How to Travel Safely by Car

Not since the days of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez’ road trip to California and when the Hollywood stars like Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe traveled to Palm Springs have road trips been so popular. This is the time to nostalgically take a road trip and reflect on those bygone days.

Pack your car and head to Palm Springs to enjoy one of the elegantly restored boutique mid-century hotels in the group known as the Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels. With almost 80 hotels from which to choose, you can be revitalized a poolside environment and snuggle in a cozy bungalow.

Before you head out, though, there are some safety precautions you should know during these times of Covid-19.

What to Bring in the Car

Even if you are traveling a short distance, bring all your travel documents—your auto insurance card, your driver’s license, auto registration, and your health insurance card.

Try to bring as much as possible of what you may need to be self-sufficient and cut down on trips to stores once you arrive. Bring water, snacks, lunch (to eat on the way or once you reach your destination), disinfectant wipes, masks, gloves, phone chargers, medications, and Ziploc bags. If you want to have some wine and spirits, pack those bottles under the car seat so you don’t have to journey to a liquor store.

Stopping for Gas and a Restroom

Like it or not, that gas stop and restroom is sometimes necessary. When you are pumping gas, disposable gloves are a great idea. Once you have finished pumping, use sanitizing wipes on anything you have touched– door handle, steering wheel, knobs for air conditioning or the radio, and your credit card.

As far as public toilets at gas stations, prepare for the worst. Bring toilet paper and soap. Make sure you really scrub your hands for at least those 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose before washing. Grab a clean paper towel to grab that door handle.

Staying at a Hotel

Here comes the beauty of staying at a Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel. With all hotels being less than 50 rooms, your room will be on the ground level or one flight upstairs. There will be no elevator rides or long hallways to negotiate. That’s because most of the small hotels were designed to face open-air courtyards.

While all of the Palm Springs Preferred Hotels have undergone deep cleaning and as a group have in place a set of baseline of safety sanitation standards, it is still a good idea to practice safety cleaning of your room. Once you are inside, use sanitary wipes to clean areas where people touch like door knobs, tables, faucets, toilets, sinks, light switches, phones, remotes, and curtain handles. Wipe down anywhere you will rest your belongings.

Eating and Drinking During Your Stay

Palm Springs is currently not open to indoor dining. But the wonderful part about visiting Palm Springs is that the weather is conducive to dining outdoors, a much safer option. Many of the finer restaurants provide food and cocktail delivery so that you can just sit back and dine comfortably in your room or by the pool. A list of some of those options are: The Tropicale, Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge, El Mirasol Restaurant, Jakes’ Palm Springs, and 533 Viet Fusion.

Note that the City of Palm Springs mandates the use of face masks in public, whether you are indoors or out.

So, grab your swimsuit and a slice of nostalgia on a well-deserved road trip to Palm Springs where unsurpassed blissfulness, hospitality, and tranquility await.

Although the mountain backdrop is brushed in hues of brown, the rest of the Coachella Valley is pretty darned green. Canna-Tourism was smokin’ hot (#sorrynotsorry) until, you know, the pandemic. Sure, dispensaries were considered an essential business (how else would you get through the pandemic??) but now that we’re in the yellow, let’s talk about just how green our grass is. And yes, we’re talking cannabis.

Downtown Palm Springs has ten (sorry if I missed anyone) dispensaries, and I’ve added Joy of Life on the north end because she’s very active in our little community, and deserves the love. She also owns Crystal Fantasy, which I talked about on my “Events” blog last month.

Before I give you the list, most Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels, and definitely the larger ones, do not allow any kind of smoking on their properties. But some do, so it’s always worth a query unless they have already stated otherwise. But there are other ways to medicate without breaking any rules.

Edibles. A lot of people don’t like these. Personally? I’m a fan. I still like my flower, and the occasional vape, but edibles are great when you can’t, or don’t want to, smoke or vape. You do, however, have to find the right strain and dosage for you. If you’ve never done them before, tell your budtender, they are trained to guide you. Most products recommend an initial dosage of five to ten milligrams.

