Palm Springs’s LGBT visitors are typically overwhelmed with our impressive smorgasbord of nearly 25 exclusively gay or lesbian resorts. (At last count, that’s the largest number of LGBT accommodations concentrated in any one place in the nation!)
To help you laser in on which of our great gay/lesbian resorts and guesthouses suits you best, we present this in-depth property profile:
The Canyon Club Hotel
Spacious, open, frisky, sociable
The clothing-optional Canyon Club is one of the larger gay men’s resorts in Palm Springs, both in terms of rooms (32) as well as space (53,000 square feet). The two-story hotel building centers on a 52-foot swimming pool and 16-man Jacuzzi, and both a dry sauna and wet steamroom keep you warm in wintertime.
Even when it’s at full occupancy, Canyon Club enjoys plenty of elbow room thanks to its nearly one-acre landscaped park complete with hedge maze, koi pond, and chaise lounges for nude sunbathing. Even the lobby is large enough to include a fireplace. No wonder so many annual gay events take place here like May’s Blatino Oasis and INappropriate Behavior Pool Party, and October’s Big Men’s Weekend.
For those in search of “new friends” as part of their Palm Springs vacation, Canyon Club’s video play room hits the spot with private booths and communal beds and slings. The space is nice and dark, making greetings over the complimentary continental breakfast in the bright and sunny lobby the next day a little less awkward.
Canyon Club is also one of the few gay resorts in Palm Springs to sell day passes ($15) to non-guests between 10AM and 11PM daily - and on Wednesdays and Sundays, passes are half price. (The property remains secure however through its exterior doors which can only be opened by registered guests and staff.) Room rates begin at an amazing $69, and management offers discounts to students, active military, and airline personnel. Some rooms on property are pet-friendly, so you can feel free to bring Fido (for an extra fee). Internet stations for guests are found in the lobby, WiFi is throughout the property, and parking is plentiful and free.
Just north of downtown, The Canyon Club takes up a whole block from North Palm Canyon Drive to North Indian Canyon Drive. Across the street is the gay resort Bearfoot Inn, as well as the former site of the upscale gay resort Harlow Club Hotel (which closed in the early 2000s and is now a medical center). The newly-hip Uptown and its trendy shops are within walking distance to Canyon Club.
Number of Rooms:
Canyon Club’s 32 rooms come in 7 different categories, and include 8 with private patios and 8 with full kitchens. (Most of the other guestrooms have at least kitchenettes.) Canyon Club’s rooms are newly renovated and sport a colorfully-painted 1950s retro look, with large glass brick walk-in showers, 36- to 60-inch flat-panel wall-mounted HDTVs, king size beds, all-new furniture, and new linens and towels.
The structure dates back to at least 1957 (and it’s possibly even older) when it operated as the Hotel La Fonda, complete with a huge courtyard fountain festooned with “erupting” volcanoes. In the 1990s, it became the gay resort Canyon Boy’s Club, which felt and acted more as a bare-bones bathhouse than anything else.
Year of Gay Resurrection:
Canyon Boys Club closed down in 2003, and the property’s owners had plans to tear down the existing Midcentury buildings and combine the adjoining lot to build high-end condominiums.
Luckily, in 2005, New York City native John Halderman purchased both the main property and adjoining lot (later the garden park) completely intact. Halderman had owned Laguna Beach’s historic and beloved gay bar Boom Boom Room from 1990 to 2000, so he came in with a good track record. The hotel experienced a complete gut-job, including all the rooms and even the pool, thanks to Chris Guyer, Halderman’s partner and a professional carpenter. By 2007, the property’s main renovations were finished - and 2015 will see new exterior painting and general sprucing up.
Canyon Club Hotel books large group events, not only for men, but also for women. “When the women’s groups come, we kick all the men out,” says owner Halderman. “We have a large women’s group that comes every October. And of course, during Dinah Shore, we’ve got women here.”
Straight from the Owner’s Mouth:
“A lot of people like the fact they can park their car upon check-in and don’t need it again. It’s one of our biggest selling points. When we bought the lot next door, we leveled it and put in the park. We could have added more rooms, but I thought the park would be a great asset and that turned out to be true. People especially like the maze. It was a fun thing to add. It’s unique and it does get used regularly.” - John Halderman
Canyon Club Hotel
960 N. Palm Canyon Drive
(760) 778-8042, (877) 258-2887
Palm Springs, CA 92262