Mediterranean Chic at Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs - 2 Dads with Baggage

Mediterranean Chic at Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs

Aaahhh Korakia, you never disappoint. We must have stayed at Korakia Pensione at least five or six times, and each time it gets better. Like a fine wine, this sweet little resort just keeps improving with age. Styled in a Moorish/Moroccan theme, the resort offers a bit of Mediterranean chic at Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs. Welcoming guests for some 20 years now, this sweet little resort is an ideal getaway for some luxe peace and desert  tranquility.

Interior of a Mediterranean room at Korakia (photo: Korakia Pensione)

The 28-room Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs is nestled at the base of the statuesque San Jacinto Mountains, which emanate a restful vibe better than any Xanax can deliver. Covered with rocks and boulders, the desert mountains form a wall of protection for the resort below. The result is calmness, with light breezes, sunny weather and few outside noises from people, cars or other bothers.

The main entrance to Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs is Moroccan inspired.

Mediterranean Chic at Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs

This resort was not the first to use Mediterranean style in the desert, and it won’t be the last. But it might just be one of the very best. In a unique design layout, the cottages and rooms at Korakia Pensione are situated on both sides of the street with an easy walk between.

At one point in the past these buildings were private homes. The Moroccan house on the mountain side was built in 1924, and across the street the Mediterranean house is from the 1930s.  With the addition of the 1918 adobe Orchard House, they fit together like a village. Meandering walkways, desert landscaping and craggy stone walls further set the tone.

The Moroccan courtyard in the main lobby entrance at Korakia Pensione.

Guest Rooms Conjure European Comforts

Spaces are well appointed with antiques, gauzy-thin curtains that blow in the breeze, cool design touches.  Crisp white linens make guests sigh in happiness when crawling into the comfy beds with down comforters. Some of the rooms have working kitchens, ours included a refrigerator, stovetop, dishwasher and all the cooking materials. Bathrooms are intentionally rustic, with rock walls, stone inlays and wood accents next to white walls.  The result is comforting and familiar, with a European air that is super chic without trying too hard.

Fun touches in the guest rooms make Korakia even more charming.

Our room was clean, cool and sparsely decorated with an upholstered bench, wood post bed, leather-weave chair and even an old-school turntable. The quirky selection of vinyl was a fun touch, chosen to please an eclectic taste. Of course we had to play a couple, and the scratchy music just added charm to the room.

From the courtyard peering into a Moraccan guestroom (photo: Korakia Pensione)

A  bowl of fresh oranges sits in every room, refreshed by the staff each day. Eat them or not, the pop of color is a great design feature and adds to the Mediterranean vibe.

The bright punch of color from these fresh oranges is a nice contrast to the earthy Mediterranean tones at Korakia Pensione.

Peace and Quiet Abounds

We love our kids, but once in a while it’s good to have a little grown-up escape time together. With smiles across lazy lounge chairs by the pool, we maybe said a dozen words to each other for hours.  It was so quiet, you could hear the birds chirping in the palm trees overhead. Like operating on some unspoken rule, other guests at Korakia talked in low conversational tones to avoid disturbing the peace. I wonder if this would work at home with the kids?

Lounge chairs and day beds are casually placed around the salt water pools (one on each side of the road). It felt so good to dip into the water to cool off from the warm desert sun. These are perfect conditions for a chill Spotify playlist and some back issues of Travel & Leisure and Vanity Fair. As I enjoyed segments of orange from that bowl in our room, other guests laid on daybeds or played shuffleboard not-too-nearby. Throughout the day, we caught glimpses of few guests just lazing in bed reading or grooving on their headphones. Some just stared into space with smiles of relaxation.

The heated Mediterranean pool invites guests to lounge in the sun or shade. (photo: Korakia Pensione)

Breakfast Patio and Grounds

The grounds really make the idea of Mediterranean chic at Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs real. Courtyards with fountains abound, some filled with fresh flowers lazily floating on top. In one area, we found a fire pit circled with comfy chairs. In another, antique samovars and brass urns add to the theme.

At night, the fountains, flower petals and little white lights make this courtyard dance.

An interesting focal point on both sides of the resort are the combination fire/water features. On one side, the fire and waterfalls combine together in a dramatic nighttime display. On the other, fire rises from square pits at the pool’s edge. Both are super cool, beckoning guests to sit back down for a moment longer to enjoy the scene.

On the Mediterranean side, even the pool lounge chairs at Korakia have that certain style.

