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We’ve been watching the weather and see snowflakes are starting to fly in many parts of the country. While we’re not fortune tellers, we can tell you a sure way to avoid some of the winter snow: come visit Palm Springs, California, where the sun shines 350 days a year. 

Our pools are heated, and most assuredly, you will find palm trees nearby to take the perfect picture to send back home to your friends. If you want a cocktail in your hand for the photo while you are relaxing, that can be arranged, too.

We may be a little prejudiced, but we think one of our more than 70 boutique hotels will meet the vision you had in your head of a winter getaway. The official definition of a boutique hotel is 50 rooms or less. However, when you start looking, you will discover Palm Springs has many small hotels with under 20 rooms. One of the more intimate hotels was once the home of movie star Gloria Swanson. Now called Amin Casa, it has one studio; four private bungalows with full kitchens, living areas, and bedrooms; and Swanson’s original residence, a premier space with a grand living area and historic stone fireplace.

Our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website is the place to start your exploration, and here’s why:

1. Honest descriptions of our hotels

Journalists and travel writers have written the descriptions of our hotels, so you won’t read hyped-up marketing speak on our site. We strive to tell it like it is and often interview the property managers and owners, so what you read is what you can expect to experience once you arrive at your hotel.

The beautiful pool at Amin Casa. Photo courtesy of Amin Casa

2. A search tool that works

Whether you’re looking for a gay men’s clothing-optional resort, a hotel where you can bring your dog, or a property with a spa, all you have to do is put the specific term in our search bar and you’ll find what you’re looking for. Speaking of bringing your pup to Palm Springs, this is a very dog-friendly town, and you can take Fido just about everywhere. It’s not unheard of to arrive at a hotel and see a welcome sign waiting for Fido at the registration desk. By the way — be ready to find water bowls in front of storefronts and cashiers asking if your dog can have one of the treats carefully hidden behind the counter. 

3. Dining and shopping recommendations from insiders

With no empty storefronts, this town is thriving, and new shops are enticing visitors and residents alike. Our Boutiquely Palm Springs blog may help you decide where to start, but be aware that it can be hard even for locals to keep up with our ever-changing town, so you may discover some locally owned shops that just popped up.

Our food scene is also attracting some of the finest chefs in the nation, who know sophisticated foodies from all over the world flock to Palm Springs — and they are not about to disappoint. Our bloggers are writing in depth about restaurants and chefs, making our site is an excellent place to start researching restaurants that serve your favorite cuisine.

Everyone — dogs included — love shopping in Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

4. Extensive event guides to find out what’s happening in town

With the busy season starting, you will want to check out the many attractions open and special events taking place in our city during your stay. Our blog has comprehensive articles about everything from Pride and Modernism Week to the best hiking trails in the desert. In addition, you will find articles written about lesser-known places you might want to visit.

5. Maps to show you the way

The Palm Springs International Airport is only about two miles from downtown. The Coachella Valley, home to Palm Springs and eight other cities, is 45 miles long, and some destinations are pretty far from the airport — Indio, for example, is 20 miles away. If you’re not renting a car, you can see why our proximity to the airport is a superb reason to stay nearby. The Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website has a map that shows all of our hotels in relation to the airport, as well as landmarks, attractions, and neighborhoods.

Cruising up to the Palm Springs International Airport in style. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

There is so much to explore in our area, and some planning can help ensure you have a stress-free vacation. Doesn’t it sound easy to sit in your comfy chair at home, favorite drink in hand, and use our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website to plan your dream vacation?

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 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.

I hope you all made it through 2022 as unscathed as possible. No matter the reason, you absolutely deserve a getaway vacation to Palm Springs. The late night temps are in the low 50s, while it’s in the mid-70s by noon and the sun is warm on your skin. Perfect tanning weather, and a heated pool will bring all of the aaahhhs.

Whether you want to keep the party going, or you’re looking to unwind from party season, Palm Springs is a cure. Have a look at our boutique resorts to find your particular jam. There are A LOT to choose from, each one unique in its own way — on the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels website, you can use a filter to narrow down the choices. I’d do it for you, but you didn’t tell me what you were looking for, so I’m stumped. It’s pretty easy to navigate, so unless you’re a single cell organism, you’ll do fine.

The biggest thing going on this month is the Palm Springs International Film Festival, and I’m going to tell you about that in a different post, but you should get tickets yesterday if you want to attend. Other than that, we’ve got a lot of the usual suspects, a few one-offs, and a brand new nightclub. I’ll do a post about my favorite restaurants before Valentine’s Day so you can make a plan. But first, January 2023. Ready? Let’s go.

One and done

Jan 1: Vintage Market at the Palm Springs Cultural Center — First hour is $10 to get in (first pick!), $5 after 9 a.m. Vendors from all over the country.

Jan. 4: Leslie Jordan: Gone Too Soon. At Quadz Palm Springs, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Jan 5-16: Palm Springs International Film Festival Cruise the website yourself, or you can read about it here.

