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The Parker Palm Springs, it would seem, is as Marmitey as the W London: you either love it or you hate it. Except, in the case of the Parker, it’s not the guests making those snap judgments: it’s demanded by the hotel.
A few days after we had our largely wonderful, but marred by things like paper-thin walls and snobby staff, stay at the Parker, we had a particularly perky tell-us-how-your-stay-was email. It read:
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You know where we’d rather be on this chilly, depressing Wednesday? In Palm Springs, that’s where. Specifically, at The Parker Palm Springs. Yes, it’s been a while since we tantalized you by telling you our stay at the Parker beat our night at the Colony Palms, so in a bid to liven up your hump day, we’re giving you the lowdown on the Parker.
We scored an awesome deal (well, actually, our mom scored it, since it was her Christmas present to us): rooms over our dates started at $189, but with the Spa Junkie package we got a room and $200 spa credit for $199 (though with tax and resort fee it came to $261 a night). Here’s what it got us.
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Apologies for the shaky video. Our camera was obviously as excited by the color palette as we were
Yesterday we waxed lyrical over the bathrobes at The Colony Palms, but toweling doth not make a hotel stay alone, so it’s time to delve into the rest of the set up. As we said yesterday, we scored a major deal on Hotwire - $66 for a room that normally would cost $199. As we were coming straight from a stay at the swanky Parker (more on that to come) we thought we’d be in line for a massive downgrade. Here’s what we found.
A rollercoaster of slight emotions, was check in. We pulled up outside the entrance, by a sign saying valet only – but there was no valet, so we judged it ok to leave the car there as we checked in. Slightly antsy, we walked into the lobby – white and purple walls, antique-looking furniture and old Hollywood style pictures. It looked Mexican crossed with Moroccan, and we had a glimpse of a lovely looking garden and pool. We relaxed. Then we heard the people ahead of us complaining about their belongings having been removed from their room, even though they hadn’t checked out. None of the staff seemed to be apologizing and the family was getting more and more irate. We got concerned.
Then it was our turn and the same guy who had seemed unconcerned about the angry people’s predicament turned out to be the perfect checker inner. He told us our room had been upgraded, asked about our journey, said he hoped we’d like it here better than the Parker, and recommended us places in town to go get our drink on. His name was Cesar and he was fabulous. Phew! Our emotional rollercoaster ended on a high.
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We now present you with our VIP Hotel Reviewer Series in which we hand-pick experts in the travel and media worlds and beyond to tell us what are their favorite hotels and why. Once a week, we'll feature a hotel review from said VIPs about their favorite leisure or business hotels. Pay attention: These VIPs are experts at what they do and they don't mess around when it comes to their hotels.
I've spent the last 30 years traveling for both work and pleasure. I love hotels. I love staying in hotels. I want to live in a hotel someday. It's just the perfect thing for me. I've stayed in everything from mud huts to the five-stars and I like both.
My favorite place to stay is in Palm Springs, California at a local motel called the Caliente Tropics. I go at least 4 times a year, usually 6 or 7, and I tie it in with visiting our West Coast stores; that is my vacation.
If you're planning on making a trip to Palm Springs this month, you can score an awesome rate at the super peaceful (read: air conditioners, but no phones or TV's in rooms) and posh Korakia Pensione Inn.
Built in 1924, the buildings on property once served as private hideaways for an artist and an actor. Big shot real estate company Makar Properties purchased the Mediterranean-style inn in March and now, there are 29 guest rooms, located in five secluded buildings and two bungalows that:
rest on one-and-a-half acres of citrus blossoms, olive trees, oleander, date palms and bougainvillea, [and] are punctuated by zero edge pools, a stone waterfall spread across its courtyard, and its Afghan-imported grand entryway.
Rooms include handmade furniture, air-conditioning, kitchens and wood-burning fireplaces in some, and patios or balconies in others with views of Tahquitz Canyon and the San Jacinto Mountains. A fully cooked breakfast is served in the mornings with Moroccan tea service served in the evenings.
From now until August 30th, the Korakia is offering 50 percent off its original rates, which normally start around $279 a night.
By the way, the NYT named the Korakia "one of the sexiest hotels in America" and, well, apparently someone agrees.
The other week we had just a teensy bit of an obssession with Palm Springs and so we started asking around to our friends which places in the desert they have visited and liked.
One of our friends recommended the Korakia Pensione Inn, which is nestled right up against the mountains. The hotel's website describes it as:
A Moroccan inspired breakfast inn, which consists of two historically renowned villas (the Moroccan and the Mediterranean), has been lovingly re-created by current owner Douglas Smith.
