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Sure, you can check the ratings on a vacation rental, but the only real way to know if it will live up to your expectations is a recommendation from someone you trust. In Homes Away From Home, we round up the best spots according to the coolest creatives; our favorite designer-owned stays; and more.

Since first opening their 1949 hacienda in California’s Joshua Tree to overnighters in 2015, Rich and Sara Combs’s vacation rental portfolio has grown to span five properties and two deserts (the second being Arizona’s Sonoran). At this point, the duo hosts more than 3,000 guests a year; they’re well acquainted with what takes someone’s experience from good to great. “Focusing on the little details of a guest stay is how we show them that they’re special—whether it’s our curated playlist, a thoughtful hook on a wall, or a handmade sponge holder,” says Sara. “These personal touches add a human element.” Below, she shares a few of Joshua Tree House’s most popular amenities. But shoppers, beware: Your own visitors might never want to leave.

Tuft & Needle Linen Sheet Sets and Original Foam Pillows

A bedroom at the JTH Casita. Photo Courtesy of Sara & Rich Combs

These sheets are such a great combination of price and quality. We started using them after getting the brand’s mattresses and pillows—it’s just so convenient as a host picking up everything from one place. An incredibly high percentage of guests tell us after a stay that it’s the best night of sleep they’ve had in a long time, and to us that’s the foundation of a stellar experience.

Ceramic Sponge Holders From Moonshine Design Shop

The kitchen at the JTH Cabin. Photography by Tim Melideo Photography

We use these in our kitchens to hold the sponge in a beautiful and sanitary way. It’s a tiny yet fun detail that we get so many comments about.

speckled white sponge holder
Ceramic Sponge Holder by Moonshine Design Shop, Etsy ($24)

Tribe + True Blankets

The firepit at JTH Posada. Photo Courtesy of Tribe + True

We always provide stacks of blankets in each of our spaces to make our guests feel at home. Tribe + True is a small brand that ethically hand-weaves blankets with artisans in Oaxaca and Tlaxcala, Mexico, and Gallup, New Mexico.

woman carrying cream and black blanket
Sahara Handwoven Blanket in Midnight Sandstone, Tribe + True ($128)

P.F. Candle Co. Reed Diffusers and Room Sprays

The Creosote Suite’s living area at JTH Posada. Photo Courtesy of Sara & Rich Combs

We love creating a full sensory experience for our guests, which includes everything from our New Moon playlist to P.F. Candle Co.’s diffusers and room sprays. Our go-to scents are Teakwood & Tobacco and Piñon; both remind us of the desert. A diffuser in the living room is a lovely first impression, and a spray in the bathroom adds the courtesy of a fresh-smelling space.