One of the best values in downtown, the Monroe took a tired, old America's Best Value Inn and waved the affordable-boutique wand over it. So although it's laid out like a conventional motel, with two levels of exterior-corridor rooms arranged in an L shape around a partly shaded infinity pool (as in figure eight-shaped, not zero-entry), the interior has been lavished with decorative affection: burnt orange bedspreads, all-new furniture, accents in turquoise and grey, clean wooden floors instead of stinky old carpeting. The staff got an upgrade, too; it seems to care about delivering a quality stay at affordable prices. It actually welcomes interaction with guests throughout the day—so much so that there's free lemonade and cookies in the lobby. Instead of a tired continental breakfast, the hotel gives guests vouchers for a hot cooked meal at a diner across the street, Rick's Restaurant and Bakery. The suites are a particular bargain—at nearly three times the size of a standard room but only about $20 more, they're bigger than some city peoples' apartments. The Monroe charges a fraction of what other hotels do in Palm Springs, and guests get more than their money's worth.