A Secret Spot to Unplug

A hidden courtyardAn Instagram worthy vignetteCourtyard fountainFront gatesFront of the hotelKorakia signMediterranean villa poolMoroccan poolMovie viewing areaoutdoor-dining-tableTechnologyThe Moroccan villa\'s water featureThe Sahara suiteThe Spa areaViewing classic movies under the stars

Story and Photography by Associate Publisher MEGAN HOLE

12:57 pm | July 8, 2015


Located just a few short blocks off the main route into Palm Springs hides a tiny boutique hotel, housed in salvaged villas built in the early 1900’s. It lies on either side of a small residential road and blends in quietly with the neighborhood, few suspecting what hides behind the low stone walls.

Korakia Pensione is a small resort featuring fewer than 30 unique guest rooms. While there is no want for the necessities, the team has not gone out of their way to update their resort with the newest technology. This seems to be the ultimate theme of the hotel: blending in the classic, old living originally found in their historic adobe villas while keeping up the necessary comforts of today.

I arrived to find, after trekking from Los Angeles on a late June afternoon, an open parking spot immediately in front of the lobby. No, it was not a mirage—it was actually a parking spot in a reasonable location. While their spots are limited and neighbors do tow, in all three days I had no problem finding a place to keep my car, which was a delight considering the hotel’s size.

The lobby is totally open and guests wander through as they explore the Moroccan courtyard. The girls who work at the hotel are always milling about the lobby, refilling water jugs, replacing fresh towels on the patio chairs, and helping guests with small favors. It’s almost like 5-star summer camp—guests get to know each other in the intimate setting guided by their “camp counselors,” who take care of the necessities. There are two pools to mingle around as well as complimentary breakfasts to share in the courtyard, which change daily but are simple and made in a small kitchen off the lobby.

After checking in, I explored my room, the Sahara Suite. This was the first moment I realized their stance on technology. The living room flowed into the small kitchen, obviously once loved by someone who called it home, ending in the bedroom, which had a small patio. While a record player with Bob Dylan’s greatest hits stood prominently in the living room, there was a conspicuous lack of wires and remotes. In fact, the room had no television, no phone, and not even a digital clock could be found. I tried to play it cool, but found myself searching for the WiFi password for my computer within the day.

I stayed on the Moroccan Villa side of the hotel, which is smaller than the Mediterranean side but contains the lobby and its own pool. Each property was filled with Instagram-worthy vignettes—an antique wooden door leaning against a stark wall, a bougainvillea arch, a day bed casually hidden around a corner covered with woven pillows, a fire pit. While compact, the property felt quite large due to all its hidden surprises.

Air conditioners hummed as I explored the grounds, discovering a bocce ball court and a small hut used for their spa treatments. As night set in, I gathered myself into a taxi and took a quick trip to The Ace Hotel for dinner, the only meal not offered at the hotel. Korakia is located about one mile from some of the biggest and most popular resorts in Palm Springs as well as just a few blocks from Palm Canyon Drive, so I felt anything but stranded.

The next morning I was quietly greeted with a breakfast of fruit and yogurt parfait and gallons of coffee. Guests flowed in and out of the courtyard; some lingering and some moving directly into the pool; quiet music played outside at all times but it never seemed to seep into the room. The day was spent mostly in the water, only leaving to eat a Panini in a lawn chair and to take an early afternoon walk to town.

As night fell and my dinner settled, a small number of guests gathered on the Mediterranean side of the resort to watch Rebel Without a Cause. Of course, in my attempt to escape Los Angeles for a day I inevitably ended up watching a movie most famously set there. A regular event for the hotel, every Saturday night at 8 p.m. a classic movie is projected onto a white wall and guests gather to watch it under the stars, sometimes with a glass of champagne.

That night I must have slipped into a coma because by 8:30 a.m. the Sunday yoga class was already a half hour in. Many brave souls woke early in hopes of taking a relaxing yoga class, but as I sipped my coffee I realized it was unintentionally a heat yoga class and perhaps outside my comfort zone. I was happy enough to watch and eat my scrambled eggs and pancakes in the already stifling heat. I immediately slipped into the pool and didn’t leave until check out.

The weekend seemed to roll by, quietly and calmly. This hotel is not for those seeking a Coachella-style weekend—in fact, stay far away if you’re looking for a party because the old walls and thin doors do not dampen sound well. Korakia does, however, seek only to cater to adults, with a no children under 13 policy. Come here if you already have someone’s hand to hold and want to enjoy the quiet, with few to no screens to distract; come back to explore the different suites, each unique in layout and filled with original antiques.

Korakia Pensione’s beautiful, serene grounds and kind staff are a welcomed oasis, giving weary Angelinos a place to hide, relax, and unplug.

Korakia Pensione is located at 257 S. Patencio Rd., Palm Springs. For more information, call (760) 864-6411 or visit www.korakia.com.