Abigail Doan

Sacred Sands: A Strawbale B&B Guest Retreat

by , 12/29/07

Sacred Sands Resort, Joshua Tree California, eco-travel, straw bale construction, green building, desert architecture

We are all in need of some good old R&R from time to time, and the Sacred Sands Guest Retreat in Joshua Tree, California is just the sort of (green) destination to cure what ails you. This two guest room B&B eco-lodge not only offers desert solitude, no frills pampering, and pristine views and panoramas, but also the opportunity to experience strawbale construction first-hand in this luxury outpost near the western entrance to Joshua Tree National Park.


Sacred Sands Resort Joshua Tree California eco-travel straw bale construction green building desert architecture

We love that the proprietors at Sacred Sands have gone to great lengths to incorporate sustainable building methods into their guest retreat, particularly since Joshua Tree is a fragile desert ecosystem with a steady stream of tourists and recreationists from around the world. Strawbale construction is the perfect choice for the southeastern California climate and an excellent solution for the temperature regulation of the retreat’s interiors. Strawbale construction is a green building method that uses straw bales as both structural elements and insulation. Compared to conventional building methods it is both affordable and energy efficient in its unusually high insulation value. Straw is also plentiful in most regions and serves as a sustainable, non-toxic alternative to chemically treated, harvested timber and other conventional construction materials.

The earth-tone walls at Sacred Sands are stuccoed on the outside and plastered with earth on the inside to create an adobe-like feel. Each wall is wide and flexible yet dense and air tight, allowing for greater performance and safety during earthquakes and fires (setting fire to a strawbale wall has been compared to lighting a match to a phone book; the density does not allow for air flow).

In addition to the peace of mind created by incorporating eco-friendly principles into this stunning retreat, the guest rooms also feature luxury bedding and linens and indoor showers with body sprays, rainhead fixtures, and river rock floors to massage your weary feet. Outside you can shower al fresco, or soak in your private spa as you view the desert sunsets. Guests can also nap in the sun or sleep under the stars on their very own terrace, complete with meditation platform. What better way to rejunvenate on holiday, explore the region’s offerings, and support eco-minded hospitality and tourism in a unique and naturally rich environment? For those adventurers who happen to be in Joshua Tree in early May consider timing your visit to coincide with the site specific enviro-art happening, High Desert Test Sites.

Current Room Rates Per Night Double Occupancy :

$259.00 Sunday through Thursday
$289.00 Friday and Saturday

Two night minimum on weekends

+ Sacred Sands Guest Retreat
+ Strawbuilding.org
+ Greenbuilder Straw Bale Construction Sourcebook
+ High Desert Test Sites

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6 Comments

  1. casawabisabi July 27, 2012 at 4:57 am

    The architect was Janet Armstrong Johnston, a founding member of the California Straw Building Association and co-owner/founder of StrongArm Construction. http://www.strongarmconstruction.com/

    As everyone who’s visited Sacred Sands can attest, the floors are made of concrete, the rest is made of magic.

    (and for the nitty gritty details, I suggest contacting the B&B owners directly. my recollection is that the San Bernardino County development code presents myriad difficulties for straw bale construction; luckily, the perseverance of the proprietors prevailed!)

  2. ulPjFpdtkENnrDl April 2, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Are there any words of wisdom youd like to pass along to me?

  3. Richie January 1, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Nice place. What about it’s ‘systems’ ? In particular, as it is sited in a desert, it would be interesting to know how they deal with water, graywater and waste water… if they are using solar panels and or wind turbines… and if so, which systems and why ? Is that a metal roof being allowed to naturally weather ? If so, what is the ‘sandwich’ they are using ? Are they using Structurally Insulated Panels (SIP’s) and then the metal sheeting… and if so… what kind of foam is used in the SIP’s ?

    Are they ‘off the grid’ ? What are the floors made of ? Are the ‘earth plasters’ used for the walls Lime and earth, or cement and earth… or ?

    None of this information is in your post or available at the sacred sands website.

    If the focus of ‘inhabitat’ is going to be ‘green’… Ithink it would have been a good idea to include information like this… AND, it probably would be a serious business booster for ‘Sacred Sands’ to include this info on their website.

    Richie

  4. Emily December 31, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    I stayed here the night before Thanksgiving and it was a dream – stayed in the hot tub (no chlorine, just tea tree oil!) gazing at the stars and full moon for hours. The next morning’s breakfast nearly knocked the socks off my Thanksgiving dinner hours later!

    Plus, its less than a mile from the splendor of Joshua Tree park…

  5. Abigail Doan Abigail December 30, 2007 at 11:27 am

    Dear K Wms:

    The architect was Janet Armstring Johnston and the General Contractor was John Till of Till Construction LLC.
    More information is available at the following link: http://www.sacredsands.com/strawbale.htm

  6. K Wms December 29, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    who is the architect?

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