On the heels of Palm Springs’ recent renaissance, nearby Joshua Tree has enjoyed its own special burst of local tourism. As the area grows in popularity—thanks in part to the social media-minded traveler—so do the house rental options. Take your choice of mid-century charmers, eclectic and quirky compounds or modern retreats.
Our most recent exploration falls in the latter camp with a visit to The Glass House. With a getaway bag flung in the back of a Jeep, we trekked across the desert for a weekend retreat at this one-of-a-kind rental.
The house sits between the main entrance to Joshua Tree National Park and historic Pioneertown, both about a 12-minute drive away. The 3-acre gated property offers guests a private slice of desert paradise.
True to its name, the design features walls of glass with windows stretching ceiling-to-floor around the entire house. Conceived with an open layout, the kitchen, living room and dining room meld for a spacious common area—ideal for group entertainment. Outfitted with retractable windows, the space opens seamlessly to the desert landscape waiting in the backyard.
Each of the three bedrooms features a unique design. In the master bedroom, a 270º view stretches from the backyard pool to the rocky ridgeline bordering the entire property. The master bathroom, with a 360º view, offers an Instagram-friendly tub positioned on the northwest corner of the house—a soothing spot to unwind and enjoy a glass of Champagne as the sun sets over the desert.
Best for early risers, a second bedroom on the southeast corner of the house faces the east and provides the brightest light at sunrise. The room includes hanging light fixtures and a suspended rope reading chair—a vignette with perfect Joshua Tree vibe. This makes for a great spot to chill with an afternoon glass of wine or enjoy a midday siesta.
Ideal for kids or additional guests, the third bedroom holds side-by-side twin beds. Above, a fluorescent moon illuminates the space, visible from the furthest end of the property. Coincidentally, we had an astronaut suit with us and staged a moon landing … you know, when in the desert.
Perhaps the best feature of the home is the saltwater pool and hot tub. Alongside the pool, three daybeds entice for a leisurely day outdoors. The pool is carved right into the hillside, a backdrop for some incredible aerial photos should a drone make it into your suitcase. I crashed my drone into the rocks, but that’s another story.
At night, the pool lights up in blue and purple, beautifully dancing on the house exterior. After dinner we spent each night in the hot tub admiring the stars. With few artificial lights in the area, the sky provided quite a show.
Before rolling into bed, our small group would hike up to the top of the rock ridgeline above the house, drink wine and watch the colors of the sky change over the desert floor. Time well spent. Although we love our Insta, it’s even better in person.
Park ItAs we go to press, Joshua Tree National Park is open for business. Here’s what to expect: Park entrances and entrance booths, roads and parking lots, trails, most bathroom facilities, visitor center bookstores and information desks are open to the public. Museum and exhibit portions of several visitor centers are closed, and all park ranger programs have been canceled.
Integratron Sound BathA popular desert attraction, sound baths are closed to the public, but you can book a private session in the dome for your group. The fee is a flat rate of $500 for up to 10 guests and $750 for up to 15 guests.
Visit integratron.com for more information. Photographed by Kjell Linder
The Meistrell family continues to run the family business started by twin brothers Bob and Bill in 1953.