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“One thing about flying that he never got used to was that no matter how awful the weather was on the ground, if you flew high enough you could always find the sun.” ― Tom Clancy, The Hunt for Red October

On the ground, in the air, you can always find the sun in Palm Springs. It shines 360 days out of the year. And when I say “shine,” I do mean shine. October is generally gorgeous. You may hit a few days in the 100s, but mostly it will be 80s and 90s, great for the pool and for keeping your summer tan in top notch shape. Evenings can get cool-ish, so bring a light wrap/jacket when you go out to one of the many events available to you here in Palm Springs.

This month (and next!)  is all about the big events. We’ve got Modernism Week-October, Halloween, and then Pride. The excitement is palpable; I’m all giddy inside.

A lot of these events partner with the big hotels, but in order to have a true Palm Springs experience, check out our boutique hotels and resorts. They’re all about you. A smaller footprint means exceptional customer service. And if you’re one of those folks that doesn’t like being fussed over, there are plenty of options that operate like a VRBO — you let yourself in, and although people are close at hand if you need them, you’ll otherwise never see ’em. Two such hotels are Talavera and The Weekend.

The lovely pool area at Weekend Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of The Weekend Palm Springs

Special note: The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is closed until Oct. 10.

New restaurant alerts:

Bread and Flours, a sourdough bakery, just opened on the north end near Toucan’s (they share a parking lot) and Boozehounds, the very dog-friendly bar and restaurant.

The Front Porch doesn’t have a website yet (that I can find) but it is (you’ll never guess) the front porch of Farm, located in The Plaza. It’s all indoors, and it’s small, so make it a date night. If you’ve never been to Farm, you are missing out. Their food is outstanding and their ambiance equally so. If you can’t get in, my other little French favorite is L’Atelier right across the way, just beyond Tyler’s, which is open again! You must check out all three, writer’s orders.

Coming soon: The same couple that owns Farm created Tac/Quila, a fabulous, high-end Mexican restaurant specializing in seafood. This is gonna sound weird (at least it did to me) but have the fried avocado as an appetizer. It’s batter-fried, like tempura, and ZOMG is it good! But that’s not why I’m writing this. Just like Farm, Tac/Quila is going to open another bar/restaurant called Clandestino, featuring a smaller food menu and a larger bar. Its motto seems to be “shhh, no one will know you’re here unless you tell them.”

Cheers to good friends. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

And now, the main events:

Oct. 1 and 2: 15th Annual Palm Springs Body, Mind, Spirit Weekend at Crystal Fantasy. This is a HUGE event with classes (and more) in just about every spiritual art. If you’re interested in reiki, crystals, chakras, tarot, and psychic readings, you’ve found your home.

Oct. 2: Palm Springs Vintage Market at Palm Springs Cultural Center. Held the first Sunday of the month, it’s the best place around to get vintage everything. Why? Because it’s vintage dealers from all over selling their treasures. Go get you some.

Oct. 7: Fellini Retrospective: AMARCORD, a scathing satirical critique of Italian provincial life during the 1930s, the height of the fascist period. Bar opens at 5 p.m. with Italian food specials, followed by AMARCORD at 7 p.m. Come early and mingle with fellow film lovers.

Oct. 13-16: Modernism Week-October. I’m going to be a tour guide assistant this year, so if you see me in the bottom of your bus, please say hello!

Oct. 15 and 16: Modernism Show and Sale Fall Edition

Oct.15: Sky Islands and Climate Refugia at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. It’s a hike, what more can I say? Oh yeah, it costs the price of a ticket up.

Oct. 21: LGBTQ Center Stage Event. (Don’t ask me who Rob is, I have no idea. They think he’s/she’s me.) The Center Stage gala will be held at the Palm Springs Air Museum amid stunning views of the San Jacinto Mountains and departing planes, dazzlingly catered by the iconic LULU California Bistro (great food and people watching at their location). Entertainment will include Jennifer Corday, award-winning and out-and-proud lesbian singer/songwriter, and Brian Justin Crum, the top-charting queer singer-songwriter and former America’s Got Talent finalist!

