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The History of Korakia

Korakia has hosted visiting artists and musicians since it was a Moroccan hideaway, Dar Marroc, built in the 1920s by Scottish painter Gordon Coutts to recreate his life in Tangier. Coutts hung his paintings in the library, where he regaled such guests as Rudolph Valentino and Errol Flynn, and fellow artists John Lavery, Grant Wood, and others, with his adventures. Winston Churchill was even rumored to have painted in the studio here. His neighbor across the street, early silent-screen star J. Carrol Naish, owned the 1930s Mediterranean villa, which blends the charm of Southern Europe with North African accents. 

Naish lived in the main house in the center of the complex, with high wood beam ceilings, a wood burning fireplace, dining room, and full kitchen—today available for guests as Naish House. The Mediterranean villa also contains a rare 1918 California adobe, the Orchard House, with a private courtyard and citrus grove. We combined these historic Mediterranean and Moroccan-influenced properties to create Korakia, our petite resort in the heart of Palm Springs.

Nearby in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood, just a short walk from Korakia, we acquired and lovingly reawakened Auric House, a 1930s Spanish Revival home—a rare example of a carefully preserved early Palm Springs home influenced by Mediterranean climes. Auric House appears just as it did when it was central to the neighborhood’s social scene, the home of a prominent local hotel owner who was also the rumored inspiration for the Buster Brown comic strip character penned by his father. This private, six-bedroom home is the newest member of the Korakia family.

Just as we’ve preserved the character of these historic buildings, we’ve also preserved their spirit. Korakia is a sanctuary for creatives—and those seeking to get in touch with their creative spirit—much as it was in the early 20th century. 

The Moroccan Villa

The Moroccan villa, originally named Dar Marroc, was built by Scottish painter Gordon Coutts in 1924. A member of the Bohemian Club of journalists, artists, and musicians, he had lived in Paris, London, and Tangier, Morocco, producing works that were exhibited in the Royal Academy and Paris Salon, among other places. His Palm Springs hideaway was constructed with Moroccan architectural features to re-create his earlier life in Tangier.

Coutts entertained many of his intellectual and cultural inner circle at Dar Marroc. He painted in the studio upstairs and hung his works in the library, where he regaled his guests with tales of adventure. Artists who visited Coutts at Dar Marroc included John Lavery, Agnes Pelton, Nicolai Fenshin and Grant Wood and celebrities such as Rudolph Valentino and Errol Flynn. It is rumored that even Winston Churchill has painted in the villa's Artist Studio.

The Mediterranean Villa

J. Carrol Naish, an early silent-screen star and neighbor to Coutts, owned the 1930s Mediterranean villa across Patencia Street. Naish, whose Hollywood career spanned over 40 years, was nominated for two Oscars and won a Golden Globe award. His retreat from the pressures of Hollywood, the villa is an effortless, sundrenched southern European villa with North African accents.

The romantic master suite, with its high wood beam ceilings, an indoor/outdoor bath, and a massive fireplace, anchors the property. The suites and villas reflect the easy, white-washed elegance of houses along the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Using a variety of textures and colors, the outdoor area of the Naish property lends an exotic feel to its poolside experience.

The Orchard House

The Orchard House is a rare, original 1918 adobe that sits in a private citrus grove within the Mediterranean Villa of Korakia. The large, wraparound stone courtyard is an intimate spot to enjoy the fountain and shade of the fruit trees, or on chilly nights, the outdoor stone fireplace. The large bath also features a wood-burning fireplace, near its deep copper bathtub for two.

Among its significant architectural features is a dramatic pivoting window wall made of two 1940s steel windows that have been welded together.

The home features a full kitchen, private dining room, living room, and king bed. Exclusive and private, the home looks out into the grove that surrounds it.

Palm Springs, CA

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