Stroll the predictably palm-lined paths of the Colony Palms Hotel – a low-rise Spanish-style stucco just moments from Palm Canyon Drive and the enigmatic design district. This adults-only hotel retains the exclusive, tucked-away atmosphere of its days as a mobster hideout – and the scandalous spirit seems to live on, given the bar's three-hour-long happy hour. And Palm Springs is more than just Coachella, promise: browse vintage shops, traverse canyons, hike the San Jacinto mountains or simply bask in the dry heat, with an equally dry G&T in hand.
Get this when you book through us:
$50 per room to spend on breakfast during your stay
A leisurely 12 noon. Check-in is 4pm, but flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £455.12 ($549), including tax at 15.5 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional resort fee of $45.00 per room per night on check-out.
Rates don’t typically include breakfast, but use your Smith Extra to fuel up on breakfast tacos, huevos rancheros and fresh-as-can-be acai bowls.
The hotel’s latest facelift was thanks to Steve Hermann, whose $10 million renovation refreshed rooms, fixtures, furniture, grounds, spa and restaurant. The 1930s-motel-style structure remains but the interiors are inspired by Morocco: mosaic tiles, low tray tables, rich fabrics and exotic wood furniture.
At the hotel
Outdoor pool, spa with treatment rooms, free WiFi throughout, free bikes and on-site valet parking. In rooms: WiFi, TV, minibar, Nespresso machine, Frette sheets and robes, Le Labo products
Our favourite rooms
We love the airy casitas for added privacy: each has its own patio, outdoor daybed and claw-foot bathtub or fire pit. When temperatures drop, opt to cosy up by the Spanish-tiled vintage gas fireplaces in the fireplace king rooms. But really, all 57 rooms are wonderfully aesthetic soothing, having been lovingly decked out with Moroccan furnishings, hand-stitched Turkish suzani headboards, frameless glass showers and Italian Frette linens.
Perfect your breaststroke at any time of day in the 24-hour 20-metre saltwater pool, and remember, the hotel is adults-only – meaning the pool is a splash-free zone. When you’re done doing laps, take cover in a courtyard cabana and bask in the pristine pool-side aesthetic, not to mention the backdrop of the San Jacinto mountains.
Take your pick of more traditional massages and facials, or only-in-California treatments such as vibrational sound healing, ear acupressure and something called element balancing. All treatment ingredients are locally sourced – you can even opt for an exfoliating facial using organic dates (with Coachella Valley being known for its favourable date-growing conditions). If you’re staying over the weekend, then you can ease into your morning with a free yoga session on the lawn, starting at 9am.
Thrifted kaftans, sturdy shoes for San Jacinto and at least one item in a shade of green.
Nothing screams ‘holiday’ like al fresco dining, so bag yourself a table by the pool under the striped cabana (a welcome respite from the Californian sun).
Match balmy nights with something bright and breezy. You might even channel your inner Marilyn Monroe, given her affinity to the area.
The ingredients at the Purple Palm are locally sourced and locally inspired, and the chef can easily cater to vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free needs. The menu is a blend of Latin American dishes and re-imagined Californian fare. At brunch, enjoy acai bowls, pancakes, portuguese sausage hash or blackened shrimp tacos (there are tacos on the menu at all times of day here). At dinner, start with wagyu beef carpaccio or watermelon, currant and sunflower seed salad. Mains include king salmon with dill, truffled pan-roasted chicken, or a 12 oz prime New York steak with duck-fat fries. The open-air space is adorned with vibrant patterned wallpaper, large mirrors, Spanish tile flooring and wood beams.
Try a Kentucky Jack (bourbon, muddled black raspberries and ginger beer) or a Daisy If You Do (serrano tequila, opuntia, agave and lime) at the hotel bar. There’s a three-hour-long sunset happy hour, with specials including the Purple Gang (vodka, muddled grapes, lemon and a red wine float). At brunch, order an orange mimosa or prickly pear bellini. The bar is open 8am–9pm.
Breakfast is 8–11am, lunch until 3pm and dinner from 5pm. Both the restaurant and bar close up at 9pm. From then on, it's all about the minibar in your room.
If you’re nursing a California burn and can’t face dressing up for dinner, the same dishes can be ordered straight to your door. Room service is available between 8am–9pm.
The Colony Palms Hotel takes a front row seat in the Movie Colony of Palm Springs, framed by the San Jacinto mountains.