There are several different room options in either villa and the place has been written up in Architectural Digest and Travel and Leisure. And of course, it's also a fave destination amongst Hollywood and artists.
However, there are some negatives. The rooms have no usual hotel amenities like a minibar, TV or even a phone. The staff has also been called out for lack of service and professionalism. Yet the one big negative for our friend is that she could hear the couple having sex all night long through the walls. Yikes.
Rooms start at $279 a night, two night minimum required on the weekends.
· Korakia Pensione Inn [TripAdvisor]
We have been having a bit of obsession with Palm Springs this week but we could not pass up this snapshot. This is a piece of art that is (maybe was?) on display in the lobby at the Parker Palm Springs which was visited once by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Er excuse us, the Pilafs.
Photo: Jim Prosser.
· The Pilafs check into Le Parker Meridien [HotelChatter]
There's a new hotel in town for Palm Springs. The Colony Palms Hotel was originally named The Colonial House which it opened in 1936, by a Purple Gang mobster named Al Wertheimer. Thanks to its gansta' affiliations the hotel became a popular speakeasy, brothel and gambling house. In the late 40s, it became the Howard Manor and then eventually a health spa called The Palms.
But now the historic hotel has recently undergone a $15 million facelift including redesigned guestrooms, casitas and suites designed by Martyn Lawrence Ballard, a new poolside restaurant The Purple Palm and a spa.
The Spanish-style hotel's décor harkens back to 1940's glamour with an exotic slant, incorporating worldwide influences such as Uzbekistani suzani headboards, antique French tiling and vintage black and white photography.
Each of the 56 rooms, inclusive of ten casitas with two-person outdoor bath tubs, and three suites with private entrances, will offer breathtaking views of the desert mountains, as well as Wi-Fi high-speed Internet, mini bars and High Definition flat panel TVs.
The hotel also has a mega-suite called The Winner's Circle which has a private entrance, fireplace and views of the mountains.
The Colony Palm Hotel will reopen on April 26, 2007 with an introductory mid-week rate of $169 per night and weekend rate of $239 per night, subject to availability. As you can tell, there's no current pictures of the hotel on their web site (Hotel & Motel has a thumbnail of a room) but randomly, the hotel has its own Wikipedia page.
[Photo: Ron's Log]
· Palm Springs' The Colony Palms Hotel reopens after $15-million renovation [Hotel & Motel]
· Palm Springs hotel with mob-owned past to reopen after $15 million in renovations [PE]
Once again, we are checking in on the latest hotels who have made appearances on trashy reality TV shows. And this week's winner is the The Horizon Hotel in Palm Springs, who hosted the cast of VH1's I Love New York.
A while back, we reported that the hotel was being used for a VH1 type of dating show, but we were woefully misinformed about which show it was. So now we know.
Anways, New York aka Tiffany took two of the remaining four men who are competing for her love and affection to the hotel and put them up in the Residence, a private villa of sorts with private grounds and a pool. She also gave them lighters and robes with their nicknames on them. So ghetto fabulous!
Sadly, we didn't see much of the Residence except to know that the bar was fully stocked for Whiteboy and Chance, which is to be expected on these kind of reality shows. How else can you keep a straight face and tell New York you love her when she's piss-ass drunk?
In other news, we ran into kicked-off contestant Mr. Boston last weekend at a bar in Santa Monica and he said he's getting his own show. Let's see if the Horizon makes the cut.
· 'The Hills' Skip Dinner and Get Dessert at W Westwood [HotelChatter]
· Horizon Hotel is Site for New VH1 'Celebreality' Show Possibly Starring Old People [HotelChatter]
Have you ever wanted to visit the "Coolest Play to Stay?".
Then head on down to the Ballantines Original Hotel in Palm Springs, Calif. which advertises itself as such a cool place. Nevermind that it's probably the type of place that your grandparents would hit up when visiting the town as they scope out assisted living, excuse us, retirement, communities. Yet it's also the perfect place for 1950s film buffs or anyone who's a big fan of the 50s in general.
While not quite a Movie Set Hotel, the place has themed Movie rooms and rooms named after popular film stars of the 1950s. In fact the whole place is decked out with period furniture and 1950s memorabilia.
If you check into the Women's Movie theme room you will find:
It has black and white iconistic photographs of the great leading ladies of this era. This poolside room is complete with a small dressing area, 50's retro bedspread, king bed, and a private patio.
Other themed rooms to check out is the 50s musical rooms, Jasper Johns, Audrey Hepburn, Douglas Fairbanks, Hawaiian Surf, French 50s and African 50s, which features photographs from movies about Africa.
If the kitschyness gets too much to bear then make good use of the wine hour and beer included in the cheap ($109) room rate.