If you're looking for some serious sun, hidden away in the desert just two hours from Los Angeles is La Quinta Resort and Club. The resort opened its doors in 1926 and quickly became a favourite with the Hollywood set of the 1930s and 40s, hosting the likes of Greta Garbo, Clark Gable and Frank Capra. It's easy to see why. La Quinta is spectacular with its 45 wondrous acres decorated with orange blossom, cascades of bougainvillea and palms.
And it has pretty much everything you could ask for: tennis courts, golf courses (designed by three legends of the game: Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman), a 4000 square foot fitness centre, and a rather staggering 41 pools and 53 hot spas (hence, there will definitely be at least one pool within a foot of your room).
The Spanish-style reception is grand and large with beautiful views of the gardens. The standard rooms are basic in design, but clean, cool and comfortable with all you really need: television, bath, shower, mini bar and coffee machine (if you're feeling flush, opt for your own private suite or villa).
But it would be criminal to spend all your time relaxing at the resort. The best thing about La Quinta is the great desert hiking right on your doorstep. You're surrounded by the incredible Santa Rosa mountain range and the sunsets will blow you away. Or, if walking is not your thing, fabulous Palm Springs is a 45-minute drive away and perfect for a day out trawling the shops for vintage furniture or taking a trip up the aerial tramway.
Back at the resort, the spa is a little bit of heaven: a hidden hacienda with 38 tranquil treatment rooms, a garden with soothing fountains and charming therapists. Water is the focus of many of the therapies here since, as my therapist explains, it's a great detoxifier, boosts circulation and is a vital to maintain the immune system. The spa offers body masks, sun treatments, scrubs, facials, massage and wraps and much more. I opt for a facial, which manages to be thorough, rejuvenating and relaxing.
There are four restaurants and bars. Morgan's is definitely the finest: impeccable service in a peaceful setting and fantastic food. I didn't want the meal to end. At Twenty6, the experience wasn't quite so good and I was neglected at my table for a good 30 minutes and then the order wasn't right. But in their defence, it was particularly busy, it being American spring break.
Which leads me onto a word of advice: if you are visiting during any US holidays, expect it to be rather overcrowded with lots of happy children. Likewise, if you visit during April, check the dates for the annual Coachella music festival. The site is just minutes away and staying here is a great way to beat the horrendous traffic, but it does mean the resort is full of party people. But if you can't beat them, why not join them? La Quinta certainly outdoes camping hands down.
La Quinta Resort and club, 49-499 Eisenhower Drive, La Quinta, California 92253, USA. (+1 760 564 4111; laquintaresort.com). Rooms start at $129.00 off season and $259 in seasons. Lifestyle packages for families are also available.