Tag - Palm Springs

Palm Springs: Always Leaving You Craving for More

I recently had the unique opportunity to interview Ron Oden in the coffee shop at the new and hip ARRIVE Boutique Hotel. Ron Olden has lived in Palm Springs for over 25 years and served as the first openly gay, African-American mayor of Palm Springs (2003 – 2007) and in the US. This spirited man, with a voice that commands attention, gave us a snapshot into what makes this city one of the most popular and most famous resort communities in the world, welcoming thousands of visitors and snowbirds every year.


Ron Olden and his sister Kerry Bryant

Ron began by explaining to me that “people first came to Palm Springs due to the clean, warm and dry desert air that provides those with respiratory illnesses a break from congested and industrialized cities. Soon those people learned of the healing waters that sit in wells and aquifers under the city, which further enhanced the idea of building the famous boutique hotels and spas that Palm Springs has become so famous for. There are more boutique-style hotel rooms and luxury B&Bs in Palm Springs than in the rest of the Coachella Valley cities.”

The Most Photographed Pool In America - Palm Springs Tennis Club

The Most Photographed Pool In America – Palm Springs Tennis Club

“The city soon became the secret hideaway for the rich and famous, from actors to politicians, who found solace in this desert oasis. Palm Springs is close enough to Hollywood for actors to have the opportunity to live here and not break their contracts, many of which stated they had to live less than 100 miles from the studios. They also had an escape from the paparazzi, who are still frowned upon here.”

Edited in Lumia Selfie

Having fun at a reception

Ron went on to say that “they felt safe riding their bikes around town, or walking freely down the city’s Strip, shopping in stores that catered to their needs. Boutique-style shopping became so famous that people actually bragged about having been here.”

Casa Cody, Historic Inn

The historic Casa Cody Inn

It’s a fact that Palm Springs was the secret hideout for gay Hollywood, a place where they were free to love whomever they wished without judgement. Hollywood stars, such as Rock Hudson, Liberache, George Nader, Cary Grant, Montgomery Clift, Tab Hunter, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich, all flocked to the desert to love one or many, making Palm Springs well-known for its parties and for creating a community open to alternative lifestyles. “The city is still an open community, where people are accepted for who they are, not for who they love,” Ron said. “One person told me that ‘Palm Springs is a place where you feel not just safe for being gay but normal as well.’”

agua caliente casino palm springs

agua caliente casino palm springs

As the former mayor continued to talk about the city’s past, he reflected on what life was like in Palm Springs when he first arrived. “Every block was filled with homes owned by the rich and famous. They were treated like every-day people in the city. They were free to live life without any limitations they normally had; locals greeted them, waved, and smiled at them, and they didn’t treat them any differently due to their status. Here they were allowed to be normal people, even past presidents roamed around freely.”

Andalusian court

Andalusian Court boutique hotel

Though many of Tinseltown’s icons from the silver screen have long passed away, Ron said it has made for an exciting real estate market. “People are arriving in droves to buy one of the hundreds of condos or homes that once belonged to someone famous. Next to Beverly Hills, I’m not sure if there’s a more condensed area of homes formerly owned by a prominent person.”

Famous Historic Inn

Famous Willows Inn boutique hotel

Of course, Hollywood’s influence wasn’t all that positive. “This was a rich and powerful group of people, and they weren’t fond of anyone that didn’t belong to their tribe, so to speak. This created a problem for the native Indians of the area who were forced out of their homes and businesses to create room for the new residents. It became a long and strenuous battle for the Agua Caliente Indians who went all the way to the Supreme Court, ultimately leading to a land act so powerful and famous, known as Section 14, that it now has a place in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC. The influence of the Agua Caliente Indians is still present in Palm Springs today, with many of them owning nearly half of the land and giving them one of the only Native-American-owned casinos (Agua Caliente Spa Casino) in the middle of a city.”

San Guillano

San Giuliano boutique hotel

Due to the hot, dry climate, swimming pools became a necessary luxury for every home and hotel in the Coachella Valley. “Palm Springs is famous for it pools, and hotels take great pride in making theirs a center piece of the property, with cabanas, luxury poolside chairs, fire pits, bars, and restaurants with full service to the pool. They’re often salt water pools (a safe alternative to chlorine pools) that are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer, with hot tubs big enough for the whole bridal party. Most of the hotel pools are free for all to enjoy if you’re eating or drinking at the hotel, unlike most hotel pools that are for guests only. There are even pool-party weekends. A bus takes party-goers from one pool party to the next, with live bands, drink and food specials.”

