When Steve Pratt and Scott Cutler started planning their dream desert retreat near the west entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, they set out to create an oasis, a place of stillness where guests could experience the glories of the surrounding high desert and get a break from the world’s distractions. The result is a B&B that is both timeless and contemporary in design, with eco-smart straw-bale construction reminiscent of an early adobe (great for keeping interiors cooler), while oxidized steel roofs and details give it a modern but organic feel.
Split your time between hunkering down in the room’s cool, hushed recesses and basking in the warmth of the desert sun on your private terrace, where there’s an outdoor shower and meditation platform. And after a day of hiking at Joshua Tree, you can give your muscles a break with a soak in your own outdoor spa tub—a decadent spot for stargazing in the region’s ultra-dark night skies. In the morning, Steve and Scott may join you for breakfast to share tips on things to do and see. “They’ve mastered the art of being gracious,” noted one recent guest.
The thwack of a golf club, the hum of the wind buffeting towering sand dunes, the splash of a dive into a perfect pool—the desert region is a sensory feast.
Following winter rains, springtime wildflowers paint the desert with colour.
Death Valley National Park holds the record for hottest temperature ever recorded (129°F/54°C in 1913), while the deserts of Joshua Tree National Park have giant boulders and alien-like yucca plants. At Anza-Borrego, California’s largest state park, discover amazing springtime wildflowers. The oasis-like Palm Springs region (2 hours east of L.A. and 3 hours northeast of San Diego) has golf resorts, midcentury modern architecture, and every spring, the epic Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
For all of the desert’s natural splendour and outdoor destinations, creativity comes with the territory, too. Throughout the year, the region finds ways to celebrate art, design, music, and film...
You could call it a monumental achievement: In February 2016, three new national monuments were created, protecting a combined total of 1.8 million acres of California desert. The names of the...