An image of cacti on the 29 Palms grounds
29 Palms Logo

Welcome to the
29 Palms Inn

For five generations, we have welcomed travelers to the desert through our doors. We take pride in being laid back and the stewards for this special place, it’s history, culture, and environment of the place we call home.

There is no shortage of adventures to be had in this weirdly wonderful place, terrain to experience, flora to see, an abundance of desert wildlife, a sprinkling of springs or oasis’s to find; ancient Native American history and so much more.

29 Palms Inn is just 40 minutes away from Palm Springs, 2 ½ hours from Los Angeles and 3 hours from Las Vegas.

Shirts, memorabilia in the front office as well as a handful of books in the Library
A sign at the front of 29 Palms with a desert landscape in the background

The Inn spans over 70 acres with the Oasis of Mara at the heart. The Oasis has been the site of life-giving waters for desert animals and humans for thousands of years. Originally, even more lush, with a series of springs stretching for nearly a mile across a southern portion of Twentynine Palms, from what is now the Oasis Visitor Center for Joshua Tree National Park to the 29 Palms Inn, the last remaining pond is still a landmark at the center of the property.

The Oasis of Mara, with a houseboat floating in the center

Some of Our Story


Harry Johansing and David Faries formed the Twentynine Palms Corporation. The company bought the 29 Palms Inn and 480 acres from Roberts (previous owner of the hotel).
An old black-and-white photograph of the in c 1929


Harry Johansing and David Faries divided their holdings and liquidated the Twentynine Palms Corporation. Johansing kept the Oasis with the 29 Palms Inn and some of the nearby acreage.
An illustration of a few Cacti


Harry and Millie Johansing’s daughter, Mary Claire, and her husband Robert “Bob” Van Lahr, newlyweds, relocated from Cincinnati to the desert and took over the operation of the 29 Palms Inn. Mary Claire was busy raising four very active “desert rats”, Anne, Mary, Jane and Leo, while Bob took care of running the Inn. The Inn flourished and provided a stimulating setting for raising a family.
Image of Van Lahr Family, from left to right: Anne, Robert


A fierce fire took down the main building of the Inn. The restaurant was relocated to a “temporary” location where it still operates today. The large adobe fireplace which remains standing close to the pond today was the central gathering spot for guests in the lobby of the old Inn.
A black-and-white photograph of the two palm trees next to the pool, c 1939


Jane and her family, husband Ron Grunt and 4 children: Heidi, Brock, Hans and Gretchen, move from the San Francisco Bay to take over the operations of the Inn from her parents, Bob and Mary Claire. Jane and Ron focus on completing much-needed repairs and maintaining the magical spirit of the oasis.
Ron Grunt in his sailboat on the Oasis of Mara


Breadmaking was made a part of the daily culinary fare when Alan Scott a friend from Marin County came to the desert to build two wood-burning ovens at the Inn. Later Rusty Bristol came from Vermont to train the staff in the art of sourdough bread baking. 
The Inn's freshly baked bread


The houseboat makes the pond its home. (The best way to hear this story is in person).
The Oasis of Mara, with a houseboat floating in the center


Christian, the 5th Grunt child born to roam and grow up at the Oasis. 
Cristian Grunt and friend digging holes in the desert


The kids are mostly grown, off doing their own thing, college, starting families, etc. But the Inn remains Home. Jane remarries Paul Smith. Heidi returns to share in some of the Inn-keeping responsibilities, sort of intermittently while trying to maintain a career as an RN, finally leaving and focusing on her career as a nurse.
Two polaroid images, Bob and Mary Claire posing infront of the 29 Palms Inn sign in the older photograph, and Jane and her husband are mimicking the photo in front of the current sign.


Gretchen returns from Central California and opens the 29 Palms Creative Center and Gallery.
Gretchen with child using a pottery wheel


Jane announces she’s feeling the need to retire and Heidi decides to continue the generational spirit of inn-keeping, with two of her five children, Aden and Ryan. 
3 generations of the Inn

July 22, 2021

Jane made her return to the earth. For 44 years she poured her absolute passion for caregiving and nourishing others into the business. Under her watch, the Inn blossomed to become even more of a place where people would come to renew their souls, taste delightful food, rest their bodies, be creative and discover the beauty of the desert. More clearly than others, she always saw potential in the people of this world and shared what she had to further this potential. Her positive outlook, creativity and endless energy was infectious, attracting talented visionaries from all over the world. 
The owner, Jane in the garden in the 80's


Together, the legacy of the Inn continues as a popular destination for creatives, writers, artists, amateur and professional photographers, a place of respite and rejuvenation and for those looking to escape to the desert’s vast wilderness. We'll leave you here from Land of Little Rain by Mary Austin “For all the toll the desert takes of a man it gives compensations, Deep breaths, deep sleep, and the communion of the stars."
A stylized sketch of a building at 29 Palms

Family picture of current owner and her five children