Spin and Margie's Desert Hide-a-way

Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, United States Book from

Kitsch desert ranch retreat with hacienda-style suites made for ‘nesting’ near Joshua Tree National Park - 30 minutes (and a world away) from Palm Springs
If Palm Springs' LA-transplanted vibe is a wedge between you and the stunning desert landscape, hightail it up Highway 62. At the cusp of the Joshua Tree National Park - known for its 'tormented' trees and Dali-esque rock formations - the crossroads town of Joshua Tree puts on no airs. Shopping tends toward rock climbing gear and trail guides. Nightlife is a campfire under a star-studded sky or ribs and rockabilly at a local honky tonk.

Drew Reese and Mindy Kaufman left high-powered careers as a wine consultant and home accessories designer to adopt the cartoon alter-egos that greet you to the relaxed vibe at Spin & Margie’s Desert Hide-a-way. The 3-acre spread is dotted with found art - retro road signs, handmade birdhouses, rusted cans caught in a 'tornado' of barbed wire. Over yonder, there’s a picnic area with bocce ball and horseshoes. A fountain splashes in the adobe courtyard furnished with 1950s shell-back lawn chairs. The colourful hacienda-style suites are cabin-cosy (most have kitchens and thus good for families) with city-slicker amenities from WiFi to deep soaking tubs, little luxuries (think hot cocoa and bath salts), plus Spin & Margie’s personal advice and colourful commentary booklets.

Highs

  • Off-the-beaten-path serenity; tucked amongst cacti and trees, with desert style landscaping and amazing mountain views
  • Fun and folksy; "This will be an adventure you’ll remember," promises Spin & Margie’s custom-designed 48-hour guide to the area
  • Just 3 miles from Joshua Tree National Park, a world-class rock-climbing venue with 200 miles of equestrian trails and two dozen hiking trails
  • Individually designed suites (sleeping 2-6) dressed in bold Southwest colours, with kitsch Wild West paraphernalia and Mexican textiles
  • Make-yourself-at-home grounds with a fire pit, sociable picnic area with gas BBQ, and an open area with sunloungers and shade (a great spot for stargazing)

Lows

  • No pool or spa. There's not much to do but relax and soak up the majesty of the wide open spaces
  • The turn-off is marked by a tiny highway sign; plan to arrive before dusk
  • Low-key reception and no concierge except Spin & Margie's own 48-hour guide
  • Towels are changed and toilet paper, soap and coffee are replenished every 3 days; otherwise maid service is by request
  • Potential traffic noise in the suites closest to the highway, but all have sound-proof windows

Best time to go

The high desert is drier (averaging 4 inches of rain a year) with more extreme temperatures than Palm Springs, along with unpredictable weather changes, especially at higher elevations. The best time to visit is in March and April when spring wildflowers carpet the desert in magenta, yellow, purple, and orange and the Joshua trees are studded with creamy, white blossoms. Late autumn (October through November) offers near-perfect weather, and it's a great time to spend a few days nesting in your cabin.

Our top tips

Climb aboard the world’s largest rotating gondolas for a 10-minute ride up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Hike through the cool pine forest of the 11,000-acre Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Area and take in a view of the Coachella Valley all the way to the briny desert lake known as the Salton Sea.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Cabins
  • 5
  • Self-catering
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bocce
Room: Cactus Wren

Rooms

From rustic cabin to Mexican hacienda to Zen-modern, the 4 suites and studio cabin come in range of flavours. "People respond to the furnishings and colours in specific rooms," Mindy says. “They have their favourites.”

Walls range from deep desert browns and warm sunset orange and gold to shocking turquoise and rich plum-lavender. Our standalone Cactus Wren studio cabin was modern in style, with a pair of sharp black leather chairs, a Zen-inspired headboard and medusa chandelier (where a cactus wren dangles on a perch). Perfect for a weekend love!

The suites are more rustic with beamed ceilings, handcrafted leather chairs, hand-painted Mexican tiles, beaded curtains, colourful sombreros and Drew’s own photography as art.

Choose Sonoran Traveler, for its large private patio and corner windows with lovely western views. The standalone Western Nomad, with a full sit-down kitchen and large bathroom with a shower and tub, is a good choice for families. The roomy Desert Rambler is best for groups, as it sleeps up to 6 and has a dining area, a sitting room with a wood burning stove and a large private courtyard. Mojave Wanderer is the smallest, but we’d still be perfectly content here.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Satellite tv
  • Selection of DVDs and CDs
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Western Nomad and Desert Rambler have full kitchens and the others have kitchenettes (with microwaves instead of full-sized ovens). Cactus Wren simply has a small nook with a mini-fridge and coffee maker, plus basic crockery for modest snacks. The kitchens and kitchenettes are well-stocked for cooking and eating in - from pots and pans and crockery down to basic condiments such as salt, pepper, oil, vinegar and spices. All come with ground coffee, assorted teas and packets of hot chocolate.

The nearest supermarket is 8 miles away; Joshua Tree has a farmers market on Saturdays and a health food store which has some provisions such as milk and eggs.

Warm nights are perfect for barbecuing on the communal portable gas grill. Or you can roast hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire pit.

If you want to eat out, check the laminated restaurant guide to Joshua Tree and Surrounding Towns in your room. Your choices are many!

Features include:

  • Coffee maker
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
Eating: Desert Rambler
Activity: Joshua Tree

Activities

  • Relax at the ranch. Read, sketch, watch the hummingbirds dip into the courtyard fountain, play a game of bocce ball or horseshoes, roast marshmallows over a campfire and marvel at the splendour of the Milky Way
  • Have a Joshua Tree experience. Straddling the boundary between the Mojave and Sonoran deserts in southern California, these 800,000 acres of twisted Joshua trees with their surreal geology (one resident calls it a “big piece of art”) offers world-class rock climbing, as well as good birding, hiking (bring long-sleeved T-shirts to protect against prickly cacti), four-wheeling, horse riding and mountain biking
  • Go honky-tonkin’. Pappy & Harriet's Pioneertown Palace is legendary in these parts. At home in the former movie set for cowboy Westerns starring Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and the Cisco Kid, it's an old fashioned honky-tonk. Join a congenial mix of bikers, hippies, cowboys, marines from the local base for mesquite grilled ribs, live music and dancing
  • Soak in a sound bath. Experience a 30-minute sonic healing session in the Integratron’s highly resonant, multi-wave sound chamber in nearby Landers. Relax on a mat while 9 quartz crystal singing bowls - each keyed to specific energy centres, or chakras, of your body - bathe you in healing sound

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Rock climbing
  • Stargazing
  • Well being

Kids

Children are very welcome.

Best for:

Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All except Cactus Wren have a double sofabed and can fit a baby cot. Desert Rambler is good for larger families, as it has an additional double bed and can therefore sleep up to 6 plus a baby.

Families Should Know:

Keep an eye on young children around prickly cactus and local wildlife.

Kid Friendly:

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