A Historic Desert Resort is Reborn

A Historic Desert Resort is Reborn

Written by: , April 16th, 2018

When regulars get their first look at the new and improved 66-room inn, they’ll be thrilled to discover that this beloved hotel, which opened in 1927, has maintained its historic character despite undergoing the most extensive upgrades in decades.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or returning guest, the recently renovated Inn at Death Valley is bound to surprise you.

Newcomers are always shocked to arrive and find a AAA Four Diamond hotel in the middle of one of the world’s most famous — and notorious — desert wildernesses. But when regulars get their first look at the new and improved 66-room inn, they’ll be thrilled to discover that this beloved hotel, which opened in 1927, has maintained its historic character despite undergoing the most extensive upgrades in decades.

The fact is that this wasn’t just a renovation, but a renaissance for the iconic inn.

Inn Front

Arriving at the Inn

The improvements are apparent from the moment you pull up to the hotel. Recently planted bougainvillea and palm trees line the driveway, and instead of the old parking lot outside the entrance, a new garden area with a romantic fountain looks out over the valley. Along the hotel terrace, the addition of pergolas has created shaded areas that are ideal for taking in Death Valley’s dramatic desert sunsets while enjoying a drink or glass of wine from the redesigned hotel bar.

Inside, the lobby features new terra-cotta floors with decorative tile insets and a tranquil library room, where you can look browse through books about Death Valley. Behind the front desk, a vintage-style map combines with the lobby’s Western artwork to add to the historic ambience.

All that and you still haven’t checked in.


A Room at the Inn

The Renovated Rooms

As for the guest rooms, they retain their traditional character even after being updated with the kinds of contemporary touches that you’re looking for in an upscale 21st-century hotel. The beds, for example, feature graceful, arched wooden headboards with hints of Old West style, but also incorporate retractable LED reading lights. Fine-art color landscape photographs bring the stark splendor of Death Valley right into the rooms, and as much as you might want to close yourself off from the outside world, large flat-screen televisions offer more than 60 viewing choices, including movie channels. Plus, there’s free Wi-Fi.

The bathrooms have a classic design that integrates three kinds of tile work: walls of subway tile, a border of colorful decorative tile that recalls the craftsmanship popular in California architecture in the 1920s and 1930s, and intricate, geometrically patterned black-and-white tile mosaic floors. Freestanding console sinks with polished-nickel faucets enhance the stylish, yet timeless feeling of the bathrooms. And in keeping with the inn’s commitment to sustainability, showers are outfitted with low-flow, high-performance showerheads.

While the elegant, yet comfortable rooms all offer such touches as Keurig coffee makers and ceiling fans, because the inn was originally built in several phases, there’s a bit of variation in layout, depending on where you are in the hotel. That’s part of the inn’s charm. Some rooms in the main hotel building open onto shared balconies that overlook the refurbished gardens and the Panamint Range across the valley, while choices in the single-level Terrace Wing, which was originally built in 1928, offer easy access to the inn’s irresistible spring-fed swimming pool.

Inn Casita

Opening Soon: 22 Casitas

The biggest change to the inn will come in the summer of 2018. That’s when the hotel’s 22 new casita units open for guest stays. With red-tile roofs and built in a style that blends seamlessly with the inn’s historic Mission Revival architecture, these distinctive duplexes surround the lush gardens at the lower reaches of the property.

Because there’s no direct access by private vehicle, each casita gets its own golf cart. The casitas offer an added measure of privacy, as well as such luxurious touches as separate living rooms, wet bars, and private patios — perfect for listening to the date palms rustle with Death Valley’s famous desert winds.


Casita room

The Oasis at Death Valley in Furnace Creek is situated in a lush oasis surrounded by the vast and arid desert of Death Valley National Park — just 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas and 275 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The resort encompasses two hotels — the historic Inn at Death Valley and the family-oriented, 224-room Ranch at Death Valley. The entire resort is undergoing a complete renaissance with an extensive $100 million renovation to be completed in the spring of 2018. The resort includes natural spring-fed pools, an 18-hole golf course, horse and carriage rides, world-renowned stargazing, and is surrounded by Death Valley National Park’s main attractions. For information and reservations, visit The Oasis at Death Valley or call 800-236-7916.


For more travel experiences to Beautiful Places on Earth™ available from the Xanterra Travel Collection® and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com/explore.

Written by: Matt Jaffe

Specializing in California, the Southwest, and Hawaii, Matt Jaffe is an award-winning former senior writer at Sunset magazine and contributes to a variety of publications, including Los Angeles, Arizona Highways, and Westways. His books include The Santa Monica Mountains: Range on the Edge and Oaxaca: The Spirit of Mexico.