Friday, June 30, 2017

A True American Oasis In Death Valley Gets New Life

Smack in the middle of Death Valley is a true American oasis fueled by ancient waters that bubble up to the surface. Here, in one of the world’s most stunning and famous deserts, are gardens, date groves, trees, streams, birds and wildlife. Known to the Native Americans, discovered by the ‘49ers of the Gold Rush fame, and host to the legendary Borax Company 20 Mule Teams, it’s also home to one of the great hidden gems and vacation experiences in the United States: Furnace Creek Resort. This is where it's possible to see the Milky Way with the naked eye (due to the lack of light pollution) and where George Lucas filmed scenes from the original Star Wars movies because of the stunning natural beauty in daylight.


Built in the 1930s and expanded over the decades, it’s owned and operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, which just announced that it will invest tens of millions of dollars to elevate the guest and visitor experience and allow the legendary Inn and Ranch, as well as the famous golf course, to experience a true renaissance.

New Name

“Furnace Creek,” as it’s been known by generations, will re-emerge asThe Oasis at Death Valley” featuring “The Inn at Death Valley” and “The Ranch at Death Valley,” respectively. The golf course will retain its historic name as “The Furnace Creek Golf Course.”

TLC & An Experiential Elevation (Below Sea Level, Of Course)

Xanterra Parks & Resorts will “restore, revitalize and create a renaissance” in all three areas that comprise The Oasis at Death Valley. Three distinct experiences exist at this oasis: a historic luxury Inn set into the side of a mountain range; a Ranch on the desert floor featuring accommodations, restaurants, a general store, a U.S. Post Office, horse stables, date groves, gardens and a large spring-fed pool, a historical museum and a gas station; and a USGA sanctioned golf course (the lowest one on earth).

Work has already begun at Furnace Creek and, over the course of 2017, the properties will undergo major improvements and enhancements in accommodations, public spaces and facilities, accessibility, landscaping, energy conservation and major upgrades to the golf course. During the construction, the 66-room Inn at Furnace Creek will close for the summer, while the 224-room Ranch will stay open. The website ( offers updates and information on the improvements taking place at the Resort, Ranch and golf course.

“The Oasis in Death Valley is a truly special place on the American landscape. It's a resort steeped in history and lore, all embraced by one of the last pristine environments in the country.  Xanterra is excited with the opportunity to create a renaissance at the property that respects the past, evolves the guest experience and leaves a gentler footprint on this sacred land,” said Andrew Todd, President and CEO of Xanterra Parks & Resorts.

The Inn at Death Valley

Currently featuring 66 elegant rooms built in 1927, the upscale and refined Inn at Death Valley is nestled into the mountainside where the precious waters originate. The renaissance of The Inn will add 11 two-room casitas surrounding both the spring-fed pool and lush oasis gardens, offering travelers sweeping views of Death Valley. Updated rooms and lobby; a new wellness center, complete with treatment rooms and a larger fitness area; the addition of cabanas and a poolside bar will further enhance the natural spring-fed pool area in this historic resort. The exterior will feature a terraced garden and lush landscaping.

The Inn’s famous dining room and bar will undergo a restoration complete with wood floors, new banquette seating and a turquoise ceiling – to represent the sky above Death Valley. The new dining room will also add an array of pergolas so travelers can take-in the stunning landscape surrounding the Resort.

A new group and event space for high-level retreats rarified team-building experiences and memorable weddings will be added just steps away from The Inn. Called the Mission Gardens, the spectacular environment will capitalize on the standing fa├žade and open-air space that exists there and be artistically landscaped for social and business functions.

Construction is currently underway at The Inn and it will remain closed as usual through October and reopen at the end of October 2017. The Ranch will remain open during the summer and year round.

The Ranch at Death Valley

The Ranch at Death Valley, with its towering palm trees and true oasis atmosphere, will witness a redesign and evolution of the public space that dates to the 1950s. The vision is for a more user-friendly “town square” in Spanish Colonial Revival style to be more sensitive to the environment, reduce traffic flow and provide better access to restaurants and the general store, and complement the historic nature of The Inn.

And yes, there will still be the always-popular authentic Western Saloon with authentic swinging doors, just with a much needed and larger bar.

Guests and travelers visiting The Oasis will experience a completely new check-in area, family-friendly pedestrian zones, tranquil gardens and fountains fed by the natural springs, and respectful architectural touches (think hitching posts and troughs – which are still used by people with horses, which are still on property). The Oasis will be extremely environmentally sensitive and water neutral.

Work on The Ranch is expected to be completed in April 2018.

The Golf Course

The legendary and truly unique Furnace Creek Golf Course, built in phases starting in the 1920s and the lowest golf course in the world at 214 feet below sea level, has already received a major renovation, reclamation and environmentally- and golfer-friendly evolution mostly focused on reducing water consumption while at the same time enhancing the fun and challenging course with more natural “waste” bunkers and natural landscaping and “hazards.”  The course is expected to grow in and be ready for primetime in early spring 2018, but it is playable now. Purists can relax; the quirky 19th-hole drive-in for golf carts is still there serving refreshing drinks and a menu to whet the appetite after a day on the links.

The Oasis at Death Valley (formerly Furnace Creek Resort) is two hours west of Las Vegas by car and a four-hour drive from Los Angeles. For additional information, rates and to make a reservation, visit or call 800-236-7916.

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