The Reimagined Ranch at Death Valley: Better Than Ever
The arrival area has been reimagined as a Spanish Colonial Revival town square, complete with new eco-friendly, energy-efficient buildings that are replacing outdated structures.
Welcome to the new and improved Ranch at Death Valley. After this year’s successful relaunch of the historic four-diamond Inn at Death Valley following the largest renovation project in the hotel’s history, now it’s the ranch’s moment in the spotlight.
The more casual, family-oriented sister of the Inn, the Ranch has undergone a facelift and redesign that promises to make this longtime favorite better than ever for the visitors that come to the Oasis at Death Valley from around the world.
Meet the Ranch at Death Valley
Set on the valley floor below and a short distance from the Inn, the Ranch has its own identity, history, and atmosphere. With a true western atmosphere, some liken it to a combination of a dude ranch and a national park lodge. The ranch borders the challenging Furnace Creek Golf Course, the world’s lowest golf course, as well as a majestic, oasis-like date palm grove that’s currently being restored to its historic splendor.
Although originally a working ranch that was built in the 1930s, most of its structures date to the 1950s. With a classic mid-century feel, the ranch offers 244 rooms in several low-slung one- and two-story buildings arranged around broad lawns. Many rooms open onto patios, while others have balconies overlooking the grounds
The biggest changes at the ranch will be immediately apparent when you arrive.
The arrival area has been reimagined as a Spanish Colonial Revival town square, complete with new eco-friendly, energy-efficient buildings that are replacing outdated structures.. Without increasing water usage at the resort, the square’s lush new landscaping and gardens creates a garden-like setting with walkways, rustling palm trees, and a fountain for a centerpiece. There are even hitching posts and troughs for guests who ride over on horseback.
The town square has turned the old arrival area into a new gathering place for ranch guests. The square also serves as the main (and improved) business district for the resort, where you’ll find a general store stocked with both provisions and souvenirs. Dining options include an updated version of the Ranch’s beloved and authentic Western-style saloon. Now known as The Last Kind Words Saloon, it still has swinging doors straight out of an old Western movie and also offers a bigger and better bar area.
Not only is the town square beautiful but the more verdant landscaping produces a cooling effect that will be most welcome during Death Valley’s hotter times of the year. And it’s also more pedestrian friendly: The new traffic patterns are thoughtfully designed to keep guests and vehicles as separate as possible.
Classic Ranch Experiences
For all of the enhancements, some things haven’t changed at the Ranch. While you’ll no doubt spend time exploring Death Valley National Park (its Furnace Creek Visitor Center is right next door), you could easily fill your days without ever leaving the property.
This is a place to enjoy such classic family vacation pleasures as horseshoes. Take a horseback ride into the desert or sit back and enjoy the beauty of the golf course and date palm grove on a carriage ride with Furnace Creek Stables. For more active fun, shoot baskets on the basketball court and play matches on the ranch’s tennis courts.
And no matter how hot or cold (and it does get cool sometimes), the waters of the ranch’s soothing, spring-fed pool stay a steady 87 degrees. In other words, they don’t need changing at all.
How to Explore
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 AAA Four Diamond, 66-room and 22 casita Inn at Death Valley and the family-oriented, 224-room Ranch at Death Valley. The entire resort is at the tail end of a complete renaissance with an extensive renovation to be completed in the fall 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 oasisatdeathvalley.com or call 800-236-7916.
For more travel experiences to Beautiful Places on Earth™ available from 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.