There is a general conception that edibles mean brownies, cookies, gummies, and sugary treats, but there are also cocktails, syrups, powders and cooking products. However if you don’t know how to use them, you could end up in your room hoping you’ll come down soon. I had that issue years ago with medicated goldfish. I ate some, was watching Naked and Afraid and got hungry. I had nothing in the house to eat, then I remembered, “Oh, I have goldfish!” I ate the rest of the bag. Don’t do that. Seriously do not.

If you fancy an infused dinner with an executive chef, Brooke Egger is a great choice. She’s been on television (Cutthroat Kitchen) and has been a personal chef to many celebrities. She also has her own brand of edibles, Kande. Check out her IG (above).

CannaBUS Express Tours is always a great way to start your journey in the world of weed, or even for long-haulers. There is so much to learn! And it’s a hella fun ride. As fun as that ride is, it’s also incredibly informational. Cannabis is BIG business, and it goes through a lot before it ends up in your dispensary. You’ll stop at growhouses, manufacturers, distilleries, and distributors – the tour changes each time you go because there’s so much to learn, and so many places to see, and owner, Lynne Daniels tailors the tour on the fly for her riders.

The CannaBUS courtesy of CannaBUS Express Tours.

I want to tell you about a topical created by a Coachella Valley resident. Debbie’s husband got pretty banged up in his younger years, which made getting older pretty painful. She researched the medicinal and created Wild Bill’s Miracle Rub. It’s great for sore joints, arthritis, and it saved my bacon last year when I broke my shoulder. There is THC is the recipe, but it won’t get you high, it will just relieve your pain.

Wild Bill’s Miracle Rub courtesy of Zuma Topicals

Joan of Angels, another local, has a YouTube show about the 420 lifestyle. She’s very spiritual as you can see from her website. Give her a listen.

Four Twenty Bank and Dispensary is pretty unique. It’s 38,000 square feet scattered with seating areas for smoking your purchase, and other fun activities – pool tables, pinball machines, board games, a giant chess game, and more. It’s a unique experience, so give them a try.

And now, the list, from the North end to South end of Palm Springs: Check the location of your boutique hotel to find the one closest to you.

Joy of Life Wellness Center

142 W Oasis Rd
(760) 318-1420

Holland Pharms
150 N Palm Canyon Dr (818) 836-7908

OG Arabian Nights
232 N Palm Canyon Dr

Harvest HOC of Palm Springs Dispensary

312 N Palm Canyon Dr
(442) 226-4300

Lighthouse Marijuana Dispensary

395 N Palm Canyon Dr  (
760) 320-4420

Coachella Valley Green Dragon

53 S Palm Canyon Dr
(760) 438-9333

Four Twenty Bank Dispensary and Lounge

296 S Palm Canyon Dr
(760) 318-6877

Rockstar Cannabis Dispensary And Delivery

530 S Indian Canyon Dr
(760) 537-1334

PSA Organica

400 E Sunny Dunes Rd
(760) 778-1053

Off The Charts

1508 S Palm Canyon Dr

Please medicate responsibly, and as always, support locally-owned businesses. And if you go to any of our hotels or enjoy our recommendations, please be sure to tag us with your photos on IG, or @palmspringspreferredsmallhotels (yeah, it’s a lot to type, but we appreciate it!)

Vibe Style and Design

One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced during this ongoing pandemic is gathering our families in a safe setting. So here is a great idea. When we are allowed to safely travel again, why not consider bringing your family to one of the lovely small boutique hotels in the Palm Springs?

Recently, representatives from several of these hotels shared their experiences and thoughts with me about planning gatherings of families and close friends.

Many of these hotels encourage guests to buy out the entire hotel. There are many advantages to a buyout, such as knowing you are with a familiar group (your own “bubble”) while not interacting with strangers. You can also relax with confidence knowing that the hotels have taken all kinds of protective measures so that your stay is safe. At the same time, you can enjoy the beautiful Palm Springs setting.

Since the start of the pandemic, Dive (playfully decorated in a St. Tropez style) has hosted more than a dozen gatherings of families and close friends. Like many small hotels, it is well designed to accommodate small groups. Guests can enjoy spacious outdoor gardens, pools, multiple lounging areas, and fountains spread across a half-acre lot, making socially distancing easy and comfortable. Dive, which has 11 rooms, welcomes small groups, but if you need more than five rooms, the hotel requires a full buyout, which means you would have exclusive access to the property and a dedicated staff for support.

