FIVE PALMS -- OUTSTANDING
Casitas Laquita (450 E. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-416-9999; $135+) Lesbian-owned Casitas Laquita has 15 units (studios to two-bedroom suites, all with full kitchen) on 1.2 private acres with full-on mountain views. "Laquita" is an Indian word meaning quiet, and indeed this is a very peaceful place, excepting the slight noise from traffic on Palm Canyon Drive. Rooms are beautifully and colorfully furnished, in many cases with the owners' artwork, and include down comforters, original tile floors, irons and boards, TV/DVDs and eat-in kitchens; some have fireplaces.
About the only drawbacks are the rather small bathrooms, which are original to the property. The most stunning suite has its own private yard plus two fireplaces and a Jacuzzi. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed with a food-and-beverage gift basket, and the rooms are stocked with delicious home-baked breakfast goods. Bicycles are available free of charge to guests. The spacious, gorgeous grounds elicit a Southwestern vibe and feature a misting system. The basement "Wine Cellar" is a charming, Bohemian space with occasional live entertainment; it is also available for rent to private parties. The Casitas also hosts a members-only social club for musicians and the women who love them.
A big plus here are the owners, who work very hard to keep this place in top-notch condition and who couldn't be more professional and friendly.
Rooms: 15; Nude sunbathing: no; Sexual temperature: low; Clientele: lesbians and lesbian-friendly straight women; Meals: CB, afternoon cocktails and tapas
East Canyon Hotel and Spa(288 E. Camino Monte Vista; 760-320-1928 or 877-324-6835; $119+) Already a lovely five-palm property, this outstanding resort has continued to make even more impressive improvements in recent years, having created a wonderful spa area with two private massage rooms. They also converted their old massage area into a guest changing room for late checkouts and early check-ins, and they tore down part of the old spa area, thereby opening up the pool area and expanding the already lush grounds. They've also added a 24-hour lounge/movie room, which has a high-speed Internet workstation and a 52-inch TV.
Think Four Seasons comforts and amenities, but with even more attentive service and an all-gay environment. Since this is the only gay-marketed guesthouse in Palm Springs that does not allow nude sunbathing, couples, groups of friends, families, and women will feel comfortable here. Management and staff are attentive (but unobtrusive), professional, and friendly, and the grounds and rooms are luxurious (for example, Frette towels and bed linens) and elegant; those on the second floor have the best views.
Rooms feature TV/VCR, CD player/radios and phones with voicemail. The Grand Suite ($359) consists of a living room, separate bedroom and its own Jacuzzi. East Canyon offers ultra-clean spa facilities and a full range of enticing body treatments, massages and facials all administered by a highly professional team of trained aestheticians. Wine, champagne, and hors d'oeuvres are offered on weekends and holidays.
Rooms: 15; Nude sunbathing: no, though private tented Jacuzzi is not patrolled; Sexual temperature: low; Clientele: men; Meals: ECB
The Hacienda at Warm Sands (586 Warm Sands Drive; 760-327-8111 or 800-359-2007; $149+) The Hacienda offers spacious grounds featuring two pools and a Jacuzzi; attentive, professional hosts and staff and a country-house atmosphere that make this a most welcoming place. The elegant grounds are well-tended, pleasantly simple, and wide open. Luxurious room d?cor includes Indonesian teak and fine artwork and photography, kilim rugs, saltillo-tile floors and Berber carpets, huge two-man showers with double shower heads, incredibly comfortable chenille and matelasse bedding, phones with private lines, a pillow menu for that perfect night's rest and two flat screen TVs with VCR/DVD/CDs. Guests enter their units through lovely French doors with plantation shudders.
Many units have private patios (although some are small), some have fireplaces, and all have access to numerous amenities, including upscale bath products and an assortment of national and regional publications; there's also WiFi throughout the property. All kitchens in the suites are done in stunning black granite and mahogany. In addition to a breakfast buffet, gourmet luncheon sandwiches and salads are included in room rates. Guests are extremely well taken care of -- the staff-to-guest ratio is a remarkable 1 to 1.
Smoking is restricted to patios. Quiet and private, the Hacienda tends to attract a professional, gay male clientele.
Rooms: ten suites, one room; Nude sunbathing: yes; Sexual temperature: low; Clientele: men; Meals: ECB/L
Meals: B = breakfast; CB = continental breakfast; ECB= expanded continental breakfast; L= lunch; C= cocktail hour or hors d'oeuvres of some sort.