Spotlight: Triangle Inn
A gay resort with mid-century modern perfection
By Kevin Perry
As vacationers set their GPS forward to Palm Springs, they also set their clocks back to a golden age of SoCal cool. Our hometown evokes the swagger of Sinatra, the grandeur of Garland, and the lavishness of Liberace.
This flair for mid-century decadence is on full display at Triangle Inn.
The Palm Springs playground offers a welcome respite for travelers seeking quaint comfort, harkening back to the homespun roots of its owner, Michael Green. “I grew up in western North Carolina near Asheville,” recounts Green, who had visited Palm Springs for over a decade with his husband. “We kinda wanted to get out of the South and out of the humidity, so we decided to come out here.”
Green and his husband bought the clothing optional resort back in 2000 and immediately cozied up to their new surroundings. “That’s one of the great things about Palm Springs: as much as it feels like this urban environment, it’s really also a small town,” comments Green. “I think when you’re in the business and you’re in a small community, you kind of need to get to know everybody, and so that’s what we did.”
Oh, and in their spare time, they dove into the daunting task of resurrecting Triangle Inn’s fascinating legacy.
“We made some changes to it, tried to really take it back to some of its original color schemes on the exterior. Our property is a historic property. It was the first commercial property built by Hugh Kaptur, who was one of Palm Springs’ more notable mid-century modern architects. He’s one of the few still alive, in his late 80’s. He built it in 1958 as the Impala Lodge.”
Ever the aesthete, Green takes a moment to savor the vintage name, chuckling heartily at its melodious sound before continuing.
“We were really interested in the history of it, so we did a little bit of research, we actually met Mr. Kaptur, and he shared with us a lot of his original renderings, a lot of the drawings, some construction photos, so we got to see a lot of what it had looked like when it had been conceived.” Green’s tone grows positively giddy as he embraces his resort’s role in Palm Springs architectural lore. “We just met with a fellow a couple weeks ago who’s actually writing a book about Hugh Kaptur, which will feature our hotel!”
But Triangle Inn wasn’t always the bastion of luxury it now represents. “In the 60’s and 70’s, Palm Springs, much like Las Vegas, had kind of fallen on hard times, so it had been converted at some point during that time into apartments.” Green references the owners from whom he purchased the property, noting, “When they bought it in ’89, they completely rehabbed it and turned it back into a hotel. So when we purchased it, it was already operating as a hotel. We wanted to buy an inn that was already open and functioning. Both of us had backgrounds in the advertising business, and even though we had done a lot of marketing work for hotels as clients, we hadn’t run one before! So we didn’t want to start from scratch.”
And they also sought a manageable floor plan to express their limitless hospitality. “We wanted a small property. Triangle Inn is actually licensed for 10 units. Right now, we are only using eight of the units. So we have eight suites, but they’re all fairly large. We can accommodate groups of up to 25 and 30, depending on how people want to share. Because all of our rooms have either queen or king beds, one of our rooms is a two-bedroom suite, and all of our one-bedroom suites have sofa beds. So we can accommodate a fair number of people.”
Stepping back like the satisfied host of a party in full swing, Green assesses, “We like that size. We didn’t really want to have something that was a lot bigger because then it ceases to feel much like a bed and breakfast and starts feeling more like a hotel. And we definitely wanted the bed and breakfast focus. We live on property, so we’re here all the time. The pool area and the breakfast area and that deck – it’s kind of like having friends in your backyard, and that’s really what we were going for… more like a home and less like a hotel.”
Michael Green weaves his guests into a tapestry of memories and mirth that unspools from Triangle Inn’s storied past to its vibrant present… and beyond. His business is intimacy, and business is booming.
“You don’t come to a small hotel like ours and expect to have an anonymous hotel experience. So we get to know the people who stay with us and we have folks who have been staying with us ever since we’ve been here and they still come back.”
555 E. San Lorenzo Rd., Palm Springs, CA. 92264