One of the best experiences at Korakia is the breakfast, served on the reception patio at sweet wooden tables like a European café. Strong, dark coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh fruit are all part of the deal, along with a few daily selections. One day we were served a beautiful huevos rancheros dish, cheesy, saucy and flavorful. Another morning, I scarfed up the avocado toast with poached egg, so buttery-licious.

On-site European Spa Treatments at Korakia

There is nothing that makes a relaxing weekend away more, well, relaxing, than a good massage. I wish I could remember the name of my therapist that day (Diana?) because she has magic hands. My little spa cottage was located just off the pool. The air-conditioning and sage-scented candles made it a perfect retreat from the warm Palm Springs weather. The spa menu has a bunch of different offerings, so guests can choose their happiness. I chose a 80-minute deep tissue massage with hot stones, and my muscles melted.

To top it off, the citrus trees were blooming during our visit. It was as though the resort team thought we needed more proof of Mediterranean chic at Korakia Pension. The fragrance was seriously so hypnotic. As I dozed on my massage table, I pondered whether I was smelling lemon, orange or grapefruit blossoms. In the end, I didn’t really care which.

The grounds on the Mediterrenean side of Korakia are expansive and meditative. (photo: Korakia Pensione)

Short Walk Into Town

Realizing we couldn’t spend the entire day lounging at the resort, we wanted to explore the town. As it turns out, downtown Palm Springs is just a couple of blocks away. As we strolled along Palm Canyon Drive, we wandered in and out of full kitschy boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants. During the day, it’s fun to dodge in and out of the spraying misters along the sidewalk that keep everyone cool on a hot day.

We weren’t much in the shopping mood but eating was definitely on the program. Here are several restaurants within short walking distance of Korakia to consider along Palm Canyon Drive:

Workshop Kitchen+Bar for drinks and dinner. This well-designed restaurant offers inventive dishes in a cool warehouse setting. Open since, it is still one of Palm Spring’s most difficult reservations to get. Our server was very  knowledgeable, pointing us to a couple of dishes we may not have tried without his urging. We were glad we did. The pork cheek fries were decadent and succulent (or as he put it “unctuous” – that has to be a $100 word). The roasted romanesco was an out-of-this-world combo of savory and sweet. For mains, we sampled the duck leg confit (very tender with lentils and spices) and the hefty mesquite-grilled pork chop, served on the bone with a bacon marmalade.

Cheeky’s for breakfast – So damn good. There is not a thing on the menu we would not order, and this time the Chilaquiles (eggs and tortillas with cheese and salsa) and the French Toast with caramelized pineapples called to us. Don’t miss the Bacon Flight, with five differently flavored strips like a sampler platter.

The Pineapple French Toast at Cheeky’s is a family favorite.

Chicken Ranch for lunch – This place is fresh and fun, and serves up some delicious chicken dishes quick and easy. Whether you sit inside or out, the dishes are beautiful and tasty, featuring free range, farm fresh and locally grown chicken and ingredients. We enjoyed the sliced chicken breast sandwich and the chicken Caesar, but everything looks really good.

Just a short walk from Korakia, Chicken Ranch serves up some delicious fare. (photo: Chicken Ranch)

Koffi for coffee and pastries – Clearly a local fav, Koffi packs them in and moves them through quickly. The coffee is good but the pastries are crazy delicious, as in yes-please-may-I-have-another-even-though-I-will-have-to-do-another-hour-on-the-treadmill good. Behind the café, a courtyard beckons full of seating, landscaped gardens with a grassy area for the kids to run, and some interesting galleries bordering the sides. Definitely worth a visit when you can take your time, relax and tour around.

Lappert’s for ice cream – We fell in love with Lappert’s Ice Cream when visiting Hawaii. The flavors are spectacular, including family favorites such as Caramel Cashew Turtle Cluster, Green Tea and Coconut Macadamia Nut Fudge.

Visit Mediterranean chic at Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs

When booking a room at Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs, you can’t go wrong in choosing your room. Because this is a small property run by a group of very nice entrepreneurs, I suggest any special needs be managed with a direct phone call to the resort. Same with booking spa appointments – book far in advance and confirm before you arrive.

For more things to do while visiting Palm Springs, check out our review of the San Andreas Fault Tour. And here’s a list of things to do in the Palm Springs shade (for when it gets desert-hot!).

entering Palm Springs
There is nothing like pulling into Palm Springs on Highway 111 to be greeted by this welcome sign and gorgeous backdrop.


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2 thoughts on “Mediterranean Chic at Korakia Pensione in Palm Springs

  1. Hi! This is Dana your massage therapist at Korakia! What a beautiful review and I’m so happy you enjoyed your experience at Korakia! We hope to see you soon!

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