On Thursdays and Fridays, a free bus, called the Buzz, runs every 15 minutes and stops at or near most of the hotels in Palm Springs. Pools are so common here that wearing your swimsuit around town is common, and you’ll never be asked to leave a restaurant for wearing flip flops.

Amin Casa

Amin Casa boutique hotel

The entire Coachella Valley has also become a mecca for the finer things in life, including food, and you can find cuisine to suit any palate and price range. “Eating out is a way of life for locals, but health is just as important. Almost all the restaurants here accommodate all different dietary needs, from dairy-free to gluten-free. The city has one of the first vegan restaurants in the country called Native Foods, which helped create the vegan food craze all over the country.”


Le Vallauris, Elegant French-Mediterranean restaurant

Ron also reminded me that “Palm Springs and the entire valley boast some of the best golf courses in the country. Rafe Botts, the second African-American golfer to play professionally for the PGA, said that Palm Springs is famous as the premier place for golf on the West Coast, with literally hundreds of golf courses that range in price and views. However, it’s just as well-known for tennis, with private and public courts everywhere, begging even the most novice player to take a swing or two. If that’s not for you, bicycles are everywhere. Most hotels offer free bikes to their guests to use and with little car traffic, it’s a fun and safe way to get in shape and view the beautiful homes at the same time. Also, don’t forget Palm Springs sits against a beautiful mountain range, with some peaks as high as 10,000 feet, with hiking trails for all fitness levels.”

He went on to say that “if you go from the lowest point of Palm Springs to the top of Mount San Jacinto, you actually get to experience 12 different ecosystems. Plus, with some of the most unforgettable views of the valley—hiking is a must for all visitors. If you’re up for a little adventure, a night hike is ideal. No matter what time of the year, people love to don headlamps and hike the mountains.”

The Spenser

Spencer’s: a famous restaurant designed by Roy Wilson, the first African-American architect west of the Mississippi.

Since locals and visitors alike love the outdoors here, exploring the city’s palm-lined streets leads from one architectural treasure to the next. “There are more mid-century homes in Palm Springs as well as some of the most famous private and public art collections than anywhere else in the world, making the city a must-see for anyone who loves art and design.”

Famous Engleside Inn

The famous Ingleside Inn boutqiue hotel

The former mayor and I ended our conversation talking about the future of Palm Springs. He believes that the future is bright for this small resort city. “It’s healing, it’s surreal, it’s calming, and it welcomes all to experience its magic. Plus, it’s the only place where you can sit by the pool sipping a martini in your bikini while looking at snow-capped mountain in January.”

Edited in Lumia Selfie

Rev. Susan Stafford and Ron Olden leading a procession for a garden wedding

The House that Lost Track of Time in Palm Springs

Imagine you accidentally find one of the best kept secrets, but you know its too good not to share. The other day, my husband and I came across  an open house in the Twin Palms neighborhood of Palm Springs. Once we walked up to the front door, we knew this was no regular house. This was a house that has stood still for nearly five decades.house

This house is more like a museum than someone’s residence. It’s a classic example of mid-century modernism that Palm Springs is so famous for. According to the real estate agent, the 3,300-square foot home was built in 1969, with minute details of the décor continuing to reflect that era. Everything in the house is original, from the carpet, to the furniture, pool, beds, televisions, radio, textured fuzzy wallpaper, glass door knobs, chandeliers, bathroom fixtures, even the bed spreads. As you walk through the house, you feel as if you’ve actually traveled back in time. It’s a must-see for anyone who’s a fan of the sixties or the Palm Springs lifestyle. If you’ve been thinking of taking a trip to Palm Springs any time in the near future, you must make an appointment to tour this house before its gone.

