INNdulge (601 Grenfall Rd.; 760-327-1408 or 800-833-5675; $139+) This is a solid, consistent top choice among men who like a cruisey ambience but tasteful and contemporary rooms. Other pluses include a spectacular view and very attractive pool/yard landscaping with a 12-person Jacuzzi. The hard-working, charming and professional management has spent (and continues to spend) a lot of money improving this large, well laid-out property with a spacious and inviting lobby, and it shows. Theirs is one of the better gyms among Palm Springs' guesthouses, and it features two computer workstations with high-speed Internet access. All rooms have TV/VCR, custom-made pine furniture, goose-down bedding and extra long beds, irons and ironing boards, coffeemakers, safes, hair dryers and private baths with Gilchrist & Soames bath products. Some rooms have full kitchens; others have kitchenettes. The pool is kept warmer than average, perfect for cool, winter evening dips. Although this place is a favorite of guys on the make, it's still very low-keyed and low-attitude -- comfortable no matter your sexual appetite. About 40% of the clientele is from Europe, and one of the charming owners is fluent in French.
Las Palmas Hotel (1404 N. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-327-6883 or 866-552-7272; $139+) On the north side of downtown, Las Palmas Hotel, opened in 2002 by experienced hotelier Thom Thompson and his partner, Tony Spleen, was purchased by new owners in summer of 2006. The plans were to turn it into a classy, gay-focused drug rehab center, but that has yet to be seen. For the meantime, Las Palms continues its upscale though laid-back vibe, with eye-popping views of the mountains. Built in 1950, the hotel building underwent a total overhaul and now boasts Spanish-style terra-cotta floors, Turkish rugs and pillows, wrought-iron beds and custom-made Moroccan- and Mediterranean-inspired furnishings made of teak and mahogany. French doors open from some suites onto the lovely pool area. The super-luxurious beds are the same brand as those used at many Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton hotels (in fact, if you like yours, Las Palmas' owners can help arrange for you to order one for your own home). The 17 rooms are packed with luxurious and welcome amenities (Italian linens and waffle-weave cotton robes, Aveda bath products, TV/VCR or DVD combos, fridge and coffeemakers), many of them bought by the same suppliers that outfit San Francisco's chichi Kimpton Group boutique hotels; indeed, Las Palmas feels like a cross between a sunny resort and a swanky urban hostelry. The large renovated pool is surrounded by huge Queen Palm trees. One guest room was sacrificed to create the enticing Tuscan-inspired semi-outdoor Jacuzzi room, perfect after a day out on the trail. There's free WiFi throughout as well as a small computer room. Service is top-notch. Pets welcome. The guesthouse is located along Palm Springs' principal drive, so during busy traffic hours there can be a low hum from passing cars. Cleverly placed fountains drown out much of that and at night the street is very calm.
Rooms: 17; Nude sunbathing: yes; Sexual temperature: med; Clientele: men; Meals: ECB, Sunday brunch, Friday and Saturday evening cocktails
Century Palm Springs (598 Grenfall Rd.; 760-323-9966 or 800-475-5188; $179+) Although a number of the city's smaller mainstream properties have embraced Palm Springs' famed Mid-Century Modern design aesthetic, which mixes '50s retro-cool designs and materials with contemporary sensibilities, it wasn't until this exceptional resort opened in late 2004 that the city had its very own gay Mid-Century Modern resort. The former Alexander Resort, which was built in the '50s in the heart of the popular Warm Sands area, contains six rooms and three suites done in the spirit of Philippe Starck, Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi and other design luminaries. Ivory, tangerine, and avocado-green color schemes and sleek, low-slung furnishings give these artful yet minimalist rooms a dashing appearance. All have flat-panel TVs with DVD players, LATHER bath amenities, and slippers and robes, and the suites have full kitchens and private patios. A helpful, down-to-earth staff headed by innkeepers Woody Shimko and Ray Nocera, substantial Continental breakfast and pool area with unimpeded views of the San Jacinto Mountains complete the experience.
Santiago (650 San Lorenzo Rd; 760-322-1300 or 800-710-7729, fax 760-416-0347; $149+) This choice, large Spanish-style property on San Lorenzo closed down for part of 2006 for an expensive renovation by a new owner, and it shows. It remains a real winner, boasting immaculate rooms, nothing out of place and a no-pressure, relaxed atmosphere yet quite reasonable rates. The resort features sophisticated if rather "beige" d?cor and modern, high-quality amenities. Units are spacious and contain numerous thoughtful touches, including refrigerators and microwave ovens, massage showerheads, feather duvets and big-screen TVs with both VCRs and DVD/CD players (there's a huge selection of both adult and mainstream movies), ceiling fans. Each room features original (and pricey) male nudes by Hawaii-based artist Douglas Simonson. The southern exposure offers all-day sun and some of the finest unobstructed mountain views, especially from the second-floor rooms. The pool is one of the largest (50') and best landscaped in the area, with mature palms and cacti. Santiago caters to a professional 20- to 40-year-old crowd with friendly, low-keyed service. An expanded continental breakfast and lunch are included along with discount passes to Gold's Gym.