Terrazzo (1600 E. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-778-5883 or 866-837-7996; $119+) The friendly owners have continued to work wonders with this former women's resort, creating an intimate men's property. The Terrazzo caters largely to couples and professionals looking for a low-key resort experience, although a little late-night action around the hot tub is not unheard of. Breakfast and lunch are made to order; Terrazzo also offers complimentary suntan lotion, soft drinks, fresh-baked cookies, espresso-based drinks -- a rarity in the area -- and snacks, as well as weekend cocktails. Among the other amenities are feather beds, wet bars, free local calls, airport shuttle, guest-use bicycles and a small but well-equipped gym (decorated with Tom of Finland pictures!). There's also a 40-foot pool, 10-man Jacuzzi and WiFi (loaner laptops available). The King Suite with "private spa" is a smallish bathroom tub with jets. Terrazzo offers a richness of amenities and warmth of service. The relative smallness of the rooms and sometimes noisy, slightly far-from-downtown location on East Palm Canyon are the only negatives, although there are several restaurants and shops nearby. The owners also rent out a fully stocked and furnished one-bedroom condo about a mile from the resort, and renters there may also use the grounds at the Terrazzo.
Rooms: 12; Nude sunbathing: yes; Sexual temperature: med-low; Clientele: men; Meals: ECB/L, snacks and beverages; special requests honored
Tortuga del Sol (715 E. San Lorenzo Rd; 760-416-3111 or 888-541-3777; $99+; guest house $275) The accent at this laid-back, friendly resort is on comfort and relaxation rather than super-fancy appointments or steamy liaisons. Homey rooms feature high-beamed ceilings, tile floors, VCRs, and a welcome basket; most rooms have fully equipped kitchenettes, and some have private patios. All beds have pillow-top mattresses. The Southwestern motif, with rustic furniture and bright, bold colors, is charming and not overdone, and the pool (lined by a painted desert mural), hot tub and grounds -- which include a grassy lawn, large hammock, and a covered Ping-Pong table -- are lush and attractive. The owners gave the rooms, patio furniture and grounds a major refurbishment in 2004, and everything is still looking great. A small gym and a library of videos and books round out the amenities. A poolside happy hour with wine is served from 4 to 5 p.m. daily, and a Southwest breakfast is made fresh to order, delivered to your room or poolside. The friendly, relaxed management welcomes "well-behaved" pets for a small fee, and frequent visitors can take advantage of a rewards program to earn free nights. Pet rate is $20, as long as visiting pets don't upset the resident tortoise. There's also a house a few blocks away with two master suites that's available by the night or week; it's a luxurious and beautifully furnished mid-century modern ranch house, and guests there can use Tortuga's facilities during the day.
Rooms: 12; Nude sunbathing: yes; Sexual temperature: low; Clientele: men; Meals:ECB, C
Triangle Inn (555 San Lorenzo Rd; 760-322-7993 or 800-732-7555; $119+, house $495) The Triangle Inn offers large, recently renovated, rooms featuring TV, VCR and CD player. The grounds are small but romantic, with lush foliage and lovely night lighting. The on-site owners provide guests and friends with solid service, as evidenced by the high number of repeat guests. Former apartments, the property was built in 1958 and is now on the city's historic site survey. Rooms feature first-rate mattresses with Ralph Lauren pillows, high-speed Internet, large bathrooms with skylights and high-quality towels and Pro Terra bath amenities and full kitchens. Guests also have free use of bicycles and a barbecue grill, and an outdoor breakfast is served on the large patio. The owners also rent out a house next door; the "Desert Dream" offers four bedrooms and two bathrooms, a large, well-equipped kitchen and spacious, beautifully furnished common areas; there's also a private sundeck and swimming pool with hot tub. The house can sleep eight and be rented out as a whole, or by individual rooms; guests have access to the Triangle Inn's grounds. This is a good choice, particularly for couples or groups traveling together, although the temperature can get frisky when the owners host frequent naked parties.
Rooms: nine, plus four in Desert Dream; Nude sunbathing: yes; Sexual temperature: med-high; Clientele: men; Meals:ECB, afternoon mixers
The Villa (67670 Carey Rd., CC; 760-328-7211 or 877-778-4552; $99+) Over the years, this sprawling five-acre property has seen more facelifts than Elizabeth Arden herself (who owned the property in the 1950s as a "beauty farm"). Finally, however, the place seems to have come into its own, as new management gave the place a huge -- and very ambitious -- makeover in 2004-2005. Rooms have tile floors and atriums and have been decorated with hip, retro-'50s themes that include low-slung, angular furniture and funky lamps; amenities include TVs with VCR/DVDs, phones with voicemail, hair dryers, and robes; unfortunately, in an effort to compel guests to eat and drink at the on-site restaurant, no rooms contain refrigerators or microwaves. Rooms are on the small side, as they occupy historic bungalows, but they're very attractive, and some have private patios. The vast, palm-studded grounds are gorgeous and well tended, creating an oasis in an otherwise downtrodden area; an expansive pool was added in 2004, and there's also a 12-person hot tub. Butterfield's Adobe restaurant and the V Lounge (see Dining and Nightlife) have been expanded and continue to attract customers from throughout the area, and there's also a Starbucks coffee bar. The Villa attracts a mixed crowd, and is one of the few places where gay men and women can travel together.
Warm Sands Villas (555 Warm Sands Drive; 760-323-3005 or 800-357-5695; $100+) This Southwestern-themed, Spanish-tiled property was vastly improved in recent years with completely renovated rooms; all feature beautiful travertine-marble floors, climate control, king-size beds, TV/VCR with adult-cable hook-ups, updated furnishings and clean and elegant, cottage-y . decor Five rooms have fireplaces, and many have kitchens. Opt for the smartly furnished Shirley Temple Bungalow, where the star once stayed, for a special occasion; it's one of the most attractively upgraded units. The lobby and poolside grounds have received similar TLC; the exterior grounds and expansive parking have also been extensively upgraded in recent years, as well as the large lobby. Best of all, the staff is warm and helpful, quick to answer questions and help guests feel at home. Warm Sands tends to draw more couples, especially in their 40s and 50s, and is considerably less steamy and cruisey than it was in the old days. Considering all the improvements and the still reasonable rates, it's really one of the best bargains in the Warm Sands neighborhood. About the only drawback is that there's just one pool and hot tub serving 26 rooms.
Rooms: 27; Nude sunbathing: yes; Sexual temperature: med; Clientele: men; Meals: CB, evening wine and beer
Meals: B = breakfast; CB = continental breakfast; ECB= expanded continental breakfast; L= lunch; C= cocktail hour or hors d'oeuvres of some sort.