Jan 19-22: Palm Springs Winter Break — Line dance party.

Items for sale at the Vintage Market. Photo by Katy Carrier

Recurring tours

Historical Society Walking Tours — 14 different tour options, all spectacular.

Architectural Bike Tours — Your guide, Brennan, is all about mid-century modern. He is also a bus tour guide during Modernism Week. Many of our resorts have bikes available, so snag one for a few hours and book the tour.

Desert Tasty Tours — Get a taste of downtown Palm Springs with this fun walking tour. You get some great history, some adult beverages, and some delicious food from our locally owned spots. It’s a great mid-day adventure. Get $5 off when purchasing your tickets by using promo code “PSPHotel.”

MOGO Silent Disco — Get your boogie on with this dance tour. To be clear, you are the dancer. Curated music is pumped through your headset as you disco down Palm Canyon Boulevard. You won’t look weird — you’ll bring friends and make new ones. Use code “pspsh10” at checkout for a 10 percent discount for our readers!

Dance your way through downtown Palm Springs. Photo courtesy of MOGO Silent Disco Tour

Clubs with entertainment

Caliente Comedy at the Cascade Lounge on Fridays

Jazzville at the Cascade Lounge on Thursdays

The Purple Room — Rat Pack styled club with top notch entertainment from all over the country.

PS Underground — If you’ve read this blog before, you know I love this experience. Everything is spectacular, from the venue to the entertainment and the food. One of the most creative and fun events you will ever witness. Everyone becomes BFFs forever, including your hosts and creative team, Michael and Chef Dave.

Oscar’s — There’s a lot going on here, so peep the calendar. If you’re gay (or wanna hang with your gays), the T Dance is the best recurring party in town. If you’re straight, stay away from the bathrooms.

Oscar’s. Courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

PS Air — One-of-a-kind “speakeasy” masquerading as an airplane; it may even have a cockpit, I’m not sure (I mean, it is Palm Springs). But there is in-flight entertainment, and often a naughty stewardess.

Toucan’s — A drag queen institution and dance club on the north end of town near the very popular Boozehounds.

Come On Up Palm Springs Cultural Center (formerly known as — or concurrently, I’m unclear — the Camelot Theater) is stepping it up. They still show movies, and there are two theater companies during season (which is now), as well as Come On Up, featuring recurring musical acts on different weekdays. There’s a lot of parking, so you can bring a crowd.

Nightclubs

Reforma (brand new) — Right next to BevMo. It just opened, and I mean just, like yesterday.

Pretty Faces (fairly new) — I haven’t checked it out yet. LMK if you go.

Theater

Jan 20-29: Palm Canyon Theater: Palm Springs Getaway

Jan 13-22: Dezart Performs: A Bright New Boise

Jan 17-29: CVRep: Dirty Blonde

Jan 27-29: Desert Ensemble Theater: Kill the Editor

There’s a new theater company in town, The Bent. I’m not sure if they’re doing anything in January yet, but peek their website. There are rumors that their very popular show, The Lincoln Debate, will be back in February. For those of you not in the know, Lincoln shared a single bed with another man for four years. The show uses that information as a jumping off point.

If you’re new to PS and you are a gay man looking for the action, you’re looking for East Arenas Road (fun article), two blocks of gay Shangri-La. Pair that with a men’s clothing optional boutique resort, and you’ve reached nirvana.

Okay, that’s it for January. Hope to see you around town enjoying our delicious weather. And as always, please shop and stay local, have a blast, and I’ll see you next month.

Paul Kurdian and Sam McDermott started their married life off with a bang.

While they were dating, the couple imagined one day starting a business together, and the opportunity arrived on the morning after their wedding.

“On our way to Sunday brunch at my brother’s house, Paul received a call from a former client who had owned another hotel he sold for her,” Sam said. “She told Paul she was ready to retire completely and called to see if he could help with the sale of this hotel. We decided to purchase it ourselves, and nearly eight months later, we began our journey, and the rest is history!”

There were several things about the 18-room property in Palm Springs that appealed to Paul, a real estate broker with corporate experience in operations and management, and Sam, who has a background in strategy, marketing, and business development. The timing was “pretty remarkable,” Sam said, especially since she had once “flirted” with the idea of buying a hotel, and owning one was something Paul had always dreamed about.

“How this came about was surreal because we wanted to extend our life partnership in a new and exciting way,” Sam said. “Many newlyweds have children within their first year of marriage — we gave birth to a new business.”

The hotel was in need of some serious sprucing up, and Sam and Paul started by removing “anything old and outdated.” They replaced “everything that guests could see and touch,” and added conveniences like Qi wireless charging stations in every room. 

All of the carpeting was ripped out, new flooring was installed, and each room now has its own air conditioning and heating unit. The walls are covered with fresh paint, the rooms are filled with new furniture, beds, linens, and towels, and the pool is surrounded by colorful umbrellas and loungers. Perhaps the biggest change Sam and Paul made was giving the property a new name: The Inn at Palm Springs.

