Credit: The Yucca

An Inside Look at The Yucca in Desert Hot Springs—California’s First-Ever Vegan Hotel

This Is The Perfect Eco-Luxe Stay for Mindful Travelers Headed to the Coachella Valley

Husband and wife Tony and Gaby Aziz recently brought their Heart Core Hotels brand from Hawaii to California with The Yucca, and it’s a stunner. Set in a lovingly remodeled original 1950s-era motel, this boutique pet-friendly property in Desert Hot Springs blends contemporary California and mid-century design with sustainable luxury—from vegan bed linens and bath amenities to its plant-based breakfast. A sanctuary for spending downtime in the desert, the eco-chic stay also features a saltwater mineral swimming pool and spa, petite fitness studio, plus rescue chihuahua Sushi, who serves as the “Chief Marketing Officer” and loves to greet and snuggle with guests.

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A Sweet Central Coachella Valley Location 

Best Hotels Desert Hot Springs
Credit: The Yucca

A low-fi destination for health and wellness, Desert Hot Springs might not quite have the movie-star cachet of sister city Palm Springs, but thanks to an aquifer underneath the town, what it does have is warm mineral waters that draw visitors from all over the world looking to soak and unwind. Located on a quiet residential street (with a designated parking space for one car per guest room), whether coming to shop, spa or hike, The Yucca is perfectly positioned for exploring the Coachella Valley and Greater Palm Springs area or attending one of the famous music festivals held here, then coming back to chill. Drive times range from 26 minutes to Yucca Valley, 30 minutes to the Old West movie set-turned-year-round unincorporated community Pioneertown and 35 minutes to the Joshua Tree National Park main entrance off Highway 62. Downtown Palm Springs is just 20 minutes away, and for Coachella and Stagecoach devotees, it’s about 36 minutes (without traffic) to the Empire Polo Club in Indio.


Rooms and Suites are Insta-Gorgeous

Best Hotels Desert Hot Springs
Credit: The Yucca

A midcentury Palm Springs meets desert-inspired design aesthetic features across guest rooms at The Yucca—each a little haven of peace and tranquility, especially being an adults-only hotel. From vegan paint and botanical bar soaps by Cathedral City-based brand Desert Supreme, plenty of additional eco-friendly and natural materials have been incorporated too: blond woods, natural fiber throws and fluffy Heart Core Hotel robes by Brooklinen. Beds are dressed in vegan silk sheets by SIJO that feel great against your skin while framed graphic prints of Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley flowers adorn the walls. Retro Frigidaire bar fridges are stocked with complimentary cans of sparkling water and beer but there’s plenty of space for brought drinks and snacks. Another thoughtful touch for modern travelers are the bedside tables with USB charging ports. In addition to the four poolside rooms, the more private and seriously darling Dragonfly Suite features a full kitchen while two additional rooms inside the main house, including a Writer’s Retreat Suite, will be available to book soon.



Mountain Views From the Peaceful Grounds

Credit: The Yucca

Set within one of the original midcentury modern hotels in Desert Hot Springs, The Yucca is still framed by stunning San Jacinto Mountain views. It’s also anchored by a 60-year-old olive tree—when in season, guests can even pick some to take home! Lined with chic wooden loungers and canvas shade umbrellas, the mineral water pool and spa is the real star of the show. There’s plenty of space to relax and get pics for the ‘Gram between swims, dips and soaks. Each of the poolside rooms has a cozy outside seating area, too—the perfect place to enjoy that morning coffee or evening glass of wine. There’s a fitness studio kitted out with a Peloton bike and all-in-one home gym, yoga mats, balance balls and other accessories. Outside—near the “Kind is the New Cool” sign that gives Tulum vibes—there’s a fire pit area for toasting s’mores, and Gaby and Tony also have plans to add a pop-up outdoor cinema in that spot in the not too distant future.


Tasty Vegan Eats and Thoughtful Amenities 

Best Hotels Desert Hot Springs
Credit: The Yucca

One of the toughest decisions to make at The Yucca is whether you’d like breakfast served in-room, on the patio or via a Bali-style floating tray in the swimming pool (we recommend option No. 3). Dishes are made to order, entirely plant-based and delicious—think whole wheat blueberry pancakes with fresh fruit, avocado toast and overnight oats with Coachella Valley dates—with generous-sized mugs of coffee by local roaster Chingon, and, of course, mimosas. Dedicated to mindful living and eating healthy, guests can also look forward to special one-off dinners and events similar to a recent Cafe Gratitude pop-up led by LA-based Chef Om. From arrival to departure, Gaby and Tony are hosts with the most—on hand to chat while mixing up a welcome drink, help select a sun hat from their stylish loaner range and recommend where to eat out or explore locally. And, if you can’t travel with your furry friend, Sushi is always on hand for guest cuddles and hangs in your room or poolside.

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Each Stay Gives Back to the Community

Credit: The Yucca

Spending a few nights at this Desert Hot Springs hotel isn’t just about treating yourself to downtime somewhere nice in the desert. On a mission to make travel an opportunity for everyone, the property has partnered with a Desert Hot Springs high school through its sister nonprofit the Heart Core Fund to create travel scholarships for local children. The Yucca actively supports the local community in other ways too. That plant-based breakfast and green detox juice you enjoyed poolside or in your room was all made with organic produce delivered in a weekly farm box from Temalpakh Farm, a 53-acre organic estate in Coachella Valley run by the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians. And specializing in small-batch ceramics, Los Angeles-based Ukrainian artist Ganna Demidova created a collection of plates, bowls and mugs embossed with ‘Be kind’ for the eco hotel. We hear they might be available for guests to purchase soon from the mini boutique in reception alongside other HeartCore Hotel x The Yucca goodies, such as water bottles and doggy bandanas. 


The Yucca
66358 Desert View Ave
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240

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Keri Bridgwater is a freelance writer covering travel and lifestyle. Her work has been featured in Fodor’s Travel, Marie Claire, Matador Network and InsideHook, among other outlets and publications.




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