The Weekend, a small, mid-century modern hotel, where I have stayed and which I love, has ten deluxe suites, most with two bedrooms and two baths, along with living rooms, kitchens, and patios.  During the pandemic, the owners prefer that the entire hotel be bought out so you will not encounter other guests besides your family members.

One advantage at The Weekend and most other small boutique hotels is there are no hallways or elevators and the rooms open directly to the pool so there are plenty of opportunities for social distancing.

Both Hotel El Cid and The Marley (sister hotels) are private boutique hotels that rent to only one group at a time so they are perfect for families or close friends. They are also lovingly decorated and totally luxurious. The Marley has nine bedrooms and El Cid has seven bedrooms.  Both hotels are completely walled and gated for total privacy. Each hotel has full kitchens that allow guests to cook for themselves or groups can bring in professional chefs

Dining options are varied but ample at most of the small hotels. The Weekend delivers a lavish continental breakfast to each suite every morning. Their suites have a kitchen (no stove) with a full-sized refrigerator, ice maker, and four-seat dining room table. At Dive, two amazing chefs are available to support whatever dining needs guests have. In addition, each guest receives a complimentary organic breakfast each morning. During the current Covid situation, all food and drinks are served in single-use containers to ensure guests’ safety.

The safety and well-being of guests are the top priorities at the PSPSH hotels. Each hotel has enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures in place. All staff members are equipped with proper PPE — sanitizers, gloves, and masks. At The Weekend, staff members have daily temperature checks.  At all the hotels, guests are asked to wear masks coming and going from the hotel and to socially distance while relaxing at poolside. Outside visitors are not allowed.

So many of us have been mostly confined to our own homes for the last many months and, if you are like me, you are chomping at the bit to get out and start traveling again. Staying at a small boutique hotel is an ideal way to reconnect with close family members and friends while enjoying a luxurious setting in a fabulous location. Even if you live close to Palm Springs, you will feel as if you have really gotten away. Just go to the PSPSH website to find out when hotels are open and then you can explore the many enticing options for small groups in Palm Springs.

Walking into the Palm Springs Rendezvous, blogger Jan Smith was taken aback by the hotel’s “timeless elegance.” Her visit only got better when she learned she would be staying in the “Pretty in Pink” room, where Marilyn Monroe would spend the night during her visits to Palm Springs.

Looking for a serene resort in which to relax? A romantic getaway? A fun and fabulous hotel with high energy? Or a place to catch some sun on your buns?

Here’s the thing about boutique hotels in Palm Springs: they’re each so very different. 

So, how do you choose the one that best suits you? Here’s a tip:

Use PSPSH’s vibe sorter to increase your odds of landing in the perfect boutique hotel or resort. There are six vibes to choose from:

Stay in Style: Perfectly Designed Palm Springs Hotels: Palm Springs boutique hotels are known worldwide for their attention to style and design. So, if you’re intrigued by staying in a well-appointed hotel that places an emphasis on architectural flair, there’s a hotel for you. Palm Springs is a design hot spot, and modernism aficionados flock here year-round to stay in some of the finest and most authentic examples of desert-modern and mid-century design. But there are also prime examples of historical Art Deco, Mediterranean, and contemporary design. 

Les Cactus, a laid-back escape

Utterly Tranquil:  Forget the party scene — these hotels cultivate serene quiet environments where social interaction is minimal and staff can usually help you book an on-site massage or a delivered dinner from one of Palm Springs’ many amazing restaurants (some even have restaurants on site!). These hotels are small and intimate…just perfect for that writing, meditation, or personal rejuvenation retreat you long for. 

Do Not Disturb: These romantic Palm Springs hotels offer the ideal destinations for that anniversary celebration, honeymoon, or first — or 100th — getaway. These dreamy properties offer exquisite gardens and intimate spaces with plenty of comfort and indulgence for every beautifully love-filled vacation.

Korakia, one of the most romantic hotels in Palm Springs

Fabulous & Fun Palm Springs Hotels: Sometimes you just have to cut loose! These hotels are known for supporting their guests’ desire for a playful, unforgettable Palm Springs experience. They’re ideal for a bachelor party, a girl’s weekend away, or a reunion with college friends or family. Most of these hotels have less than a dozen rooms — perfect for property buy outs — so you and your party can have the whole place to your party-happy selves. 

