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Having your cock and eating it, too: making open relationships work
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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Palm Springs article click DailyXtraTravel
Keith at INNdulge
Palm Springs is best known as the
"playground of the stars," a
reputation earned during Hollywood's
Golden Age when the friendly
little desert oasis was both close
enough and far enough away to appeal
to the silver screen's A-list. With an
average of 332 days of annual
sunshine and 360-degree mountain views,
it's easy to understand the
In recent years Palm Springs has
become, per capita, one of the
gayest cities on earth. The mayor is
gay, the previous mayor is gay,
most of the city council is gay, and
practically every hotel,
restaurant, and business in town is
either gay-owned or gay-friendly.
In other words, if you trip and fall,
you'll probably land in
your next lover's lap.
If you're looking for a big-city
atmosphere with a booming club
scene, you need to look elsewhere. Palm
Springs is a quiet, relaxing
resort town. Certainly there is a
thriving nightlife, but that's hardly
the city's main appeal. Sunshine,
swimming pools, world-class golf
courses and tennis courts, great
restaurants, and awe-inspiring
mountain vistas are the reasons to
Palm Springs International Airport is
serviced by 10 airlines with
direct flights to hundreds of cities
worldwide, including most major
airline hubs. Conveniently located in
the center of town, Palm Springs
International is one of the most
pleasant and manageable airports on
the planet. Ontario International
Airport is about an hour from Palm
Springs. You may be tempted to save on
airfare by flying into Ontario.
Don't. Flying into Ontario is more
hassle than it's worth.
If you're driving, Palm Springs is a
two-hour car trip from Los
Angeles -- unless you hit traffic.
Southern California freeways are
notoriously overcrowded, and rush hour
can be a nightmare.
Palm Springs is relatively spread out,
and you absolutely do not want
to rely on public transportation. Cabs
are available, but usually must
be called for in advance. Rates are also
higher than in big cities. If
you plan to experience more than just
your hotel's swimming pool, your
best bet is to rent a car. Maps of the
area are readily available, and
it's easy to find your way around.
All areas of Palm Springs are gay, or at
least gay-friendly. That said,
several neighborhoods are worth a visit.
Warm Sands and Arenas are good
for walking. You'll probably want a car
if you plan to tour Deepwell or
Warm Sands: Warm Sands is home
to a cluster
of gay resorts, most of which are
clothing optional. (Adult film
aficionados will recognize several pools and
saunas.) At night the area
is an outdoor cruising grounds, with
visitors milling around inside and
outside the resorts, and locals cruising in cars, on
bikes and on foot.
Arenas: Home to gay bars, gay
and gay shops, the section of Arenas
Road between Indian Canyon and
Calle Encilia is the traditional gay hub
of Palm Springs.
Deepwell: A blend of mid-
designs, superb views, and elegance, the
area has been home to such
stars as Jerry Lewis, Jack Webb, and
William Holden. Those interested
in mid-century modern architecture may
want to walk or drive through
this upscale residential
Las Palmas/Movie Colony: Las
attracted movie stars and studio moguls
since the 1920s. David O
Selznick, Cary Grant, Gloria Swanson,
Jack Benny, Dean Martin, Peter
Lawford, Liz Taylor, Kirk Douglas,
Barbra Streisand, Dinah Shore, and
dozens of other luminaries have called
the Las Palmas neighborhood
home. Many of the houses were designed
by famous architects, including
William Cody, Donald Wexler, Palmer and Krisel,
Paul R Williams and A Quincy Jones. Most of the
stars have moved to gated communities, but the
area is still
beautiful to walk and/or drive through.
Magazine is Palm Springs' gay
magazine, presenting both local
and national news, along with an
extensive calendar of events.
Other area gay publications include:
Desert Daily Guide;
Talk Magazine; and
Desert Entertainer is not a gay
but it's gay-friendly and it has a great calendar
Springs Pride is a two-day
celebration held each fall.
This year the event is November 7 and 8.
Palm Springs has a thriving
leather community (as well as lively bear and drag communities), with
Leather Pride scheduled for
November 12 to 15, 2009.
