There’s a reason why sleep sound machines always have cascading waterfalls and crashing waves in their repertoire.
The sound of water seems to be able to magically induce a state of calm—even in the most frenetic among us.
I was reminded of this as I entered the serene courtyard of the Korakia Pensione (Korakia is the Greek word for crow) in Palm Springs’ Historic Tennis Club Neighborhood.
I was immediately seduced by the gentle splashing of a small fountain. The hotel serves a full breakfast here every morning, and it’s hard to imagine a better place to start your day.
Just past the courtyard, huge carved wood doors from Afghanistan open into the lobby and beyond it is one of the resort’s two saltwater pools, along with more fountains that quietly lull people into a perpetual state of relaxation.
“I guess our mission is for guests to feel like they belong here and think, ‘Wow, this is exactly what I like,’” says Paulette Monarrez, general manager. “It’s just all about being comfortable and calm. There are no televisions, no telephones, no kids. But we do have wireless Internet,” she adds with a laugh.
Welcome to Morocco
Korakia’s 28 rooms are scattered throughout two villas that are across the street from one another. The Scottish painter Gordon Coutts built the Moroccan Villa in 1924 as a private getaway.
The lounge right off the villa’s lobby is filled with paintings in a nod to its past incarnation as Coutts’ studio. Around the corner and upstairs is a room dubbed the Artist’s Studio where it’s said Winston Churchill painted in the 1920s.
“Every room and suite is totally different and has furniture from around the world,” says Monarrez.
Paul Makarechian purchased Korakia in 2007 and, “He travels a lot and will send us crates of furniture and items,” notes Monarrez. “A piece may not necessary be a coffee table but we make it into a coffee table. So it’s very creative and that’s kind of the best thing about the hotel is that you can feel that artistic, creative spirit here that I think a lot of other really beautiful places miss.”
A Trip to the Mediterranean
The exotic feel of the resort continues across the street at the Mediterranean Villa. Just inside the entrance, you’ll encounter the Naish House built by the silent-screen star J. Carol Naish in the 1930s. It features soaring wood beam ceilings, an outdoor shower, a huge fireplace, and has a full kitchen.
Tucked among the villa’s grounds are three fire pits, a bocce ball court, and a pool that Monarrez notes has been called “one of the top 10 sexiest pools in the country” by The New York Times and Travel & Leisure.
Also nearby is the Orchard House. “It’s the icing on the cake,” says Monarrez. “It’s absolutely gorgeous and has a big warehouse-type window that pivots and then you’re outside in a private orchard.”
“I always kind of say the rooms are like an additional staff member,” says Monarrez. “When I walk the rooms I feel like I know each of them. It feels very sweet and safe, and I think the guests feel that too.”
Korakia Pensione, 257 South Patencio Road, Palm Springs, 760-864-6411
VIDEO: Take a tour of this historic property in Palm Springs.