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Smart Stay: Colony Palms Hotel

by Anne Roderique-Jones
Colony Palms Hotel
Colony Palms Hotel / Courtesy of the property
by Anne Roderique-Jones
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Colony Palms Hotel guest room
Colony Palms Hotel guest room / Courtesy of the property
by Anne Roderique-Jones
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Colony Palms Hotel
Colony Palms Hotel / Courtesy of the property
by Anne Roderique-Jones
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A colorful past only adds to the character of Colony Palms Hotel. Founded in 1936 by mobster Al Wertheimer, the property underwent various incarnations as a brothel and gambling house before Robert Howard (grandson of the owner of Seabiscuit, the champion racehorse) bought the hotel in 1951. Hollywood’s young elite – including Frank Sinatra – frequented the property for the next quarter century. In 2017, the hotel underwent an extensive renovation, and renamed from The Palms at Palm Springs to the Colony Palms Hotel, continuing the tradition of welcoming celebrities (like Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron, and Emma Roberts) to this posh desert oasis. 

What You Need to Know

The Look

It's All in the Details

The Colony still maintains its historic charm, but with a lot of added design features. The Moroccan-inspired decor marries Spanish Colonial architecture, best represented with colorful mosaics, arched entryways, and original ceramic floor tiles. 

The guest rooms surround a central courtyard and most have a gas-burning fireplace and clawfoot bathtubs; all are decorated with vintage photos and pretty fabrics. Even the smallest rooms have loads of personality, and casitas have a large private courtyard and an outdoor bathtub. The hotel’s restaurant, Purple Palm, offers a California-Mediterranean menu serving seasonal ingredients from breakfast to dinner. There’s a lovely and large poolside bar and a spa, too. 

The Vibe

This California-cool property feels incredibly personal – especially with just 57 rooms and casitas. You’ll see a lot of fashionable folks, but you won't find any snobbiness. People tend to gather around the pool and sip cocktails, while the restaurant is loved by locals and hotel guests. 

Who Will Love It 

Stylish travelers will appreciate the design; bungalows work just as well for friend groups as they do a honeymoon.

Who Might Not 

The property allows children, but is more geared towards adults.

Best Amenity 

The heart of the hotel is the 65-foot saltwater pool that’s heated in winter and cooled in summer. It’s surrounded by red retro loungers and cabanas, lovely gardens, and has views of the San Jacinto Mountains.

Money Matters

What’s Included 

Wifi, twice-daily housekeeping, and complimentary bikes. 

Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About

The hotel charges a $40 per day resort fee, which includes valet, wifi, daily digital newspaper service, bike rental, and morning coffee.

How to Get a Deal 

Check the hotel’s packages page, which includes offers like mid-week savings and discounts on suites. 

Getting There

In the Neighborhood

Centrally located in downtown Palm Springs, the hotel sits between the Palm Springs design district and Movie Colony, where there are tons of options for shopping, bars, and restaurants – just hop on a bike and explore. Additionally, it’s an easy 45-minute drive to Joshua Tree National Park and plenty of nearby hiking.

Nearest Airport 

The hotel is a 10-minute drive from the Palm Springs Airport. Alternatively, Los Angeles is a two-hour drive.

Nearest Public Transit

Public buses run though Palm Springs (the 111), but your best bet is a car, walking, or a cruiser; the city is very bike friendly. 

The Bottom Line 

Colony Palms Hotel marries old California with incredible design – and a lovely and lively swimming pool, too. 

It's All in the Details