Live Out Your Film Fantasies at a Palm Springs Boutique Hotel


Whether you're into the glamour of old Hollywood or the sizzle of skin flicks, the gay vacation oasis of Palm Springs has a cinematic experience in store for you. From clothing-optional men's resorts, to celebrity-themed suites, to historic properties where stars stayed and movies were made, you'll find unique locations that bring silver screen dreams to life among the more than 70 boutique inns and resorts in the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels collection.

Check Into a Brand-new Nine-plex

Opened just last fall, the Velvet Rope is gay owner-designer David Rios' salute to the celebs who made Palm Springs their getaway of choice in the 1940s through 1960s. Each of nine eye-popping suites is elaborately decorated to evoke the style of a different star:

Gold, ivory, and feathers evoke the sultry charm of blonde bombshell Jean Harlow; a peacock-themed stained glass modeled on an original piece from Graceland sparkles in an Elvis-inspired suite; crystal chandeliers and piano motifs give the Liberace-themed room its own special swish; and guests are sure to have a ball when they kick back in the cheerful suburban pastiche of the Lucy and Desi salute.

Rios, the design mind behind drag queen Trixie Mattel's nearby pink palace, brings a flamboyant sense of style to his passion project without ever dipping into kitsch. (If it's a dip you want, check out the Velvet Rope's eye-popping striped hot tub and a swimming pool afloat with a flock of inflatable ducks.)

Are You Ready for Your Nude Scene?

There's no need to be shy at Palm Springs' world-famous clothing-optional men's compounds. But there's also no pressure to get frisky at the likes of the Triangle Inn Palm Springs and INNdulge, where the vibe is more like a classy European art film than a blue movie.

"We pride ourselves on creating a relaxing, comfortable environment where our guests can feel free to be themselves and socialize," says Triangle Inn Palm Springs owner Michael Green.

At INNdulge, an impressive contemporary art collection amplifies the poolside manscape: Two enormous male nude bronzes with comically exaggerated physiques underscore the cheeky, but civilized, vibe.

There's a similar sophistication to the men's scene at the Santiago, Twin Palms and Descanso resorts.

If rough and ready action movies better suit your style, check out Vista Grande and All Worlds in the Warm Sands neighborhood.

And if you're a secret romance movie-junkie, the Hacienda and El Mirasol Villas will set the scene for your own happy ending.

Boudoirs of the Stars

Greta Garbo and Clark Gable are among the cinema immortals who were once private houseguests of legendary hostess Ruth Hardy. Now, you can stay at her one-time home, reinvented as the posh, secluded Ingleside Inn, famously featured on "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous."

If you're sneaking away for the weekend with a strong, silent type, why not stay where Charlie Chaplin slept? That'd be Casa Cody Country Inn, Palm Springs' oldest still-operating hotel, originally opened by the wife of rodeo impresario Wild Bill Cody.

And if James Dean is the man of your dreams, you can book a room at Villa Royale, where "Rebel Without a Cause" screenwriter Irving Shulman is said to have slumbered many a night.

Give Yourself the Star Treatment

Why stay home streaming when you could be Springing? Make plans to spend a few nights in Palm Springs, a gay getaway with a history sprinkled in stardust. And it's not just movie icons of yesteryear who dig the Palm Springs lifestyle: Leonardo DiCaprio and Barbra Streisand own homes nearby, and Robert Downey, Jr. is among the celebs who regularly check in to local hotels.

Celebrate your own star quality and book your next vacation at

by Jim Gladstone

Jim Gladstone is a San Francisco-based writer and creative strategist.

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