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Casa Cody Gets New Life

casa cody

The historic resort is renovated and ready for you. 

By Kevin Perry

History and destiny go hand-in-hand. Echoes from the past resonate with our present-day perspectives and guide us to a more enlightened future. The dynamic between legacy and advancement is on display at Casa Cody, the oldest operating resort in Palm Springs.

“It’s been this sort of hidden gem for so long, and it has so much potential,” beams Carolyn Schneider, the President and Partner at Casetta Group, the organization responsible for renovating Casa Cody into its latest incarnation. “We love Palm Springs, and there are so many amazing, beautiful, historic hotels here. So we feel like we’re in really great company, and we’re excited to give Casa Cody a new life.”

casa cody resort palm springs

The painstaking makeover has spanned over two years. Unlike other hotel renovations, the goal is not to make each room conform to cookie-cutter uniformity. Quite the opposite: each residence must preserve its unique appeal yet add to the cohesive story that unfolds as you stroll the estate.

casa cody resort palm springs room
Various features of Casa Cody have earned the designation as Class 1 Historic property, which is the highest level of historic protection attainable. Updating the resort requires precision and patience, delineating the façades from the resort’s connective tissue. “We aren’t changing any of the historic pieces, any of the exterior; that all stays the same. Our main focus is refreshing the interiors and smoothing some of the pathways and landscapes.”
casa cody resort palm springs room
Schneider’s task is akin to a wartime doctor performing surgery on a minefield. One wrong move could veer the project from preservation to peril. Speaking of battle imagery, Casa Cody welcomed General George Patton’s officers when they trained in 1942. Palm Springs doubled as North Africa so the soldiers could acclimate themselves to our desert heat before heading off to the frontlines.

A Brief History

Reaching further back in time, Casa Cody was the stomping ground for Olympic athletes during the 1932 Los Angeles games. Delving even earlier into history, the resort shimmered like a beacon for Hollywood royalty like Charlie Chaplin during the silent era of cinema.

The ringleader responsible for controlling the chaos of military heroes, showbiz icons, and sports luminaries rubbing elbows with each other was none other than Harriet Cody. Harriet’s husband was an architect whose cousin happened to be Buffalo Bill Cody. When her hubby died, Harriet was left to run Casa Cody alone, evolving with the times no matter how turbulent they became. She even tried her hand as a stable manager, renting horses to notable Western movie stars like Tom Mix to make ends meet.

Harriet Cody palm springs
Harriet Cody, 1925, Palm Springs Historical Society.

The whirlwind nature of Casa Cody’s versatile history is reflected in the bones of the property. From the taboo romanticism of such guests as Anaïs Nin to the regal esteem of opera star Lawrence Tibbett, the resort is a cacophony of complementary styles. “One of the most exciting buildings on the property, I think, is the Adobe House, which was built in the early 1900s,” narrates Carolyn Schneider. She recounts how Harriet Cody “came from Hollywood and had a bunch of friends in the arts community, and they used Casa Cody as a place to perform and hang out, so the Adobe House, I would say, is one of the more exciting elements. Guests can stay in the Adobe House and just experience it by walking the grounds and seeing it.”

The organic majesty of Casa Cody serves as an aesthetic ribbon tying together its disparate and delightful contours. However, there is an unexpected benefit to leveraging outdoor spaces to their full potential. Exteriors provide the perfect gathering spots for the current pandemic era in which we find ourselves.

casa cody resort palm springs adobe house
Adobe House

“Casa Cody is such a great and ideal safe space,” explains Ms. Schneider. “There are no interior corridors. All of our properties are focused on bringing that outside in and being able to experience the nature of the environment where we are.”

But according to our best guess, you won’t want to leave. 

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