Over a century since it first opened, Casa Cody still holds aloft the crown of Palm Springs’ oldest operating hotel. Pioneer Harriet Cody opened it back in the roaring Twenties, and it soon became a magnet for passing luminaries of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Today, over an acre of secret-garden-like grounds invite you to pick fruit from citrus trees and stroll around serene bougainvillea-fringed lawns. A varied assortment of casita-style lodgings are steeped in a mix of mid-century modernism and dust-bowl nostalgia, and zhuzhed up with a sprinkle of 21st-century Cali-chic. We’re sure Harriet would approve.
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Locally produced Torres potato chips and two Mountain Valley spring waters.
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £105.03 ($129), including tax at 12.695 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $33.81 per room per night on check-out.
Rates include a continental breakfast buffet, with made-to-order options for an extra charge.
Charlie Chaplin was a regular at Casa Cody, and the Adobe House his favorite lodging (there’s even a small stage where it’s rumored he performed skits).
At the hotel
Swimming pools, snack bar, loaner bikes, free WiFi, 24-hour reception, free parking. In rooms: 50-inch TV with streaming services, minifridge, custom bathrobes, hair dryer, air-conditioning.
Our favourite rooms
We love the Olympic Cottage, one-time athlete accommodation and remnants of the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. As well as a cozy lounge and full-size kitchen, there’s a big secluded garden with twin loungers, outside rainfall shower and looming views of the neighboring San Jacinto Mountains.
The two pools – one kidney-shaped and the other rectangular – both offer plenty of cushioned loungers to flop onto post-dip. The water is also heated over chillier months.
There’s a small treatment room for massage treatments and facials, plus an outdoor Jacuzzi.
Sundresses, shorts and sandals are en vogue year-round in Palm Springs.
The hotel supplies fruit-picker sticks so you can pluck ripe lemons and figs from the trees.
The hotel’s hushed atmosphere more suits a grown-up stay, though little Smiths are welcome and much of the accommodation is family friendly. Baby cots are available free of charge and for bigger kids extra rollaway beds are $75 a night.
Applaudable eco-friendly practices include the use of glass containers for water and refillable bathroom products, which are sustainable and organic. All kitchen ingredients also come either from their own edible garden or the local farmer's market. A portion of their energy is derived from solar paneling, too, plus there’s a charging station for electric vehicles.
There’s a small sunny patio that makes a pleasant spot for breakfast, though for afternoon nibbles we recommend having your food delivered poolside. A charcuterie board to share pairs nicely with a bottle of Santa Barbara red, for example.
Casa Cody has no restaurant per se, though a continental breakfast is served each morning free of charge. You can choose tasty add-ons like avocado toast, chia pudding, and Santa Barbara smoked salmon bagel. There’s also an all-day menu of salads and sandwiches available, often filled with seasonal produce from the hotel’s vegetable garden. Many of the guest rooms have kitchens or kitchenettes, too.
A simple bar offers a slimmed-down drinks menu that includes a pair of signature cocktails, San Diego craft ale, and ‘Lo-Fi’ wine from Santa Barbara County. If you’d rather mix up your own, cocktail kits come with vodka, gin or mezcal with hard seltzer, perfect for a poolside tipple.
Casa Cody is located in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood on the edge of downtown Palm Springs.
Palm Springs International Airport is less than 10 minutes’ drive away, with multiple flights daily to and from Los Angeles. Several major airlines also offer connections from other major domestic airports.
Palm Springs Amtrak station is a 10-minute drive from the hotel. There are two direct trains every day to LA, which take three-and-a-half hours.
The airport is the best place to pick up a hire car, and if you’re planning on driving to Los Angeles it’s around two hours. Casa Cody has a few off-street parking spots, plus there’s street parking next to the hotel entrance.
Worth getting out of bed for
When you’re done mooching around the pool, grab one of the hotel’s loaner bikes and take a two-wheeled tour around Palm Springs. If you’re into architecture, the town boasts one of the largest concentrations of mid-century modern buildings in the world. Start at Palm Springs Visitor Center, a former gas station and fine example of the genre, as well the perfect place to organize a route. If shopping is on the agenda, head to Palm Canyon Drive to browse a slew of vintage clothing boutiques and second-hand stores brimming with retro curios. The Frippery is a perennial favorite with locals and out-of-towners alike.
Being right on the edge of the San Jacinto Sierra puts you within easy reach of some top-notch hiking too. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the quickest way to get up into the more scenic trails and some spectacular views. You’re also within striking distance of the cactus-dotted desertscape of Joshua Tree National Park.
There may be no onsite restaurant, but you’re barely a tortilla toss from some top Mexican eateries. Family-run Las Casuelas Terraza stands out for its vibrant hacienda-fiesta atmosphere, authentic fare and big patio with regular live bands. The Tropicale is another Palm Springs favorite where locals dine under the glow of pink neon from a menu that circles the globe. Considered one of the best for intimate, country-style cooking is Farm. Its Provençal-inspired menu offers everything from brioche French toast for breakfast to a prix-fixe dinner with roast pheasant.
Just a couple of blocks from the hotel, most agree that Wilma & Frieda is the place to go for the best brunches in the neighborhood. Calling it comfort food with a twist, they serve big-portion, belly-patting fare that will tide you over until dinner. For your caffeine hit with a side of vinyl and art, Gré Records & Coffee is where the cool kids hang. They take their coffee seriously, but it is mostly about the music, man.
You won’t find a better cocktail joint in town than Truss & Twine. Its ambitious drinks menu revives cocktail recipes from various American eras in a broodingly industrial setting. Even the bar snacks go the extra mile. If beer’s more your taste, then head to La Quinta Brewing Co for a friendly tap room of award-winning craft brews, IPAs and guest ales.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this historic hotel in California and unpacked their vintage shades and Brandini toffee, a full account of their desert break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Casa Cody in Palm Springs…
It was the early 1900s when Harriet and Harold Cody left Hollywood for Palm Springs, hitched up their wagon, and settled on land that was to become Casa Cody. When the boutique lodging firm Casetta Group acquired it in 2017, as it approached its hundredth year as a hotel, they understood its charm lay in its time capsule quality, and changed very little. The spirit of the formidable Cody clan matriarch is kept alive, too, with sepia-tinged photographs on the walls and horseshoes she insisted be mounted on every door.
But it’s far from being a fusty museum, with big, beautiful gardens to saunter around and peaceful pools to stretch out beside under the rising backdrop of the San Jacinto Sierra. Its various lodgings too – from studios to cottages – maintain its historic character, staying firmly on the side of vintage cool without tipping over into quaintly antiquated. Book yourself in and, like Harriet and Harold, you might want to stay awhile.