TWO PALMS -- OTHER RECOMMENDED Canyon Club Hotel (960 N. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-778-8042 or 877-258-2887; $89+) Closed since 2003, this Art Deco resort reopened in late 2005 and is undergoing extensive renovations, with all but six rooms left to go when we visited in late 2006. The outdoor pavement and flooring was in bad need of refurbishing, which we were assured is happening next. There are also long-term plans to transform the back parking lot into a separate but adjoining complex, although that could be a ways off. The 50-foot pool has been redone and looks great, and there are misters, a 16-man Jacuzzi, a steam room, a roomy if basic gym, dry sauna and free WiFi, as well as Internet stations in the roomy and cozy lobby, complete with fireplace. The rooms look a lot nicer than the bare bathhouse-style they once had. Glass bricks showers, new windows, and fresh furniture and linens have livened up the property. Eight rooms have private patios and eight rooms have full kitchens. The former Canyon Boy's Club, the property still retains a frisky attitude, with naked pool parties and bear events and it?s one of the only gay guesthouses in town that allows day passes for non-residents. We expect to up the property's palm ratings once renovations are complete.
Cathedral City Boys Club (CCBC) (68-369 Sunair Rd., CC; 760-324-1350 or 800-472-0836; $79+) A large 3.5-acre property (the largest gay complex in the area, they claim), this resort is marketed as a frisky, playground environment and they mean it. RV parking, tent spaces and day privileges are available; four-channel closed-circuit adult video in lieu of VCRs. Day or night passes (12 hours) to the property, allowing use of the pool, Jacuzzi, saltwater steam room, dry sauna, dungeon barn, and "walk," a landscaped encounter maze in back of the rooms, are $12. Except for a plain lobby, the public areas and grounds are meticulously tended and replanted seasonally; there's a waterfall with a dark cave in one of the pool areas. You'd almost think you were on the grounds of a convent, but those naked bodies around the pool aren't nuns! Ask for one of the newer rooms, which are cleaner and fresher than the older rooms, or one of the three spacious suites with full kitchens. The CCBC has a full calendar marking holiday celebrations and other events throughout the year. The clientele is social but definitely older and there for one reason -- to get it on -- so this may not be the choice for romantic couples or chicken hawks!
Rooms: 49; Nude sunbathing: yes; Sexual temperature: very high bordering on bathhouse; Clientele: men; Meals: CB, ECB on weekends
Chaps Inn (312 Camino Monte Vista; 760-327-8222 or 800-445-8916; $114+) This friendly but small inn capitalizes on being the sole fetish-focused property in Palm Springs, featuring an outdoor sling, St. Andrew's Cross, human cage, slings for rent and eyehooks in the ceilings of their simple, but recently overhauled rooms. The approachable owners have made a concerted effort to upgrade the property since our last visit. The grounds are spartan, but there is a pool, spa and steam room. Most rooms have new paint and new furniture and refurbished kitchens and bathrooms. All rooms have TV/VCRs, WiFi, toasters and microwaves, and some even have roomy back patios. And of course, in-room slings are available for $15 per day!
Rooms: 10; Nude sunbathing: yes; in fact, you'll seldom see guys here wearing any clothing; Sexual temperature: very high; Clientele: men; Meals: CB
ONE PALM -- LAST RESORTS Camp Palm Springs (1466 N. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-322-CAMP, 800-747-7969 in CA or 800-793-0063; $99+) This property on the north side of downtown has received some significant upgrades and renovations in recent years, although it may be in need of another quite soon. It comprises a big pool; a 12-man, cloverleaf-shaped Jacuzzi; a 22-man steam room (that is at times in need of a cleaning), a small outdoor gym and a clubhouse room with grand piano and large-screen TV, Internet stations, and small kitchen. The proud pi?ce de resistance is a dark back room complete with, glory holes and beds. Rooms are simple but basic with TV/VCRs and phones with voice mail and data ports; there are also coffeemakers, microwaves and refrigerators, and some units have kitchenettes. The grounds are well-kept, and the atmosphere here is quite fun and festive, making it popular with guys on the make; it tends to draw a lot of guys in their 20s and 30s. If you?re looking for hook ups and friendly guys, great but if you?re looking for a spotless and elegant atmosphere, you may want to look elsewhere. Camp Palm Springs accepts pets. Day passes are $10, and night passes for $15. There's WiFi throughout.
Rooms: 28; Nude sunbathing: yes; Sexual temperature: very high bordering on bathhouse; Clientele: men; Meals: CB
The Columns (537 S. Grenfall Rd; 760-325-0655, 800-798-0655; $99+) The Columns is a small property that is run by nice owners but that could greatly use refurbishment. Six rooms have a full kitchen; all have TV/VCR and drab furnishings. The pool and garden are pleasant and where most guests spend their time, but the pool deck furnishings could use upgrading. There's an eight-man hot tub. The resort keeps a low profile, though many clients, especially long-stay guests, loyally return year after year. There are some thoughtful touches, such as complimentary soft drinks and snacks in the rooms and cotton robes, and the owners have made plans to make some comprehensive refurbishments in summer 2006, including retiling the rooms and improving the gardening. There's WiFi throughout.
Desert Bear (530 Mel Ave.; 760-325-6767 or 877-GO-GROWL; www.thedesertbear.com; $99+) New owners in 2004 have spruced up this place a bit, but it's still one of the less fancy properties in town. It's also highly popular -- as you might have guessed from the name -- with bears and the guys who love 'em. Though it has basic amenities (pool, hot tub, continental breakfast, TV/VCR, mini-fridges and microwave ovens) and a scruffy feel to its dusty grounds, the rooms have recently been renovated with new windows, new beds, new carpeting, new tiles and counters, spruced up bathrooms, and a much fresher feel than in the past. The property is even attempting to get permission from the city to add another floor on the front of the building. A party-and-pleasure ambience pervades, and the management is welcoming, even if the condition is in transition (we expect to up its palm rating in the near future). It's north of downtown, near a handful of other gay properties.
Rooms: 11; Nude sunbathing: yes; Sexual Temperature: very high; Clientele: men; Meals: CB
Meals: B = breakfast; CB = continental breakfast; ECB= expanded continental breakfast; L= lunch; C= cocktail hour or hors d'oeuvres of some sort.