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Desert Sun Resort in Palm Springs has been sold
The unannounced sale adds to confusion and dismay over California’s rapidly evolving nudist scene
In yet another significant development that could bring further changes to California's naturist community, Desert Sun Resort in Palm Springs has been sold for $6,950,000 and is currently under contract, as indicated in public listings on Redfin.com and LoopNet. The specific details about the new owners and their plans remain undisclosed. No public announcement has been made by the club on their website or social media. This sale adds to an expanding series of recent transformations in the state's nudist landscape, and a growing malaise among California naturists, who have seen no less than four nudist clubs either go textile or go up for sale just in the last three months.
When Planet Nude called the Desert Sun Resort seeking comment, the unnamed voice on the other end confirmed that the property had indeed been sold and was currently in escrow. However, they couldn't provide any information about the new owners or their intentions regarding the resort's clothing-optional status.
This lack of clarity leaves ample room for skepticism. The description provided in the listing does offer some insight. The property is touted as a "33 room, clothing-optional hotel in the heart of Palm Springs proper." It highlights the extensive renovations carried out in recent years, including 22 hotel rooms in 2020 and 11 courtyard rooms in 2016, as well as the installation of 170 solar panels. Notably, the description suggests that the property could be "converted to a traditional hotel" with "additional options for increased revenue." This reference to a potential shift towards a clothed hotel raises questions about the fate of clothing-optional experiences at the Desert Sun Resort, leaving naturists eager to see how this story unfolds.
Desert Sun history
Desert Sun Resort has a storied history that has been a notable part of the Southern California naturist community for more than thirty years. Originally established in 1992 as the eleven-room Desert Shadows Inn, the resort rapidly expanded to take up nine full acres in just eight years. They added a full service spa and massage services, a full restaurant and bar, and became for a time became the number one nudist resort on the West Coast.
The club underwent a significant transformation when John and Elizabeth Young purchased the property in 2008, marking the beginning of a new era for this clothing-optional destination. Under the Youngs' ownership, Desert Sun Resort saw substantial renovations, including a million-dollar remodel of all hotel rooms, pools, jacuzzis, the restaurant, and spa facilities. However, under the new ownership the club also made some controversial changes, such as instituting a “no minors” policy, making them the only non-sexual nude resort in Southern California to allow only people over the age of eighteen into the club.
One iconic feature of the resort is the Lee R. Baxandall Bridge, affectionately referred to as the "naked bridge" or "Bridge of Thighs." This distinctive pedestrian bridge was built in 2003 and was designed to conceal the unclothed pedestrians who crossed it from the drivers on the busy public Palm Springs road below. The bridge was named in honor of The Naturist Society founder Lee Baxandall, and became a symbol of Desert Shadows and later Desert Sun Resort, offering a unique gateway to guests, visitors, and residents, and adding a distinguishing feature to the city and community of Palm Springs.
Shaky ground in California
California has been beset by a rapidly changing landscape in recent weeks. Most recently, on Tuesday of this week we reported on the impending sale of Lupin Lodge in Los Gatos. In August, DeAnza Springs Resort in Jacumba announced that it would become a clothing-mandatory resort. One week later in August, Olive Dell Ranch in Colton was listed on several commercial real estate exchange platforms. Now, with Desert Sun Resort abruptly sold with no announcement, the naturist community is grappling with more uncertainty about the future of naturism in the Golden State.
The juxtaposition of California's soaring property values and the unique, niche nature of naturist establishments creates a complex environment for the nudist movement. Escalating real estate costs make it increasingly challenging for individuals or groups to invest in and sustain clothing-optional resorts, which often operate on thin profit margins due to their specialized focus. In such a high-cost state, the financial viability of nudist properties becomes a critical concern, potentially limiting opportunities for the expansion and growth of nude recreation in California. These developments also beg the question, is California the bellwether for a larger shift in the nudist landscape in the US?
As the situation continues to evolve, the naturist community remains vigilant, watching closely as Desert Sun Resort and Lupin Lodge, DeAnza Springs Resort and Olive Dell Ranch navigate these transformative periods. Change is part of life, but the spirit of nudism endures, providing a constant source of freedom and camaraderie for enthusiasts across California. 🪐
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