Treehouse yurt earns near 5-star rating
By Brittany Anderson
DRIPPING SPRINGS — Booking an Airbnb over a traditional hotel room has become an increasingly popular choice for travelers in recent years and a local host was recently recognized for offering something unique for Hill Country explorers.
Derek Stevens and his wife Alex have been hosting guests in their treehouse-style yurt, called the Tangled Oak Yurt in Dripping Springs, since January 2022. The stunning listing and its surrounding property, plus impeccable customer service from the Stevenses, recently landed them the “Top New Host in Texas” recognition from Airbnb.
The recognition is part of a wider report from Airbnb last month that highlighted the top new host in each state.
The criteria for being named top new host included becoming a first-listing host in 2022, having the most guest check-ins within that area and achieving “Superhost” status on the platform.
Derek said that he and Alex, who are both originally from the Dripping Springs area, began tossing ideas back and forth with his father about what to do with a family-owned piece of land a few years ago. Eventually, the idea snowballed into creating an Airbnb.
“Between talking with him and my wife, we wanted to offer something unique from everybody else’s Airbnbs,” Derek said. “We kind of want to fall somewhere between a rural camping experience with all the modern amenities. We wanted something unique that would catch people’s eyes; we wanted people to stay and explore the growing area of Dripping Springs.”
The yurt is conveniently located just 10 miles west of downtown Dripping Springs off Highway 290. It’s also only 15 minutes from Blanco and 20 minutes from Johnson City.
“It’s nestled between a very popular growing area that has tons of wineries, breweries, wedding venues and more,” Derek said.
Currently, the Stevenses’ yurt has a 4.97 star rating with more than 100 check-ins, garnering commendable reviews in areas like cleanliness, communication and value. The yurt itself is a 16-sided wooden cabin with tons of windows and a 4-foot circular skylight dome. It is located on 9 acres of land and nestled under the canopy of a 300-year-old oak tree.
The yurt also features a front deck, swings, propane grill and fire pit and other comfort essentials like heat and air conditioning, a queen sized bed, kitchenette, full-sized bathroom and a Roku TV.
Of course, achieving this recognition from Airbnb as a host doesn’t come easily. Derek said that the key is communicating with guests by being “always understanding and reachable.” Plus, it’s just a “very photogenic piece of property.”
“We’re definitely very grateful and surprised,” Derek said. “From a hosting standpoint, we wanted to offer all the little details that maybe people just don’t think about. So before we opened, my wife and I stayed there and made a list of what would be cool, unique touches that people would remember.”
You can book your stay at the Tangled Oak Yurt at bit.ly/3IoF2aT. The Stevenses are also in the process of building a second yurt on the property, set to open in a month or so.