When our daughter was little, Palm Springs meant water slides, inflatable pool toys and wading pools. Now that the prodigy is off to college, the desert is a new playground, a tranquil place of cocktails poolside, leisurely dinners, friendly service and romantic rooms. Where is this heavenly place? Our hidden gem is The Colony, right off the main drag in Palm Springs though you wouldn’t know it since it’s so hidden away and very secluded.
The intimate white stucco inn is Moroccan-themed with only 56 guest rooms, lovely casitas, luxurious Italian linens, and some even have fireplaces, claw-foot bath tubs and private patios. And when was the last time you had a bar set up that included top-shelf liquors, mixers and a martini shaker? When it’s not busy, it’s like having a friend’s place in the South of France for the weekend.
Lit by sunlight, the large, tiled bathroom has all the modern amenities, yet retains an Old world charm. But it’s the pool where you’ll live, with spectacular mountains views and the renowned Purple Palm restaurant right across from the pool lounge chairs. Eat outside at the casual patio or dress up (just a bit) for the dinner, but with new chef Nick Tall, it’s wise to make reservations since the locals are in on this place.
When we ate there, a diner at the next table shared that the salmon — Applewood & Hibiscus Roasted Salmon ($27) –was the best she’d ever had (and she works at an expensive fish restaurant!)
Starting with a delicate Heirloom Beets salad (burrata, dates, opal basil, balsamic strawberries) which tasted farm-fresh, we opted for the Cavatelli Pasta (lemon ricotta, tomato, olive, fennel, three herb pesto for $24) an exquisite California mix. Our companion ordered the Moroccan Spiced Lamb (medjool dates, harissa, eggplant, fava beans, farro, rose & bergamot, $32) which was excellent though a little spicy for our palate.
The staff is friendly without being obsequious and anticipates every need. ‘More pineapple for your Mai Tais?’
Rates for a Colony King are around $200 (booking in June) and the Casita (our favorite) since it’s private and has it’s own patio, run upwards of $350.
Children are welcome, and the few we saw were very well-behaved , as were the pups. But let’s keep The Colony between us,okay?