Thunderbird Lodge Retreat, Shell HouseThunderbird Lodge Retreat, Shell House. View from front porch.
Thunderbird Lodge Retreat-Shell

Entire home/apt

4 guests


3 beds
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Ages 2 - 12
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Under 2
4 guests maximum. Infants don’t count toward the number of guests.
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This brick studio cabin rests on 22.5 private acres, adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park. It sleeps 5 w/a king sized bed, fold-out queen sleeper sofa, and day bed. Pet friendly, 1 acre is fenced. *Please see my 6 other listings.

The space

This artistically recreated homesteader cabin is private, no other cabins are located on its 22.5 acres. With private hiking trails and sitting area at Joshua's Perch (See photos).
-600 Sq. Ft. Studio, sleeps 4 comfortably
-Free Wifi
-Pet Friendly (1 acre of the property is fenced)
-Studio: 1 large room with king sized bed and 1 sleeper sofa, 1 daybed.
-1 bath with restored claw foot tub
-Evaporative Cooler: this is what we use in the desert for "Air Conditioning"
-Full-sized kitchen equipped with cookware
-All linens provided
-Sits on 22.5 acres with outdoor bar, grill, porch swing, and a number of seating areas
-Wood burning stove and evaporative coolers allow for a comfortable temperature year round
-Within walking distance to the Covington Flats section of Joshua Tree National Park

*Direct booking available through our website, thunderbirdlodgeretreat.

All Thunderbird Lodge Retreat Listings via Airbnb:

Guest access

22.5 private acres of land with hiking trails and exclusive access to Joshua's Perch (see photos). Within walking distance to Joshua Tree National Park.

Interaction with guests

I make myself available according to the needs of my guests.

Other things to note

*Prices include tax. Please see my other 6 listings: Thunderbird Lodge Retreat (Mesa House, Mountain House, Rock House, Park View House, Aurora Club House and Ranch House with Old West Town and Saloon). All are located in different locations near Joshua Tree National Park, on acreage. Each cabin is separate from the other, they are located on their own parcels of land and are private from one another. *Prices include taxes & fees.

Sleeping arrangements
Common spaces
1 king bed, 1 single bed, 1 sofa bed

The space
Accommodates: 4
Bathrooms: 1
Bedrooms: Studio
Beds: 3
Check In: Anytime after 3PM
Check Out: 12PM (noon)
Room type: Entire home/apt


Cleaning Fee $50
Security Deposit $200
Weekly Discount: 15%
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House Rules
Check in is anytime after 3PM

Smoking is prohibited inside our cabin. Smokers are welcome to smoke outside of the cabin, ashtrays are provided.


Safety features
Fire extinguisher

The minimum night stay for this listing varies.
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148 Reviews

Check In
Christopher User Profile
September 2017
Nice place for a weekend get away. The house is pretty private and secluded but at the same time you have everything you need such as a Walmart and applebees just 10 minutes away. Would come back.

Christopher User Profile
August 2017
Highly recommend the shell house! The property is situated in a large plot of land that provides a true sense of secludedness. The house is quant and clean, with all the amenities you could ever ask for. Don't hesitate to book with Lori!

Michael User Profile
August 2017
It was beautiful and quiet. It was also a really good place for our dog. Definitely would recommend staying here.

Shane User Profile
August 2017
Very nice studio with a lot of character. Close to the national park, and would definitely book again.

Minjung User Profile
July 2017
I cannot forget this travel. Lori's place is just perfect!!!! Wonderful view. All equipment is all available. Shower, kitchen, bed all is comfortable. And interior of house is very uniq and special. Lori is very caring person. When u have a question, she will help you without any hesitation. Thank you so much Lori :D ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Sean User Profile
July 2017
Very cozy retreat. Great scenic view where you can sit outside and enjoy the desert sky and star gaze. Communication is great with Lori. Very close proximity to Joshua tree for quick hikes and exploration. Dogs felt totally comfortable and at home. Would definitely recommend the retreat for a mini vacation.

Robert User Profile
July 2017
Great place with a great vibe! Everything you need to really enjoy a trip to Joshua tree. Thunderbird Lodge Shell House gets my highest recommendation!

This host has 216 reviews for other properties.

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Joshua Tree, California, United StatesJoined in December 2011
Lori User Profile

Lori Portillo, Thunderbird Lodge Retreat's owner, was born and raised in Paramount, in the heart of Los Angeles. In 1982, she moved with her husband, Abel, to Joshua Tree. Lori was immediately drawn to the stunning area around La Contenta Road, near the Covington Flats entrance to the Joshua Tree National Park. Her attraction was due to the exquisite beauty of the landscape, wildlife, and tranquility.

Prior to moving to the community, she visited since the early 1960s to spend time with family who lived here. In the 1930s, her grandfather, a former LA police officer and Texas cowboy, relocated to the area. When he first arrived, there was only a dirt road from Banning on – for about 30 miles. He was a well-known local character. During prohibition, he made his own beer and also ran the cabins now known as Willie Boy's Restaurant in Morongo Valley. Lori and her family visited often on the weekends and during summers.

Five years ago, she started converting homesteader cabins that had previously been longterm rentals. After the financial collapse of 2008, as well as surviving both her husband and mother dying (in 2011 and 2010 respectively), Lori was at a crossroads in her life. She was also in a bit of financial panic. And had to figure something out. Lori decided to just go for it.... starting the Thunderbird Lodge Retreat. Her vision is to create an oasis in the desert with comfortable, charming spaces for adventurous, artistic travelers.

Consequently, the project turned out to be a perfect outlet for Lori's creative sensibilities. She is a lifelong artist who always had an interest in tools. Lori infuses each Thunderbird Lodge Retreat cabin with unique touches. These include custom tile work, eclectic vintage furnishings, shadow boxes, and, in the case of the new Ranch House, a Western "town." The town, El Dorado, is in the Ranch House backyard and features a saloon with gaming tables.

Lori is particularly committed to incorporating recycled materials into each of her cabins. This allows her to not only to divert the waste stream but also take advantage of the aesthetic beauty in the scavenged objects. The history imbued in the objects also adds to the character of each Thunderbird Lodge Retreat cabin. While much of the carpentry and creative work in the houses is completed by Lori, she is also grateful for the building skills that she has learned from others. Lori has received tremendous support from a number of friends and relatives, including her cousins and brothers, among many others.

In 2011, she converted her first homesteader cabin, the Shell House. Today, she has 6 operating vacation rental spaces and is currently working on her seventh cabin.

Thunderbird Lodge Retreat completely transformed Lori's life. The project took her from a very difficult period of her personal history to an ideal job and lifestyle. It allows her to funnel her natural creative talents and interests into developing unique vacation experiences in this very special spot of the Mojave Desert. She also has the great pleasure to meet some truly amazing people who visit from around the world.

Response rate: 100%
Response time: within an hour

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