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Palm Springs: Go retro with the Rat Pack's desert hangout

At Riviera Palm Springs, poolside cabanas feature Hollywood icons. (Donna Tabbert Long)

The local weatherman was singing a decent rendition of Sinatra’s “Summer Wind” at the Purple Room in Palm Springs, Calif., the first night I arrived in this desert city.

My friend Rosemary and I were sipping something called a Purple Orchid (bubbly with blackberries). The Purple Room — a longtime popular restaurant and musical venue — once was a hangout of the Rat Pack gang: Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin. Today, their black-and-white photographs adorn the walls, recalling the years when this place was more than the hip nostalgic throwback it is now in the 21st century.

Palm Springs — like the Purple Room — is a bit of a hip nostalgic throwback itself.

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And let’s be honest, that’s pretty darn gay.