Concierge.com's insider take:
Located 19 miles southeast of downtown Palm Springs in the shadow of the Santa Rosa Mountains, this 1920s resort was a favorite of Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Katharine Hepburn, Errol Flynn, and other Tinseltown stars. In 1934, Frank Capra came here to write the script for the romantic comedy It Happened One Night. Once the film won five Oscars, superstition drove him back to the same bungalow year after year, and you can still rent it, complete with the original typewriter and desk. The whitewashed, red-roofed bungalows, or casitas, are huge, and the 45-acre resort does a booming family business; 800 guest rooms are clustered around 42 pools with companion hot tubs. All rooms have pillow-top mattresses, Egyptian cotton sheets, TVs, and iPod docking stations with preloaded soundtracks; most rooms have a sunken bath and a fireplace. In addition to its many bougainvillea-fringed pools, La Quinta has 23 tennis courts, croquet, gym, a spa, five championship golf courses designed by the likes of Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus, flower-filled gardens, and fresh fruit always at your fingertips—everything, in fact, to discourage guests from leaving the property. Being the oldest and largest resort in Palm Springs, rooms are constantly being updated, so ask for one of the redone units.