Bedhead is a hotel review column that takes a long look at what makes a home-away-from-home exceptional. Hotel criticism, from a modern woman’s perspective.
Stepping through the serene gates of Casa Cody in Palm Springs feels like escaping into a secluded desert hideaway. The property’s hushed mood and splendid isolation is part of what makes it such an outlier in the bustling downtown corridor. Even at its rowdiest, downtown Palm Springs is rarely a chaotic place, but it’s still surprising to remember this quiet hotel is only a few blocks away from the desert mecca’s central strip. Fully functioning as its own little bungalow village, the property boasts an added bonus — if the seclusion gets old, civilization is within walking distance. For plenty of travelers right now, isolation and a quiet moment outdoors is the whole point of a trip. If that’s your vibe, seriously look no further than this fully restored vintage resort.
Casa Cody might be the oldest operating hotel in Palm Springs — it was founded in the 1920s by desert pioneer woman Harriet Cody — but when the property re-opened this past April 2021 it looked and felt like a brand new retreat. That’s thanks to careful restoration and renovation by Casetta Group, a women-led hospitality company helmed by president and partner Carolyn Schneider (formerly of The NoMad LA, among other impressive credentials) and creative director Sana Keefer (who also runs her own consulting business, hand and time). Casetta kicked things off in 2019, acquiring three boutique Southern California properties, including Casa Cody, and setting out to thoughtfully restore these “buildings with a story” by anchoring them in the local community. Casetta also tends to seek out partnerships with women-led brands for the amenities and design at their properties, an ethos that aligns perfectly with Cinnamon’s priorities.
The new hospitality group works in tandem with the Venice-based architectural design studio Electric Bowery to bring older properties up to speed, initiating timeless design that gets to the heart of each hotel, and adding F&B concepts better suited to 21st century expectations and needs. A recent hosted trip to Casa Cody was my first experience with a Casetta property, but it definitely won’t be my last; they’ve certainly accomplished their mission with this desert property, where the carefully-preserved historic charm was only one of many elements that blew me away. Unlike all the quick-flip, trendy-for-the-moment hotels that look good on Instagram but feel shoddy in person, the attention to detail Casetta has taken with their 30-room property is remarkable in that it’s built to last.
Anchored by a series of stand-alone houses, including the two-bedroom Adobe House, Winter’s House, the Olympic Cottage (transported to Palm Springs from the 1932 LA Olympics) and Harriet’s Cottage, the offerings also include large one bedroom suites, an in-demand two-bedroom suite, and a standard or large studio room. Since it can be difficult to pin down a hotel option with two bedrooms, which is better suited for friends and family traveling together, Casa Cody stands out for its wealth of options. Additionally, save for the smaller studio rooms, all the living arrangements boast full, private kitchens. And though cooking might not be the first priority on a trip to the desert, having the option definitely feels luxury. In an age of AirBnB and VRBO prevalence, Casa Cody competes with the space and amenities of renting a home, and does it with pools and views included.
Speaking of views, entering the property through a second main gate and walking through the “bougainvilla portal,” it immediately becomes clear why the space is such a destination for weddings. If you’re a person who has spent years dreaming of your wedding, then this hotel will get the wheels turning, and it isn’t uncommon for the hotel to be booked out completely for private events. With sweeping lawns detached from the rest of the property, and the additional privacy of renting out separate houses, the possibilities are endless for family gatherings and special occasions. Plus, everything on the property is laid out on the ground floor, making it more accessible for those who have trouble with stairs and easier to customize for events.
But, Cody is also idyllic for a quick mid-week trip to soak up some sun and get out of the city. With two pools, complimentary breakfasts, astonishing mountain views and an abundance of bougainvillea, it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful hotel in the area. During our stay in the two-bedroom suite, it might as well have been a standalone bungalow for how little we heard of neighbors or other guests. With gorgeous dark green tile throughout the suite, two separate bathrooms with walk-in showers, and plush queen and king beds, the only drawback was that we spent most of our time outdoors at the pool instead of inside the spacious rooms. If you’re into nightswimming, the pools are open late, and the jacuzzi might be too toasty during the day, but it’s just right once the sun goes down.
With the forthcoming launch of an open-air market stocked with tchotchkes and take-away food, this desert property won’t have a formal sit-down restaurant on-site. And that’s where proximity to downtown with its array of dining options comes into play, including High Bar, the poolside cafe at the nearby Kimpton Hotel that offers all the standard vacation snacks: Nachos, burgers, fries and salads, or even a cooling shrimp cocktail. At this restaurant perched alongside the only rooftop pool in the city, you’ll also enjoy unparalleled views and a different perspective of the familiar streets.
A note for the weekend crew — there’s also no bar on Casa’s property, so go out and indulge on the strip or come stocked with your own favorite wine and other beverages, like local favorite, the woman-owned Nomadica who sell eight-packs of delicious canned wine for under $60. However, guests are also welcome to pick fruit from citrus trees scattered throughout the property, I recommend gathering some fresh meyer lemons for garnishing cocktails batched in your private kitchen. The property does offer their own list of personal recommendations, and good food and drink is never far in Palm Springs.
If Casa Cody is just a glimpse at the kind of hospitality company Casetta plans to be, then visiting any of their properties will be exactly what Angelenos are looking for in a getaway — classic, beautiful design, state-of-the-art amenities, and local roots that inform the very spirit of each hotel.
Learn more about Casa Cody here.