Review: The Terra Cotta in Palm Springs, California – CLOSED
Our trip around California continues, we have explored Los Angeles, San Diego, the Mexican border and now it’s time to hit the desert. Surrounded by the Santa Rosa Mountains, the San Jacinto mountains, the Little San Bernardino Mountains and the San Gregorio mountain we found the Coachella desert. A name that until recently only rang a bell because of its yearly world famous music festival but which was about to bring a whole new range of fantastic memories. The beautiful scenery and the year round amazing weather of the desert have been attracting tourists from all over the world. Frank Sinatra used to have a winter home here and so do still many others from the Los Angeles area as an escape for the cold coastal weather. The best known city in the desert is of course Palm Springs, which has also become a hot spot for nudists. Several nudist resorts have popped up in Palm Springs and probably the best known is Terra Cotta Resort & Spa.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: As of August 7, 2019 The Terra Cotta is unfortunately NOT nudist/clothing optional anymore!
How to get to The Terra Cotta
It’s not hard to imagine why Palm Springs became such a favourite holiday spot for many southern Californians. Other than the amazing weather it’s also very conveniently located at about a 2 to 3 hour drive from Los Angeles or San Diego. Along your way on Freeway 10 you see the clouds disappear, windmills rise in the distance and when you open the window of your car and you feel the warm breeze, you know you’ve entered the desert.
The Terra Cotta is conveniently located in the heart of Palm Springs, at less than a mile from the main roads Palm Canyon Drive and Indian Canyon Drive. No need to take your car for a night out in town, an easy night walk will get you back “home” safely. Everything else you might need is easily reachable: gas stations, supermarkets, shops, craft stores, bars, restaurants, you name it! Important note: The Terra Cotta moved to another place a couple of years ago, the current address is 555 S. Warm Sands Drive.
Where to stay at The Terra Cotta
We love the architecture in California, low buildings, often only one story high and all with very southern and warm colours. The Terra Cotta is nothing different, a sand coloured wall separated us from the road and our first nakation in the Coachella desert. But as soon as we walked through the reception we had a huge deja-vu. In a couple of steps we had been transported from the Californian road towards a hacienda somewhere in the deep south of Spain. We immediately understood why the Terra Cotta attracts nudists from all over the world.
“An idyllic piece of heaven and serenity in the middle of Palm Springs city” is probably the best way to describe this place. A nice court yard surrounded by about 30 rooms, all in that typical Spanish style. The rooms come in three categories, “Standard” rooms are the most economical decision, the “Deluxe” rooms are a lot larger and come with a separate kitchenette and then there are the top of the bill “Unique” rooms for your most luxurious holiday.
What to do at The Terra Cotta
Because of its size, the Terra Cotta balances between a resort and a bed and breakfast and has the advantages that come with both. The close contact with the staff and the social vibe provide for a very comfortable cocoon with a homely ambience. But the amenities are well worth the name “resort”. The highlight is a beautiful salt water pool in the middle of a sundeck complete with deck chairs and parasols. With temperatures often going into the hundreds (that’s over 35°C!), the pool is the place where you’ll find yourself the most. Floating on one of the air mattresses, sipping a drink, watching the mountains in the back and dreaming about never having to leave this place. Even in the deck chairs it will rarely get too hot because of a magnificent misting system cooling down the air above you.
Another delight is the hot tub, ideal for early mornings or chilly evenings, which will soon be completely renewed by the way. Other amenities include free bicycle rental, a nice roof top with view over Palm Springs (especially great after dark!), massage service and a BBQ grill. Several options for lunch delivery are available as well. Talking about food, a delicious breakfast is included in the room price and so is “strawberry time”, but more about that later.
Around The Terra Cotta
Welcome to the desert, this is a place which rarely sees any rain and the landscape is proof of that. Impressive rock formations, sand dunes and cactuses make for most of the surroundings. But since Palms Springs has quite a lot of ground water, it looks like a little oasis. Huge lawns, lots of flowers and palm trees give the city a very green look. Several parks in the area are well worth a visit, the most famous one is Joshua Tree National park with impressive views and typical vegetation. Closer to the Terra Cotta you’ll find the Indian Canyons, a beautiful green valley in the middle of the desert which is well worth a day of your time and there are also several hiking trails in the area going from easy walks to professional hikes.
Another must do when you’re around is the Aerial Tramway which takes you to the top of the San Jacinto mountains. We know you don’t want to wear more clothes than necessary during your nakation in Palm Springs, but it does get chilly over there, so take a sweater! There really is something for everybody in Palm Springs, from shopping on Palm Canyon drive to visiting art galleries or checking out the place where Elvis and Priscilla spent their honeymoon.
Staff at The Terra Cotta
Unfortunately, John, the owner, was not in town when we were at the Terra Cotta but we did have a chat over the phone and he sounded like an interesting guy. Then there’s José, who’s always around at the reception making sure that all questions are answered. There’s a number of other staff around whose names we probably never got but who we will remember by their friendly smiles, nods and “hello”s. But then there’s… wait for it… Tom and Marie Claire, probably America’s most famous nudists after Ben Franklin and hugely popular on Twitter. Their story sounds like a fairy tale: They were the owners of the previous Terra Cotta, which was designed by a famous architect. Someone got interested in buying the property and made them an offer they just couldn’t refuse. Everybody thought that this was the end of the Terra Cotta.
John had an idea, he bought a new property in Palm Springs and hired Tom and MC as managers. An excellent move, with their years of experience in the business they know exactly how to treat their visitors and they copied several ideas from the former Terra Cotta, of which “strawberry time” is certainly one of the greatest. Every day at 4PM someone of the staff will bring fresh strawberries and wine to all of the guests. Tom really makes it his duty to bring these things literally on your lap and even if you happen to be in the pool, he’ll walk straight into the water to serve you. Several other snacks are complementary served, which is not only very generous but which is also a great way to bring people together. Talking to your new naked friends just goes so much better over a wine and some cheese.
Guests of The Terra Cotta
Even though we were at the Terra Cotta during one of the calmest weeks of the year, we’ve met several other guests. The tranquil vibe makes the Terra Cotta the perfect spot for a romantic getaway for couples. Some come over for the weekend but many prefer to stay for a longer time and use the Terra Cotta as their base for exploring the valley. The staff speaks English, French and Spanish, which makes it very comfortable for foreign guests as well. Don’t expect night long drunken parties here, the Terra Cotta is a place where you come to get away from the daily rat race and where you enjoy life the way you love it: relaxed, among nice people and naked of course.
One of the things we liked the most about the Terra Cotta is the way how the days build up. You wake up in complete silence, walk out of the door and feel the early morning sun on your body. You wipe the sleep out of your eyes and decide to get yourself some breakfast. Meanwhile the fountain will start to run, you hear some voices of the other guests, you finish your breakfast and the background music is turned on. You walk towards the pool, have a skinny dip, read a book or have a nap in the sun. Your lunch is delivered, you have another skinny dip and another nap and before you know it it’s strawberry time. Some good wine, some good chats and you realise that another day has passed without you even leave the gate. And you could’t care less.
Read more about The Terra Cotta on NUDE
More information and bookings: The Terra Cotta Website