Desert Beauties: 3 Lesbian-Friendly Palm Springs Resorts
In the gay Mecca that is Palm Springs, California, where a full 50 percent of the resident population is LGBT, almost any hotel you choose will be a gay-friendly hotel. But when you're looking for somewhere over the rainbow, there are a few standouts that you shouldn't miss. Check out these uber-gay getaways. And when you plan a trip to Palm Springs, be sure to visit www.visitgaypalmsprings.com
Saguaro Palm Springs
As one of the host hotels for the biggest lesbian party in the world -- Club Skirts Dinah Shore -- the Saguaro Palm Springs rolled out all the stops, not to mention nearly all the chaise lounges they had. But even on a regular day, this hotel on Palm Canyon Drive is an LGBT hotspot.
Almost all of the hotel's 245 rooms face the Olympic-sized pool, which is complete with a hot tub and poolside bar. Inside, the rooms are clean and bright, with vibrant purple carpets, king sized beds, fine linens and Day-Glo furniture.
These bright colors are found throughout this retro hotel, with rooms painted in rainbow fashion from green to orange to purple and back again, all reflecting the colors of the desert flowers that bloom outside your balcony. Iridescent hummingbirds dart to and fro, undisturbed by your morning antics, while sleek black crows watch from the top of palm trees towering above.
On-site dining includes the casual taqueria and tequila bar El Jefe, which makes some of the most amazing carnitas tacos you will ever have, studded with toothsome chunks of beef, matchstick radishes and microgreens. The more upscale Tinto wine bar offers burgers and more complex entrees, plus a delicious selection of breakfast platters.
The best part about this hotel is the clientele. Maybe it's the sunshine, or the fact that everyone has their vacation face on, but the folks who stay at The Saguaro Palm Springs get quite a bang for their buck.
In the lobby, children enthusiastically play ping pong near the gift shop while their parents sip cucumber water and have a laugh over the clever dioramas of Barbie and her friends engaged in activities like visiting the in-house spa, dining at Tinto, watching TV in their room or swimming in the pool.
Mornings find guests at a free in-house yoga class, hosted by a man who looks like Wolf Blitzer's hippie brother and says things like, "feel your stress fall away like drops of water into the sea," while he leads you through a series of super-relaxing poses.
Sit at a picnic table on the side lawn and enjoy a cold drink, or gather your friends on the other side of the pool for a spirited game of Bocci. You'll leave feeling rested, recharged and pampered.
Saguaro Palm Springs
1800 E. Palm Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs. CA 92264
Located near "The Curve," where Palm Canyon Road reaches around, this all-women B&B guesthouse was colonized 16 years ago by Denise Roberson and Joanna Funaro, two Manhattan Beach women who hung it up and moved to Palm Springs to enjoy their golden years. They brought and renovated a property that had been abandoned for a decade, creating an oasis with eight suites, each complete with full baths and kitchens and situated around a fish-shaped pool.
"Palm Springs is very gay-friendly, but to have a compound where you can hold your girlfriends hand or swim in the pool without being stared at is great," said Denise.
While Casitas Laquita may feel cloistered and exclusive, it’s also incredibly friendly and inviting. Joanna bakes cakes for each room -- a personal touch that keeps the clientele coming back and makes it hard to say goodbye.
Denise admits that one woman checked in 16 years ago, and now spends all of those snowbird months beside their heated pool. During a recent visit, one guest was there for six months, another for 10 weeks and several more for 10 days -- far longer than your usual vacation stay.
Some of the guests who met here went on to become couples, and have returned for birthdays, anniversaries and even weddings. They enjoy the basement wine cellar/bar, a glorified rumpus room where they hold wine tastings and live music on Sundays. It all looks like a hell of a lot of fun.
The owners host barbecues and their renowned "Pu Pus and Punch by the Pool" parties, as well as special events like the Left Coast Lesbian Conference, a new literary event. But every day is a special event at Casitas Laquitas.
"We try to keep things here focused on our guests," said Denise. "And at Casitas, you know that you’ll always have a chair and a towel."
450 E. Palm Canyon Dr.
Palm Springs, CA 92264
Queen of Hearts
Just around the corner from "The Curve" is Queen of Hearts bed and breakfast, the first-ever women’s resort in Palm Springs. Run for 15 years by the affable Michelle Secor, who looks like she could be Jamie Lee Curtis’ sister, the place has garnered multiple honors as Trip Advisor’s most romantic getaway, as well as the best bargain.
"It made me cry to have this women’s space recognized," said Michelle. "It is a big honor because I love what I do. People come here as strangers and by Saturday, they are having group potlucks. Sometimes, its like a lesbian commune around here!"
The nine spacious, super-clean rooms, all with full bath and kitchen, face a square central pool with picture-perfect mountain views. Fresh oranges, grapefruits and apples grow from fruit trees on the property, and women lazily peel them as they sit poolside, soaking in rays or getting a massage.
Queen of Hearts is a popular getaway for lesbians, of course, but also for single straight women who want to get away from the meat market scene, as well as sisters and girls-only weekends. There are some guests who have cultivated long-term friendships that reconnect during their time spent at the resort. Others keep returning for a repeat performance; a recent guest said she had been making the pilgrimage to Queen of Hearts twice a year for 10 years.
From weddings to anniversaries to simple vacations, this place will make you feel just a little bit like royalty.
Queen of Hearts
435 E. Avenida Olancha
Palm Springs, CA 92264