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Palm Springs: The land of LGBT plenty

Gay and Lesbian San Diego | LGBT WEEKLY

Basking in the hot desert sun, Palm Springs is an ideal oasis for San Diegans looking to escape the fast-paced city life and spend a weekend lounging poolside. Palm Springs, home to the Dinah Shore Open and the notoriously wicked White Party, is about as welcoming and friendly atmosphere an L, G, B or T person could ask for.

With so many sumptuous resort options and too many decadent dining choices, it can be difficult to choose the right spot. Lucky for you, we’ve done the heavy lifting. Just sit back, sip a nice cold drink and relax into the happy task of deciding where you’ll immerse yourself into some well deserved indulgence.

For gay men looking to enjoy a peacefully luxuriant weekend, the recently opened Pura Vida Palm Springs offers an array of amenities. Located within a short walk from downtown Palm Springs, the intimate resort features eight rooms with French doors that open onto the pool deck. While the property itself isn’t clothing optional, each room has a private patio where guests may sunbathe, sans clothing.

Located on the site of the former Bacchanal, Pura Vida underwent a year-long remodel before reopening in July. The property offers an all-inclusive experience, featuring continental breakfast, cocktail reception, wireless internet and use of all resort gear.

“While we cater to adult gay men, we do not consider ourselves to be exclusive in that respect,” said Pura Vida owner David Reid. “And should demand warrant, we hope to offer women’s weeks, friends and family weeks …”

When it comes to fine dining in Palm Springs, there’s no shortage of wonderful cuisine. Newly added to the list of must-eats is Lulu California Bistro, which opened in August and is the sister restaurant of Acqua Pazza in Rancho Mirage. Lulu features a wide range of California-inspired dishes, including steaks, burgers, pasta, seafood and salads, served in a modern, colorful dining room.

“We are conveniently located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs at the end of Arena, which is the gay Palm Springs strip,” said general manager Willie Rhine. “The diverse Lulu staff has become very popular with the gay community and the restaurant has become a favorite for locals and tourists alike.”

For those planning to attend the Palm Springs Pride event, Ron deHarte, executive vice president at Palm Springs Pride, suggests staying at the Hilton Palm Springs for a central location or the Hyatt Regency Suites for a great view of the parade from the comfort of your room.

“The Riviera is just north of the action but they have a great pool for enjoying the sun on Pride weekend,” suggested deHarte. “DJs usually play Pride weekend and it is a really fun pool to hang out with friends and people watch.”

Palm Springs is also home to 17 TAG-approved hotels, including three with recent renovations: Hyatt Grand Champions, Hyatt Regency Suites and Renaissance Palm Springs.

Having established itself as an authority on LGBT travel quality, the TAG-Approved trademark is a moniker owned and awarded by Community Marketing Inc. of San Francisco.

“We launched an all-out effort to qualify travel businesses based not only on their desire for gay travel revenues, but on their employment policies, services and support returned to the LGBT community,” company officials say on TAGApproved.com.

But the desert cities have their own voice of authority on the topic of LGBT-friendly properties. For the Coachella Valley’s largest non-profit hospitality organization, the very idea of non-friendly resorts, hotels or spas is an anathema.

“All of Greater Palm Springs is gay-friendly,” said Joyce Kiehl, media relations manager of Palm Springs Desert Resort Communities CVA. “Hotels, restaurants and spas that are not are few and far between.”

Hospitality redux, deluxE

Poolside at Pura Vida Palm Springs

Hotels • Resorts • Spas

Courtyard by Marriott Palm Springs – Featuring a new lobby and bistro, this centrally-located hotel offers a relaxing experience in the heart of the city Rates range from $89-$219.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Good.

Days Inn Palm Springs – The former Palm Court Inn is now part of Days Inn. Rate range from $59-$99. LGBT Friendly Rating: Good.

Homewood Suites Palm Desert – This new hotel, located only 12 miles from Palm Springs, offers 127 lovely, modern guest rooms. Rates range from $119-$179.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Good.

Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, Villas and Spa (Indian Wells) – With a new front lobby and private dining and buffet room, this resort just keeps getting better. Rates range from $159-$259.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Excellent (TAG Approved).

Hyatt Regency Suites Palm Springs – Not only have the guest rooms and lobby benefited from the recent multi-million dollar renovation, but the meeting rooms and pool deck have also been remodeled. Rates range from $76-$166.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Excellent (TAG Approved).

JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa (Palm Desert) – A $25 million renovation gives this resort updated guest rooms, suites and corridors as well as a new restaurant and retail outlets. Rates range from $109-$249.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Good.

La Quinta Resort & Club And PGA West (La Quinta) – Thanks to a newly renovated spa and two new retail outlets, this resort has even more amenities to offer guests. Rates range from $99-$329.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Good.

Lulu California Bistro

Los Arboles Hotel (Palm Springs) – With 21 rooms and suites located near downtown Palm Springs, this hotel offers a more intimate feel. Rates range from $108-$208.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Good.

Pura Vida Palm Springs – Gorgeous boutique property catering to the LGBT market. Rates range from $165-$395.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Excellent.

Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa (Rancho Mirage) – Newly renovated guest rooms and enhancements to the Starlight Terrace and Sunrise Terrace will be accompanied by an improved ballroom in 2012. Rates range from $264.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Good.

Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel – The new Spa Del Sol recently opened at this resort. Rates range from $249-$269.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Excellent (TAG approved).

Spa Resort Casino (Palm Springs) – This downtown Palm Springs resort recently underwent a $2.1 million dollar renovation to the guest rooms and lobby. Rates range from $129-$329.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Good.

Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa (Rancho Mirage) – A cafe, marketplace and social media lounge are expected to be completed by December 2011 and will join new additions of the Westin Kids Discovery Room and Peter Burwash International tennis pro-shop. Rates range from $229-$269

LGBT Friendly Rating: Good.

Restaurant Reboots

El Mirasol Restaurant at Los Arboles – This new Mexican restaurant features outdoor seating with gorgeous views of Palm Springs.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Good/Excellent.

Hilton Palm Springs

Kaiser Grille Restaurant – This renovated Palm Springs restaurant showcases a contemporary design with a piano bar atmosphere.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Good/Excellent.

Lulu California Bistro – The new restaurant in downtown Palm Springs offers a taste of California.

LGBT Friendly Rating: Excellent.

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Posted by on Nov 17, 2011. Filed under Feature Story, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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