The Living Room, or as I like to call it the Great Green Room

great room

A large, round room boasts a subtle yet bright green with two sofas to match the shape, size, and color of the whole room. Floor-to-ceiling drapes hang graciously from the 15-foot-high windows, allowing the room to feel intimate and private. You also have a view of the entire pool area, including breathtaking panorama of the mountain range that’s just a stone’s throw away. It’s not hard to stop and imagine entertaining guests like Frank Sinatra or Marilyn Monroe here while they secretly admired the tasteful furnishings as the sun set.

The Den/Bar/Smoking Room

denThe new man cave has nothing on this masterpiece. It may be small in size but it’s huge in personality. It has a bar worthy of any mixed cocktail or fine Champagne, and the perfect soft sofa begging you take a load off and enjoy life for a little bit.16-978787PS_7c42181d-3017-4247-85d2-dccdf19ae4ad

The Kitchen

kitchenThis is the most understated room in the house. It’s immaculate counters and large open space lets you know that cooking is optional, but the cute, little breakfast nook, with windows overlooking the front yard, is begging you to sit down and enjoy your morning coffee while reading the daily news.16-978787PS_fd979a83-f115-4871-a268-f9f46362ea17

The Dining Room

dining roomTo enter this room is like stepping on to the movie set of The Wizard of Oz for dinner. The bright-green room, complete with a table big enough for your family plus Dorthy and her gang, appears even more impressive with a wall-sized mirror in an exquisite gold frame. I wonder what you eat in Oz?

The Blue Room

blue roomFor the person who likes life just a little quieter, or to be a little more introverted, then this room is for you. It’s simple and blue and an understated gem with a charm all unto its own.16-978787PS_f9f97ea1-ab7b-4897-ab58-96843a80ab19

The Green Room

green room

Tucked way in the corner away from the action of the house, this is the perfect kids’ room with two beds and plenty of room to fill with toys. With its own private, en-suite bathroom, it means that the kids can go straight from the shower to bed.

The Master Bedroom


Yes, this grand pink room shocked me at first too, but it quickly grew on me and it’ll grow on you as well. The room also made me understand something about pink. If your’re going to use pink as a room color, you need to go all out and do absolutely everything in it, Of course, don’t forget the gold trim to accentuate. This room comes complete with a television that has a zoom screen (not sure what that is actually is, but the realtor was super excited about it), and it actually goes into the floor. If you don’t want to watch TV, you get the perfect view of the pool. The en-suite bath has a unique, sunken marble bathtub in the middle of the bathroom, affording you views of the master bedroom. I swear I could fit my whole family in this tube at the same time.master1

The Pool

16-978787PS_6f28a8ff-9992-4443-a86c-039f528d27f4Complete with an attached hot tub, the large pool looks as if it were modeled from one in a bath house in ancient Rome. Every detail for this area was careful planned, from the patio with the view of the mountains to the plants. Plus, the area is completely private with tall fences on one side and the house on the other.pool

Don’t miss the extras:

1.There are two, life-size, Greek nude statues that must be seen to be appreciated.

2. The marble tiles in the house is to die for.

3. Many of the mirrors, which are everywhere, have gold painting on them, giving an elegant cracked appearance.

4. There are gold frames everywhere in the house, each one is hand carved with the finest details. The frames in the living rooms have the sweetest, fat cherubs on them you just want to pinch.

5. Placing your hand on front door handle is a must.

6. The house has several large citrus trees overflowing with fruit.

7. Everything comes with the house.

Chip Romero, Cell: 760-678-8994, E-mail: chipromero@bhhscaproperties.com

Vacation in Palm Springs? Absolutely!

Surrounded by the San Jacinto mountain range in the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs comprises around 60,000 permanent residents, of which 60% is gay. When winter is in full swing, the population grows to nearly 150,000.

Beautiful Palm Springs

Beautiful Palm Springs

Is Palm Springs the ideal getaway for anyone seeking calmness from the fast pace of everyday life? Let’s explore the city and highlight its great points of interest.

A Winter Wonderland

The locals will tell you that only a brave few come to vacation in the summer, when swimming pools feel more like hot tubs than a place to cool off. Perhaps that doesn’t sound like a dream holiday, it is, however, one of the best winter destinations in the United States. Snowbirds come from all over to escape from the frigid temperatures of the snow-covered north.

