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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

“In August most of Europe goes on holiday.” ―Tony Visconti

In Palm Springs, just like Europe, many local shops/restaurants close, and take a vacation. That doesn’t mean we roll up the streets and close the blinds – we’re not a ghost town by any stretch of the imagination. We’re still mostly open, and have a ton of wonderful getaway hotels for you to have the perfect lazy break from the every day. Generally, prices go down a bit, so you can catch a real bargain.

And yes, Splash House is happening, but if you don’t already have tickets, you’re SOL. But I’ve still got some stuff you might fancy doing, so grab a coffee or a cocktail (I’m not judgy, it’s been a crap year.) and read on:

Gre Coffee House

Early mornings are still okay for a quick walk to a coffee shop; you can read about them here.

Want more than coffee? How about a breakfast-y, lunch-y, brunch-y situation? Here’s a great article about all of your brilliant choices. There is also newcomer, Sam’s Place, (now serving alcohol) where Ruby’s Diner used to be (2020 RIP).

Afterwards, wander up and down the strip. Most of it is enhanced with misters, so you’ll stay pretty cool while you do it. Don’t forget your hat and sunscreen though. And pay attention to where you’re walking, you might be stepping on one of your favorites on our Walk of Stars.

Stop in at Crystal Fantasy and have a reading (psychic, tarot, palm), or get a piece of jewelry with the latest TikTok must-have crystal, Moldavite. I’m told there’s a new girl in town that’s about to blow up on TikTok – you can ask their well-informed staff all about it, and what might work best for you. They also have woo-woo classes you should check out if you’re into the woo.

Time for a nap, right? How about a little sunbake (with sunscreen) by the pool. But not after 11 a.m., and don’t forget to hydrate your insides while you think about nothing until cocktail hour. We have some outstanding restaurants, and I’ve written another post about all of our international delights. We have outstanding American restaurants here, I just didn’t include them.

And…Wash. Rinse. Repeat. That’s what sane people do on a lazy getaway.

For those who are toeing the edge of sanity, aka anyone who needs to “do something”, then read on:

Shows:

PS Underground – see the full list here. They’ve got a new one, collaboration with Nickerson/Rossi Dance called Repertoire that looks pretty cool.

Music: 

Cascade Lounge in the Agua Caliente Spa courtesy of DJBaz

Wednesdays: Jazzville is back, and it has a new home! DJBaz brings in the best jazz players from around the country, so book these fabulous shows well in advance. At the Cascade Lounge in the Agua Caliente Spa in downtown Palm Springs.

Woody’s Motown Monday nights, Saturdays is the Stanley Butler Band, Sunday night entertainment is happening but so far it’s TBD.

Comedy!

August 6: Off The Charts Dispensary and Lounge brings nationally touring comedians to their Williams Road dispensary. “Raffles! Prizes! And Goodie Bags!” says the flyer. Seating is limited. Take an Uber. I don’t know the parking situation there. Nor is the event on their website. But I have a flyer, dammit.

The Cascade Room is not only bringing jazz, but also comedians to Agua Caliente Spa Casino.

8/20: Jamie Kennedy

8/27: Deon Cole

You’re A Star:

Snazzy Sassy Songsational Summerific Sing-a-Long

If you’re a fan of musicals, drag queens, gay choruses, and movie sing-a-longs, you’re gonna love this. The All-Summer Sing-A-Long at the Palm Springs Cultural Center.  If you’re into lifting your voice with like-minded people, this is church. Hosted by the fabulous Rosemary Galore. Book here.

We’ve also got the Retro Room, where you can Karaoke the night away, and it’s all about you, up on stage, belting your heart out.

Michael Holmes and the Purple Room are returning on 8/31. His Judy Show is my favorite show in Palm Springs – he plays Judy Garland, Bette Davis, and Pearl Bailey and he’s hilarious. When I told Michael I was looking forward to it, he said, “I’ve gained so much weight during Covid, I may have to do Totie Fields instead.” I’ve seen him, he looks great. Judy will go on, as will the other great acts he brings in from all over the country.

I can’t say this loud enough, BOOK FOR PRIDE NOW! Book your hotels, and book your seats for the parade. Roly China Fusion has the trifecta on parade day: Drag Queens, Drag Brunch, and a rooftop spot to watch the parade. Make reservations here. Or you can wing it on the street. But the hotels?  Do that for sure now.

On a personal note: We are a tight knit community. We know how lucky we are to live here. Palm Springs is a very special place. We care about each other. To that point: If you have been vaccinated, please, come enjoy the mask-free environment. If you haven’t been vaccinated, for whatever reason, I have a 93 y.o. uncle I’m trying to keep alive and thriving, so please wear a mask.

 

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.

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.