starting at 8 p.m. From food trucks to fireworks and all in between, bring the family out for a great evening!

I’m sure there are more NYE events, but getting that info seems to require selling my first-born cat, and I am not sure which one it is…

Also, coming up on Jan. 6 is the Palm Springs International Film Festival, so book your rooms and get your tickets now.

As always, stay safe, wear your mask, and carry your vaccination card or recent negative test with you at all times. You can still have fun following these rules — I’ve had some wildly fun times since they let me out of my house.

When it comes to 2022, here are some wise words from the grand dame of words, Dorothy Parker: Let the past die, my child, and go gaily on from its unmarked grave. 

Happy everything, everyone!

The Palm Springs International Airport serves as a hub for welcoming people from all over the world, and visitors arriving in our open-air terminal marvel at the fact they can remove their jackets and immediately start breathing in the fresh desert air.

The first thing on the agenda is either getting through security or heading to the baggage claim area, both of which can be done effortlessly and efficiently at the streamlined facility. This modernist airport has kept up with the times, introducing the latest technology to make arrivals and departures seamless, and it’s also filled with several art installations. As these can be easy to miss amid the hustle and bustle, here’s a guide to several must-see pieces:

In the glass area by security:

“Tang,” aluminum with epoxy paint, by Tom Holland. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Tom Holland is considered one of California’s most important contemporary artists. He grew up in San Mateo and started his studies at Willamette University while also working for Oregon Gov. Mark Hatfield. While waiting for Hatfield between political events, Holland started painting in the car. When he transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, Holland’s work turned from watercolors to oil on canvas and was labeled “funky.” He went on to experiment with aluminum and fiberglass, as it is light and didn’t need to be framed. By adding epoxy paint, Holland was able to have his sculptures reflect light and shadows.

Immediately outside the door of the main building:

“Caprice de Luberon,” French limestone, by Yasuo Mizui. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Yasuo Mizui served as a technician during World War II doing casting. After the war, he enrolled at Tokyo University, where he wrote his thesis “Art – Casting Daibutsu.” Mizui received a scholarship from the French government, which resulted in him working in monumental stone art and participating in the International Sculpture Symposium. “I am for unification,” Mizui said. “The stone sculpture becomes my act, and my act becomes stone sculpture.” 

In the courtyard near the escalator:

“Mai Chan IV,” lacquered steel, by Michael Todd. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Born in Omaha, Michael Todd graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of fine art degree from Notre Dame. He was awarded both a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and Fulbright Fellowship, and when offered a teaching job at the University of California, San Diego, he accepted and began working with steel (wood had been his previous material of choice). The steel from the shipbuilding industry activated his artistic design sense, and he started the compositions in space and the cosmos. Today he lives and creates in Encinitas, California. 

On the walkway to the Regional Terminal (Regional Terminal Concourse):

“Model for Meditation,” mandala sundial in bronze, by Paul Jenkins. Photo credit: Nadine Conger.

Paul Jenkins was considered an abstract expressionist and exhibited with artists like Jackson Pollack. His abstract work was created by dripping, pouring, bleeding, and pooling acrylic paint directly on a bare canvas, then scattering it with an ivory knife. “I try to paint like a crapshooter, throwing dice and utilizing my experience and knowledge of the odds,” Jenkins once said. “It’s a big gamble, and this is why I love it.” In the 1970s, Jenkins finished his first drawing of “Meditation Mandala,” and in the 1980s took that same concept and poured it into bronze. 

Outside the Regional Terminal:

“Big Horn Springs” by Joe Wertheimer, sculptor, and Mark Junge, painter. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Joe Wertheimer spent 15 years in London as a conceptual and design artist for films and television productions created by American companies. After a highly successful career, he realized his true passion was creating sculptures. Today, his sculptures are found throughout the world in restaurants, hotels, and private residences. Wertheimer lives in Agoura Hills, California, where he said he continues to “take things off the page and put them into three dimensions.” 

Mark Junge, a native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, spent most of his life in California and now lives in Yucca Valley. He earned degrees in microbiology as well as fine arts, which worked together to help him develop his classical and traditional realism style. Junge specializes in Southwest desert and western landscapes.

Inside the Regional Terminal:

“A Tale of Survival in the Face of Crushing Inertia,” a collaboration between Debi Grupe and Linda Maxson. Photo credit: Nadine Conger

Scenes at the U.S.-Mexico border triggered a conversation between Debi Grupe and Linda Maxon. Grupe felt the heaviness of the situation and felt powerlessness; Maxon thought of the opposing forces at work and wanted to illustrate the restorative power of creating through color, symbols, and movement. Thus, they made a massive floor to ceiling art installation, unveiled at the Maxson Art Gallery in Rancho Mirage.

Russel Pritchard of the Palm Springs Arts Commission approached the artists about creating a similar piece for the Palm Springs International Airport. Today, a four-piece similar art installation hangs in the ceiling of the Regional Terminal waiting area. 

The ambiance of the Palm Springs International Airport would be hard to match any place in the world — couple that with excellent boutique hotels and beautiful weather, and travelers can’t go wrong. Now is the time to book a flight, make a reservation at a boutique hotel, and explore everything Palm Springs has to offer.