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Photograph: Courtesy the Joshua Tree Inn

The best Joshua Tree hotels

Find the best Joshua Tree hotels with our guide to the top overnight lodging in this destination desert town

By Kate Wertheimer
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There are a few things to know right off the bat about Joshua Tree hotels—there aren't many luxury options. If you're looking for a swanky stay, you may have to make the schlep from Palm Springs or Desert Hot Springs. Most folks staying in Joshua Tree are either camping in Joshua Tree National Park or spending most of their time there—proximity to the area's hikes and other outdoor activities is priority No. 1. But that doesn't mean you need to stay at a sub-par chain motel (of which there are plenty). Joshua Tree has a handful of eclectic lodging options with way more charm than your average Best Western. We've rounded up these unique spots that are affordable, fun and close to the Park. Bonus: some have pools (and one boasts outdoor showers), which is a real treat in the desert heat.

The best Joshua Tree hotels

Photograph: Courtesy Joshua Tree Inn

1. The Joshua Tree Inn

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This hacienda-style inn, built in 1950, is just six miles from the National Park and boasts a pool–the ultimate luxury in a desert climate. There are 11 rooms (you'll pay extra for room 8, which is famously known for being the place where folk singer Gram Parsons spent his final hours). A kitschy guitar-shaped shrine sits in the garden facing the door, alongside a path that leads to the hotel's communal firepit, breakfast nook (with free tea, coffee and granola bars), and, of course, the pool. Each room has a private patio, mini fridge and microwave, heat and AC, cable TV and free wifi. The grounds are studded with picturesque Joshua trees. The vibe is sparse but charming and the prices are sweet.

Photograph: Courtesy Mojave Sands

2. Mojave Sands

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This intimate inn, originally a motel built in the '50s and boasting just five rooms, is a blend of Moroccan and eco-minimalist decor. The doors, windows, gates and even much of the furniture were built on-site specifically for the hotel. Each room features a private patio (complete with a fountain), an outdoor shower and a record player with an assortment of vinyl for your listening pleasure. The common area, enclosed by wood and sheets of metal, contains a large reflecting pool and three outdoor fireplaces. It's a quiet, private desert retreat just miles from the National Park.

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Photograph: Courtesy Pioneertown Motel

3. Pioneertown Motel

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While this motel isn't technically in Joshua Tree, the National Park and surrounding town is usually the final destination for most of Pioneertown's guests. (Though people also stay here to see shows at Pappy & Harriet's next door, a former biker bar-turned-super cool desert music venue.) The rooms here (choose from king, queen or double double accommodations) are sparse and rustic, but charming and undeniably hip—and you're essentially sleeping in an old Western ghost town when you stay here (literally, Pioneertown was built as a backdrop for Westerns back in the '40s), which is a kitsch factor that can't be beat.

Photograph: Courtesy Sacred Sands

4. Sacred Sands

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The most luxurious of Joshua Tree's offerings, Sacred Sands is an architectural gem of a private residence located just outside the west entrance to the Park. The guest house is comprised of just one studio and one suite, both with sweeping desert views and indoor/outdoor living space. Prior to your arrival, breakfast (gourmet, organic heat-and-serve baked goods) is placed in the refrigerator. The suite comes with the bonus of an extra living room and a full kitchen (the studio only has a kitchenette), and both lodnging options boast king beds, river rock-floor showers and central heating and air. The best part of both rooms is that each have their own private outdoor patio complete with mineral water hot tub, outdoor shower, full-size hanging bed, patio and dining furniture, a fire pit and a BBQ. In addition to a swank bed and breakfast, Sacred Sands also doubles as a wedding and event space for up to 130 people.

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Photograph: Courtesy Hicksville

5. Hicksville Trailer Palace

Hotels

This secret hideaway is a collection of decked out, kitschily-themed trailers surrounding a pool in the middle of the desert. It's very private (they don't give out their address until you're booked) but has some communal elements—the lawn, outdoor cooking areas and even the bathroom (with indoor and outdoor showers) are shared. The trailers are all equipped with heat and AC, and come in eclectic decor options such as "The Fifi," complete with glowing wig heads; "The Pioneer" which is Western themed; and "The Lux," themed after punk band the Cramps. The place is super laid-back and chock full of amenities such as free wifi, table tennis, an archery and BB gun range, corn hole, darts, mini golf, vending machines, a hot tub and a communal tipi. Plus, it's dog friendly!

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Photograph: Courtesy Joshua Tree National Park

The best things to do in Joshua Tree

Things to do

Aside from the desert climate and sweeping natural beauty, there's something you'll notice pretty quickly upon arriving in Joshua Tree: things to do abound here, whether it's hiking and climbing or wildflower sightseeing.

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