Travel | December 20, 2022 6:04 am

We Found the Luxe Joshua Tree Rental Everybody’s Going to Want to Book 

A poolside private chef? This is about to be your favorite vacation spot.

Exterior of Joshua Tree Country Club
Exterior of Joshua Tree Country Club
Joshua Tree Country Club

Joshua Tree has long been a classic weekend escape for Southern Californians — and you’d think, given its popularity, that it would be flush with trendy hotels. Those who’ve spent time here, though, know this isn’t true. While luxe accommodations abound in Palm Springs, around an hour’s drive away, overnight accommodations in this neck of the woods have long been limited to camping and home rentals, save for a very small handful of roadside motels and the ultra-weird Hicksville. In fact, it wasn’t until March 2022 that the first multi-location, Instagram-friendly hotel brand moved into town, in the form of Autocamp Joshua Tree

While the afore linked-to options are worth a look, the vast majority of people who come to Joshua Tree, myself included, are looking for seclusion — or at least to not be on top of their neighbors. What’s the point of escaping to the expanse of the desert if you can’t spread out a little bit? If you forego a tent, that generally means sifting through rental home listings. Pro: There are lots. Con: There are lots, and it can be hard to know if the photos tell the whole story. A new, solid option is booking with Foxden Hospitality, which curates and manages a tight collection of the desert’s best and most unique homes. From there, if it’s Joshua Tree’s newest, most luxe, and most amenity-packed rental you’re after, you’ll have a single destination left on your list: Joshua Tree Country Club. 

Bedroom at Joshua Tree Country Club
Bedroom at Joshua Tree Country Club
Joshua Tree Country Club

THE HOUSE

Joshua Tree Country Club (JTCC) is not your average rental. Here, the level of design, attention to detail, and high-end finishes are more in line with what you’d find in an aesthetic-minded hotel, like those from Proper or Ace. Leaning into its country club theme, the whimsical yet refined interiors boast colorful, custom paint jobs and wallpaper topped with a mix of vintage sporting equipment, black-and-white desertscapes, and the photographs by Slim Aarons. All in all, the money and attention spent to make this something special is apparent. 

The home’s only indoor communal space is a great room with high ceilings and incredible desert views. It houses two seating areas (one with a large TV) and a spacious, fully equipped kitchen complete with a 12-foot marble island on which to cook, dine and make cocktails. Off the great room, you’ll find a half bathroom decorated with old sporting trophies, plus three stylish and spacious ensuite bedrooms — the king bed Pool Suite, the king bed Tennis Suite, and the Croquet Suite with two queen beds. In the bathrooms, and to further illustrate the home’s attention to detail, upon arrival you’ll find that the end of each roll of toilet paper has been folded into a triangle and secured with a sticker branded with the JTCC name and logo (the soap containers in the showers are all JTCC-branded, too). Also of note: This house has a secret room that guests are left to discover. And while this sounds like the beginning of every Airbnb-inspired horror movie, trust that it’s a thoughtful addition that only enhances the home’s playful spirit. 

Overall, it’s difficult to find fault in JTCC, but for some visitors the format of the bedrooms may not be ideal. For example, if you want to max out the home’s eight-person capacity, four people would need to share the two double beds in the Croquet Suite — or if three couples are staying, you’ll need to determine which two get the king bed-equipped bedrooms. On the flip side, this might work for some groups of friends or two couples traveling with kids. You should also know that JTCC is located along, but set far enough away from, a primary road leading into the national park. This makes getting to the park a breeze, but makes the home feel less private than other, more tucked-away options. Luckily, you’ll only be exposed to the passing cars in the distance when using the tennis court and putting green located in front of the house, while you’d never know the road is there from the backyard and pool area.

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AMENITIES 

While Joshua Tree Country Club may not be the most private house in Joshua Tree, it makes up for that by offering a slew of amenities. First and foremost, JTCC is the only rental in Joshua Tree with a private tennis court — and it’s a nice one, with amazing views and lines for pickleball, too. Next to the tennis court, you’ll find a three-hole putting green to work on your short game. Around the back of the house, there’s a tournament-size croquet lawn, because why not? All of the sporting equipment — paddles, rackets, putters, balls, croquet gear and a custom, JTCC-branded corn hole set —can be found in the home’s Pro Shop, a retrofitted, decked-out garage with just as much style as the home’s interior.

Where you’re bound to spend the most time, though, is in and around the 40-foot pool, which comes with a sizable hot tub and Baja shelf with built-in umbrella holders. (Good to know: Heating the pool comes with an additional cost of $180 per day, which is likely unnecessary during summer months but highly recommended during winter months). Flanking the pool, you’ll find plenty of lounge chairs, a massive daybed made of two side-by-side queen mattresses, and a seating area with an easy-to-operate gas fire pit. There’s also a large, shaded outdoor dining area with adjacent grill for alfresco dining. 

Pool at Joshua Tree Country Club
Pool at Joshua Tree Country Club
Joshua Tree Country Club

Speaking of dining, if you don’t feel like cooking, Foxden Hospitality can arrange a private chef to prepare food throughout your stay or for a single meal. Staff are also able to set up add-ons like tennis lessons, a session with a personal astronomy guide and wellness services like massages and sound baths.

THE AREA

If you’re looking to explore the Joshua Tree landscape, JTCC couldn’t be more ideally located. A 30-second walk from the front door, and directly behind the JTCC property, you’ll find the entrance to Coyote Hole, an unmarked and little-known trail leading to ancient Native American petroglyphs. A one-minute drive or short walk up the dirt road from the house will put you at the entrance of the Desert View Conservation Area. This hidden gem offers 600+ acres of protected land similar to the national park, but without the entrance fee, and is an in-the-know location for crowd-free mountain biking and hiking. But since nothing can beat visiting this national park, Joshua Tree National Park’s west entrance is a straight-shot, five-minute drive from JTCC. 

For less outdoorsy pursuits, a three-minute drive from JTCC will put you in the middle of downtown Joshua Tree. There’s not much here, but the popular Joshua Tree Saloon is worth a visit, as are any of the local shops that catch your eye. For more, drive 15 minutes into Yucca Valley and check out Frontier Cafe; the excellently curated Hoof & Horn for clothing, gifts and other odds and ends and the surrounding antique stores for something quirky to bring home. From there, continue five minutes up the road (it’s the most beautiful drive in the area) to Pappy & Harriets, the legendary bar, restaurant and music venue. While here, be sure to walk through the Old West-style movie set, where a few worthy shops and Instagram photos await.

BOOKING

Nightly rates at Joshua Tree Country Club vary widely. While prices are subject to change, clicking around on Foxden’s booking calendar, I found weeknight rates for $926 per night and weekend rates ranging from $1,600 to over $2,000 per night, depending on the time of year. There’s also a two-night minimum, plus a cleaning fee and a service fee when you book through Airbnb (booking direct through Foxden seems to be cheaper). Yes, it’s undoubtedly pricey, but rest assured that the cost matches the value provided and is not totally out of reach when split between a group of friends.
If JTCC doesn’t match your price point, vibe, group size or you simply don’t need a country club’s-worth of amenities to make you happy, consider some of Foxden’s other managed properties, like the more private and perennial favorite Skyhouse or the wildly themed Desert Doghouse.