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While on assignment for BBC News, Tayfun King was interviewing the owner of a boutique hotel in Buenos Aires when it hit him — he wanted to be the one running an inn.

As a travel reporter, Tayfun was immersed in the hospitality industry, crisscrossing the globe to learn more about the world’s most fabulous hotels. This wasn’t his original career choice — while studying mathematics and management at Cambridge University, he made a promise to himself: if he graduated with a first class honors degree, he would turn down the financial job offers he had received to follow his passion and become a professional Latin American dancer. Tayfun graduated with honors, and embarked on a dancing career, which led to him becoming a television journalist and host with the BBC, presenting programs on technology and travel.

“The travel show is where I developed my passion for boutique hotels,” Tayfun says. “I traveled to over 70 countries and 200 cities, and more than anything, staying at these amazing boutique hotels around the world stood out.”

Tayfun was fascinated by how these properties were able to forge their own identities, with each room connected despite their individual distinct themes. The owners he spoke with had “a passion that was coming through so clearly,” Tayfun says. “It was hard work for them, but they loved it and being able to express their creativity.”

In 2014, Tayfun launched a hospitality company in Los Angeles. He opened a property in Venice Beach, and then turned his attention east to Palm Springs. He was interested in a particular hotel for sale, but when his realtor showed him 641 E. San Lorenzo Road — the resort formerly known as Escape — Tayfun knew this was the place.

An aerial view of BelleVue Oasis

An aerial view of BelleVue Oasis. Courtesy of BelleVue Oasis

“I didn’t expect that,” Tayfun says. “I was there to have a matter-of-fact look around, but once I walked in and saw the entrance, I had an emotional reaction. The feeling you get when you’re there is so welcoming. It’s so natural, and there’s so much greenery with the grass, the trees, and the flowers. If I were coming to Palm Springs for a stay, I would love to stay here.”

A lot has changed at the mid-century modern property, starting with the name. Tayfun chose BelleVue Oasis because “belle vue” means “beautiful view” in French and “was what I was experiencing in the moment,” he says. The 13-room hotel has a new pool, pool deck, and interiors, plus recently installed turf and two putting greens. The mature palms and tropical landscaping are still in place, and guests rave about being able to enjoy the serene setting from their private patios.

“A common reaction is this is a hidden gem in Palm Springs — it’s beautiful, it’s lovely, it’s an oasis,” Tayfun says. “We have a high number of guests who keep returning to the property, and people who say their friends told them to stay here.”

Tayfun plans on developing a boutique hotel brand that will first grow in California before expanding, and is excited to get it started in Palm Springs. For him, it’s important that hotels tap into the history and true essence of the cities they are in, and he wants to make sure that people know as soon as they arrive at BelleVue Oasis that they are in Palm Springs.

“I love Palm Springs,” he says. “I love the energy, the people are friendly, it’s spread out, and it’s so well groomed.

From the time they book to the time they check out, Tayfun aims to make it so guests enjoy every part of the BelleVue Oasis experience. He wants them to look forward to their stay, building it up ahead of time and then having their expectations surpassed once they arrive, and to leave with lasting memories of their visit.

“It’s so fulfilling and exciting hearing what guests have to say,” Tayfun says. “That has been so rewarding and greater than what I thought it would be.”

BelleVue Oasis spa at night

Night falls on BelleVue Oasis. Courtesy of BelleVue Oasis

Just a few minutes from the thumping beat of the nightlife on Arenas is The Hacienda at Warm Sands, LUXlife magazine’s 2020 and 2021 Best LGBTQ Resort in North America. If you didn’t know, you wouldn’t know — it’s discreetly camouflaged by a perfectly manicured privacy hedge standing sentry over the Spanish villa-style artistry that waits inside. Carved into the hedge, a gorgeous wooden gate with lanterns on either side to show you the way.

Welcome to The Hacienda at Warm Sands. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

Inside, a rich tapestry of winding Saltillo tile pathways are surrounded by lush foliage and dotted with surprises along the way: an outdoor fireplace, an in-ground spa, a tranquil water feature, and the two clear blue pools that anchor the 10 suites surrounding them. And if you’re impressed with the outside of the property (if you aren’t, you’re dead inside), the rooms are gonna knock your socks off.

