Spotlight: Escape Resort
Palm Springs is justifiably world famous for its much-celebrated collection of intact mid-century modern architectural wonders. Mid-century modern refers to a cool design aesthetic beginning in the late 1940s extending to the early 1970s. To really appreciate Palm Springs’ historic highlife, a stay at a vintage ‘50s or ‘60s property is a must. Escape Palm Springs is classified as a mid-century modern boutique resort.
Vibe: Tranquil, amiable, attitude-free, couple-friendly
Wow Factor: The owners of Escape Resort have harkened back to the property’s early ‘50s roots with tastefully-updated mod furnishings and decor that don’t overreach, but back in a casual luxury. Think Gilchrist & Soames bath amenities, thread-count linens, personal robes, memory foam-topped mattresses, flat screen TVs, Blu-Ray DVD players, and iPod/MP3 docking stations.
Selling Point: Escape’s affordable queen rooms come equipped with their own refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, while the king rooms boast full kitchens with ranges, cooking equipment, and dinnerware. But you won’t feel compelled to cook breakfast with the hosts’ robust complimentary continental fare of bagels and other baked goods, fresh fruit, cereals, oatmeal, yogurts, and more. In addition, weekend social hours serve up things like margaritas, chips, and an array of dips.
Locale: Escape is next door to the landmark Triangle Inn, and part of the low-key cluster of gay lodgings just south of downtown on East San Lorenzo (Palm Springs’ second-largest LGBT resort gayborhood after Warm Sands).
Number of Rooms: 7 Queen Rooms (each appx. 225 square feet) and 5 King Rooms (each appx. 350 square feet). Rooms come with their own patio or outdoor seating area, and some rooms even feature arched wood beam ceilings.
Year Built: This 1951 property is a very early example of Mid-Century Modern architecture, with lots of white brick and low-slung rooflines that lend a cozier feel than the more sprawling Desert Modernism predecessors would tend towards.
Year of Gay Resurrection: In 1997, the property became one of the first gay resorts on San Lorenzo when it opened as the clothing-optional Chestnutz, proudly catering to a “silver fox” clientele. In 2010, Coloradan couple Mark Hunter and Greg Kafka overhauled the boutique property by remodeling rooms, replacing all indoor and outdoor furniture, resurfacing the pool and hot tub, re-landscaping the half-acre lot, adding a full housekeeping staff, even repaving the parking area. Escape now attracts a younger 30s to 50s crowd who enjoy the relaxed clothing-optional vibe without the sexual temperature that could be found at larger resorts.
Little-known fact: Unlike most gay resorts in Palm Springs, Escape’s swimming pool is oriented east-west instead of the typical north-south, making for a full day of sun tanning without hauling your chaise lounge in and out of the shade every hour. Their 15-man Jacuzzi is one of the largest in the desert, and is kept on 24 hours.
Straight from the owners’ mouths: “Escape is the product of a long-time dream of ours. The first vacation we spent together was in Palm Springs. While relaxing in a pool that weekend, we found we had so many things in common, including the dream of owning a gay resort. We were in our 20s and 30s then with many dreams, but this particular dream has not diminished. We’re also both recovering workaholics. What better way to escape work than to start a boutique hotel!” - Mark Hunter and Greg Kafka
641 E San Lorenzo Road, Palm Springs, CA 92264
(760) 325-5269 | (800) 621-6973