We have officially found the perfect blend of National Park exploration and Airbnb relaxation. Meet Stargazer’s Retreat: an Airbnb you’ll mistake for a private resort that just so happens to bump up to the back of Joshua Tree National Park. This was a flawless stay. We’d spend our mornings hiking through the delightfully Seussian Joshua trees, and pass our afternoons unwinding at the most opulent Airbnbs we’ve discovered yet. After days of frolicking, we hadn’t even scratched the surface of all the amenities this place offers its guests. If you’re looking for a little southern California luxury, hold on to your hats. Stargazer’s Retreat is truly an oasis in the Mojave desert.
It’s no surprise that Stargazer’s Retreat turned out to be a paradise for family vacations. Dan, the host behind the brilliance, initially set out to design the ideal getaway for his own family. Lucky for you, me, and the rest of the Airbnb community, Dan has opened up his remarkable creation for guests as the inaugural property for his new brand, Digs by Dan. The glowing reviews rave about Dan’s hospitality, and for good reason. He’s anticipated everything a guest might need during their stay. Need a white noise maker to sleep better at night? Got it. Need fire starters for s’mores in the fire pit? Got it. Need some electrolyte tablets after that long hike in the desert sun? Got it. His dedication to his guests comes through in this welcome note, thanking his visitors for trusting them with their vacation. Needless to say, we can’t wait to see what Digs by Dan creates next.
The sprawling interior triggered that welcome wave of vacation relief the moment we opened the front door. We stepped into an enormous living room with a three piece sectional, vaulted ceilings, and french doors offering a glimpse of the outdoor porch, pool, and desert view. This one-story ranch seemed to go on forever. With childlike enthusiasm we explored the property, discovering three bedrooms, three bathrooms, two living rooms, two dining rooms, and a sprawling kitchen. The master suite even had its own door to the back patio, a reading nook, a luxurious desk, and a jacuzzi-equipped bathroom that could rival a spa. To top it all off, the three car garage had been transformed into a game room outfitted to the nines. There was shuffleboard, a ping pong table, a pool table, a poker table, and yet another sectional decked out with a massive TV, two video game controllers, and a throwback Nintendo 64 with Mario Kart cued up and ready to play.
There were just as many surprises waiting for us outside. A gorgeous pool served as the exterior’s centerpiece, its glassy water filled with the reflection of dual palm trees reaching for the desert sky. Amenities radiated out from the pool’s edge. The first ring included an outdoor seating area, twin lounge chairs, a hot tub, and an extended outdoor cooking island complete with a sink, gas grill, four bar stools, and a large umbrella for shade. A covered porch ran along the house, overlooking the pool with a large dining table, a set of rocking chairs, an oversized hammock, and–wait for it–a koi pond complete with its own footbridge from which to better view the brightly colored fish. Set just beyond this spectacular backyard, eight brightly colored Adirondack chairs encircled a fire pit, inviting guests out into the desert sand.
From mornings by the koi pond to evenings in the hot tub, we soaked up continuously serene desert views. Stretching in every direction, the soft sand was peppered with low lying bushes and rugged cacti softening into vibrant flowers. From the house, the land took a gradual slope towards the distant two-lane highway and town below, everything dwarfed by the far off mountains brushing the expansive sky. Jack rabbits bound past the dining room windows each morning and hummingbirds spent the afternoon swerving in and out of the property’s blooming landscape. We rarely saw another person or heard another car. We felt like we had the entire desert to ourselves.
Personal Touches We Loved
Every item in this Airbnb had been intentionally placed, and given the sheer volume of amenities, it would have taken weeks to fully appreciate this place. During our stay, these were the personal touches we loved the most.
Before we had even reached the front door’s keypad, we were enveloped by the most delightful smell. Honeysuckle wound through dual trellises lining the entry walk to the house. Talk about being primed for positivity. We were giddy guests before we’d even unlocked the door.
The moment we swung open the door, we were greeted by two signs on the opposite wall. To the left of the french doors, we saw “Be Our Guest” nestled amongst framed succulents and black and white photos of Joshua trees. On the right, we saw a sign for “Pool Towels” with arrows pointing down to the outfitted shelf just below. Just like that, the vacation had begun!
BOARD GAME COLLECTION
Stargazer’s Retreat doesn’t just have a killer game room. It’s got a board game collection that could rival anyone’s. From Candyland to Risk, Battleship to Rummikub, the shelves under each tv were overflowing with options for every age. For the first time in years, we found ourselves wound up in unexpectedly competitive matches of Yahtzee.