Before we get to that part of the tour, you should meet your hosts: Jim Moje and Maurice Minno. Jim is, as he puts it, “a frustrated architect” with a degree in finance, and Maurice has a master’s degree in hotel and restaurant administration from Cornell University. For the past 21 years, they’ve put all their hopes, dreams, and skills into turning The Hacienda at Warm Sands into the 5-star experience that it is.

The experience begins the moment you book your room — that’s when the Hacienda’s team begins to prep for your stay. Something special you’d like upon arrival? Would you like the food pantry stocked with specific items? Perhaps you’d like a private chef for a delicious dinner? If you can dream it, the team will do everything within their power to make it happen. 

It gets even better when you’re a repeat guest because it’s easier to anticipate your needs, and that’s what the resort is all about: offering “anticipated but unexpected Hacienda moments” to their guests. And they do it unobtrusively, like your guardian angel. The ratio of staff to guests is one to one with a turnover that’s nearly non-existent — even after a pandemic. That’s because Hacienda values their staff as much as they do their clientele and made provisions to take care of them while the resort was closed for about six months due to COVID-19. Now that they’re back open, every precaution is taken to keep you safe inside their hedges. 

The Deluxe Grand Suite. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

There are five styles of well-appointed suites. The smallest is just under 500 square feet, and the largest around 900 square feet — all with furniture and amenities chosen for functional elegance. Every suite has a kitchenette that is ingeniously disguised to look like an elegant wet bar, a sitting room, and a large luxurious bathroom with so many L’Occitane amenities it’ll make your body giddy with anticipation. 

The Deluxe Junior Suite bathroom. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

Multiple heads and horizontal water sprays turn each shower into a spa, with large plush towels waiting to dry you quickly once you’re done. In your closet, there are two robe options available: a waffle weave for daytime and a heavier-weight robe to provide extra warmth and comfort on cooler evenings by the fire.

The beds are fit for a king (or queen): thick comfy mattresses dressed in crisp linens with a variety of luxury pillows available from the resort’s “Pillow Menu.” It’s a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears — keep trying them until you find one that’s just right.

The continental breakfast spread. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

An expanded, seemingly endless continental breakfast and a restaurant-crafted catered lunch of wraps, sandwiches, and salads are served daily, along with your favorite beverage (red or white wine, fresh-brewed iced tea, or lemonade). You can enjoy your meals while languishing in the outdoor spa, by one of the pools, or next to the outdoor fireplace. Above you, only palm trees, breathtaking mountains, and blue skies frame this extraordinary 5-star oasis in Palm Springs.

It’s no surprise that no matter where you look, all the reviews of The Hacienda at Warm Sands are five stars. Jim and Maurice have spent 21 years cultivating the best staff and service known to mankind, as well as perfecting a luscious landscape of earth, water, and fire surrounding their spacious and exquisite suites, providing so much worldly comfort and pampering you’ll feel like a royal.

Night falls on the hotel. Photo courtesy of The Hacienda at Warm Sands

It’s important that people stay safe and close to home during this unprecedented crisis — doing so slows down the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and reduces the risk for contagion. That’s why large gatherings have been suspended in California, and citizens are being advised to avoid non-essential travel.

We understand that people will have concerns about traveling for some time to come, especially in regards to getting on an airplane or cruise ship, and we want to make it clear that there have been no coronavirus cases linked to any of our more than 70 boutique hotels in Palm Springs. 

Please know that the health and safety of guests who stay at our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels is — and always will be — our top priority. That’s why we are monitoring the latest news on the coronavirus, with our hearts going out to everyone affected.

Eventually, a road trip to Palm Springs may be a relaxing — and safer —alternative.

Once this passes and you feel confident traveling again, we hope you’ll consider Palm Springs for your first vacation destination. 

