Journey to the Wild West and Discover Pioneertown Motel

Front Office
View Gallery 15 Photos
19 Guest Rooms
Artisan rugs
Coffee and tea in the Canteen
Communal Table
Desert memorabilia
Front Office
Gift shop
Motel Entrance
Roy Rogers Room
The motel at night
The motel
Wedding venue

Looking for a truly one-of-a-kind escape in the Joshua Tree desert?

In the middle of the serene, stunning desert of Joshua Tree, there’s an original new boutique experience waiting to be discovered.

Pioneertown Motel is a sweet little motel in the heart of Pioneertown that’s got tons of character and a long history. The original motel was founded in 1946 by Roy Rogers, aka “King of the Cowboys” and the most popular star of Western movies at the time. Rogers built the small motel with 20 guestrooms to accommodate the actors and crew members who were filming on set with him in the desert. The town of Pioneertown itself was also founded by Rogers along with other Hollywood investors such as Gene Autry and Dick Curtis (both Autry and Rogers have rooms named after them at the motel). Pioneertown was and still is largely comprised of the Old West movie sets where countless Western movies and shows were filmed. The town’s Mane Street is located right behind the motel and is lined with fake facades of banks, barns and stores of an imaginary Wild West of the 1880s.

The motel stayed in business even as Western films gradually went out of fashion. It underwent a complete renovation three years ago, transforming the property into a rustic, one-of-a-kind boutique hotel in the desert. Pioneertown Motel consists of 19 guestrooms, Canteen, reception office, picnic area and an altar with haystack benches for weddings.

The design of the guestrooms perfectly captures the artsy, rustic and boho-chic character of Joshua Tree. The layout of the rooms are minimalist, consisting of just king or twin beds, bedside shelves and sometimes a couple of lounge chairs or tables. The triangular wooden ceilings and doors gives every room an incredibly pastoral and natural feel. They are accented with colorful woven blankets and pillows with native patterns as well as black and white cowhide rugs on the floor. The photography which adorns the walls brings in the natural beauty of Joshua Tree and the surrounding desert into every room. The motel exclusively features artwork and handiwork of local artists and craftsman from the desert community. Rooms are spacious and come with everything you need to stay cool and comfortable.

The only things that the rooms don’t have are TVs and telephones which was an intentional oversight. Pioneertown Motel encourages guests to disconnect from modern life and instead spend time in the incomparable beauty of the desert outside (though free Wi-Fi is provided). Lounge chairs are available in every room which are meant for leaning back and stargazing in the yard at night. Despite having no phone, should guests need anything there’s always someone in the main office 24 hours a day. Most often the sweet and friendly General Manager, Tom, will be there to greet everyone and answer questions.

Pioneertown Motel is definitely the most stylish and comfortable accommodation option from which guests can explore Joshua Tree National Park and surrounding areas. Most accommodations in the desert consist of Airbnbs which are often tricky to navigate to and are absent of a host to help guests or provide local expertise. Thus, it’s nice to stay at a homey boutique motel where there’s always friendly staff to answer questions and guide guests through the vast desert. The fact that Pappy and Harriet’s, the desert’s famous restaurant and music hall, is literally right next door to the motel makes it all the more attractive. Guests can quickly walk to the iconic venue and gorge on mouthwatering barbeque, sip on cold drinks and enjoy live rock and folk music.  

The Canteen is the motel’s version of a lobby where guests can relax and lounge among leather seats and desert photography. The Canteen provides coffee and tea in the mornings as well as filtered water and hot cocoa throughout the day. There’s a beautiful communal table right outside the Canteen that’s perfect for making friends or having a meal al-fresco.

Pioneertown Motel is a must for any adventuring jetsetter looking for a truly one-of-a-kind escape in the Joshua Tree desert. It’s gorgeous, artistic and super cozy. At Pioneertown Motel, every guest will have a special chance to disconnect, explore nature and soak in the magical landscapes of the desert.

All photos by Nadia Cho

Nadia Cho

Communications Associate

Nadia reps Team JST traveling the world in search of exclusive features and online via JST's social media platforms. You can find her exploring metropolitan cities or lounging on tropical beaches.

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