Nakedly Confident: Clothing-Optional Desert Resorts: If you love a safe, body-positive environment that welcomes the sun on your skin, you’ll be in your element at these clothing-optional Palm Springs small hotels. Many of these clothing-optional resorts cater to gay men, but a few welcome the ladies and couples, too. 

The Santiago, a men’s clothing-optional hotel.

Culturally Queer: LGBTQ Palm Springs Hotels are Here  The gay community put Palm Springs back on the map. From the bearlicious to the salacious, fit for a queen or perfectly serene, you’ll find an extraordinary concentration of jaw-dropping resorts in Palm Springs that cater to gay men (but also welcome their sisters and allies). Find out why Palm Springs has been a desirable destination for the LGTBQ community for more than five decades.

It’s June, and you know what that means — it’s time to forget Father’s Day! 

One year, my dad skipped church (I’m kidding, he never went to church) so my mom and my sibling and I went and learned it was Father’s Day. Gah! If it had been at the Baptist Bible school my parents sent us off to in the summer, we could have made something out of glue and macaroni, but this was the Presbyterian church, and they weren’t crafty. It was also the 1960s, and on Sundays nothing was open, so there was no way to remedy the situation. We went home defeated and, I’ll admit, a little nervous.

When we got there, Dad was moving the lawn. One look and we knew that he knew we didn’t know, and then he just wiped his brow and continued riding his mower (we had less than three-quarters of an acre, so that was kinda boujee). I now realize that is exactly what he wanted to be doing on that day, yard work, because it was away from the three females who vexed him 365 days a year. 

I hear they’re making dads a little bit more cuddly these days, so they’ll likely appreciate doing something with their kids, and I’m here to help you out. If you’re grown, you don’t need my help. Everyone knows it’s brunch for mom and dad gets to watch sports and drink beer all day.

For dads who have young’uns and like spending time with them (hopefully all of you!), bring the family down to the most laid back and grooviest little big place in the state of California: Palm Springs.

Quick note: I’ve pre-sorted a list of all of our family-friendly resorts for you here. There’s quite a few, and I’d love to tell you about all the wonderful and unique things offered by each, however this is about what to do once you score your stay. I encourage you to click and peruse, as well as add your own amenity filters. 

Now, if everyone’s gone tinkle and buckled up, let’s get this motor running and get out on the highway, looking for adventure…any more of that and I may have to pay royalties, so away we go:

Edutainment

Museum of Ancient Wonders — Comprised of 375 artifacts and fossils (many are replicas), the Museum of Ancient Wonders provides an opportunity for visitors of all ages to immerse themselves into the mesmerizing life of a pharaoh, the legends of Greek mythology, and ancient African mysticism, and to experience the international fossil record in one of the most comprehensive and diverse fossil collections ever assembled and rarely seen outside of their respective museums.

Windmill Tours — From golf cart tours to self-driving tours, it’s all about the energy of these turbines, how they work, and how much electricity they produce. I hear it’s marvelous. Likely not for toddlers, though. 

Palm Springs Air Museum — Climb aboard old planes, see memorabilia from the flyers, and even ride on an old warbird.

Next year, Discovery Children’s Museum of the Desert will be open again, and it’s full of wonder. They won’t let you in without a kid, but I got a tour once, and I wanted to play with everything.

Fascination

Create Center for the Arts — It’s hard to believe we have a place this special in our little valley, but we do. Formerly a high-end doggie and people spa, it’s been repurposed into a feast for creativity. Please, do yourself and your kids a favor and check out their website and just go. I can’t tell you everything here, but if there’s a smidge of an artist in you and you’ve got imagination, this place is a dreamcatcher. On top of that, one of the best bakeries in the valley, Aspen Mills, has a satellite shop there, and there is an art store. The whole place feels like an elegant castle. Bonus — they kept the salt cave!  

Rancho Mirage Observatory — The witching hour is 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Starts in the lobby of the library. There is no cost and no registration. Tours are limited to about 20 people. Also check out their stargazing at night.

Silly Fun

Cabazon Dinosaurs — Mr. Rex, Dinny, and their more than 50 dinosaur friends provide perfect photo ops. The dinosaur walk features a dino dig and fossil panning that kids will enjoy. 