Stopping in at the Desert Pride
Community Center , 611 S Palm
the Sun Center, is a great way to become
familiar with Palm Springs'
gay community. Men of a certain age may
wish to visit the newly opened
and wildly popular Golden Rainbow
Senior Center , 700 E Tahquitz
In the desert, jungle fever
It's big, it's long, and it's hard. If
you're in the mood you can sit
on it. It's also Palm Springs' most
recognizable public sculpture.
Sculptor Delos Van Earl's Jungle Red -
- 14 feet high, 15 feet
wide, 38 feet long -- graces the
entrance to Warm Sands, the most
vibrant gay neighborhood in Palm
Springs. The 2008 installation marked
the culmination of three years effort by
the Warm Sands Neighborhood
"The site suffered from benign neglect
for years," says Robert
Stone, who spearheaded the campaign, in
reference to the formerly ugly
median strip at the entrance to the
neighborhood. "We thought it would
be good for everyone if the site were
Van Earl admits that he usually avoids
doing public art.
"It doesn't suit my personality," he
says. "It's a lot of
paperwork and process, and I don't deal
with that very well."
This project was special, though,
because he wanted to give back
to the Palm Springs community.
"I've been fortunate," he says. "The
gay community in particular
has been very supportive of my work. So
this sculpture is a wonderful
way for me to give back, especially
where it's situated, right there in
The work is from Van Earl's Luna
series, a collection of
large-scale sculptures based on the
linear form. "I call them
subterranean," he says. "A portion of
the work is beneath the ground,
and is imaginary."
Like all works in the series, Jungle
Red appears to be a single,
rhythmic line undulating over and around
and through itself -- a
sculpted steel version of modern
One of the great features of Jungle
Red is that it is
interactive, designed to be viewed from
all angles, walked through, and
"That's what I like best about this
piece," Van Earl says. "You
can stand next to it, you can sit on it.
The back tail is actually
designed so people can get up on
"The installation is important to the
city and especially to the
neighborhood because the location is the
gateway to Warm Sands," Stone
says. "Thousands of cars pass by the
site every day, and thousands of
visitors come to stay in the Warm Sands
resorts each year. The
sculpture is good for the neighborhood,
good for business, and good for
the image of Palm Springs."
Get High: The Palm Springs Aerial
Tramway is a
spectacular 10-minute, 2.5-mile ride
through four biological life
zones. The 5,873-foot rise is the
equivalent of a road trip from the
Sonora Desert in Mexico to the Alpine
fringe in Alaska. The flora and
fauna literally change right before your
eyes -- and you're guaranteed
to not miss any of the view, since the
cars rotate during the trip.
At the top Peaks, the more upscale of two restaurants here, has great views of the Coachella Valley.
Get Naked: Most Palm Springs gay
clothing-optional. For many visitors,
"resort action" is the city's
Get Rich: The Palm Springs area
has several casinos,
including the Spa Resort and
Casino in the center of town.
Resort in nearby Rancho Mirage
hosts world-class performers at
its new entertainment venue, called The
Get Out: Palm Springs is a haven
for outdoor sports.
Some of the world's finest golf courses
are located in and around Palm
The Nabisco Women's Golf
Championship (better known as Dinah
Shore Weekend), the Skins Game, and the
Bob Hope Chrysler Classic are
annual events. Tennis venues are equally
The local mountains
and nearby Joshua Tree
National Park are
more than enough to satisfy
even the most avid hikers and
Get Erudite: The recently
renovated Palm Springs Art
Museum houses a world-class
collection of (mostly modern) art. The
museum is impressive, but small enough
to experience in an hour or two.
Browsing the city's many art galleries
is also worthwhile. The newly
formed Backstreet Art District is off
the beaten path but worth a look.
Get Cool: Palm Springs
International Film Festival in
January and the Palm Springs
International Festival of
Short Films each summer are among the
world's largest and most
important film festivals.
studded feature film festival in
January has a special emphasis on foreign films,
nearly all of the films submitted
each year for consideration in the Best
Foreign Language Film category
at the Academy Awards.
Get Hot: The
Electric White Party takes place April 9-12, 2010, with the biggest lineup of international djs in White Party history.
