Queen of Hearts: More than a Resort, A Safe Lesbian Community in Palm Springs, CA

By Emelina Minero

Queen of Hearts Pool View

Queen of Hearts Pool View

While in Palm Springs during the Dinah Shore Weekend we got to visit lesbian resort Queen of Hearts and met owner Michelle Secor. Secor greeted us with a warm smile and a great sense of humor, and was a joy to be around while she gave us a tour of her resort. The resort was full for the Dinah Shore Weekend, with many of the women lounging in and around the pool, sun bathing, listening to current chart toppers and lost in conversation.

Originally, Queen of Hearts was named The Desert Knight and was founded in 1969 by Eadie Adams and her partner, Pat McGrath. The Desert Knight was the first lesbian friendly resort in Palm Springs. 2014 marks Secor’s 15th year running Queen of Hearts as a lesbian resort. Although the Queen of Hearts’ main clientele are queer women, straight women are also welcomed, and occasionally men during private parties. Secor has hosted a wide range of private parties from wedding ceremonies to anniversaries to birthdays to family reunions, and gets travelers from around the world, largely from Canada and European countries after the United States.

It wasn’t surprising to hear that Queen of Hearts was named TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice® 2014 Winner. Although our visit was brief, the sense of community among the women was tangible. While there, we chatted with Secor about how she came to own Queen of Hearts, the women who stay there and the most rewarding aspects of running a lesbian resort.

Queen of Hearts Pink Room

Queen of Hearts Pink Room

What inspired you to run a lesbian resort?

I stayed here back in 1989 when it was a women’s resort. It was actually the first women’s resort that opened up in 1969 [by] Pat McGrath, and it was rumored that Gloria Swanson stayed here. [It was rumored that Hollywood women] would come here and I guess they would actually be with their real partners, but I stayed here and I was with my partner at the time in room one and she met her new girlfriend in room six. She got the girl. I got the hotel. I had no idea one day that I’d own it. It was for sale by owner. I was riding my bike, and I said, “Okay, I’ll do this.”

What is the environment like at Queen of Hearts?

People are really friendly and they become friends. I’ve had it where nobody knew anybody and it’s a Friday night, and they start talking around the pool, and then by Saturday they’ve organized a potluck.

Queen of Hearts Room

Queen of Hearts Room

What is most rewarding about owning Queen of Hearts?

Making friends. I’ve made some really good friendships, and just to hear people’s stories about how they got together. You see that there are a lot of people in relationships and they’re longstanding.

Who are your clientele?

We get a lot of single travelers because people feel really safe here, and people make them feel welcome. They don’t ignore them. We don’t have any kind of stuffiness. [Queen of Hearts] is really about if people want to be by themselves, they can be by themselves, with their couple or whatever. It’s like a lesbian commune, but we get a lot of straight women. We get a lot of women that come here that just want to get away. We get a lot of single travelers, or sisters come here. It’s not that you have to be gay. We try to keep it for women because a lot of times they’ll be topless, and a lot of people do massages at the pool side and they want to feel comfortable. It’s a joy because everybody is so bloody nice. I mean really nice people come here (queenofheartsps.com).

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