In each installment of Hotel Report, I profile a hotel that I’ve personally enjoyed and think you’ll enjoy too. Here, you’ll find the need-to-know info, insider tips and photos that’ll help you have a perfect stay of your own.
REASONS TO STAY
You live in Southern California and want a simple, quiet and romantic weekend away from home. Most of all, you want to stay somewhere that’s off the beaten path and away from Palm Springs’ many see-and-been-seen hotels.
You’re taking a west coast road trip and/or visiting Southern California with your significant other. Make time for one romantic night (two if you really feel like relaxing) to experience the beauty of the California desert.
Palm Springs, California. Roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes from both Los Angeles and San Diego (see map below).
Located in a quiet residential neighborhood at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains and a short five-minute drive from downtown Palm Springs, Korakia Pensione is best suited for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path, romantic escape. If you’re looking to see-and-be-seen or for a party scene, you won’t find it here.
Before we continue, a public service announcement: Korakia is pronounced Korockia, not Kora-kia. Also, a pensione is ”a small hotel or boarding house in Italy” as defined by Oxford dictionary. The more you know.
It’s important to know that Korakia isn’t a typical hotel — it’s more like a bed & breakfast. It’s minimally staffed, there’s no on-site staff overnight, and there’s no on-site restaurant from which to order lunch, dinner or room service.
In other words, if you stay at Korakia you should want and expect to be left alone.
I repeat, if you’re looking for a traditional hotel experience where you’ll be waited on hand and foot, this isn’t the hotel for you. But if you’re looking for character, seclusion, peace and quiet, and to stay in what is arguably Palm Springs’ most unique and Instagram-worthy property, you’re in the right place.
A delicious daily breakfast is included in your nightly rate (that’s $40-ish you’ll save right there) and served on Korakia’s beautiful Moroccan courtyard. If you’re only staying for one night, eat breakfast at Korakia. Subsequent mornings can be spent brunching at Jake’s or Cheeky’s.
Also note that Korakia is split into two parts. The Moroccan rooms are located on one side of the street and the Mediterranean rooms are located on the other. Each side has a pool (you can use whichever you’d like), but the pool on the Mediterranean is unequivocally sexier. That being the case, you may want to consider choosing a room on the Mediterranean side just to be closer to its pool (it’s the pool in the first photo under “The Best Room”).
The Best Room
While similar aesthetics prevail throughout, every room at Korakia Pensione is unique.
As mentioned, I suggest staying on the Mediterranean side of the property which is where all of my room recommendations below can be found.
If you’re cool with dropping some dough, reserve Naish House – Korakia’s ultimate romantic abode. It features vaulted ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace, a full kitchen and an outdoor shower. Prices usually drift between $500 and $1,000+ per night.
For mid-price range rooms, go with the Ionean Bungalow, which features four sets of french doors that open to the pool area and turn the room into an indoor/outdoor cabana-of-sorts. Or try the Acropolis Suite, which features a sunken stone bathtub with rainfall shower. Prices typically range from $350-$600 per night.
To save a few bucks, consider the Kalymnos Room. It’s very small but features a large private patio — and it’s the most secluded room on the property (partially pictured below). Prices usually fluctuate between $230-$400 per night.
Prices at Korakia Pensione vary drastically depending on the type of room, season and day of the week. I’ve seen rooms for as low as $199 per night to north of $1,000 per night. Summer months are low season in Palm Springs (it’s really hot) so the lowest rates can be found then.
HOW TO SPEND YOUR TIME
I could go on about things to do in Palm Springs, but I’m not going to. Why? Because part of the beauty of a trip to Palm Springs is sitting around doing little else besides swimming, laying in the sun, reading a book, eating and enjoying the person you’re with. Really, you should aim to do nothing. Now that’s something I don’t often say.
Okay fine, I won’t leave you hanging. If you’ve had enough pool and room time, grab a complementary bike from the front desk. The ride into town will take about 10 minutes, and once you’re there, you’ll easily find a handful of galleries and shops to peruse.
At night, you’ll need dinner plans since Korakia doesn’t have a restaurant. For that, your first choice should be Workshop Kitchen + Bar. They serve rustic farm-to-table cuisine in an ultra-modern setting (for which they won a James Beard Award in 2015). If you can’t get a reservation at Workshop, try The Purple Palm at the Colony Palms hotel, or Mister Parker at the Parker Palm Springs — both have dimly-lit seductive atmospheres and great food.
After dinner, you’ll arrive back at Korakia to countless flickering lanterns, candles and fire pits (including the three that line the Mediterranean pool). Speaking of that pool, it’s heated to 85 degrees on cold winter nights, so be sure to finish out your night with a swim.