The Movie Colony is a cute boutique hotel located just a few blocks from the hip and happening Downtown Palm Springs. It’s called the Movie Colony because the neighborhood that it’s located in is filled with old homes of movie stars but now most are rented out for parties and such. The mere 16 rooms of the Movie Colony Hotel create an intimate environment with shining customer service. With so very few rooms compare to a chain hotel, it’s easy to get lost in the peacefulness of this place and perhaps disappear. However, the Movie Colony Hotel is not perfectly accessible, there are a few drawbacks to consider if this place is right for you but the positive may make you overlook what’s lacking.
The one and only wheelchair accessible room was located on the ground floor just around the corner from the pool. A concrete ramp led right into the room with a smoothly paved floor; no carpet, which is very functional. There was a throw rug in the middle of the walkway that I placed in the closet with a note to the housekeeper not to move and it wasn’t. The bed height was at a good level for an easy transfer and outlets were in an accessible area on each side of the bed. The space around the room was comfortable for a manual wheelchair but tight for a power one, especially in the bathroom. In fact, it’s probably impossible to get into the bathroom with a motorize wheelchair without destroying the walls.
The bathroom was on the smaller side. A roll-up sink was immediately to the left when going into the bathroom, the toilet to the right with one grab bar on the back wall and shower directly in front. The shower was a roll-in shower with a tiny 1 inch lip to go over that keeps the water from spilling out. The problem with the shower was that there was no hand-held shower nozzle. I spoke to the manager about this and was assured it would be included as part of the upgrades about to take place. Another potential problem was that the shower bench provided did not have a backrest, which makes sitting easier for those with limited balance. The private patio was sadly not accessible nor was there a lowered closet bar.
The lobby, courtyard and pool/spa area are all on one level. The main entrance into the hotel lobby has automatic doors but once the manager leaves around 7pm there is a side door, by the parking lot that must be used. The side door is a metal frame that needs to be opened with a key and pushed simultaneously which requires some coordination. As of 2011 there was also no handicapped parking that again, I discussed with the manager and was told this was going to change. Parking is right along the wall of the hotel and the surface is all flat but a designated spot is necessary (and required) to safely and easily make it to the hotel door. Right inside the side door is the pool and spa area with lounge chairs. Unfortunately, no lift is available but both are open 24 hours.
The Movie Colony did not have a beauty spa but could offer in-room massage services. Furthermore, there was no restaurant onsite but provided a continental breakfast and happy hour in the outdoor courtyard. The bar seating was not accessible but access into the bar area to collect what you wanted was. The manager actually setup a table for my party that was at a better height. In the evening the glass fire pit was turned on with beer and wine set out on the bar counters. It was good wine too and a lot of it. In fact, a European traveler commented to me how good it was, and “I know good wine.” Many those staying at the hotel took the opportunity to pre-party before jetting off to their dinner plans. Furthermore, literally right next door was a tasty Mexican restaurant called El Mirasol and of course, many more within walking distance.
The Movie Colony’s unique charm made me overlook a few accessible flaws. For my brief stay the hotel staff and the guests became an extended family, laughing over wine by the fire and sharing breakfast together. There was a personal, real-life connection that has been diluted by corporate chains. It was a level of customer service that I thought was a thing of the past so it was refreshing to feel it still alive. What surprised me the most was the free room they offered my sister because the rooms were too small for a roll-a-way. She had come out from San Diego to explore Joshua Tree National Park and needed to spend the night. I was told that if a room is available then such requests can be granted. I have never had such a thing happen to me and pinched myself to make sure I heard the manager correctly. I was warmed to the core.
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