For those who are within driving distance — we’re looking at you, L.A., Phoenix, San Francisco, and Las Vegas — you can feel good about hitting the road and staying here in Palm Springs. All of our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels are intimate, with most having around a dozen or so rooms, meaning guests don’t have to fear large gatherings (in some cases, you might go all day without seeing a fellow traveler!). 

From check-in to check-out, our hoteliers ensure that our guests have the best possible experience. One way they do this is by providing a clean environment — rooms, dining areas, common spaces, and bathrooms undergo a diligent cleaning at least once a day, with heavily-trafficked portions receiving special attention.

For those who may still be a little concerned about dining out, several of our hotels also have in-room kitchenettes and outdoor grills where you can whip up your own meals.

Late spring is when Palm Springs hits its peak — the weather is great and the pools are at just the right temperature. It may be the perfect time to treat yourself to a relaxing getaway, tailored to your comfort. Explore our hotels — we know you’ll find one that’s a good fit. We’ve got your stay. 

It will soon be easier than ever for people around the country to fly into Palm Springs.

Southwest Airlines announced earlier this month that it will launch year-round service through Palm Springs International Airport later this year. The low-fare carrier flies out of more than 100 locations, and in a statement, Southwest Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said Palm Springs is “a great California destination.” 

Palm Springs City Manager David Ready said local officials worked for years to get Southwest to the Palm Springs International Airport, and thanks to “our year-round sunshine, relaxed desert lifestyle, and multi-million dollar public and private reinvestments in our city’s hotel stock, Convention Center, and downtown, Palm Springs has experienced a sensational renaissance and we are now one of Southern California’s premier resort destinations.”

Allegiant Air also recently revealed that this fall, it will start offering nonstop flights from Palm Springs International Airport to Boise, Idaho, and Eugene, Oregon. Already, the low-cost airline has service from Palm Springs to Bellingham, Washington. Boise flights will begin on Nov. 19, followed by Eugene flights on Nov. 20, with fares starting at $49 each way. Allegiant said both routes will operate twice weekly.

While Los Angeles and Palm Springs are only about two hours away from each other by car, those who want to go back and forth faster can take Delta’s new year-round daily service between the two cities. The flight from L.A. will leave at 7:45 p.m., arriving in Palm Springs at 8:35 p.m., and the flight departing Palm Springs will take off at 7:15 a.m., landing in Los Angeles at 8:08 a.m. This service will begin on Nov. 20.

“We’re very excited to have that,” Palm Springs Mayor Geoff Kors said after announcing the news. “That obviously is good for people who prefer not to drive, especially on busy weekends.”

Additionally, Alaska Airlines is adding non-stop service to San Jose, Reno/Lake Tahoe, and Boise from Palm Springs starting on Dec. 17, and JetBlue will launch non-stop seasonal service to Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida beginning Dec. 17, with flights twice a week on Thursdays and Sundays. American Airlines is also adding a seasonal weekly flight to Philadelphia, starting Dec. 19. 

 

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

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

I’ve got about an eighth of a tank

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

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

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

Sunnylands
Bird walks and outdoor films. Truly gorgeous grounds.

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

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

The Living Desert. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve got at least a half a tank

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

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

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

Full tank and four-wheel drive

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

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

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

Bring your balls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking of cool, no — you are.

The spirit of optimism is alive and well in Palm Springs. 

“While the sunshine, heated pools, and stellar attractions make the city a destination for people looking for relaxation and adventure alike, the pandemic has changed Palm Springs’ visitor profile considerably,” Michael Green, chair of the Desert Gay Tourism Guild and Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels, said. “Visitors from Europe are not coming as frequently as in previous years, and Canadians, who typically help boost the Coachella Valley’s economy, didn’t start returning until November.”

That said, the number of visitors overall exceed those of pre-covid days, and since June 2020, the vast majority of travelers have been domestic. Let’s dive into the reasons why.

