So, I was prepared to write a typical review of my recent stay in Palm Springs, California during one of my monthly trips out there to host an event. I wasn’t prepared for the home I would find, an oasis in the oasis of Warms Sands, Palm Springs, called the Vista Grande Resort.
Throw away whatever notions you have about a clothing optional, men only resort. This property, over an acre of land, has two pools (yes, two), a lagoon (yes, I said lagoon), a hot tub, and a waterfall… and don’t forget the fancy steam room! The small, unassuming, wooden door at the entrance belies a sprawling land of lush gardens, koi fish and moments of zen.
The hotel has a vintage Palm Springs feel, with art, colors and architecture from the modernist era with rooms and full kitchens that have been modernized with marble bathrooms with dual shower heads and room for company.
In 1984, the Vista Grande began as the first and only gay clothing optional motel in Palm Springs. With only seven guest rooms, an appreciation for the company of men, a flare for male hospitality, business was transacted in the nude on a pay phone next to the pool. Today with thirty rooms, the legendary waterfalls, and all the amenities of a five- star resort, the Vista Grande has become my favorite home away from home. And, always being a hungry bear, I was more than pleased to find out daily breakfast and lunch (and dinner on the weekends!) was served…also a sandwich at midnight if you come back from the clubs a bit hungry.
Once I entered the private and well secured property, I was greeted by Calvin – the super sexy and friendly face that usually runs the office during the day – in a lobby that was a mini CVS for gay men, complete with toiletries, beauty products and the more, shall we say, adult items you may need, you can also have items placed in your room prior to checking in.
Calvin ran down the amenities and asked what I wanted served in room for breakfast – yes, they delivered breakfast to my suite, breakfast in bed…with a small bottle of champagne. Just a small representation of the detail they have to sincere and complete hospitality.
In the afternoon and evening, Jay and John take care of guests with a sassy, teddy bear way of taking care of you and your visitors. The staff is lead by general manager, Tom, who creates a family environment and keeps things running smoothly. His New Jersey accent is adorable.
The rooms vary in size to your needs and budget. From rooms of 250 square feet to the Grand Residential Living Space, a full-size apartment with living room, dining room, full kitchen and enough closet space to hide your exes. The resort is perfect for your one night stay, a week stay or even a month long stay – they love extended guests. Need to catch up on your shows? Cable, Netflix and more…even adult channels…at your finger-tips. I literally didn’t leave my room for one full day.
And yes, its clothing optional, so making friends for a moment or for a full trip is welcomed but it is definitely laid back, with guests ranging from all ages and types. I got as much rest as I did play.
I had to come back for a second stay, just to see if my experience was the same. It was delightfully so. The topping on the cake? I sat with owner Robert Fields for a quick hello and ended up talking for about an hour about classic Hollywood, Broadway musicals, celebrity gossip and his vision of the Vista Grande. A gentleman with stories to spare, it is his energy that is embodied within those walls.
“Going home would be a return to the so-called real world from which I always felt so disconnected. Sometimes I would dream about living in a gay world where I could be my true self all the time. The Vista Grande is the fulfillment of that dream.” – Robert
It is indeed a place of dreams, whatever your fantasy is.