Last Updated on February 25, 2022

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My first trip to Palm Springs, California was filled with delightful surprises. From the moment I stepped off the jet bridge into the fresh Palm Springs air to the last night of witnessing remarkable clear dark skies and phenomenal moon views from a nearby observatory.

Palm Springs is a city of untamed color and culture, uncompromising in its eccentricity. And the secret to her success is the community of small business owners who are masters of their craft and believe in supporting one other.

The Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels group is a collective of such owners. Each operates a hotel with a unique and distinctive take on the local lifestyle. I had the pleasure of experiencing Los Arboles, a family-run establishment that embraces guests as one of their own.

A Family-Owned Boutique Hotel

Los Arboles El Mirasol. Photo by Kerri Smith.
Los Arboles El Mirasol. Photo by Kerri Smith.

Los Arboles is owned and managed by the Castaneda family. Felip and Lisbet purchased the hotel in near ruins and rebuilt the property. Los Arboles sports 21 rooms, a private pool, and an on-site restaurant. Their daughter, Karina, manages the day to day and together, they make every guest feel like family.

Upon arrival, well before my scheduled check-in time, the staff greeted me with warm smiles and the casual countenance of a friend. The beguiling scent of timeless family recipes wafting through the front office filled me with eager anticipation for the stay to come. I instantly felt at home.

A Boutique Hotel with Mainstream Amenities

Cozy Los Arboles Palm Springs Bedroom & Patio- photo credit Andrew Wilkin
Cozy Los Arboles Palm Springs Bedroom & Patio- photo credit Andrew Wilkin

Character is etched into every detail of this Spanish colonial hotel that complements its magnificent surroundings. Feathery bougainvillea drapes over arched doorways. Cacti and succulents provide restrained, but effective ornamentation. Guest rooms present traditional inviting décor. Each room comfortably accommodates at least two guests and offers amenities typically reserved for mainstream hotels, including full room service.

I was personally elated to find a coffee maker in my room and a spacious walk-in shower with lovely toiletries. Larger suites feature sitting areas and private patios, complete with a hammock for those serious about their R&R time.

A private pool in the center of the property beckons like a serene oasis in this posh desert. Each side is lined with plush lounge chairs, begging you to take advantage of the California sunshine. For the active guest, a hot tub bubbles with soothing comfort. And tables perched beneath the stars offer a chance for friends to make the night last just a little longer.

Los Arboles Has It All

View from Los Arboles rooftop
View from the rooftop deck that is open to guests at Los Arboles (Photo by: Kristi Dosh)

Less than 10 minutes from the airport and under $15 in an Uber, the tranquil Los Arboles Hotel is near the center of downtown Palm Springs. Kitschy shops, vibrant street art, and historic restaurants are all within walking distance.

The hotel itself boasts one of the best restaurants in town, El Mirasol. Known for serving its authentic family recipes, the restaurant appeals to boisterous families and stylish socialites alike. Locals repeatedly told us it was one of their favorite places to eat in town.

El Mirasol patio
El Mirasol patio (Photo by: Kristi Dosh)

Under lush greenery and flickering Edison bulbs, the patio invites patrons to stay awhile. I found that quite easy to do with a fruity yet not-too-sweet glass of sangria with their homemade guacamole.

First-timers and repeat visitors will find many things to love about Los Arboles. It’s so much more than your typical hotel. It’s a doorway to charismatic Palm Springs and a window into the souls of those who make her so special.

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