Tales from the Road: Party of One at the Sexiest Hotel in Palm Springs

Joanna Riedl
Apr 7, 2017 · 5 min read

…crashing baby moons and crushing self-doubt.

Sitting by the creek in Sedona for one last tea with a view, my smartphone rang “Could be Korakia Pensione?” was my digital assistant’s estimated guess as I picked up. Hello? The voice of a soft spoken woman from the next stop on my journey was excited to inform me that instead of the Limnos room (a.k.a. the cheapest, smallest accommodation I could find at the highly-recommended Moroccan slash Mediterranean boutique hotel that still cost me $300 a pop), they would like to upgrade me to the Artist Studio, one of their best villas, and that it would be available for early check-in. I couldn’t help but be a wee bit suspicious at the intentions behind such a generous offer, the receptionist giggled as she assured me I would be pleasantly surprised and of course it would be complimentary. Still mildly confused, I hung up, finished my strawberry vanilla rooibos, talked to the bee that had landed on my knee and then me and Marshmallow said our goodbyes to the Red Rocks and hit the road once again, westward bound for a six hour stretch to Palm Springs.

The clock was creeping towards seven o’clock when we reached our destination, oil check light blinking as we pulled into a parking space on a side street at the foot of the mountain where the sun was disappearing over Palm Springs. Before I even exited my car, the bright pink Bougainvillea beckoned to me as it sprawled wildly up the white exterior of the building that was awaiting my arrival. The Korakia Pensione, a sensual, secluded oasis in the desert. In the foyer was a seductive spread of mint tea, ginger cookies, medjool dates and oranges picked from the surrounding trees, the ones I had seen on my way in with their branches hanging over sun-soaked gardens of pillows and day beds galore. It was a feast for the eyes, feeding my appetite for beauty at every turn. Idyllic would be an understatement. This hideaway has to be the most romantic place I’ve ever seen. Fatefully, since this was the last stop on my “Self-Love Adventure” before I re-entered the real world, it became the perfect backdrop to awaken my senses, nourish my body and treat myself the way I know the woman inside of me deserves.

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Walking up the blue and mustard mosaic stairs to my studio, gripping the gold keychain that read “Artist” I knew this room was meant for me. An encouragement, a love letter from a higher power reminding me to go confidently in the direction of my dreams. A few months back, the idea for this road trip came to me in a simple moment. After manifesting around space and giving my notice at work, like a creative spark inside of me, something arose. You need to drive to the Grand Canyon. ALONE. After further investigating the intent, I discovered that I was thirsty to deeply understand and connect with who I am without my job title or career path, outside of my relationship and beyond the opinions of friends and family. What do you know? It turns out I am a strong, sensitive, creative, beautiful woman with pure magic inside of her.

Inside the Artist’s Studio (…where Winston Churchill once painted), I was like a kid in a candy store, playfully pouring over every nook and detail, pinching myself while feeling incredibly grateful for this unexpected gift. One of the first things that caught my attention was a paint-splattered wooden easel by the window overlooking the courtyard. Intrigued, I flipped through a few of the previous guests’ artistic expression on the thick, off-white canvas and quickly noticed a theme. A pregnant woman’s silhouette sketched on one page, the words “We made a baby!” practically shouting at me on the next. It’s enough to see the barrage of expectant mamas clogging my Instagram feed or waddling past me in the crosswalk but now they have followed me here, to my hotel room?

Anyone who has been following my journey over the past few years knows that when I opened myself up to the idea of motherhood, there was a huge mountain to climb before I was ready to welcome another being into my body. It was imperative that I first mother myself, reconciling the issues around the masculine and feminine I had inside of me. Critical self-judgment ran rampant, erring on the side of the former as a result of early familial conditioning and separating myself (and my heart) from my female body in adolescence and all the following years as a way to protect myself.

In Sedona, I had been instructed by my Turkish spirit guide to let go of whatever was getting in between me and my Inner Peace and there, staring me in the face was the one relationship I was having a hard time shedding on this trip. Pending motherhood and my feminine inadequacy. But right in that moment, looking at the odd drawings, I completely let it go. To be happy, joyous and free, I had to trust in what was meant for me and in order for my full potential to be realized, I must take my hands off the wheel and stop trying to control outcomes. Like, for reals. Then a driving force decided it was time to take myself on a dinner date. As I looked at myself in the mirror in my thin white robe, my eyes were drawn to the outline of my breast, a perfect nipple peeking out of the fabric. Damn, I felt sexy. I threw on a dress, rolled Egyptian Goddess oil on my wrists, dabbed on a red lip stain and wandered down to the old school restaurant at the nearby tennis club. You know the type with white tablecloths and a piano lounge? Yeah, one of those. After salaciously eavesdropping on two rich men in their sixties and their buff little boy toys at the table next to me, I told myself to order anything I wanted, no price is too high, you’re worth it. Then I sat there, no phone, no book, no distractions, with wonder and love in my heart, devouring a delicious perfectly-cooked steak and chocolate ice cream drizzled with caramel sauce.

The next morning I couldn’t wait to make believe this dreamy location was my home and spend the day relaxing by the pool, soaking up sun and writing about my experience on my last stop. As I made my way out to the serene salt water pool I saw not one but THREE pregnant women. It was babymoon central. Good thing I let that shit go last night. Phew. Looking at their glowing bellies, instead of my lack, I now saw their blessing and was able to shine my light on them, genuinely inquiring about their journey and tipping them off to a stylish, lifestyle parenting site they must read ASAP.

Then I basked. I basked in the light of the sun, the light vibrating through my body and spirit, and the lightness that had appeared in my heart. Surrounded by couples drunk in love and proud parents to be, I was completely content with the woman inside of me. She is my everything and there was absolutely no one I would rather be with. It was a long road but I was finally out of the dark.

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