Beautiful flowers in bloom. Photo credit: Kathy Condon

Feeling Safe on the Road

With the pandemic ongoing, many people feel safer planning a road trip with their family instead of getting on an airplane or cruise ship. San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix are no more than a 3.5-hour road trip away from Palm Springs, and even people from the San Francisco Bay Area can drive here within a day. For those in the northwest, they can turn Palm Springs into a road trip destination, making leisurely stops to see sights along the way. Road trippers not only pack their comfort items, but pets are welcome in Palm Springs, so Fifi and Brutus can come along for the ride, too.

Art at the Palm Springs International Airport. Photo credit: Kathy Condon

Direct Flights to Palm Springs

For travelers who do choose to fly, the Palm Springs International Airport is easy to navigate, just five minutes from downtown Palm Springs, and welcomes direct flights from many U.S. cities. Major airlines are always adding direct routes to Palm Springs, and new carriers are building the city into their business plans. According to Daniel Meier, Palm Springs International Airport’s deputy director of aviation, marketing, and air service, arrivals are up nearly 25 percent at the airport. 

Professional Mobility

When people first couldn’t go into the office to work, they came up with innovative ways to get their jobs done. Zoom allowed them to connect with colleagues and customers from anywhere with WiFi, and Palm Springs became a choice workcation destination. “With the ability to work remotely, we noticed a trend that people were taking advantage of the opportunity to stay longer,” Joyce Kiehl, director of communications for Visit Greater Palm Springs, said.

A Change of Residence

Palm Springs was one of the epicenters of the 2021 summer real estate boom, as harsh northeastern winters and being stuck inside brought to mind visions of sitting under a palm tree near the pool, conducting business meetings on Zoom. Robert Hunt, manager of Alcazar Palm Springs, said he has noticed that “many of our guests are staying here while looking for property.” Bob Deck, an agent with Town Real Estate, has found that people interested in buying homes in Palm Springs are “tired of the traffic in the bigger cities. They are looking for ways to take their commute time and turn it into family time.” 

A couple explores Palm Springs by bike. Photo credit: Visit Palm Springs

What Does the Data Show?

Things are looking up in Palm Springs, with hoteliers and retailers seeing a 23 to 25 percent increase in business in November, compared to the same month a year earlier. Jeff Witthuhn, owner of downtown gift shop Peepa’s, said he’s seeing “many more customers are coming from the East Coast,” while Kim Galland, owner of the women’s accessory store Kimbals, attributes her growth to previous customers who are delighted to be out in the world shopping.

In October, the city reported that transit occupancy tax collection increased almost 45 percent over 2020. Randy Garner, marketing manager for the Palm Springs Board of Tourism, noted that most events and conferences were canceled in the fall and winter of 2020, and the recent success of the 2021 Palm Springs Festival of Lights Parade illustrates people are ready to get out there and enjoy the many aspects of our welcoming community, including new public art and restaurants.

Inside Gigi’s Restaurant. Photo credit: Kathy Condon

Thriving is a word that best describes Palm Springs. Remodeling of stores, the upgrading and restoration of our hotels, and additional direct flights are making our ever-changing desert community a destination that encourages visitors to come back again and again. What are you waiting for? Make a reservation through Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels to see this fabulous city for yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

1. Room choice

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

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

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

Sarah Martinez, general manager of Azure Sky.

2. Accountability 

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

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

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

3. Flexibility 

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

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

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

4. Packages and special deals

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

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

5. Pricing 

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

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

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

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

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

Kent Taylor, general manager of Descanso Resort

6. Book direct and make better memories

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

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

Pro tips to remember:

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

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

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

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

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

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.

The readers have spoken, and they love the Palm Springs International Airport.

The Points Guy, a travel website and blog, asks its readers every year to vote on their favorite airport, and for the 2021 TPG Awards, Palm Springs came out on top. The Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is the only commercial service airport in the Coachella Valley, with 11 airlines providing nonstop service to more than 30 destinations across the United States and Canada. It’s also known for its extensive art collection.

In a statement, Mayor Cristy Holstege and Visit Greater Palm Springs President and CEO Scott White said they are “thrilled” by the honor.

“With its open-air walkways and lushly landscaped courtyards that lead within minutes to baggage claims and its breathtaking mountain views, PSP is a surprisingly welcomed and stress-free experience for visitors,” White added.