Long a prominent host during such major GLBT events as White Party and Dinah Shore back when it was the Wyndham, this Renaissance Resort is looking better than ever these days following major renovations, with smart, contemporary furnishings in the guest rooms and suites, an impressive full-service spa (Spa Del Sol), and two very good restaurants. The Renaissance is an official host of White Party, and any time of year the expansive pool is a great spot to relax in the sun, and the gay bars of nearby Arenas Road are just a short walk away, as are dozens of terrific downtown restaurants. Renaissance has done a fine job revamping this beautiful resort.
Among the several luxury mainstream resorts in Palm Springs, the 24-acre Riviera - which reopened a few years ago following a dramatic transformation - ranks among the most gay-popular. This visually arresting compound, whose wings are set around an expansive pool, is perfect for scenesters and fashion plates. The uber-chic Circa 59 restaurant, which serves extraordinarily tasty contemporary American fare, and swish Starlite Lounge afford visitors some of the wildest people-watching in Palm Springs, and booking an exclusive poolside cabana makes for a wonderfully relaxing afternoon. Rooms are dolled up with bold, often outrageous, mid-century modern furnishings - the look is a swish tribute to Old Hollywood in the desert. Up the glam factor by booking a treatment at the spectacular SpaTerre, which also has a first-rate fitness center.
This tasteful, up-market compound on San Lorenzo Road combines reasonble rates and a host of useful amenities to rank among one of the city's most popular and well-liked clothing-optional resorts. Santiago isn't a sexplex, although cruising isn't unheard of here (especially late at night). The crowd tends to be 35 and older, appreciative of the largest pool among any gay resort in town as well as such amenities as complimentary lunch and breakfast, combo DVD-CD-VCR players in rooms, and high-quality linens, bedding, and furnishings with a Spanish-Italian-Mediterranean flare, including Judith Jackson bath amenities. The gardens and landscaping here are among the prettiest in town, and the entire resort of beautifully kept.
Extremely friendly, welcoming owners have poured plenty of effort and care into turning this moderate-to-upscale resort just off East Palm Canyon Drive (on the south side of Palm Springs) a winner. There's just a great vibe here - the guests always appear to be having a blast, and the mood balances festive, relaxed, and playful. The 12 rooms are contemporary and unfussy, with a vaguely Southwestern look (including attractive Saltillo-tile floors); some have French doors opening to the pool area. A very good Continental breakfast is included (complete with espresso bar), and there's a nice little gym and a quite large pool. About the only drawback is some traffic noise from the busy road, but the resort is fully walled-in for privacy.
Another first-rate men's resort in the more laid-back San Lorenzo Road section of Palm Springs, this well-run property with extremely competent and helpful hosts has an unusual draw, for which it's named: actual turtles live on the grounds (including one Salcata tortoise that weighs about 90 pounds). The accommodations - which tend to attract an easygoing mix of guys in their 20s, 30s, and 40s - comprise suites and studios decorated with warm, Southwest colors and fabrics. All have CD and DVD players, and most have fully stocked kitchens or kitchenettes. A 10-man hot tub, good-size pool, and outdoor shower are among the common features, and as this is a fairly social resort, these areas act as a focal point.
A peaceful, contemporary compound at the end of San Lorenzo Road, the Triangle Inn nine cheery suites whose elegant, distinctive furnishings would suggest a much more expensive resort. In fact, the rates here are quite reasonable, especially when you factor in the many pluses, such as fully stocked kitchens or kitchenettes in each unit. Bathrooms are large and well-outfitted, and each units comes with games, magazines, and books - the entire property has a wonderfully personal feel about it. A sleek pool area acts as the resort's focal point, where breakfast and afternoon refreshments are served each day. Of the under-10-room gay properties in town, the Triangle is one of the best, and it's a terrific value.
With conscientious, friendly owners who completely overhauled this circa-1930s resort in 2001, Warm Sands Villas is one of the larger and more impressive clothing-optional men's options in the city. Part of the draw is the Spanish Colonial-inspired architecture and meticulously kept grounds, which include an expansive pool and patio - plus a popular roof deck - with clear views toward San Jacinto Mountain. Rooms come in a wide range of configurations and are laid out with beautiful travertine-stone floors - top-of-the-line units have full kitchens and fireplaces as well as good-size sitting areas. Rates are about average among the upscale men's properties, and the location in the heart of Warm Sands couldn't be more central.