Oct. 29: Palm Springs Air Museum Chili Cook-Off & Car Show. Museum admission includes car show. Chili tastings are $1 each or $5 for six tasting tickets. Car show opens at 10 a.m., while tastings start at 11 a.m. To enter a vehicle, please call 760-774-9936 or email [email protected] It says it’s going to be spooky, so maybe I should have put this in the Halloween post, but unless you’re afraid of chili and flying, I don’t see a lot of spooky.

There’s plenty more happening this month — for ticketed food and entertainment, make sure to check out The Purple Room, PS Underground (new spiffy website!), The Alibi, Oscar’s, Cascade Lounge (for comedy, Jazzville, blues and Latin music in the casino), and Melvyn’s (located in the historic Ingleside Inn) for a damn fine time. Also, Palm Springs Cultural Center, a.k.a. Camelot Theatres, has a bunch of fun to be had. Not just movies (they’re great, it’s a 58′ screen!) but also booze, food, and entertainment. Here’s the weekly stuff.

The Casablanca Lounge at Melvyn’s. Photo courtesy of Melvyn’s

Heads up for November:

Rock the Plaza. This all-star concert on Friday, November 11, is a fundraiser to save the historic Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs. Featuring Alice Cooper, Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Orianthi (Michael Jackson, Steve Vai, Alice Cooper), and many, many more musicians. Hosted by Chris Carter, music producer and SiriusXM DJ. Tickets are $175 per person and up.

Pride is in November, and if you’re looking for somewhere to hang out and enjoy the festivities, try Roly China Fusion.

If you need somewhere to stay for Pride, we’ve got you covered. We have a fabulous selection of all-male clothing-optional hotels. Just use the dropdowns to sort.

Happy birthday to all the Libras and Scorpios out there, and when you come here to celebrate, please shop and stay local. It keeps the lights on.

See you next month!

The streets are filled with people celebrating Pride. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Known only as one of Lulu’s sisters, she is forever this close to diving into what one can assume is a refreshing blue pool. She’s the eye catcher on the outside of the white stucco wall that, once inside, keeps the noise from Indian Canyon at bay, and is the only indication that you have arrived at your destination: Dive.

Welcome to Dive. Photo courtesy of Dive Palm Springs

This 11-room boutique hotel “just has a cool, chill vibe to it,” says April Smith, vice president of Mariners Companies, the private equity investment firm that recently purchased Dive.

Smith is what you might call an accidental hotelier. In fact, just about everything about her career has been accidental. At 22, she had no idea what she wanted to do — she’s one of those people who live to learn, but learn best while living. Since you need a paycheck to live, Smith took a job as a receptionist at a mortgage loan company, and once she saw the bottom line, got interested.

Her dad’s advice always stuck with her: “You just need to know a little about a lot.” So, Smith set out to do just that.

“I asked a lot of questions, and I paid a lot of attention,” she says. “I wanted to be part of a lot of things to understand things.”

Upper management took notice, and Smith quickly climbed the ladder to become a top earner. There were twists and turns from there, always upward, and by the time she met Steve Olson, her current business partner, she had learned a little about a lot.

“We all have our own strengths,” Smith explains. “I’m operations, Ron [Millar, their CFO] is numbers, and Steve brings in the capital. All three of us together triangulate a perfect situation.”

Mariners is the parent fund of many smaller businesses under its umbrella. Operating out of Newport Beach, their office is next to a hotel broker who brought them a deal they just couldn’t refuse.

The Fountain Room at Talavera Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Talavera Palm Springs

That was Talavera, a laidback resort on a quiet street situated between the Palm Springs Tennis Club (home to the upscale dining of Spencer’s) and the bustle of downtown Palm Springs. While Dive’s vibes are Saint Tropez fun in the sun, Talavera is about tranquility. 

An escape from the crowd offering your own secluded private residence, Talavera has an old world Moroccan charm, and feels more like an exotic VRBO than a hotel (although there is a fully-stocked, attended bar in the works just for guests). Many suites have a kitchen or kitchenette, as well as an outdoor spa, so your space is entirely contained. At night, the courtyard is lit by stars and basket lanterns hanging from sturdy tree branches, with just the whisper of rustling leaves and the crackle of the embers from the firepit.

