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When Planning Your Next Visit To Palm Springs …

Fit Matters As Much As Size

by Our Editors
Triangle Inn Palm Springs (Photos courtesy of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels)

There’s really nowhere else in the world with as many hotel properties that are owned by and/or cater to gay men as Palm Springs.

Triangle Inn Palm Springs (Photos courtesy of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels)

Will you chill out by the pool all day or venture out on a hike through spectacular wild canyons?

Will you tour landmarks of mid-century modern architecture, or explore the five-century history of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians? Will you hit the Arenas Road clubs in the hopes of hooking up, or train your tastebuds on a different sort of date (Plump sweet Medjool, Barhi and Halawi dates are the pride of Coachella Valley farms)? And, to maximize your pleasure, will you choose to stay at a dolled-up high design hotel, or an alluring resort where guests needn’t get dressed at all? So many choices!

Palm Springs Small hotels

The welcoming proprietors of Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels (palmspringspreferredsmallhotels.com) are happy to provide expert guidance, whatever you’re looking for. With over 70 stylish, intimate places to stay—none with more than 50 rooms (and some with fewer than 10!)—Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels has an array of appealing options for your next gay getaway, all staffed with knowledgeable locals ready to help you make the most of your time in town. From a brand new showcase for vintage Hollywood style, to classic men’s compounds that have drawn loyal guests for decades, you’ll find just the right spot to tickle your fancy.

This past fall, Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels welcomed newcomer The Velvet Rope (bit.ly/PSPSHvelvet), the first hotel owned and operated by award-winning interior designer David Rios. It’s open to all, but has loads of queer appeal. A font of creativity, Rios, has designed some of the most spectacular private homes in Palm Springs and his native Los Angeles. In 2022, he caught the hotel bug while collaborating with television’s Property Brothers and drag queen Trixie Mattel to create new local landmark, Trixie Motel (bit.ly/PSPSHtrix), a pale pink, retro chic getaway inspired by the RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars champion. “While I was working on that project,” said Rios, “I started to think about how I’d do a hotel with my own spin. I love the aesthetic of old Hollywood meets Palm Springs.

Trixie Motel in Palm Springs

Trixie Motel in Palm Springs

Back in the golden era, so many stars would drive out here to get away from the business and that’s what I drew inspiration from for the Velvet Rope. Hidden away behind an unprepossessing street front wall, Rios has revamped a low-slung classic 1952 courtyard hotel by architect Herbert Burns, lavishly decorating each of its nine suites with textiles, furniture and objets d’art meant to evoke the personae of Tinseltown icons.

The Lavender Room at The Velvet Rope Palm Springs

The Lavender Room at The Velvet Rope Palm Springs

There’s a lush lavender tribute to Elizabeth Taylor; a cheeky and cheerful riff on I Love Lucy sit-com suburbia; a plush, feather-accented salute to Jean Harlow; and gilded crystal swish in homage to Liberace. The jewel-box rooms, packed with retro surprises like rotary phones and vinyl-spinning turntables are situated around a splashy pool, complete with cabanas and a flock of inflatable ducks.

Michael Green, who has owned the clothing-optional Triangle Inn Palm Springs (bit.ly/PSPSHtri) with his husband Stephen Boyd since 2000, takes pride in the fact that Palm Springs has an international reputation for its warm, inclusive community. “We welcome international guests throughout the year, but the Germans and the British particularly love the Summer sun.” he says.

“There’s really nowhere else in the world with as many hotel properties that are owned by and/or cater to gay men as Palm Springs,” Green continued. “European guests often come to the States for two or three weeks, and visit Las Vegas, LA, and maybe some national parks as well, but they use Palm Springs as their home base.”

INNdulge Palm Springs

INNdulge Palm Springs

Will you choose to stay at a dolled-up high design hotel, or an alluring resort where guests needn’t get dressed at all?

Jon Jackson of INNdulge (bit.ly/PSPSHinndlge), another classic clothing-optional enclave that has helped earn the city its reputation as a gay oasis, says that in recent months, INNdulge has welcomed couples from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India, in addition to plenty of loyal customers from Europe and the U.S. Both hoteliers strive to create a relaxed, highly sociable setting for their guests and are delighted to see friendships develop between men of different nationalities and different ages.

“Everyone gets into conversations around the pool,” says Jackson, who oversees INNdulge with his husband Sandy Miller,

“And we have a lunch delivery service, so lots of guys will spend whole days hanging out, relaxing, and getting to know each other. In my own travels, I’ve been to gay destinations like Torremolinos and to more institutional gay hotels like the Axels and sometimes there’s a sense of cliquishness. I really don’t feel that here. I feel like we have the friendliest guests in Palm Springs.”

“One of the wonderful things here in Palm Springs,” agrees Green, noting a similar vibe at the Triangle Inn Palm Springs, “Is that the gay men who stay with our boutique hotels don’t tend to segregate. Everyone gets to know each other.”

While new guests discover their hotels every year, both owners delight in having loyal repeat visitors.

“When someone stays with us year in and year out, we love to catch up with them,” says Jackson. “And repeat guests love to share suggestions for restaurants and things to do around town with guys who are here for the first time.” Both properties, while beloved for their traditions, are regularly refreshed and updated. Jackson and Miller recently added cabanas to their pool deck (which boasts a 12-man 24-hour jacuzzi) and have been acquiring new pieces for the property’s impressive collection of gay-themed fine art, which is highlighted by two massive bronze male nudes by California artist Mavis McClure.

At the Triangle Inn Palm Springs, every one of the suites has recently been refreshed and refurnished, and all the bathrooms have been completely redone to match the mid-century style. The centerpiece mid-century modern structure where Green and Boyd live, the Triangle House, is a stunning steel and glass assemblage of triangles designed by celebrated architect Hugh Kaptur.

Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels offer some of their best rates and most exciting promotions during the spring and summer months. So why not treat yourself to some well-deserved rest, relaxation, and perhaps a little ribaldry in one of the world’s great gay destinations this season. To reserve your desert escape at the hotels featured here, or one of dozens more, visit palmspringspreferredsmallhotels.com


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