Flights from Los Angeles, New York and Chicago touchdown at Palm Springs Airport (PSP), a six-minute drive from the hotel.
A nine-minute drive straight down the North Indian Canyon Drive will take you to the Palm Springs Amtrak station.
Los Angeles is a two-hour drive from the hotel, and a road trip just happens to be one of the best ways to cross the desert. The hotel offers private parking and valet services.
Worth getting out of bed for
Step straight out onto Indian Canyon Drive and Palm Canyon Drive – there are galleries, furniture shops and brunch spots a plenty along the palm-tree-lined main drags. Thrifters should head to the Fine Art of Design, Angel View Thrift Mart and Palm Springs Vintage Market for antique finds. Sustainably saunter (on two wheels, that is) from desert town to desert town – the hotel has bikes to rent for free so you can zip between the neighbourhoods with ease. Seize the day with an early-morning hike to Tahquitz Canyon waterfall before the temperatures rise. The route is well-maintained within the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, and you’ll be rewarded with a cooling waterfall at the end. Speaking of hiking, there are plenty of trails in the Indian Canyons. Or take an easy 45-minute drive to Joshua Tree National Park, where two distinct desert ecosystems come together. Back towards base is the 200-acre estate at Sunnylands Gardens, where you can marvel at 70-plus species of arid-adapted plants. If you’re visiting in February, March or April, then check out Desert X – a contemporary art exhibition in the Coachella Valley. The outdoor installations challenge social themes and topics such as climate change. When golden hour strikes, decamp to the Mount San Jacinto State Park via the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: a rotating cable car that whisks you two and a half miles over the cliffs of the Chino Canyon. Disembark at the Mountain Station for stellar views and access to even more hiking trails.
Clean-living Californian cuisine can be found at Chi Chi. Dine poolside on roasted cauliflower, charred octopus or zucchini noodle pasta – and pair your meal with a renowned Palm Springs date shake. Book in at El Mirasol for Mexican fare: try crispy chorizo tacos, classic carne asada with guacamole and handmade corn tortillas, fragrant spinach enchiladas or Mexico’s national dish: pollo en mole poblano. Don’t miss the spring roll bar at Viet 553 – a traditional Vietnamese joint with bun bo hue noodle soup and Hanoi-worthy bun cha. Or head for the 1920s-style Workshop Kitchen + Bar for hearty post-hike refuels of oyster mushrooms, duck fried rice and black cod.
Get your caffeine hit at Koffi. We’d recommend the iced or frozen cold brew, to take the edge off that desert heat. Cheeky’s is great for breakfast and brunch – fill your table with cinnamon rolls, crispy buttermilk waffles and chilaquiles. You can even order a bacon flight (yes, really) – featuring five different types of rashers from applewood to thyme-pepper-topped. Get your unami-fix with the green goddess noodles at Palm Greens Café – a vegan restaurant also serving organic cocoa granola, savoury pancakes topped with crunchy Asian slaw, and kombucha.
Oscar’s café and bar is a 10 minute walk from the hotel: go for the live shows, eclectic fairy lights and very, very happy hour. Recover from your Saturday night here too, with a Sunday morning drag queen brunch. Truss & Twine celebrates cocktails through the ages – sample one from each era: an old fashioned (golden age), hanky panky (prohibition) planter’s punch (tiki) or white russian (dark ages). There’s indoor and outdoor seating at Bootlegger Tiki, a haunt known for its handcrafted cocktails and giant tiki torches. Try the gansito – a medley of rum, coffee liqueur, coconut, pineapple, orange and cinnamon syrup.
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 California dreamer in Palm Springs and unpacked their mint green swimsuit and untouched golf clubs, a full account of their sun-soaked break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs…
The banana leaf wallpaper, pretty pink cocktails and treillage lattice detailing of the Colony Palms Hotel certainly make for instagram-worthy photo dumps, but wander the grounds further for more natural beauty to admire: three acres of royal lawns adorned with cypress trees, native plants, bougainvillaea and wispy vines. The aesthetically soothing poolside surroundings and striped cabanas will make your friends, family and colleagues green with envy (shades of sage, mint, olive and emerald glisten under the Palm Springs heat), as will the backdrop of the San Jacinto mountain range. For years, the hotel has drawn crowds of mobsters, film producers and Hollywood’s elite (in no particular order), and the walls and halls of the colonial-revival building are synonymous with Palm Springs glamour – whether you’re residing in one of the historic main-building rooms, airy casitas, or ultra-luxe penthouse suites.