The latest venue to catch our attention is a distinctive and glamorous event space in Palm Springs. Located just 90 miles east of Los Angeles, this hideaway feels a world away from the L.A. hustle and is ideal for small meetings and personal events in need of a touch of Old World glamour.
Originally dubbed the Colonial House, this Spanish Colonial style hotel was built and opened in 1936 by owner Al Wertheimer, a reputed mobster and member of the Purple Gang. The hotel served as a private club for Wertheimer and his gambling pals.
After World War II, the hotel was renamed the Howard Manor under glamorous new ownership, Robert Howard and his wife Andrea Leeds Howard. Robert was son of Charles Howard, owner of the championship thoroughbred racehorse Seabiscuit, a symbol of hope to many Americans during the Great Depression. Andrea Leeds was an actress who had achieved fame in 1937 by being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “Stage Door” staring Katherine Hepburn. Under the handsome couple’s stewardship, The Howard Manor and its supper club, called the Academy Room, became a legendary Palm Springs hotspot. For the next seven decades the hotel was a haven for Hollywood in Palms Springs.
Having re-opened in 2007 after an extensive renovation designed in collaboration with Los Angeles based Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, the renamed Colony Palms Hotel has regained its swagger as a stunning four-star boutique hotel spread out over three acres of property. In the spirit of the hotel’s past, the Colony Palms Hotel features the “Purple Palm Restaurant,” a tip of the hat to the Purple Gang, as well as the “Winner’s Circle Suite” in honor of legendary racehorse Seabiscuit, and the “Palme D’Or Residence,” the hotel’s finest accommodation inspired by the highest prize awarded each year at the Cannes Film Festival, an honor emblematic of artistic achievement in today’s Hollywood.
The Colony Palms features some of the most distinctive and glamorous event space in Palm Springs, but it is not tailored for large events. Sophisticated and stylish grounds provide a truly unique backdrop and requisite luxury for any event. The poolside terrace, cabanas, and extensive gardens and grounds along with the Purple Palm Restaurant & Bar provide a variety of stunning settings for weddings, cocktail parties and other memorable gatherings. Private meetings can be held in the hotel’s suites and Palme D’Or Residence.
Cozy rooms to escape the desert heat are well appointed and feature a Moroccan-inspired design. They seem enhanced to provide relief from the hot desert sun. Black out curtains help keep out the sun. Beds feature pillow top mattresses, down pillows and duvet. Fireplaces and four claw bathtubs are available in certain guest rooms.
The pool scene at the Colony Palms is one of its own. Most guests spend quite some time at the pool, and it is always packed. Arrive early to reserve your lounge. When the sun sets, the scene moves to the Purple Palm, and it is always packed with locals and visitors alike, so reservations are in order. Small plates and tapas dominate the menu, and the signature Purple Palm Salad (grapes, sunflower seeds, almonds, goat cheese and white balsamic vinaigrette) is a must-try. When you’re ready to wind down, opt for a massage at the hotel’s Moroccan-inspired spa.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The Colony Palms is a small and glamorous venue offering a unique historical setting for small events and meetings. Its design and features, although modern, remind you of Hollywood’s golden age. It rates 4 1/5 out of 5 stars on Tripadvisor.com.
Photographs courtesy of The Colony Palms Hotel