 Jurassic Wonders — I guess we love dinosaurs? This is a new installation on Highway 111 in the vicinity of the Mary Pickford Theater. They’re pretty ferocious looking — not like Dino from The Flintstones. Great photo ops.

Boomers — Are you a golfing dad? You can scratch a little of that itch at Boomers mini-golf, and maybe hit some video games and the go-carts. They also have a batting cage, but I’ve never seen anyone use it.  

Living Desert — Real live exotic animals doing real life stuff so you may have to explain, “When two lions love each other very much….” Or, you can get them interested in feeding the giraffes instead.

Get Air Trampoline Park — Something for kids of all ages. Seriously, go to their website and check it out and tell them I sent you. They have no idea who I am. It’ll be fun!

Skate Park — If you’re an action parent with an action kid, this is where you want to be.

Into The Wild

Lake Arrowhead — Take a ride on the Lake Arrowhead Queen (it’s a boat), and/or take water skiing lessons. Go to Santa’s Village where you can zipline and learn to fly fish. Or just have lunch and an ice cream.

Magic Mountain at Big Bear Lake boasts:

The Alpine Slide, Southern California’s only authentic, year-round bobsled experience. Take a chair lift ride to the top, then control your speed as you twist and turn down a quarter-mile-long track. Check the website for ages/heights. 

The Soaring Eagle, where you whoosh through the air at incredible speeds.

The Mineshaft Coaster is the first and only mountain coaster in California. On the way up, check out the breathtaking views, then you control your speed through thrilling hairpin turns, dips, tunnels, bridges and 360-degree corkscrews on a mile long track.

There’s also go-karts, an 18-hole mini golf course, and … drumroll please … a double water slide!

Whatever you decide to do, can I go with you? Asking for my inner child. And please have a very happy Father’s Day!

With summer officially in full swing, hospitality staff at Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels are turning their attention to pampering visitors from all over the world. 

The pools are cool, the nights are warm, and everyone is languid. Yes, it’s hot, but hey, midday, head to the museums, the top of the mountain on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway (where it’s always 30 degrees cooler and the views are breathtaking), or hit the air-conditioned stores and galleries to take advantage of their sizzling summer sales. Most Palm Springs restaurants remain open — however, they may adjust their hours, so be sure to check their websites. 

The sooner you book your stay, the better. For the past couple of summers, Palm Springs’ small boutique hotels, many with a vibe to fit your travel style, have been busy. That said, you can save some serious money and time by booking directly with a boutique hotel inside of going through a third-party travel platform. Plus, you’ll have a much better experience in general.

“Small hotels have distinct personalities. That’s one of the things that makes them special,” says Michael Green, owner of the Triangle Inn Palm Springs. “So if you want to stay at one, go direct. You’ll get the best sense of the hotel itself.”

Here are six reasons you should book directly with a boutique hotel or resort:

1. Room choice

Many of Palm Springs’ small hotels and resorts (those with no more than 50 rooms) have been remodeled, often resulting in new additions, removal of walls to make larger suites, and a carefully-curated environment to enhance the guest experience. 

Third-party booking companies are given a block of tickets to sell in a particular area of the hotel, with no knowledge of where rooms may be located or details on the hotel’s total environment. 

“Room choices are often ‘run of house’ with third parties, as opposed to the guest booking directly with the hotel and locking in their room,” explains Sarah Martinez, general manager of Azure Sky, a new luxury boutique hotel in Palm Springs. Green concurs, saying, “Booking platforms generally only get a select piece of inventory from hotels, and especially from small hotels — maybe just one room type — so for the full picture, it’s always better to talk to the hotel directly.”

Sarah Martinez, general manager of Azure Sky.

2. Accountability 

We’ve all been there. You booked a flight through one of the discount sites, and it gets delayed due to weather, there’s a schedule change, or you have a family emergency. You need to contact someone for help, and that’s when the epic nightmare of a time sink begins.

After a long wait on the phone, the airline says they can’t help because you booked through a third party, so you must call them. The person who answers does not understand the situation or doesn’t have the authority to make changes and says there is no way they can help. You push for a higher manager, and the saga continues. The same scenario can happen when you use a third party to book hotel reservations.