Livable and comfortable, winter is very pleasant with ideal temperatures that range from the mid-70s to mid-80s. At the same time, winter in deserts tend to be chilly at night—even Jack Frost will be nipping at your nose. Of course, there is the occasional rain shower to give the gift of life even to the harshest of places.

Take a Hike

Spectacular views of the Valley below from Mt St Jacinto

Spectacular views of the Valley below from Mt St Jacinto

Palm Springs isn’t ideal for outdoor activities in summer, but winter is the best time if you’re an outdoorsy kind of person. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with a hike through Taquitz Canyon. Admission is $12, which may sound like a lot for a one-mile hike, but there are fantastic points, such as Native American pictographs, hikers would never discover without the knowledge of an accompanying guide. There’s even a path that leads to a waterfall. Other great hikes include Indian Canyons — comprising Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon and Murray Canyon. Be on the lookout for resident bighorn sheep, mule deer and plenty of darting lizards. Bird-watchers will also enjoy getting a glimpse of the various species that live here. For spectacular views of the valley, take a hike on the San Jacinto Trail.

Regardless if it’s a blazing summer or a delightful winter, hikers need to keep the the following in mind:

    • Check the weather before heading out.
    • Most trails don’t have any shady areas or restroom facilities.
    • Dress appropriately and, most of all, wear a hat.
    • Bring plenty of water and some food. If you run out of water, turn around and go back.
    • Be careful where you step and beware of rattlesnakes. The landscape is remote and challenging, so it’s best to stay on the trails.

Some hikes are easier than others, but it’s still good to go with a friend.

Palm Springs Attractions

Palm Springs Air Museum

Palm Springs Air Museum

The Air Museum of Palm Springs: Listed as one of the best aviation museums to visit in the USA by CNN, the museum aims to educate the public about the role American air power played during conflicts of war. The cost is $10, which includes visits to three hangars and other outdoor expositions.

The Aerial Tram: This is one of the main attractions in the city. To escape the heat in summer, locals and visitors alike head to Mt. Jacinto, where the temperature is 25 degrees cooler.

Summer months are less crowded, but expect to wait in a long line during the popular winter months. During peak season, the tram runs every 15 minutes and transports up to 10,000 people per day for the 10-minute ride. Tickets cost $25 per person, depending on when you’re heading, and $60 for a season pass.

Rotting Aerial tram

Rotating Aerial tram

Once reaching the top, there are some easy hikes to do, places to rest for a picnic and enjoy the breathtaking view of the valley below. There is a restaurant from this lofty perch, but the wait time can   be long and the food isn’t worth it in the end.

Star-studded Streets: At one point, there were almost as many celebrities living in Palm Springs as in Tinsel Town. Fans of Hollywood can stroll down the Palm Springs Walk of Stars on Palm Canyon drive.

door6896Visitors can also go on tours through the “Old Movie Colony”, Las Palmas neighborhood and Racquet Club Estates, as well as other secret locations with some 50-60 beautiful homes to see along the way.

Entrance signThe list of famous residents reads like a who’s who from the Silver Screen. Legendary celebrities who had their hideaways in Palm Springs include Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, the Reagans and even Elvis and Priscilla Presley. Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Dinah Shore were also frequent visitors to this desert oasis.

Wind farms of Palm Spgs, Credit-daryo.uz

Wind farms of Palm Spgs, Credit-daryo.uz

The Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium: This one-acre, family-owned botanical garden boasts 3,000 examples of cacti and other desert succulents that are grouped by geographic regions. The entrance fee is $4 for adults and $2 for children.

Visit the Wind Turbines: These sleek and towering beacons stretch along I-10 and rotate at a rapid speed, helping to generate one and a half percent of California’s electricity. There are 3,500-plus wind turbines in place and create enough energy to power nearly 200,000 homes. Some refer to the area as being the second windiest place on earth.

 Enjoy the Laid-back Desert Lifestyle

View from Ruth Hardy Park

View from Ruth Hardy Park

Relax at a city park: If you visit with kids, there are some nice parks for them to run around and have some fun. Located near Mt. Jacinto, the Ruth Hardy Park is one of the best in Palm Springs, with tennis courts, volleyball courts and a basketball court. Dimuth Park is also another option, but Sunrise Park isn’t recommendable.

