Although my dearly departed mother was a faithful employee of a small resort—serving cocktails for years at the original Palm Springs Racquet Club in the ’50s and ’60s—I’ve always preferred staying at one of Rancho Mirage’s grand, deluxe resorts (Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa, Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, or Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa) than at smaller venues. It’s no wonder that I suggest that all my visiting family and friends do the same.

That said, I must admit that one of my most favorite nights of the year falls in early December, when the Small Hotels of Palm Springs, the Palm Springs Art Museum, the Del Marcos Hotel, the Palm Springs Woman’s Club, and Eat Drink Palm Springs team up to put on the Walking Tour of the Inns, a self-guided excursion to just some of the jewels that are the midcentury modern boutique guesthouses and historic accommodations nestled against the mountains in Palm Springs, between Ramon Road and Tahquitz Canyon Way.

This year’s event—the 19th annual—will be held on Thursday, December 11, from 4-8 p.m. While the festivities officially start at either the Palm Springs Art Museum (where walkers are given flashlights) or the Palm Springs Woman’s Club, if you download a map online (www.walkingtouroftheinns.com) you can start anywhere and chart your course accordingly, getting as creative as you’d like with the nearly 20 sites on the list. All participating inns open their doors to the public, some offering hot cider, holiday cookies, and the like. I never tire of visiting my personal favorites such as the Moorish Korakia Pensione, the stylishly rustic Casa Cody, or the hip Del Marcos Hotel. But truly, all of the spots on this itinerary are more than worth a stopover. And to top it all off, the event is free! What could be better than that? (Note: Participants are encouraged to bring an item or two for the Holiday Toy Drive benefitting Well in the Desert.)

See you there! I’ll be the one in the faux-fur jacket and matching ear muffs. Really? Really! Desert evenings can be chilly, silly…

Walk of the Inns