On the south side of town near the Saguaro, Ace, and several other gay-popular but mainstream properties, the highly acclaimed Cody's Inn (1586 E. Palm Canyon Dr., 888-299-7455), formerly the Alpine Gardens Hotel, is perfect if you're seeking a small inn (there are just 10 rooms, all with high, beamed ceilings) that's gay-welcoming but not gay-exclusive. Innkeepers Jon and Frank have been working hard upgrading the already quite nice rooms, adding wide-plank oak floors, individual colors and art to each room, French doors leading to private terraces, and improved landscaping and grounds throughout (which include a pool and hot tub). Rates are very reasonable, and guests have use of a well-kept "community kitchen" that's stocked with Continental breakfast fixings.
This nicely renovated former Travelodge is a solid, gay-friendly budget option. Set conveniently along East Palm Canyon Drive, nestled beneath the mountains that rise over the city, the rambling, two-story Curve Hotel (333 E. Palm Canyon Dr., 760-327-1211) has two attractive pools (with fire pit and hot tub) and nicely kept grounds. The 155 rooms have a smart, simple, and contemporary look - each has a fridge, coffeemaker, safe, hair dryer, and free Wi-Fi, and a light Continental breakfast is included. It's nothing fancy, but the money you save staying here you can set aside for dining and shopping along the swanky downtown commercial strip.
It's the many little details that the management tends to that makes Desert Paradise (615 S. Warm Sands Dr., 760-320-5650) such a hit with fans, including the loyal contingent of repeat guests. The 14-room, mid-priced spread in the heart of Warm Sands, close to gay bars and restaurants, has a decidedly whimsical, almost campy sensibility - rooms are named for leading divas (Barbra, Cher, Judy, et al), and immaculately kept, furnished with high-end pieces and useful amenities (wall safes, wet bars, cordless phones, and so on). The rooms open around a decent-size pool, but you'll also find a dry sauna, steam room, fire pit, guest computer stations, fireplace hot tub, outdoor garden shower, and gurgling fountains everywhere you look. It's the definitive gay Palm Springs resort of fun-seekers.
Off on its own in a northern downtown residential neighborhood, away from most of the other gay resorts, East Canyon (288 E. Camino Monte Vista, 760-320-1928) also stands out because it's the only men's property with a full-service spa - and this is no mere massage room but a small but complete spa with the finest equipment and trained technicians. East Canyon is elegant and low-keyed. It's not clothing-optional, and it eschews the cruise-y vibe common in Palm Springs, making it a perfect place to quietly hide away for a weekend or come with a partner for a romantic getaway. Rooms are done in muted earth tones, with lots of space to back, and top-of-the-line amenities. It's one of the pricier gay options in PS (although not by a significant factor), and the steady stream of happy repeat guests suggests its worth it.
A reliable, mid-priced option along San Lorenzo Road, Escape (641 San Lorenzo Rd., 760-325-5269), formerly known as Chestnutz, is run by owners Mark and Greg, who have outfitted the compound with attractive patio furniture, sleek Mid-Century furnishings in the spacious rooms (some with kitchens), and other thoughtful touches. Escape fills a nice niche by providing personal service, including an afternoon social hour and Continental breakfast, and creating a vibe that's equally relaxed and social - it's a good option if you're looking to meet other guys (most guests prefer to go without clothing around the grounds), but just as inviting for couples seeking seclusion. A 15-man hot tub and good-size pool round out the amenities.
Intimate, classy, and with finest personal attention of any gay resort in Palm Springs, the Hacienda at Warm Sands (586 S. Warm Sands Dr., 760-327-8111) lies in the heart of the gay-resort district for which it is named. A well-trained, easygoing staff tends to guests every need, and the perks are many: beautiful complimentary breakfast and lunch spreads, a self-service laundry with free supplies, an extensive library with books and periodicals - there's even a pillow menu, so that you'll get a great night's sleep in your cushy room. Decor is posh yet casual enough for relaxation - think French doors with plantation shutters, Asian furniture, two-man showers (in top suites). The grounds are meticulously kept, with tile walkways, two pools, and a gurgling Spanish fountain.
The former Zoso morphed recently into the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs (150 S. Indian Canyon Dr., 760-325-9676). Long a favorite option of many gay men and lesbians who appreciate the property's downtown location, the hotel is just steps from the gay-bar and restaurant action along Arenas Road and nearby blocks. Compared with other Hard Rock hotels, this 163-room property is rather boutique-y. Rooms are have been decadently revamped with white-leather headboards, purple walls and accents, 42-inch flat-screen TVs, and rock-themed artwork - they're big, too, with standard rooms at nearly 500 square feet (and all have balconies). There's also a casual but eye-catching cafe called Sessions and a lively, if touristy, bar and lounge. The rebranding has definitely given this property (pictured here as the Zoso) a more vibrant and youthful look, and Hard Rock is working hard to court gay visitors to Palm Springs, although it's not clear yet how popular the property will be with the LGBT set, given all the competition.
A short walk from downtown gay bars and shopping, Helios (280 E. Mel Ave., 760-323-2868) is a quite social and relatively new 11-room men's resort (formerly La Posada East) - day passes are available, and the clothing-options grounds, centered around a large pool with lovely landscaping, are fun for meeting, mingling, and making out (they're available only during the day, from 10 until 5). There's definitely a bit of a bathhouse vibe here - note the outdoor community shower, video lounge, play space with toys and dungeon accoutrements, and huge hot tub. Overnight rates are about average among men's resorts in town, the staff is helpful, and the accommodations are clean if fairly run-of-the-mill - guests planning to spend most of their time enjoying the very nice grounds will be happiest here.