Ride a bike: There are plenty of bike trails and rentals are affordable. Most bike paths are shared with pedestrian sidewalks, which may annoy some. Click on the following links for more details.

Let the festivities begin! Winter is also a time when endless festivals fill the city. The Palm Springs VillageFest runs all year in downtown on Thursday evenings; the Palm Springs Film Festival, founded by former mayor Sonny Bono, takes place in January, and the hot air balloon festival on 14 and 15 February. Along with art festivals on weekends, there’s the Tour de Palm Springs Bike Event in February, Gay pride in November and the Palm Springs Light Festival in December—just to name a few.

Village fest


Other attraction to visit may include Irwin Junior’s Robo-lights, which display the largest single-family home light display in California from November to the end of December.

A Night on the Town: There are plenty of bars and night clubs open until late, and there’s something for everyone. Why take a chance with Lady Luck at the the Spa Resort Casino? It also has one of the best spas in town.

Meet the Locals!

Palm Springs Charm

Palm Springs Charm

Palm Spring is diverse and exciting, with a population from all over the world. Don’t be afraid to chat with the locals—they won’t bite. Everywhere you go, people are simply friendly, helpful, fun and engaging. It feels good to meet people who love others and love to live peacefully.

Heterosexuals may feel uncomfortable to see gay couples holding hands and showing affection for each other on the streets just as anyone else would towards their significant other. However, don’t stare or say something inappropriate. Accept the indifference, be a tolerant and decent human being.

Eat and Be Merry

People love to shop at the local and farmers’ markets. Every Saturday, the organic farmers’ market (7 am – 12:30 pm) is fantastic for buying certified, organic food for reasonable prices.

There are also plenty of Palm Springs restaurants that serve up international dishes. For a taste of the Med, have a seat in the “Greek Island Restaurant;” Asian food-lovers will leave happy after dining at “Thai Smile,” and for authentic French cuisine treat your taste buds at “Atelier.” If you want to have your cake and eat it, too, you’ll find the best cakes in the Coachella Valley at Sherman’s.

Cimarran Golf resort Palm SpringsPalm Springs may not immediately cross one’s mind for a vacation, but it seems that’s the case for at least the one million who do visit each year. If you’re looking for adventure, recreation and relaxation, you can’t beat Palm Springs.

Read more:

101 Things to do in Palm Springs

Hidden Gems of Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California has been a top tourist destination for years now.Nestled in a cozy oasis in the desert of California, Palm Springs has a unique cosmopolitan sensibility combined with an adventurous spirit. There’s are tons of things to do when it comes Palm Springs attractions and sightseeing – read on for just a few of the hidden gems of this California paradise.

Beautiful Palm Springs

Beautiful Palm Springs

San Andreas Fault Tour

Taking a trip across the rocky trails around the San Andreas Fault in a comfortable hummer on Elite Land Tour’s San Andreas Fault Tour. You’ll get to see the fully glory and fury of nature on this tour that shows of California’s San Andreas Fault. For people enjoy seeing the outdoors and nature, this is one of the top Palm Springs attractions and sightseeing destinations.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway


Aerial Tramway

For a truly breath-taking view of the desert, you must pay a visit to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, another great site on the list of Palm Springs attractions and sightseeing locations. Starting with an eight and a half minute ride up, you’ll eventually find yourself over two miles above the desert floor. You’ll get a truly breath-taking view of the various wildlife on your way to the top – the trip travels through a number of different environments. It’s said that the journey covers climates that comparable to arid Sonoma, Mexico ranging all the way to areas that aren’t like Canadian tundra.

Palm Springs Art Museum

Palm Springs' art museum

Palm Springs’ art museum

For a more educational entry in the Palm Springs attractions and sightseeing list, try the Palm Springs Art Museum. This mid-sized art museum takes pride in its status as one of the best in the country for promoting visual and performing arts. With a very diverse collection of exhibits, both in terms of culture and chronology, there’s something for everybody – regardless of nationality and generation. Take part in a guided tour of the museum and get a wonderful taste of culture.

Agua Caliente Canyons

Hiking in the canyons

Hiking in the canyons

Located on the tribal lands of the Cahuilla Indians, these canyons are a beautiful location for a day’s hike. Featuring rocky canyon walls, flowing streams and lush palm trees, you can get a taste of nature on these fun but easy hiking trails. For people really seeking an outdoor adventure on their vacation, these canyons are highly recommended as some of the most beautiful Palm Springs attractions and sightseeing destinations.

