As an East Coast boy (by way of Texas), California has never been high on my accessibility list as possible gay wedding or honeymoon destinations. To make matters worse, Prop 8 came along and now we’re all in a holding
pattern while the court system ponders the fate of that ridiculous referendum.
But a recent trip to the West Coast had me reconsidering that decision—especially a quick jaunt to the Palm Springs area, long a lavender Mecca. And while newish hipster spots like Ace Hotel scoop up their share of press—and the almighty gay dollar—there’s an historic oasis just down the desert road called La Quinta Resort & Club worth considering for your ceremony, bachelor/ette bash, or honeymoon.
The property was originally built in 1926 at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, and the Spanish-style architecture continues to this day with white stucco walls and red-tiled roofs on the casitas. Many of the lodgings are grouped around the 41 pools on property named for legendary stars that have visited over the years.
I felt particularly suave in my bungalow near the Clark Gable pool.
But what really grabbed my attention as the perfect locale for a ceremony was Greta Garbo’s house on property. Legend has it that the screen siren’s first visit to the La Quinta was orchestrated by her agent, trying to help her flee from a mob of adoring fans.
After her first stay, it became the place she traveled with her companion John Gilbert when she wanted privacy. In the late 1920s, she ended up leasing a private home built on the southwest corner of the property named La Casa.
Today, the house has been turned into an event space with outdoor courtyard, a lovely option for those looking to add a little old world Hollywood glam to their nuptials.
Taste-y Tip: for wedding or bachelor/ette parties, ask the hotel to group your casitas together around a pool—you’ll feel like you have a private compound.
For more on La Quinta’s history, spa and tennis facilities, check out Jon Paul’s column on Poptimistic.com.
Editor’s note: the author was the guest of the property for one night.
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Jon Paul Buchmeyer is the author of the award-winning humorous memoir Alphabet City: My So-Called Sitcom Life and writes frequently for Condé Nast Traveler and Bon Appétit magazines. In addition, he is the author of his own popular blogs: ABCityblog.com and Poptimistic.com.