- I spent a night in an Airstream trailer hotel room at Autocamp’s new Joshua Tree location.
- The Airstream felt like a comfortable and luxurious hotel room with more amenities than I needed.
- The location opened in January and is already seeing strong occupancy and some fully booked weekends.
Downsized living in a RV has always sounded appealing to me.
But as someone who suffers from near chronic car sickness, I don’t know if I could bear life on the road.
Luckily, a popular chain of luxury campgrounds using Airstream trailers as hotel rooms is growing across the US, giving travelers like me a chance to live out our RV dreams.
The camping and “glamping” market has grown throughout COVID-19 as travelers continue craving outdoor off-grid vacations.
And at an average of $249 per night for an Airstream suite, Autocamp’s Joshua Tree location is certainly a glamping site.
Like other popular luxury campsites sites, Autocamp’s properties have accommodation options like small cabins and spacious tents in lieu of traditional hotel rooms or do-it-yourself camping sites.
But its crème de la crème rooms are its popular Airstream trailers that have been converted into hotel rooms, hence the name of the brand.
“Airstream is what the brand is about,” Jason Brannan, the general manager at AutoCamp, told Insider in 2021.
And it seems like travelers can’t get enough of these hotel rooms on wheels.
The new location opened in January just before Joshua Tree’s peak springtime travel season.
It’s only been open for a few months, but the glamping site is already seeing “really high occupancy on weekends and really great occupancy on weekdays” with festival weekends booking out completely, Taylor Davis, Autocamp’s vice president of brand marketing, told Insider.
The Airstreams appeal to both the public’s recent desire for downsized living and feelings of nostalgia, especially for people who have fond childhood memories of traveling in an Airstream.
But this doesn’t mean Autocamp relies on old Airstreams to create its nostalgic look.
Autocamp isn’t in the business of refurbishing old RVs to turn into hotel rooms.
Instead, it worked with its investor Airstream to create and manufacture an Autocamp model.
Unlike the typical “silver bullet” trailers, Autocamps’ Airstreams are stationary.
This means the trailers can be outfitted with heavier accessories like a larger water heater and a tiled shower to create a more comfortable and luxurious interior.
In August 2021, I spent a night at Autocamp’s popular Yosemite location.
And in early May, I visited the new Joshua Tree location for another night inside one of the location’s 55 rooms.
There were more similarities than differences between the Yosemite and Joshua Tree locations but my verdict is still the same: I prefer the luxurious trailers over any hotel room I’ve ever stayed in.
Let’s take a look inside.
Think of the trailers as a long studio apartment.
The 31-foot hotel rooms’ interiors feel surprisingly large for a tiny home on wheels …
… and contain enough amenities to sustain an extended stay.
Inside, there’s a bathroom, living room, kitchen, and bedroom.
And outside, there’s a fire pit and dining area covered by a shade structure to save campers from the beating desert heat.
The biggest difference between the Airstream suites at Joshua Tree and Yosemite is the structures above the dining table.
Besides this, both trailers looked almost identical.
The Joshua Tree area gets blisteringly hot during summer afternoons and can hit below freezing during frigid winter nights.
To accommodate guests during these weather extremes, all of the Airstreams come with heaters and air conditioning units.
The cool air conditioner was a necessary reprieve from the arid heat I was confronted with when I visited Joshua Tree on a warm spring day.
And because the Airstream was stationary, I didn’t have to worry about the air conditioner draining any limited power source.
The bathroom was modern and contemporary and had the four basics: a sink, toilet, shower, and mirror.
The windows, white and black accents, minimal decor, and uniform Ursa Major products made the bathroom feel luxurious, contemporary, and clean.
My only complaint was the lackluster water pressure, but I should’ve expected this.
Besides this minor complaint, the bathroom was pristine and modern, comparable to the ones I’d expect in a small high-end hotel room.
A sliding door separated the bathroom from the adjacent living room and kitchen.
Here, a comfortable couch and small side table became my temporary desk when it was too hot to work outside.
Another side table separated this couch from the joint kitchen pantry and closet.
This storage unit was lined with cabinets that tucked away amenities like a microwave, mini-refrigerator …
… cooking utensils, robes, and clothing hangars.
The kitchen countertop sat right across from this large storage unit. But don’t expect any stove tops in this kitchen.
All the cooking happens in the microwave or at the fire pit outside.
I choose to cook my dinner over the fire with the cast iron skillet and cooking utensils available in all the Airstreams, which was more fun than cooking on any stovetop I’ve used before.
There may be no stovetop, but the kitchen space still had a sink, large countertop, and drawers and cabinets with cutlery …
… ground coffee beans, a water heater, a French press …
… dishware, and glassware.
There were more than enough tools for my one night inside the trailer.
Like the bathroom, a sliding door separated the bedroom from the living room and kitchen.
The window-lined bedroom came with a comfortable queen bed …
… plenty of outlets to satisfy travelers who aren’t looking to unplug …
… and a television.
The excess natural light from all the windows made the bedroom feel larger than it really was.
When I pulled back all the curtains and blinds, the bedroom was immediately flooded with direct light from all windows.
Like the rest of the trailer, this room is simple with minimal decor.
But the clean decorations, large windows, and white walls made the small bedroom feel large and airy.
This seems to be the general takeaway from my night in Autocamp Joshua Tree’s Airstream suite.
The 31-foot-long trailer felt spacious and uncluttered with more amenities than I could’ve ever used during my one-night stay.
Simple features like the amber glass jars filled with bath products, a comfortable bed, large windows, and a tiled bathroom made the trailer feel more high-end than the average hotel room.
And I love camping, but I can’t deny that sleeping on a plush queen bed definitely felt nicer than camping on the hard ground.
The consistency of the suites across the two Autocamp locations I’ve visited makes me believe the brand’s accommodations will be comfortable and high quality no matter the location.
And I definitely prefer glamping inside of a luxurious RV over sleeping in a drab hotel room.
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