The Climate

Enjoying life in Palm Springs

Enjoying life in Palm Springs

California is famous for its climate and Palm Springs offers the best of it. With mild winters and over 350 days of sunshine every year on the average, Palm Springs is a great place to live.


Village fest


For people who enjoy spending their days wandering the streets and shopping in an open air market, try Villagefest. Every Thursday, in the center of Palm Springs, you can take part in this great event. With handmade crafts, live music, and delicious edible treats, Villagefest is a lot of fun. This is a great place to pick up a souvenir of your time in Palm Springs. It’s also a great place to meet new friends or just people watch. It’s no surprise it’s counted among the best Palm Springs attractions and sightseeing locales.

Golf and Tennis

Cimarron Golf Course

Cimarron Golf Course

Play golf where the pros play. The Palm Springs area has over 120 beautiful, exquisitely maintained golf courses, some of which are famous throughout the world. The area is known as the golf capital of the western United States and has a fine selection of world-class links to choose from. You can also play tennis at some of the best tennis courts and clubs around.

Palm Springs beautiful mountains

Palm Springs beautiful mountains

This article has barely started to cover the things you can experience in the Palm Springs area. To cover everything would take several books instead of an article. Whether you stay a night, a weekend, a week or a month you will never run out of things to do and experience.

Read More:

Images of The Beautiful Gates and Doors of Palm Springs

Part two – Vacation in Palm Springs? Absolutely!

Palm Springs, California – San Andreas Fault Tour

 San-andreas-fault, cr-viewfromthepier.com

San-andreas-fault, cr-viewfromthepier.com

If you are looking for a unique way to spend some time in Palm Springs, and like the outdoors, then the San Andreas Hummer tour might just be up your alley.  If you are staying at one of the local hotels in Palm Springs, such as the Zoso, the Elite Hummer Tours will even offer the courtesy of picking you up and dropping you off at the lobby of your hotel.

This tour provides an intimate look at the desert and naturescapes of the local desert.  While the tour takes a solid four hours, it is comfortable in an air-conditioned new Hummer.  They also provide drinks and snacks, such M&M’s, peanuts, at each stop.  The tour takes you into washes and riverbeds, and includes some short hiking locations.  However, the small hikes were well worth it, as one of the hikes ends at the top of a hill overlooking the Salton Sea.  The view is truly spectacular.

Other points of interest include a stop in which the tour guide has visitors “taste” different types of local, edible plants, which weren’t too bad.  The true peak of the tour is arriving and driving through the San Andreas area. Stopping to inspect the sheared off rocks of the fault line was truly impressive. These rocks are easily 20 feet tall and look like someone just came along and literally shaved off the rock.  This stop is an excellent location for a photo op standing in front of the fractured granite.

Part of the tour includes driving through and around some agricultural areas closer to Coachella.  The tour guides are knowledgeable and informative explaining some of the local vegetation, including those not native and brought in by others.  In addition, they also give background about the area including the meaning of names and history of the towns, and some of the scenic formations and mountains.

While the walking and hiking was minimal, most of the tour consists of riding in the Hummer; it is well worth the price for four hours.  Wearing comfortable shoes, such as tennis shoes, is very much recommended to avoid slipping while walking in the sandy soils.  Be sure to bring a camera, as there are several points of interest. One of the benefits of this type of tour is that they will drop you at the front door of your hotel after the tour, which is convenient.

After the tour, a hot shower in one of the local hotels feels great. Although you don’t get really dirty, it is nice to clean up and change into something a little nicer for a night on the town.

Since the Palm Springs and desert areas offer many dining options, there is no shortage of choices.  For someone staying at the Zoso, for example, they offer a nice and elegant restaurant off the main lobby area.  The hotel has been completely renovated and has a modern feel to it. They also have a quiet and contemporary bar area that is fairly popular.  It provides a pleasant way to wind down after the day.   Even if you are not a guest at the hotel, the restaurant and bar area can still be enjoyed by all patrons visiting due to its convenient location in the downtown district.