Colony Palms Hotel

572 N. Indian Canyon Dr. (E. Via Colusa) Palm Springs CA

This former speakeasy, brothel and gambling house has gone legit as a posh desert resort.

Since inception, the Colony Palms Hotel has been all about living it up in style. In 1936, alleged mobster and Purple Gang member Al Wertheimer opened the joint – then known as the Colonial House - as a private club for himself and his gambling buddies. The Spanish Colonial-style property (adjacent to the famed Movie Colony district) made for the perfect getaway with a swimming pool, exceptional cuisine, an underground brothel and a speakeasy accessible via a secret staircase hidden behind a pantry cupboard.

After World War II, the establishment came under the ownership of Robert Howard and his wife, actress Andrea Leeds Howard. The couple renamed the property Howard Manor and transformed it into a Palm Springs magnet for Hollywood’s elite. Although ownership and name of the property shifted over the years, the allure did not, and celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and Zsa Zsa Gabor flocked to this chic haven in the desert for poolside parties and fancy dinners.

Now jump ahead to 2007 and yet another transformation, this one under the direction of Los Angeles-based designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard. Lawrence-Bullard helped redesign the 56 bright-and-airy guest rooms and suites, which boast custom-designed Turkish Suzani headboards, Italian linens by Matteo, leather club chairs and in some accommodations, fireplaces and antique claw-foot bath tubs. Casitas are especially appealing, tucked away with their own private outdoor spa tubs. 

A Moroccan-inspired spa, fitness center, outdoor, deep-water heated pool and meeting space provide the luxuries and conveniences of a much larger hotel, while The Purple Palm restaurant owes its cachet to the bootlegger who started it all. Here, chef Nick Tall pairs California cuisine with classic cocktails that pay playful tribute to the Prohibition era. Like the hotel it inhabits, the restaurant allows guests to travel back in time and discover the Palm Springs of legend while enjoying the comforts of today.

Hotel Information


572 N. Indian Canyon Dr. (E. Via Colusa) Palm Springs CA 92262 U.S.


760-969-1800, 800-557-2187 Hotel’s Website

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