Bars and clubs
(369 N Palm Canyon Dr) video bar and
restaurant above Azul, top-40 hits, sports, comedy
clips, burgers and grill food.
(67-625 E Palm Canyon, Cathedral City)
leathermen, bears, fetish, uniform, and cigar bar,
Sunday beer busts 2pm -2am, barbecues on their
(36737 Cathedral Canyon Dr, Cathedral City) Wednesday karaoke, Thursday underwear parties, and Saturday country dancing.
(611 S Palm Canyon Dr -formerly Club Oasis) huge dance venue, big late crowd, 6pm happy hours for early birds. Thursday night "Noche Latino," Saturday afterhours until 4 am, Sunday All Male Reviews.
(83085 Indio Blvd, Indio) Friday and Saturday
night latino club with dancing, strippers and drag
(67-555 E Palm Canyon, Cathedral City) the former Sidewinders location is a brand new cocktail lounge for a mixed crowd, open daily noon to 2am.
(302 E Arenas) local mainstay bar and dance
club, lots of action from early evening until late.
(301 E Arenas) party bar with manly and friendly
bartenders, opens early for cocktails and beer, with
lively patio, regular gatherings and celebrations.
(200 S Indian Canyon Dr, at East Arenas) relaxed locals bar with karaoke, showtunes, and other nightly entertainment.
(224 E Arenas) oldest bar in town, hot men, cabaret, legendary performers, good conversation, smoking patio overlooking street.
(600 E Sunny Dunes) leathermen / bears
cruisebar from 7 am, free pool game, underwear nights, beer and soda busts, leather and fetish nights.
Lounge (2100 N Palm Canyon Dr) video bar with
incredible staff, and drag revues. Especially hot Thursday and Sunday nights.
Ace Hotel & Swim
Club (701 E Palm Canyon Dr; 760-305-9900) one of several in boutique chain, variety of rooms, cedar sauna, massage, health spa.
The Alexander Inn (1425 S Via Soledad; 760-
327-4970), secluded in walled grounds, with lush garden, pool, and mountain views is within walking distance of local restaurants.
(526 Warm Sands; 800-798-8781) all-male clothing-optional resort associated with the porn studio, 4 pools, hots tubs, saunas and steam, play areas, DJ music and go-go boys, satellite TV, adult video, nice rooms, Sunday barbeque pool parties, plus lots of special holiday events. Day and night passes available.
Andreas Hotel & Spa
(227 N Indian Canyon Dr; 888-327-5701), a landmark dating from the 1930's at the heart of downtown dining, shopping and entertainment, with 25 deluxe rooms and suites.
(589 Grenfall Rd; 800-806-9059) an elegant, secluded men-only bed & breakfast resort, with clothing optional pool, pet friendly too.
Calla Lily Inn
(350 S. Belardo Rd; 888-323-3654), lush and tranquil oasis at base of San Jacinto Mountains with large rooms, pool, spa, yoga, wine, art and live music.
Springs (1466 N Palm Canyon; 888-
242-9386) big cruisy resort complex with big pool and large hot water
whirlpool. Day pass visitors mingle freely with hotel guests.
(960 N Palm Canyon; 877-258-2887) clothing
optional gay hotel and spa for guests and day pass
visitors, walking distance to local clubs.
(240 Ocatillo Ave; 800-996-4108) four rooms
around original 1934 Spanish-style villa, each a
work of art in itself set in attractive landscape.
Cathedral City Boys
(68-369 Sunair Rd, Cathedral City; 800-472-
0836) heated pool, cock-n-balls jacuzzi, steam,
play spaces, unfussy rooms, suites, naked young
(598 Grenfall Rd; 800-475-5188) modern, hip and
comfortable design, courtyard facing mountains
and sunshine, heated pool and spa.
(312 Camino Monte Vista; 800-445-8916) English
hoteliers, laid back fetish-welcoming, totally male,
kitchens, private patios, busy steam room, salt
pool, day visitors 10am-5pm.
(641 San Lorenzo; 800-621-6973) men-only gay
clothing optional spa, pool, promotes relaxed not
heavy party scene, kichens and private patios.