One of Talavera’s pools. Photo courtesy of Talavera Palm Springs

While Talavera has two pools, Dive has only one, and it is magnificent. It’s a Libott pool, originally built in 1954. The property is très ooh la la, with muralist Gabriella Fash’s playful art adorning the walls of Dive’s entryway and fabulous neon divers outside. (Fun fact — in 2019, the original neon was found hidden on the roof. She was lovingly restored, and they named her Lulu. She lives out by that glorious pool, and so she wouldn’t be lonely, they gave her a few sisters, like the one on the exterior wall.)

The property is as intimate as a French kiss. It’s a large rectangle, with the courtyard artfully divided into small gathering spots — a bench wrapped around a large tree, a set piece with a koi pond. There is always space for quiet conversation away from the pool area.

Inside each of the rooms, designer Vanessa Schreiber has created a whimsical world of immersive art, where swirls and murals accent the Christian Lacroix wallpapers. Every item has been hand-picked to melt into its unique design, creating a fun and playful atmosphere that can only be described as joyful.

A colorful room at Dive Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Dive Palm Springs

Breakfast and lunch are available onsite and can be delivered to you by the pool so you can enjoy the day without having to leave. Dive is located in the residential neighborhood known as Deepwell Estates, one of Palm Springs’ historic neighborhoods filled with $1 million homes. There is a noise ordinance after 10 p.m., however Dive solves that problem with a soundproof room where you and your friends can party until the wee hours and disturb nary a soul.

While both Dive and Talavera are 21+ with 11 suites, Smith says they are adding a third and much larger property to their portfolio that will be perfect for families — and will also be Smith’s first complete remodel. Because the deal hasn’t quite closed, I can only tell you that the hotel started out in 1958 as a weekend hangout for celebrities like Nancy Sinatra, Elvis, and the Rat Pack, and had a very iconic name. In later years, it was purchased and operated by a national brand, and while it’s a very nice hotel, it’s still a chain. Smith intends to inject personality back into the 130-room resort.

 Considering that she now knows a lot more than a little about the hotel industry, we’re giddy about the possibilities. 

In Palm Springs, change is in the air. Several of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels are now under new ownership, with each property undergoing its own unique transformation.

The Talavera in Palm Springs has new owners and upgrades.

One example is the Talavera Palm Springs. Formerly known as The Rossi, this 11-suite property has undergone a name change, as well as several upgrades, including new furniture in the rooms.

“We’re bringing in a professional landscaper and arborist to help us enhance the tropical vibe so it’s more immersive, but manicured and lush,” co-owner April Smith says. “We’re also reworking some of the space here so there is a community fire pit and private bar for the guests.”

The Desert Paradise, a clothing optional resort catering to gay men in Palm Springs.

The Desert Paradise is keeping its name and staying as a men’s clothing-optional resort, but has given makeovers to all 12 of its rooms, and improved on the continental breakfast offered to guests. Future plans may also include adding kitchenettes to rooms, so guests who stay for several weeks can cook for themselves when the mood strikes.

The hotel is a “gem, with so much opportunity,” general manager Charles Zalepeski says. “I want it to feel like people are visiting family, a place where they feel comfortable and right at home. It’s a place where everything’s going to be taken care of, from start to finish.”

The iconic Willows Inn was purchased in 2020 by Ron Burkle.

The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn is starting a new chapter in its storied history. The luxury 8-room hotel was purchased last year by investor Ron Burkle, the majority owner of the Soho House members’ clubs. The Willows has long been a must-visit for politicians and celebrities alike — Albert Einstein and Shirley Temple were among the hotel’s frequent guests.

La Maison

La Maison, under new ownership, still offers romantic privacy.

Also under new ownership is La Maison, which changed hands in the fall. This 13-room hotel still offers a touch of France in the heart of Palm Springs, with its European decor, delicious continental breakfasts, and lovely, flower-filled gardens.

 

About Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels is a consortium of independently owned boutique hotels, which are an essential part of this desert resort town’s uncommon culture and economy. From quirky to charming, mid-century modern to clothing-optional, Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels has got your stay. Follow the fun on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.