Booking demand for vacation rentals remains hot in places like Phoenix and Scottsdale, as well as California’s Coachella Valley

Whip It Ranch is a vacation rental in Palm Desert, one of nine cities in California’s Coachella Valley.

For the past year, short-term rental booking demand in U.S. deserts has been particularly hot. 

According to data from short-term rental analytics firm AirDNA, Arizona’s Phoenix and Scottsdale area, the home of the 2023 Super Bowl, has seen a huge increase in booking demand, up 41% year-over-year, as of December 2022. This Sonoran Desert location has also seen an uptick in rental supply, with 23,249 listings in December 2022, up 47% year-over-year. These dynamics have pushed the area’s occupancy rate down 6%. A similar trend has been playing out in other desert destinations such as California’s Coachella Valley, where the Sonoran eventually meets the Mojave Desert, and in Marfa, Texas, in the Chihuahuan Desert. 


In fact, the narrative of rental supply growing faster than rental demand thus pushing occupancy down, has been recently playing out across the U.S. Las Vegas, Nevada, however, has marginally bucked this trend, says AirDNA, with a 39% increase in booking demand year-over-year but only a 34% increase in supply, leading to an occupancy increase of 5%. 

This isn’t to say all desert locations have a bounty of short-term rental options: In New Mexico, south of Albuquerque into the Chihuahuan Desert, there are just over 3,500 listings. Here’s a look at high-end, short-term rental offerings in three American deserts, as defined by desert expert Dr. Jef Jaeger, associate professor in residence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s School of Life Sciences.  

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Sonoran Desert

Located in southwestern Arizona, with small areas in southeastern California and into Mexico.

The Brexley

Price: From $1,500 per night.

Details: Five bedrooms, three bathrooms.

Haute features: The owner had this house’s building plans all drawn up, but then she came across a picture of a door at architect Guilherme Torres’s live-work space in São Paulo, Brazil. She was so inspired by the door that she scrapped her house plans and completely redrew them to accommodate a residence where the door was the visual focus. The resulting “cage door” is made out of 7,500 steel pipes of various sizes welded against one another. Contact: BoutiqueHomes. 

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Whip It Ranch 

Price: From $12,000 per month.

Details: Four bedrooms, four bathrooms.

Haute features: Patten & Wild designed and built this house in 1963. In the 1980s, the co-founder of the rock band Devo bought it and restored it, carefully maintaining original details such as the glass and textile block walls, both slate and cork floors, and the split rock fireplace. Contact: BoutiqueHomes.

The Establishment

Price: From $750 per night.

Details: Three bedrooms, three bathrooms.

Haute features: This 3,500 square foot house is located in Twin Palms, the first modernist midcentury neighborhood. Built in the late 1960s, the property has original vintage furnishings, making it feel like a true step back in time. There’s also a pool and a restored jukebox. Contact: Foxden Hospitality.  

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Chihuahuan Desert

Extends south of Albuquerque, through southern New Mexico, southeastern Arizona and southwestern Texas into several central states of Mexico. 

The Hacienda at Armendaris

Price: From $3,500 per night

Details: Four bedrooms, six bathrooms.

Haute features: This property, which is business mogul and conservationist Ted Turner‘s personal residence, is on 360,000 acres of conservation land. It opened for guest stays in October 2022. Come for the desert luxuries: a master suite with a jetted bathtub; a stone courtyard with a gas fire pit, fountain, and outdoor kitchen; a fitness and massage area; a game room; and a private chef and daily housekeeping. Stay for the outdoor adventures, like trekking through semidesert landscapes with bison, pronghorn, and desert bighorn, as well as other guided experiences. Contact: Ted Turner Reserves.

Ranch 2180 Marfa 

Price: From $5,500 per night.

Details: Five bedrooms, seven bathrooms.

Haute features: On 3,000 acres, this 8,000-square-foot ranch home 6 miles outside Marfa was designed by internationally recognized architect Carlos Jiménez, who is based in Houston. The house sits on a flat hilltop with 360 degree views of the Chihuahuan Desert. The use of glass throughout the property connects the interior and exterior spaces, creating a cohesiveness with the landscape. There is a pool and outdoor seating area with a fireplace in one of the two protected courtyards. Contact: Explore Ranches.

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Maravillas Ranch 

Price: From $1,000 per night.

Details: Six bedrooms, four bathrooms. 

Haute features: On 35,000 acres between Marathon and Big Bend National Park, this historic ranch house sits within the Del Norte Mountain range, which has 5,500 feet peaks. There are two houses with moody West Texas interiors on the property, one with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, the other with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The houses are about 35 minutes away from each other. Explore the Chihuahuan Desert by foot, mountain bike, or four wheel drive. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as elk, mule deer, and wild turkey. Contact: Explore Ranches. 

Mojave Desert

Spans the southeastern portion of California, southern Nevada, and small areas of southwestern Utah and northeastern Arizona.

Lazalu Zion Retreat

Price: From $300 per night.

Details: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms.

Haute features: This off-the-grid artist’s retreat is owned by documentary filmmaker. Located on a remote edge of Zion National Park at the intersection of the Mojave, Sonoran, and Great Basin Deserts, this property is adjacent to 146,000 acres of wilderness and is quickest accessed by helicopter. There are two rental units on the property: The main house has two bedrooms and one bathroom, and the guesthouse has one bedroom and one bathroom. There are also 2,000 books on art and poetry. Contact: BoutiqueHomes.

Poppy Ranch

Price: From $750 per night.

Details: Two bedrooms, two bathrooms.

Haute features: This newly built house—which meshes a classic Amish barn style structure with Japandi interiors—occupies a relatively secluded slice of desert where the Mojave Desert meets the Sonoran Desert. The property is near Pioneertown, a 1940s Hollywood Wild West movie set that became a rugged desert community. Contact: BoutiqueHomes. 


Price: From $750 per night.

Details: Five bedrooms, three bathrooms.

Haute features: The brainchild of a Hollywood film producer, Chris Hanley, who is also the creator of Invisible House, this 4,500 square foot house is on 5 acres. Each room has a different color and style. Large one-way mirrored windows throughout the property let the outside in while not letting the inside out. Amenities include a 50-foot saltwater pool, 12 person hot tub, a poolside gas fire pit, and vintage wood burning fireplace. Contact: Foxden Hospitality.