(537 Grenfall Rd; 800-798-0655) intimate men-
only clothing optional resort, suites with kitchens,
all amenities, near clubs and restaurants.
(615 Warm Sands; 800-342-7635) partnership
events, 15 porn channels, free wi-fi, pool, beautiful
gardens, phallic ornaments, Cafe Paradise
East Canyon Hotel
(288 E Camino Monte Vista; 877-324-6835)
party elsewhere, this world class luxury gay hotel
and spa is for pampered relaxation.
(525 Warm Sands; 800-327-2985) great service,
custom designed one or two bedroom suites,
studios, steam room, jacuzzi, two pools, space to
Sands (586 Warm Sands; 800-359-
2007) among top ten North American guesthouses
Out & About, a spacious gay resort to pamper
(280 E Mel Ave; 760-323-2868) has
leather/fetish parties co-hosted by Gear Leather
store. Lavish guest rooms, breathtaking views,
(150 S Indian Canyon Dr; 760-325-9676) plush
accommodations, fine restaurant, pool
playground with bar, two miles from airport.
Inn Exile (545 S Warm Sands; 800-962-0186) fully
equipped clothing optional resort with gym, four
pools, Jacuzzis, outdoor fireplace, mist cooling
(601 Grenfall Rd; 800-833-5675) 24-hour pool,
12-man jacuzzi, clothing optional, all-day
sunshine. Two-bedroom apartments, kitches,
private patios, juice and snacks all day, gym, and
La Dolce Vita
(1491 Via Soledad; 877-644-4111) Spanish style
resort in rambling, park-like, clothing optional
oasis, pool, massage, facials, spas, and gym.
The Pepper Tree Inn (622 N Palm Canyon Dr; 866-887-8733) has adobe style rooms facing their pool or the San Jacinto mountains - many with fireplace, private terrace and/or Jaccuzi.
(650 San Lorenzo; 760-322-1300) intimate
clothing optional gay men's resort serves upscale
market, full amenities, short drive to nightlife.
(1600 E Palm Canyon Dr; 866-837-7996)
upscale gay men's clothing optional hotel to relax,
rejuvenate, with heated pool and all the frills.
(715 San Lorenzo; 888-541-3777) beautifully
landscaped resort in exlusive neighborhood,
oversize clothing optional pool, four blocks from
Inn (555 San Lorenzo; 800-732-7555)
big morning sun, all-day quiet, bicycles and yoga
classes, gardens, pool, cothing optional in private
The View (354 E Stevens Rd; 877-977-8439) a new clothing-optional gay resort with two-room suites and studios with full amenities.
The Villa Mykonos (67-590 Jones Rd, Cathedral City; 800-471-4753) ten upscale villas, dual master suites, luxurious bathrooms, full kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms with fireplace.
(574 Warm Sands; 800-669-1069) includes Mirage, Avalon, and
cruisy complex of resorts for men, with waterfalls, bamboo groves, huge hot
tub, steam and dry saunas, heated pools, and a penis totem.
(555 Warm Sands; 866-357-5695) spacious
California-mission bungalow rooms, evening
poolside refreshments, 24-hour swimming and jacuzzis, diverse mix of men.
(412 W Tahquitz Canyon Way; 800-966-9597)
Mediterranean style villa at Mount San Jacinto, Old
Palm Springs Village, antique furnishings, private
Azul (369 N Palm Canyon Dr) patio and lounge long known for
tapas-inspired dining, with evening cabaret
entertainment, also lunch and Sunday brunch.
Blame It On
(777 E Tahquitz Canyon, in the courtyard) fine
plus piano bar cabaret entertainment Tuesdays, and
Thursdays through Saturdays.
(214 E Arenas) good breakfast with after-the-
bar service, burgers, BLTs and dinner menu.
Palace (1422 N Palm Canyon Dr)
authentic Indian Cuisine, all the traditional favorites
for vegetarians or omnivores.
at Nature's Health Food (555 S Sunrise Way/301)
expansive vegetarian menu for breakfast, lunch or
dinner inside local health food market.
