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Desert Shadows, California.

September, 1998.

Labor Day Weekend at Desert Shadows - Palm Springs, CA.

Our trip starts in the Midwest as we head west for a weekend getaway. We have heard that Desert Shadows is a very nice upscale resort, and want to check it out. Were flying America West, which means we must change planes in Phoenix. After much misinformation, delay and annoyance (another story), we finally reach Palm Springs airport at 9:00 p.m. If we werent ready for some rest and relaxation before we departed, we certainly are now.

As we get off our commuter plane, were struck by the small town appearance of the airport. It's right out of the 1960s. There are no jetways, coffee stands, and no enclosed walls! The main (only) concourse is open air. Its about 80F and the desert air is cool and refreshing. We stroll by a few lighted palms as we walk to the terminal.

My wife heads for rental car desk as I chase down the baggage. By the time I arrive, she has used a little (Irish) charm (or so she says) to get an upgrade to a red Mitsu Eclipse Spider convertible. Cool! We head out the door (no shuttle), grab the car in the adjacent lot, and were off.

We had called ahead for directions to Desert Shadows. Karl, one of the desk clerks, was very helpful in this regard. We figured it would be about a half hour drive. Wrong. Ten minutes and we were there.

Our first impression was that this was a very low key operation. Desert Shadows is located at the corner of two moderately busy streets, but there are no signs. The resort is fully walled, in an attractive pale stucco. From the street, it looks like it could be a very large residence, or a condominium project (which in part, it is). We go around to an inconspicuous side street, where the main entrance is located. There is a small sign at the door indicating that this is Desert Shadows. The double wood doors are locked. We find the intercom and buzz the desk. We are immediately let into the foyer. This time there are some tasteful (nude) body sculptures on the wall and a small sign indicating that this is a nude resort. We proceed through the second set of doors to the lobby and main desk.

Karl is the desk clerk and greets us by name. Check-in takes a matter of minutes. We have prepaid for the first night (which the resort requires, to avoid no-shows) and since we are AANR members, have received a 10% discount on our stay. We have selected the standard hotel room, which at $123.50 per night (with discount and including taxes) is the least expensive accommodation. There are also some upgraded hotel rooms, and some very nice condo units that are available.

Since we are first time visitors, Karl gives us a quick tour. My guess is that this is as much to make sure we understand that the place really is nude, as it is to acquaint us with the resort. He does point out that swimsuits are not allowed in the pool area. This is a nude, not a clothing optional area.

As Karl gives us the tour, we are struck by how very well manicured the grounds are. There is simply not a blade of grass out of place (we later discover that one of the owners is a former Hilton manager). We head for our room, which is on the second floor of the two story resort. It is very neat and tidy with a queen size bed, t.v., vcr, and writing table. It is not brand new, but is perfectly maintained. The bathroom, although somewhat dated, has a nice neoangle (corner) shower. Unfortunately, the water pressure is a little weak, but's in the desert.

Were feeling a little better already. It's late, but we decide to go down to one of the jacuzzi pools. Were the only ones there. It is pleasant. We see a few people walking around, but it seems that the place is pretty quiet. Its 11:30 p.m., so we head back to the room for the night.

Rise and shine! We awake the next morning. Our room is on the main courtyard, overlooking one of the pools and the tennis court. Looking out the large picture window we can see what we missed during our night arrival. The brown mountains in the distance are indeed sculptured in the shadows of the morning light. The courtyard is also awakening. There are a few people staking out spots at the pool. Others are having breakfast outside.

A continental breakfast is included, so we decide to head down to the little hotel restaurant. The question though is what to wear, or not to wear? Well, conservative folks (sic) that we are, we decide that I should wear silk boxers and my wife should wear a silk cover-up. We stroll down to the restaurant to find that we are severely over dressed! Oh well, live and learn.

The breakfast is very basic. Coffee, rolls, juice and cereal. It is quite acceptable and can be eaten either inside the glassed restaurant adjacent to the pool, or outside on the pool deck.

We again comment on how well maintained the grounds are. Everything is immaculate. We look around at the other visitors. There seem to be mostly couples between 30 and 60. This is Labor Day weekend and the resort is full, but there are only two families with kids. I notice two single women, but no single guys. This certainly does not appear to be a singles resort. Everyone is friendly and polite.

We decide to get some sun, so we find a spot at the pool. Soon there is a pool volleyball game. Im tempted, but decide to hold out for tennis later on. Most of the people are chatting or reading. Its pretty laid back.

As the morning rapidly passes, we decide to check the place out a little more. We are particularly interested in the new condominium part of the resort. We stroll through this area, which has an elegant little stream running along the main walk. The condo units have separate entrances and appear very nice, although somewhat crowded. There is also another large courtyard with another pool and jacuzzi. All quite nice. Maybe next time we will rent one of these.

Its early afternoon, and weve had enough sun. We decide to take a side trip to San Diego. Its about 130 miles (2+ hr.). Were gone until midnight. When we r eturn, there is a little partying going on around the pool. I hate to miss a good time, but Im getting to the age when I need to pace myself. Decided to pass on this one.

Sunday morning is as beautiful as Saturday. We head down for breakfast, appropriately (un)attired. Today there is a choice of the standard continental breakfast or a small buffet for $10.95. It's a little pricey, but we opt for it anyway. Breakfast steak, french toast, bacon, sausage, bagels and fruit. Not very fancy, but tasty and nicely done.

As were finishing, a couple arrives with the husband carrying a tennis racquet and bucket of balls. He walks in and asks if anyone plays tennis. Of course, I immediately jump at the bait. A match is set for 20 minutes hence.

The tennis court is lighted and nicely maintained. It has a practice backboard. My opponent (Tony from LasVegas) arrives and we begin to hit. I must say, as much as I play tennis, this is the first time I have done it in the buff. Its gotta be a funny sight. Two middle age guys running around the court in their birthday suits. Anyway, nobody except my wife seems to be paying any attention. For the serious tennis player though, there is a little problem with the resorts court, in that the corners are slightly squared off and there isnt quite the standard space between the baseline and the fence. Also, without pants, theres nowhere (except your hand) to keep the second ball!

I am fortunate to win the (self-proclaimed) Desert Shadow Labor Day Tennis Tournament. For my efforts, Im rewarded with a leisurely afternoon at the pool with wife and a good book. Pete Sampras, eat your heart out!

This evening, we decide to go into Palm Springs for dinner. The city has a nice main street (Palm Canyon Road) with a lot of tourist oriented businesses.....restaurants, clothing stores, and jewelry stores. Parking is not a problem, as the city is not very large. We do some shopping and then head for dinner at "St. James at the Vineyard." It was very good, but set us back $80.00. Still, it was something nice to remember.

We return to Desert Shadows for a late night dip in the Jacuzzi. The weekend has passed quickly and were making plans for an early morning flight home. Desert Shadows has certainly fulfilled our expectations for an upscale nudist weekend.

Regards, Eclectic

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