HOTEL REVIEW: KORAKIA PENSIONE IN PALM SPRINGS
Aaahhh Korakia, you never disappoint. We must have stayed at Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs at least five or six times, and each time it gets better. Like a fine wine, this sweet little resort just keeps improving with age.
Styled in a Moorish/Moroccan/Mediterranean theme, the cottages and rooms are situated on both sides of the street with an easy walk between. All well appointed with antiques, gauzy-thin curtains that blow in the breeze, cool design touches and crisp white linens that make you sigh in happiness when crawling into their comfy beds. Some of the rooms have working kitchens (ours had a frig, stovetop, dishwasher and all the cooking materials – which we decidedly did not use!), and the rock bathrooms are rustic, European-ish and super chic. Our room even had an old-school record player, with a quirky selection of vinyl chosen to please an eclectic taste. (Um no, I did not feel the need to play The Beatles’ Abbey Road on a scratchy volume ten).
A nice touch is the bowl of fresh oranges in every room, refreshed by the staff each day. Eat them or not, the pop of color is a great design feature and adds to the Mediterranean vibe.
Sweet little breakfast patio
Peace and Quiet
We love our kids, but once in a while it’s good to have a little grown-up escape time together (not like we were looking to let loose and party all night, but hey). Triton and I maybe said a dozen words to each other for hours by the pool, and the peace and quiet was heavenly. It was so quiet, you could hear the birds chirping in the palm trees overhead. Like operating on some unspoken rule, guests at Korakia talked in low conversational tones to avoid disturbing the peace. I wonder if this would work at home with the kids?
Lounge chairs and day beds are casually placed around the salt water pool, and it felt so good to dip into the water to cool off from the hot desert sun. I found a track called “Chill” on Pandora that was the ideal background beat, and settled into a few trashy magazines. Other guests laid on daybeds or played shuffleboard nearby, and we caught glimpses of a few just lazing in bed reading or grooving with their headphones.
Moroccan daybeds dot the poolside gardens at Korakia
Breakfast Patio and Grounds
The grounds really make this place sing. Courtyards with fountains abound, some filled with fresh flowers while we were there, and other fun surprises are tucked into the corners. In one area, you found a fire pit circled with comfy chairs. In another, antique samovars and brass urns add to the theme. An interesting focal point on both sides of the resort are the combination fire/water features. On one side, the fire and waterfalls combine together in a dramatic nighttime display. On the other, fire rises from square pits at the pool’s edge. Both are super cool.
One of the best experiences at Korakia is the breakfast, served on the reception patio at sweet wooden tables like a European café. Dark coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh fruits are all part of the deal, along with a few daily selections. One day they served a beautiful huevos rancheros dish, cheesy, saucy and delicious. Another morning, I scarfed up the avocado toast with poached egg, so buttery-licious.
On-site Spa Treatments
What’s a relaxing weekend away without a little massage? I wish I could remember the name of my therapist that day (Diana?) because she has magic hands. The little spa cottage is just off the pool, and inside the air-conditioning and candles made it a perfect break from all that lounging around – hehe. The spa menu has a bunch of different offerings, so guests can choose their happiness. It was perfect.
Oh, and the citrus trees were blooming when we were there. Have you ever smelled that fragrance? OMG seriously so hypnotic.
Walk Into Town
When you get a little itchy and want to explore, downtown Palm Springs is just a couple of blocks walk away. The main drag, Palm Canyon Drive, is full of cool boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants. During the day, it’s fun to stroll along and people watch, dodging in and out of the spraying misters that keep everyone cool on a hot day. We weren’t much in the shopping mood (pretty unusual actually!) but eating was definitely on the program, and here are several restaurants within walking distance of Korakia to consider along Palm Canyon:
Workshop Kitchen+Bar for drinks and dinner – Really inventive dishes and a cool warehouse setting make this one of Palm Spring’s hippest hangs. Our server was super knowledgeable, pointing us to a couple of dishes we may not have tried without his urging, and so glad he did. The pork cheek fries were decadent and succulent (or as he put it “unctuous” – that has to be a $100 word), and the roasted romanesco was an out-of-this-world combo of savory and sweet. For mains, we sampled the duck leg confit (very tender with lentils and spices) and the hefty mesquite-grilled pork chop, served on the bone with a bacon marmalade.
Really, this was one of the best meals we’ve had in a while. And the beautiful people have clearly discovered it, because it was hard to get a resie (lucky we were willing to be seated in a cozy booth at a rather early 6pm).
Cheeky’s for breakfast – So damn good. There is not a thing on the menu we would not order, and this time the Chilaquiles (eggs and tortillas with cheese and salsa) and the French Toast with caramelized pineapples called to us. Don’t miss the Bacon Flight, with five differently flavored strips like a sampler platter.
The Caramelized Pineapple French Toast at Cheeky’s is the bomb
Chicken Ranch for lunch – This place is kitschy fun, and serves up some delicious chicken dishes quick and easy. Whether you sit inside or out, the dishes are beautiful and tasty, featuring free range, farm fresh and locally grown. We enjoyed the sliced chicken breast sandwich and the chicken Caesar, but everything looked really good.
Koffi for coffee and pastries – Clearly a local fav, Koffi packs them in and moves them through quickly. The coffee is good but the pastries are crazy delicious, as in yes-please-may-I-have-another-even-though-I-will-have-to-do-another-hour-on-the-treadmill good. Behind the café, a courtyard beckons full of seating, landscaped gardens with a grassy area for the kids to run, and some interesting galleries bordering the sides. Definitely worth a visit when you can take your time, relax and tour around.
Lappert’s for ice cream – We fell in love with Lappert’s Ice Cream when visiting Hawaii. The flavors are spectacular, including family favorites such as Caramel Cashew Turtle Cluster, Green Tea and Coconut Macadamia Nut Fudge.
I cannot wait to back. Hope you have fun in the sun, and let us know if you find any cool new places for us to try!