California / Chronological / Food / Hotels & Resorts / United States

The Colony Palms Hotel and Its Purple Palm Restaurant Restore Early Glamour to Palm Springs

The Colony Palms Hotel in the heart of downtown Palm Springs — along with its Purple Palm Restaurant & Bar — has been newly restored to spotlight its special brand of Spanish Colonial charm that, despite its being on flat ground, is reminiscent of an Acapulco hotel, also popular in the ’30s and ’40s: the Cantamar.

Colony Hotel looking at Purple Palm and pool, photo by Maralyn Hill
Colony Hotel looking at Purple Palm and pool, photo by Maralyn Hill

The Colony Palm’s new owners have just reopened after having spent some $16 million to renovate the three-acre property, and they are not finished yet. Its Moorish feel and refurbished old-style glamour feel like "Old Hollywood," making, in this case, what is "old," truly new again.

This charming four-star luxury boutique hotel was designed by Los Angeles-based Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, and its 56 rooms are exquisitely decorated with great attention to detail.  As they joyously bring the past to life, you might imagine Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth or other stylish and sophisticated legends relaxing in these surroundings, as all of young Hollywood did in the ’40s and ’50s.  The addition of a spa is next on the Colony Palms Hotel’s building agenda, which they hope to complete by late 2008.

The Purple Palm Restaurant next to the pool at the rear of the hotel offers very good "globally accented" Mediterranean cuisine including some of the best French fries we’ve ever eaten (the pesto coating makes them outstanding). Norm had a hamburger and fries, while Maralyn chose the Tandoori-style chicken salad.  Since Maralyn couldn’t resist Norm’s fries, it was fortunate that there were enough to share.

In the restaurant’s basement, we witnessed ongoing restorations that will add to its historical status.  In the ’30s, the lower level served as a legendary gangster-run speakeasy, gambling den and, yes, brothel.

Scenic murals that provide visual confirmation of its colorful past are gradually being uncovered and restored; and the owners plan to duplicate the murals on the opposing wall to revive its speakeasy atmosphere before moving the bar and expanding restaurant seating into the subterranean area.

The Colony Palms Hotel and its Purple Palm Restaurant are well worth a visit — we plan to return and spend a night or two. It is a work in progress that already provides for an exceptional experience.

Colony Palms Hotel
572 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
(760) 969-1800 or (800) 557-2187


Leave a Reply