“Because third-party reservations lock us out of any changes or adjustments, it’s easier to adjust a reservation that has been booked directly,” says Kent Taylor, general manager at Descanso Resort.

3. Flexibility 

The text arrives: Aunt Mable decides she wants to come along on the trip after all. Great — you have a built-in babysitter! — but now there aren’t enough beds for everyone.

“If you booked directly with the hotel, it’s super easy to call it and modify your reservation … perhaps to a suite or whatever accommodation hotel management suggests. Flexibility is number one,” Martinez says. “Once a guest books a room through a third party, the hotel cannot make changes to the reservation and the guest has to deal with the third party directly. It created a middleman which can lead to frustration because it may appear the hotel is not helpful.”

Taylor agrees, saying, “We try very hard to be as flexible as possible. There are so many unforeseen situations in our world these days, the last thing anyone needs is more complications while just trying to take a vacation.”

4. Packages and special deals

Especially during the summer, when making a reservation with a hotel, ask if there are any packages available. Palm Springs is a very close-knit community, and often attractions work with hotels to offer guests special rates for the abundance of things to experience. 

“Many hotels offer perks to those who book directly, such as upgrades or cancellations without penalties,” one hotelier revealed. “But it’s usually on a case-by-case basis, so you’ll never find them on one of the third-party booking platforms.” Martinez is more blunt, declaring, “Hotels offer various deals and packages not found on third-party sites.”

5. Pricing 

Being a responsible traveler and planner, you are probably accustomed to checking out third-party websites. Always a good idea, but do not stop there. Once you have selected the hotel that appears to meet your needs, check out their website and call the number listed. Be ready with your accommodation needs and ask them for their advice and the price. If it appears the price is higher than you found online, tell them — they would rather give you the discount than pay the third party a fee. 

According to Martinez, hotels will often price match, except when the third party is directly undercutting the hotel or is packaging the room with other sales, such as airfare or car rentals.

“We prefer direct bookings to reduce the commission cost of 18 percent from the OTAs (other travel agencies),” says Robert Hunt, general manager of Alcazar Palm Springs. This alsoallows the front desk agent to discuss the type of room that best fits the guest’s needs, since we have 10 different room types available on the property.”

Plus, sometimes a “deal” from an OTA or booking platform really isn’t. Taylor shares this cautionary tale: “I had a small group call about booking a specific weekend with several rooms. After giving them the information they needed, they decided to all book themselves on the website. Everyone but one booked directly with the hotel. One member of the group booked with a specific website that offers a portion of a free hotel night, if a certain number of rooms are booked in the year. The one guest who booked with that third-party website was paying approximately $25 more a night than everyone else in his group. I was shocked to see it! He was paying in advance for his ‘free night’ … and then some.”

“Some OTAs use tricky, misleading tactics to make it appear the guest rate is lower than the hotel,” Martinez warns. “The initial average room rate can sometimes look less expensive but as the guest books, there are large fees added to the booking and the guest is not actually paying a lower rate.”

Kent Taylor, general manager of Descanso Resort

6. Book direct and make better memories

The special touch offered by front desk agents at Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels will make your stay more memorable.

“The very nature of a third-party booking website removes the personal touch,” Taylor says. “We take many reservations over the phone and people ask a variety of questions that inform their vacation on the whole. Where can we go for our special dinner? Is there a gym close by? Do you serve vegan yogurt at breakfast? Only someone helping you at the hotel will know the answers to these types of questions. It is like having a direct connect to a local for help in creating the best vacation you can have.”

Pro tips to remember:

If you book your hotel directly and need to make a change, they can help you do so with one short phone call.

A direct relationship with the hotel gives you a lot more flexibility because they are in the hospitality business, not the booking business.

When you speak to an employee at a boutique hotel, they can answer your questions about the property, unlike third-party agents who are not familiar with the offerings.

Some booking platforms make it look like you’re getting a lower price, but they tack on hefty fees at the end, increasing the final total.

Blogger Elaine Masters experienced everything Palm Springs has to offer during a recent 3-day trip.

Blogger Elaine Masters wanted a classic Palm Springs vacation, and that’s exactly what she had, soaking in the city’s sights and visiting some of the most popular hotels, from the Spanish-style Los Arboles to the Art Deco-inspired Westcott.