The Cole Palm Springs Is Leading The Way In Tech-Forward Hospitality

The pool at The Cole Hotel surrounded by blue and white chaise loungers
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Modernism and technology have come together to offer a unique experience at The Cole Palm Springs. The hotel is operated by Sonder, a hospitality management company that utilizes an innovative approach here and in more than 40 cities worldwide.

Sonder was founded on the principle that you can get anything from your mobile phone. You can find rooms and even loft apartments for short-term rentals and make reservations, and are sent an access code on the day of arrival.

At The Cole Palm Springs, check-in time is 4 p.m., and you can come in and swim or find a quiet corner to read in the courtyard until your room is prepared. Once it’s ready, you will receive a text with a code that opens your room’s door. At The Cole, you are instantly transported back to the ’60s, with the rooms artfully decorated by design experts who have incorporated replicas of items that would have been used during the Modernism period.

As you look around the space, you will see a retro mini-bar refrigerator and Victrola Bluetooth stereo. Be sure to look out the window — you’ll likely have a magnificent view of our mountains, which proudly surround our beautiful valley.

The view of the pool from a room at The Cole Hotel in Palm Springs

A typical view from one of the spacious rooms at The Cole Palm Springs. Photo by Kathy Condon

What does a hotel managed by Sonder look like?

On the table on the far wall is a card with a QR code, which, when opened, provides you with several pieces of information, including the number to reach someone on the grounds (they are on call 24 hours) and a code for more towels. There’s also instructions for the television and coffee pot, a list of attractions you might want to check out during your stay in Palm Springs (we have much more happening than just playing golf and sitting around a swimming pool), and the menu and hours of operation for Freddie’s Kitchen at The Cole. By the way, locals are giving this on-site restaurant rave reviews for its excellent food.

There are a couple of things you also should be aware of when staying at The Cole: this is an adults-only hotel, dogs are not allowed, and there is a charge of $15 per day for parking.

A blue door

The Cole has several one-of-a-kind doors. Photo by Nadine Conger

Who developed Sonder?

Co-founder and CEO Francis Davidson’s vision was created over time. It began when he started managing apartments, and kept seeing the same patterns and issues repeating. By recording those issues and matching travelers’ needs, he was able to create a new plan for managing short-term rentals. Sonder was officially formed in Montreal in 2014, with the help of Martin Picard, now the company’s chief real estate officer.

Sonder’s mission is to “redefine hospitality by bringing exceptional stays everywhere,” and they are doing this by utilizing the technology of a mobile phone;  developing relationships with world-class architects and designers to ensure each space meets the established high standards; minimizing the company’s environmental footprint (for example, single-use plastic has been eliminated from all properties); and offering 24/7 support and easy check-in and check-out.

Palm Springs looks back at its history through Modernism Week each year. The Cole represents that period, with its décor that harkens back to the era. However, with the help of Sonder, it is among the most forward-thinking, technology-run hotels in the Coachella Valley.

The sign in front of The Cole Hotel in Palm Springs

Your sign that you’ve arrived at The Cole Hotel in Palm Springs. Photo by Nadine Conger