Relax at La Dolce Vita Gay Resort
A home away from home.
By Kevin Perry
Every interpersonal connection ripples through society from subject to subject and from experience to experience, forever shaping our perspectives and our personas.
Call it the social butterfly effect, if you will.
And the conductors of these symphonic human harmonies are men like Matt Kurtz and Robert Aikens, owner and General Manager of La Dolce Vita Resort, respectively.
The resort, whose Italian moniker literally means the sweet life, lives up to its name from the moment you enter its lush embrace. Aikens unveils a brief history of the property, quipping, “Years and years ago, it used to be called The Citadel, and it had quite the reputation back then!” Brushing its titillating past aside, he continues, “Now, we’re more of a high-end men’s clothing optional resort.”
And he credits a good deal of that transformation to his owner, Matt Kurtz. “Matt fell in love when he saw the property.”
Thanks for the segue, Robert!
“When I first came into La Dolce Vita,” Matt Kurtz reminisces, “I was greeted by the old owner with a smile and a hug and I just loved the energy of the property. It was so relaxed and it just really had a friendly atmosphere that other resorts didn’t have. La Dolce Vita was really warm and inviting.”
Kurtz researched other gay hotels in Palm Springs, but his heart already belonged to this Venice of the Inland Empire. “When I took over the property in September of 2017, what really struck me were all the stories that I would hear from guests that had been coming here for years.”
Eagerly picking up the baton, General Manager Robert Aikens shares one such anecdote. “I’ll tell you one of the things that makes it special. We had an older gentleman here months ago, and he had called to book a spa appointment.” Aikens recalls, “After, he was telling me how great it was and I say, ‘Oh, well tell all your friends!’ And he said, ‘Well, I can’t. I’m here with my family and nobody knows.’ Now, the man’s in his mid-70’s and he’s still closeted, but he felt so comfortable and so good to be here, just to be able to relax.” With a blend of concern and confidence, Aikens declares, “He’ll come back again, I’m sure of it. I haven’t seen him yet this year, but he’ll be back again.”
And he’ll be impressed with La Dolce Vita’s progress. Aikens has an ebullient message for returning guests: “Well, if you thought that was nice, wait until you see it now! With the remodel, everybody’s been commenting and raving about how different it is and how nice it is.”
Owner Matt Kurtz attributes the property’s success with its unique designation. “It’s currently the only spa in Palm Springs that’s dedicated exclusively to men. What’s nice is it gives hotel guests at La Dolce Vita, hotel guests at other resorts here in Palm Springs, and the local community a chance to come here, unwind, and socialize.”
Kurtz surmises the true source of his resort’s sense of camaraderie. “What I think sets La Dolce Vita apart are our guests. We strive to be the friendliest men’s resort here in Palm Springs.” He recounts a typical visitor experience and explains how it spilled out of the crystal-clear pool water and out to the big, gay world at large. “They visited here on their vacation, got to know some of the other guys – this is a very social property – and ended up becoming very close friends. Such that they would come every year and reach out to each other to make sure they would come at the same time. Even above and beyond that, they would visit each other in their respective cities or they would go on cruises around the world.”
Lest you think that the crowd at La Dolce Vita is clique-y, non aver paura (fear not)! Robert Aikens explains, “We get all types, all ages, gay, bisexual, we even have some straight people that come here; I have straight people that work here too. But they can just be at home and feel comfortable.”
And comfort breeds commitment, just as the resort’s resident cupid encourages. “Love does happen here,” beams Matt Kurtz, “which we promote, but to me, it’s a home away from home for people where they feel comfortable laying out in their own backyard or swimming in the nude. They find that here at La Dolce Vita.”
The implications are greater than just a weekend getaway; they knead deeper into the social fabric of Palm Springs like a macro-massage at the hands of a true maestro. “We’re trying to forge relationships with our guests, create an atmosphere where they can meet other guests, make new friendships, and just try to be a community builder.”
Kurtz has aligned the chakras of our communal soul. Breathe in and enjoy the oneness of it all.
1491 Vía Soledad, Palm Springs, CA 92264