vacation-rentals

Not in My Guest Room

Unlikely vacation rentals lure guests to nearby retreats that still feel like home. Just not your home.

Lisa Marie Hart Real Estate

vacation-rentals
Casa Redonda, a Spanish hacienda-style compound built in Old Las Palmas, offers dual everything.
PHOTO COURTESY OF RUBY MONTANA/CASA REDONDA
Double their pleasure with two homes in one.


In 1937, two sisters wanted to live together. Sort of. The Spanish hacienda-style compound they built in Old Las Palmas offers dual everything. Two dwellings off the common entry claim their own brightly tiled kitchens and bathrooms, living and dining rooms, pair of fireplaces, and two bedrooms. Now fully renovated, the east and west wings share a pool and outdoor entertaining patio. The casita adds a fifth bedroom or a place for movie nights.

“In a quiet neighborhood perfect for morning walks and bike rides. Everyone loved the two rooftop decks for morning coffee and evening cocktails. House has been beautifully restored to its original 1937 charm; so much thought has gone into it.”

“The babies loved the heated pool. The Chihuahuas loved the Palm Springs heat. The adults enjoyed relaxing on the rooftop patios, margaritas in hand, watching the sunrises and sunsets.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF RUBY MONTANA/CASA REDONDA
Casa Redonda, five bedrooms; available through www.VRBO.com

Revamped midcentury pad fit for Prince Harry to party in Palm Springs.

What Hugh Kaptur built in 1959, architect Jim Schmidt perfected in a multiyear renovation resulting in this hillside Mesa jewel. Advance booking is key. Guests compete with high-profile photo shoots (from Victoria’s Secret to Restoration Hardware) and A-listers out for festival weekends. Care for a beverage by the double infinity-edge pool? At the bar, Frank Sinatra’s quote smirks across the wall: “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. … When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.”

“Pictures do not do it justice. An absolutely amazing property with hip features and exquisite architecture. We felt like rock stars!”

On the Rocks, three bedrooms; available through Beau Monde Villas, www.beaumondevillas.com

Atomic Garden, four bedrooms; available through Oasis Rentals, www.oasisrentals.com

Triple hammock orb for people who take social naps.

Minutes from downtown, the Racquet Club neighborhood teems with midcentury architecture. This dog-friendly Alexander home adds outdoor merriment to its retro bones and playful décor. Backyardists, you’re welcome. Mountain views from the pool and spa, a 10-foot fire pit, outdoor living area, barbecue, dining table for eight, lawn games (corn hole and ladder golf), and an inviting three-person hammock. Save room for the pooch.

“The pool is righteous. Nice and deep at one end. Pool toys make it enjoyable for all. Hot tub works great, controlled via app on your phone. The outdoor fire pit is fun at night. Plenty of amenities to make a group of eight comfortable.”

“We were there over Thanksgiving and were very thankful for the fully stocked kitchen. We had everything we needed to cook up a feast.”

High-desert hideout for a serious art-cation.

Tell them to pack their oils and acrylics. One of five private homes set on rolling acreage next to Joshua Tree National Park, this modern cabin includes an artist’s fantasy space. A breezeway separates the living quarters from a 900-square-foot working studio.

Artist Retreat & Studio, one bedroom; available through Joshua Tree Highlands Houses, www.joshuatreehighlandshouses.com

No small afterthought, it is equipped with work tables, a sink, movable walls, custom lighting, plus a bathroom and kitchen. Panoramic views soothe the soul, as do yoga, Pilates, and massage by appointment. Rentals support the Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency program.

“My boyfriend and I run a graphic design business in Seattle, but are always trying to find time for personal creative projects: painting, drawing, photography. The serenity and stillness of the desert calm the mind so you can focus on experimenting, learning, and making away from the distractions of home. I can easily spend a morning wandering the grounds looking at the unusual plants and animals. We also take breaks to explore and photograph the area, from hiking in the park and eating at the handful of great restaurants in town to visiting offbeat sights and day-tripping to nearby cities. We’ve done two retreats here now and are completely hooked.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF WARM SANDS VILLA
Warm Sands Villa, seven bedrooms; available through www.homeaway.com

Things get wet and wild when Dad gets in the lazy river.

Adults might say they book this tropical water world “for the kids.” Exactly who gets a bigger kick out of the moving river, grotto with waterfalls, spa in a cave, sauna, and beach-entry pool with waterslide and swim-up bar is up for grabs. Sports fans hit the putting greens and basketball hoop. Competition stiffens around the pool table, video games, and pinball machine. Six plasma TVs and a covered patio for barbecues makes this a family rental even teenagers will silence their phones for.

“Honestly had as much fun hanging out in the yard as at Coachella.”

“This place is like having your own waterpark. My kids couldn’t believe their eyes. After hours of pool time, they were spent. With two young ones, that’s always the goal so my wife and I can have some quality time to ourselves at night!”

“My girlfriends and I were in for a treat. The swim-up bar was perfect for hanging out in the pool and watching the game. The island in the middle was like another room with a fridge and grill. And they have Ms. Pac-Man!”

Mineral pools and spa packages pamper guests in private villas.

Two villas in Desert Hot Springs pair privacy with resort amenities for the best of both worlds. A Finnish sauna and the silky, skin-softening waters of three mineral pools sit about a block from the freestanding enclaves. At 1,100 square feet, these aren’t your regular hotel rooms. Each has two bedrooms, a living room, dining area, and a full kitchen. Pop over to the main resort for the complimentary continental breakfast, an Intuitive Shiatsu massage, or to lounge around the fire pit after dark.


“One guest was such a regular that her husband proposed here. When we opened the Villas, they came back after the baby was born. Then they started bringing Grandma who was happy to watch the baby while they were in the water or enjoying treatments. The baby grew into a toddler and visits were still blissful. Until he figured out that when Mom and Dad come back wet, there’s a pool around somewhere! They’ll be back when they have an empty nest.”

Desert View Villas, two bedrooms; available through The Spring Resort and Spa, www.the-spring.com