Less glitzy than neighboring lodging options in La Jolla, the five-story Empress attracts business travelers and couples looking for a basic but comfortable place to stay. A few blocks from the ocean and Girard Avenue's upscale shops, the hotel has decent-size rooms that come with white comforters, bathrobes, and coffeemakers. Each of the four suites has a sofa bed and a spa tub; one has a grand piano. Every morning, a continental breakfast is served on the secluded second-floor
sundeck. The experienced and polite staff members are quick to assist.