It makes people comfortable to be who they are. Palm Springs is of course known for its huge LGBTI population, super cool art deco stylings and days of sunshine a year. Running a restaurant is a horrible business! When we came to purchase the hotel, there was this nagging doubt. People in hotels are on holiday, there for a good time.
People in restaurants are impatient. They need problems fixed immediately. Hotels are the special exception to hospitality. Firstly, had you been using clothing-optional resorts before buying INNdulge? I started coming to Palm Springs in I always stayed in the gay hotels.
Some where it all comes off the minute they arrive, and it stays off! We can put two to a room, and we have a few rollaways. What is that like? The pool parties are amazing. In the summertime, the pool is full — 40 people tossing around beach balls at midnight.
Some people are shy, but we have a social hour every night to try and introduce people and help them get to know each other. The majority of gay resorts in Palm Springs are not that way. But because there are three prominent resorts that are; that have day passes, and their average stay might be 45 minutes… Our guests sometimes stay 45 days! We want people to come and be happy. We have plenty who check in for more than a month.
So financially, it drives the age higher. But men of all ages enjoy being around other gay men on vacation. By and large, when we get younger travelers together with older travelers, they interact socially. The freedom, the social aspect, making life-long friends. Because we share this wanderlust that all gay men seem to have. Then we have a huge following in Germany and Britain. One weekend, we had 13 different countries represented!
Throughout my career [as an attorney] I kept coming back. I have to say, I was a little worried moving here. When you purchased INNduldge, was it already an existing brand? The prior owners had started it. We came in and kept everything the same for the first nine to 12 months. We wanted to learn the business and not do anything that might offend the regular travelers and guests.
Then we proceeded over the last six to seven years to change nearly everything. We never wanted to alienate guests who loved it just the way it was. I like to say we changed nothing, while changing everything. They retired — they still live in Palm Springs, we see them fairly regularly. They were just at that time of life to move on. Do you live on-site? No, Sandy and I live about five minutes away. Then we try to disappear and let our staff do their jobs and the guests have a good time.
We do all our accounting and marketing off-site. I often say to Sandy: There are lesbians and trans people here. Palm Springs is taking off as a straight destination at the moment. But fortunately the gays have maintained their presence and continue to come.
Our city government is run wholly by LGBT counsel people. Sandy and I were introduced as a couple nearly 20 years ago by a guy who spends his summers in San Francisco and winters in Fort Lauderdale. We got out there once a year to see him. We stay at a gay guesthouse because we want to support the gay travel community. Fort Lauderdale is a large city. The population is much larger, and the gay communities are more isolated. Palm Springs is small, and the gay area is the whole city. The whole city is gay.
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