My name is Brooke Richards and I have been a Home Critic with Plum for six months. I am married to a Joshua Tree local and reside in both Joshua Tree and Los Angeles. As a third generation Los Angeles native and daughter of a Geologist who has dedicated his life to natural wonders, I am committed to providing Plum guests with that true desert magic experience. Very few, if any places in Southern California, can still offer that far-away feeling to the urban wanderers that come to visit Joshua Tree. Leave it to Plum though to discover this, even despite being all the way across the pond. After my first interview with Plum, I knew I could trust the Plum guests to really appreciate what Joshua Tree is about, and safely share the local secrets that have graced this special land.
Although everyone might be talking about Joshua Tree right now, not everyone knows the formula to an authentic Joshua Tree experience. Plum Guide insists their homes capture the local vibe wherever they send their guests. Wherever they go, Plum guests want what the locals want. Out here, that is total immersion in nature, seclusion, and breath-taking views so it’s no surprise that earning the Plum award is especially difficult in Joshua Tree. Plum knows the reason guests go to Joshua Tree is to get closer to nature. As the park’s popularity has grown, Plum knew it was especially important to be discerning and to stay away from the masses, so even the drive up to a home is required to transport their guests into that nature they seek. In order to pass the Plum Test, not only does a home need to have impeccable taste, but a home in Joshua Tree should be along a scenic route, surrounded by nature and within a proximity to the National Park. Not only is a host’s home required to be Plum architecturally and interior wise, but the next door neighbor’s homes also come into play. And if they’re not up to Plum standards, it’s a fail. What can we say: location, location, location.
When talking about homes in Joshua Tree, I wanted to mention the homes below because of where they are situated. Each of these homes mentioned captures the stillness of the land and offers wild desert nights with arguably the best stargazing you will ever see in your life. As an added bonus, some of these homes even shelter the area’s most famous local residents, the protected Joshua Tree. After staying in any of these homes, ethereal will be the only word that will come to mind.
The Mirrored House: The best Joshua Tree has to offer. Also known as the Invisible House because of how in the afternoon, light from the National Park mountains reflects back and matches the rock formations the house is sitting on, making the house invisible from certain angles. Located on 90 acres of private nature reserve it has its own peak as well as ancient Native American Trails weaving for hundreds of miles from the property into the Joshua Tree National Park. The property shares a border of half a mile with National Park land and home to some of the finest trails in the United States, hiking, climbing, jogging, bike, and horse trials are all well marked.
The beauty of the house and its environment makes this home my top pick. The hard surfaces of the material play with the light as the spectrally selective glass appears to change with the weather and light, so the setting itself is all that’s perceived. Every time someone visits it is a different experience. The land is different too, constantly changing and moving with the light and rhythm of the seasons. All glass walls open onto the land so guests can immerse themselves in the beauty running through the home. The Mirrored House is the epitome of Plum; stunning on both the inside and outside, and a prime location for anyone seeking to escape into everything that Joshua Tree represents. A must-have experience at least once in your life.
The Chaparral Oasis: The ultimate desert getaway and my favorite Plum cabin in Wonder Valley. The land is so vast and free here and sits on geothermal hot springs. Each cabin includes a private natural stone pool to soak in the hot spring waters. Don’t let the Twenty-Nine Palms zip code fool you, as Twenty-Nine Palms has its own and far less crowded entrance into the national park.
Ever heard of Pioneer Town? Probably not, very few have. Yet I would not be doing my job if I did not mention one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the area. Plum’s collection here includes but is not limited to Sol to Soul and Hawk & Mesa. With its location along Pipe’s Canyon and with the town being situated on its own mesa, I recommend this area for anyone wanting to hideout in style. The National Park is about a 30-minute drive away if needed but rest assured you will find plenty of serenity here if you choose not to leave your home.
Desert Skies – Another breathtaking home located in Joshua Tree near the Joshua Tree National Park entrance. With no neighbors, an outside saltwater pool and shower and glass walls, you struggle to tell whether you were outside or inside. Also located extremely close to the National Park this home has the best of everything Plum-worthy, impeccable taste and scenic location.
As I mentioned before, very few homes pass the Plum Test out here in Joshua Tree thanks to an oversaturation of short-term rentals where a guest can simply take the right picture from the right angle and pose next to a Joshua Tree by the side of the road. Plum won’t stand for that though and, as a local, I won’t let Plum guests experience that kind of trip. Commit yourselves to nature and surround yourselves with beauty. You deserve it.