“Inn at Palm Springs is the very first property you see on your way into Palm Springs on Highway 111,” Sam said. “We like to tell people we are the Gateway to Palm Springs. When you visit, you’ll see a happy and colorful vibe throughout the property.”

The hotel is dog-friendly — Sam and Paul’s own pup, Gus, lives with them on-site — and able to host small groups for special occasions. 

“We’ve had several guests tell us they plan to come back with a group and take over the inn,” Sam said. “We find joy in helping our guests create great memories with their friends and family, and we look forward to hosting more intimate gatherings in the future.”

Because Paul and Sam have both traveled so extensively for work and fun, they came into this with a clear vision for their hotel: It had to be comfortable, clean, and private, a space where guests felt welcome the instant they stepped onto the property and left feeling they had a positive experience that was an excellent value. The effusive response they have received from patrons shows they accomplished what they set out to do.

“We’ve been very grateful for the wonderful guests who have stayed with us,” Sam said. “It is the positive feedback we receive from guests that keeps us motivated each day.”

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

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.

Ah, Palm Springs, where the palm trees bask in the sun and the mountains amplify every sunset. For the LGBTQ+ community, our little desert haven isn’t just another travel destination; it’s an emblem of liberation and self-discovery. And for the solo traveler, Palm Springs promises an unforgettable blend of adventure and introspection, making it a welcoming hotspot for LGBTQ+ wanderers craving those unforgettable experiences.

Embrace new adventures

With its plethora of gay-owned establishments, exhilarating LGBTQ+ activities, and welcoming accommodations for all, your itinerary will be brimming with adventurous options. Enter into the vibrant allure of Trixie Mattel’s (of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame) Trixie Motel, a radiant pink sanctuary with seven meticulously designed rooms – each fit for a Barbie or a Ken (wink wink). Are you a gourmet food enthusiast or someone who prefers a quick nibble before dancing the night away? Your solo adventure here ensures you’re in control, savoring the eclectic culinary delights of Palm Springs at your own pace.

A plate of food and a cocktail on a white table

Solo diners can order whatever they want on the menu at Eight4Nine. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Unlock new connections

Venturing alone might seem like a solitary journey, but it’s often in these adventures that deeper bonds are formed. Without the familiarity of a companion, you’ll likely find yourself immersed in spontaneous conversations, shared moments, and stories that intertwine. Palm Springs is home to exclusive resorts for men only, like Descanso, The Hacienda, and Vista Grande Resort, where solo travelers converge and memories are made. And let’s not forget Talavera and Alcazar, which are hotspots for the lesbian community. So don’t be shy when it comes to meeting like-minded LGBTQ+ locals and travelers — join the local scene. Together, these experiences might unlock a profound sense of community and belonging.

Vista Grade’s 18-man spa. Photo courtesy of Vista Grande Resort

Build confidence

Solo travel in Palm Springs is a personal empowerment journey. It offers the luxury of decision-making based solely on your whims and priorities. Whether you desire an adventurous hike in the Tahquitz Canyon, an afternoon at the Palm Springs Art Museum, or a relaxing time by the pool, solo travel offers the freedom of choice. Venturing into unknown territories — like the karaoke stage — might be daunting initially, but every hurdle crossed amplifies your confidence and every new step you take and conversation you have only adds another layer to your character, shaping a bolder and more resilient you.

You could spend hours walking around the Palm Springs Art Museum. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

Liberate yourself

Traveling solo is synonymous with rejuvenation. Palm Springs, with its vibrant LGBTQ+ scene, promises thrilling escapades and even new potential romances. From day passes at exclusive resorts like CCBC to happy hours galore in the Arenas district, you may reveal facets of yourself you never knew existed, making the unpredictability of each day a thrilling chapter in your travel tales. You might also consider apps like Grindr or Tinder as an initial compass for friends and fun.

Discover yourself

Solo travel isn’t just about external exploration; it’s an internal voyage of self-reflection and understanding. Successfully navigating through new cultures, ticking off challenges, or simply welcoming unfamiliar experiences in Palm Springs can offer an immense feeling of accomplishment. It’s a transformative experience, where every adventure, every new connection, pushes you towards a deeper understanding of yourself.

Palm Springs welcomes every solo traveler with open arms, offering experiences that are memorable and often life-changing. Whether you’re on a path of self-discovery, seeking thrilling adventures, or looking to forge deep connections, this city promises a holistic LGBTQ+ experience that you’ll cherish forever.

Solo travel in Palm Springs is a love song to oneself, and the boutique hotels of Palm Springs will help ensure a cozy, intimate retreat to unwind. Independently-owned and brimming with personality, these gems only magnify the city’s charm and allure. Your Palm Springs solo travel awaits you!

A woman floats on a pool raft shaped like a pineapple

Solo travelers can spend all day floating if they feel like it. Photo courtesy of Visit Palm Springs

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.

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