(415 N Palm Canyon Dr) part of the chain it
lives up to its name, open air bar, soda fountain
(196 S Indian Canyon Dr) talented Austrian chef
adds a pan-Asian twist to the fine food,
unpretentious, with an excellent wine selection.
Italiana (124 S Palm Canyon Dr)
native Italians chefs, rustic risottos and sauces,
gourmet pizza and pastas, full bar, extensive wine
N. Palm Canyon Dr) gay-popular internet cafe and
bistro, indoor and courtyard service from 5:30am.
Look Patio Bar and
(139 E Andreas) perfect for dinner in warm
desert evening air, also breakfast, Sunday brunch,
(134 E Tahquitz Canyon Way) new gay-friendly
international bistro, hearty breakfast, lunch,
brunch, cocktails, wine and beer.
& Belgian Cuisine (256 S Palm Canyon Dr)
international ambience bistro, French and Belgian
Cuisine, wide Belgian beer selection, French and
Shame On The
(69-950 Frank Sinatra Dr, Rancho Mirage) with 25
years of elegant food in romantic setting,
reservations are recommended.
Trio Restaurant (707 N Palm Canyon Dr) with popular and generous daily cocktail hours, 4-7pm; serving a good variety of modern American cuisine in beautiful surroundings.
(330 E Amado Rd) California and world cuisine,
old-style Palm Springs cocktail lounge
Wang's in the
(424 S Indian Canyon Dr) Chinese dining in
style around indoor pond, or open-air patio,
popular Friday evening bar.
Bistro (198 S Palm Canyon Drive) European-American Cuisine for
lunch or dinner, and an elaborate Sunday brunch
Shopping and more
Etc. . (319 E Arenas) bear fashions and gear,
underwear, cock rings, leather and rubber items.
Almost demolished not long ago, the pueblo-style buildings at
Shops (515 N Palm Canyon Dr) were renovated to offer tranquil shopping or browsing around the only public garden courtyard in town.
(305 E Arenas) sexy "super store" with
swimwear, club outfits,
cards, and novelties in downtown Palm Springs.
Gear (650 E Sunny Dunes Rd) has leather and street ware,
neoprene, and plenty of toys and fetish accessories.
Just Fabulous (515 N Palm Canyon Dr) has books, cards, music, gifts, art and home decor.
(606 Sunny Dunes Rd) gay DVD sales and
rentals, pride merchandise, sex toys, jewelry, even
R and R
(333 N Palm Canyon Dr) a boutique with all
the right labels, shoes and accessories for cutting-
edge fashions and sportswear.
(407 S Industrial Pl) off-the-rack leather
clothing and leather-repair services at affordable
prices, bondage toys and devices.
If arriving from abroad (or heading out), exchange
currency at Anderson
(700 E Tahquitz Canyon Way).
Gyms of note include:
(1751 N Sunrise Way);
Fitness (170 S Sunrise Way);
(1584 S Palm Canyon Dr).
Stunning views of Southern California's deserts,
coastlines, lakes and wine country can be seen from a hot-air balloon with
Fantasy Balloon Flights for groups of 2 to 10.
Caballeros, the gay men's chorus of
Palm Springs has regular performances that include a Holiday Concert, December 19 & 20. Check their
website for subsequent dates.
Every Saturday and Sunday, the
College of the Desert Street Fair,
(Collage Campus, Monterey Avenue and Magnesia Falls Drive, Palm Desert) brings together hundreds of vendors of merchandise, arts and crafts, and farmers market items from 7am to 2am in winter, until noon in the summer. Parking and entry is free, and there's entertainment too.
Every Thursday evening from 6-10pm (7pm summertime)
Village Fest (Palm Canyon Drive) draws thousands of people downtown. A diverse gathering of artists, artisans,
entertainers and venders of fresh produce, flowers, and jewelry amid the many area shops, restaurant and clubs, generates one of Southern California's most popular weekly events.
Prime Timers of The Desert
(760-416-4421) is a social club for mature gay
men. Their thousands of members have lunches,
dinners, mixers, and theater outings, and their website is a source for useful information and links.