Along with the extensive collection of game tables and board games, we found cornhole waiting for us on the back patio, ready to be set up in the desert. This is a personal favorite of ours. (Seriously. We had cornhole at our wedding reception.) We’d oscillate between swimming in the pool and drying off in the sun while throwing bags and drinking frozen margaritas. Does vacation get any better than this?
The coffee and tea station discreetly tucked in the dining room was a work of art. It was almost too beautiful to touch. With destination mugs, local coffee beans from Joshua Tree, espresso in a variety of flavors, an assortment of teas, and tiny chocolates to boot, we had to dive in. And once we did, we couldn’t stay away from this hospitality gem.
Perhaps the personal touch we adored most was a charming piece of artwork that depicted the house itself. The geometric shapes and bold colors captured the architecture and expansive desert surroundings perfectly, and even included a little Digs by Dan logo in the corner. We’d pass this piece every time we’d head towards the beverage bar, and it would remind us to take a moment and remember where we were.
Clever Tricks for Hosts
If you’re an Airbnb host looking for a bit of inspiration, this Airbnb has so much to offer. Here are just a few of the clever hosting tricks we noticed at Stargazer’s Retreat.
Welcome Families with Bunk Beds
If you’re space is built for a group, give each guest a five-star bed. In addition to the luxurious king in the master suite, Dan extended the flexibility of the space to sleep eight more guests. In a room ideal for kids, he put mirroring sets of twin bunk beds. Just down the hall, he outfitted the third bedroom with a set of queen bunk beds. (Who knew queen bunks even existed?! We wouldn’t put it past Dan to have had these custom-made for the space.)
Design the Ideal Nightstand
We loved the extra attention Dan had spent making sure guests are at ease as the crawl into bed. In addition to a perfectly-made Airbnb bed, he outfitted each spot with a beautiful nightstand, coasters, a little decoration, a white noise maker with its instructions, and a reading lamp complete with a USB outlet for charging a phone or Kindle. There was even a small frame hung by each bed letting guests know that mattress they were about to enjoy was from the luxury brand Spink and Edgar.
Guide Your Guests with Trail Markers
There may just need to be an entire post about Dan’s impeccable use of trail markers throughout the space to provide guests real-time guidance while he was miles away. For now, we’ll just rattle off the highlights. Each light switch was labeled. Each remote sat on top of a laminated user manual and channel guide. Each tricky appliance had instructions and, when available, a QR code to the online videos demonstrating the functionality. And each bedroom had a custom-made map by the door depicting all emergency exits nearby. Now that, my friends, is attention to detail.
Collaborate with Experts
Dan has coupled his own hospitality intuition with content experts to create a truly one-of-a-kind experience for his guests. One of his most impactful collaborations was with the interior design firm JC Cross. The beautiful, cohesive design accentuated the calm simplicity of the desert while also taking full advantage of the unique aspects of the house itself. This polished interior doesn’t just look incredible online; it feels incredible in person.
Empower Your Turnover Crew with Your Vision
If you have a turnover crew helping out between guests at your Airbnb, take a page out of Dan’s book and empower your collaborators with your vision. Dan had captured the entire process in a series of photos to make sure his turnover crew has all the information to prep the space right. We were blown away by the results: the generous welcome basket, the fresh pool towels, the meticulous vacuum lines that went literally all the way under each bed. A perfect execution of the original vision while the host was miles away.
Spread the Word On Instagram
And last but not least, we were so excited to contribute to Digs by Dan’s latest goal: to ramp up his social media game. We created dozens of Instagram posts that you can check out here! With a place as photogenic as Stargazer’s Retreat, we couldn’t put the camera down. If your a host looking to spread the word about your Airbnb, fire up Instagram and start showing off all of the amenities and local excitement waiting for future guests at your place.
Book Your Stay
If you’re looking for an Airbnb near Joshua Tree National Park, you’ve found a true gem. We’d especially encourage guests looking for an experience like these.
PARK BY DAY
If you’re looking to hike by day and relax by night, it doesn’t get better than this luxurious Airbnb.
With the expansive property and suite of bunk beds, the entire family will adore Stargazer’s Retreat.
If you need a quiet desert escape with spa-like amenities, this is the perfect spot for your LA getaway.