Korakia: Two Worlds in One in Palm Springs
It seems inherently agreeable that people go to a resort or hotel or any vacation retreat to “get away from it all.” The Korakia Pensione, which also dubs itself an “experiential resort,” makes sure you are removed from the associations of your everyday existence. There are two properties, across the street from each other, nestled in the foothills of Palm Springs’ San Jacinto Mountains. And there are neither TV sets nor children to interrupt the tranquility of the unique layout.
On one side of the street, you will see the metallic “Korakia” sign with sculptures of crows, the literal Greek translation. This is the portion of the resort known as the Morocco villas. It originated in 1924, when Scottish painter Gordon Coutts designed the buildings to remind him of his former days in Tangier. Indeed, the carved wooden doors that greet one, the North African-shaped windows one sees here and there are reminiscent of that part of the world. The unique, two-story office building has both an adjacent library and room with board games and an area where continental breakfast awaits those during summer months. Full gourmet breakfasts are prepared for guests during the rest of the year.
The Moroccan side of Korakia has not only plenty of privacy for its 12 villas but very unique grounds that include a towering rock waterfall with three spouts and built-in seats to cool oneself in the mist. In addition to the more traditional lounges around the pool, one can spot an old wooden bed, replete with scores of pillows, for vacationers who wish to nuzzle out of doors.
Across the way is the Mediterranean side, and here, one will find a rock patio and even a bocce ball court, along with the usual pool, hot tub and other amenities. Former silent film star J. Carroll Naish owned this property. The orchard house with high, beamed ceilings is now the master suite and 15 other villas, painted in earth tones from dark umber to pale yellow, surround it.
Rooms tend toward the airy, often with wooden slat floor and delightful slate bathrooms. The quiet and privacy of the place truly serves the ideal of the word “retreat,” and while Patencio Road is a five minute walk from downtown, it is rarely traveled by cars and particularly on the Mediterranean side, boasts an all-encompassing view of the grandeur of the San Jacintos.
The Korakia provides free yoga classes on Saturdays and Sundays and they also have some highly imaginative massage services that can be billed to your stay. Their Rain Drop massage utilizes nine different essential oils to revivify one and align the spine. Or their Eucalpytus Rock Massage places that healing unguent into river stones so that the steam enters and soothes the skin and sinuses. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted this when my sinuses have gone haywire in Los Angeles. Korakia also has a bamboo massage and a wide variety of other spa treatments, described more fully on their website.
The romantic allure of Korakia is irrefutable and those about to be wed often choose the location for its charm and uniqueness. And when a wedding books the Korakia, it’s the only time you will find kids allowed. One realizes that the lack of phones and TV are an imposed blessing, in this sumptuous and special blend of two worlds in the Southern California desert.
Korakia Pensione, 257 S. Patencio Road, Palm Springs. 760-864-6411. www.Korakia.com