04 Mar The Inn Oasis at Death Valley
After graduating from UCLA, JIll traveled the world looking for unique destinations. She’s been writing about her travels for almost 30 years in various publications.
She writes a weekly restaurant review for the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News. It’s inserted into the Los Angeles Times every Thursday and delivered to subscribers from Hancock Park to Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills to the Wilshire Corridor.
The Inn Oasis at Death Valley
BY JILL WEINLEIN
With all cold and rain, my husband and I decided to escape the downpour and drive to Death Valley. Located two hours from Las Vegas and four hours from Los Angeles, the desert oasis offers ancient waters bubbling up from the ground, rugged topography, sand dunes, craters, and flood-carved canyons. All provide insight to the areas geologic history.
During the winter months, rain is rare and the snow capped mountains are breathtaking In February the temperature is in the pleasant 70s. During March the temperatures warms to the low 80s and by April it can reach 90 degrees. Be careful to visit in the summer months, the highest temperature recorded was 134 °F on July 10, 1913.
Back in 1927, the Pacific Borax Company decided to get into the hospitality business and hired Los Angeles architect Albert C. Martin to design and build twelve rooms at The Inn at Death Valley. Landscape architect Daniel Hull created the property to look like an oasis in the middle of the desert. One year later, ten Mission style rooms were added to complete the U shaped terrace. A few years later 21 more rooms were added, each with their own private balcony and fireplace.
We checked into one of those rooms. It was spacious with a king sized bed, large bathroom with a walk-in shower and a back door leading out to the garden oasis.
We learned that when the Death Valley Railroad closed in 1930, so tourists start visiting the area in their own vehicles. Soon the first nine-hole Furnace Creek Golf Course was built on what was once an ancient seabed, 214 feet below sea level. Later in 1968, noted designer William F. Bell expanded the course to a full 18 holes, and in 1997 Perry Dye of Dye Designs refurbished the golf course.
Another fun fact we learned was that America’s 31st President Herbert Hoover signed a proclamation creating Death Valley a National Monument in February 1933. This resulted in a temporary closing of monument lands to prospecting and the filing of new mining claims. However by prior agreement the monument was quickly reopened to prospecting and mining by Congressional action in June of the same year.
Tourism blossomed in 1952 with the success of the Death Valley Days radio show. Later a television series aired for 16 years bringing even more visitors and Hollywood stars including Clark Gable and Ronald Reagan to visit and stay at The Inn.
When the Furnace Creek Inn became a member of Historic Hotels of America in the 1990s, guest rooms were refurbished and the warm spring-fed swimming pool was retiled in a mosaic palm frond motif.
Another renaissance took place in 2017, when the Furnace Creek Resort is renamed The Oasis at Death Valley. The newly rebranded resort contains The Inn at Death Valley (formerly known as The Inn at Furnace Creek) and The Ranch at Death Valley (formerly known as Furnace Creek Ranch).
A $50-million makeover, soon turns into a $100 million refurbishment as the owners discover deferred plumbing and electrical at The Inn. It’s replaced and decor is revitalized in the guest rooms, dining room, lobby and pool area.
Soon 22 new luxury casitas are added at the Inn’s Oasis Garden. Each stand-alone offers over 500 square feet of living space and comes with a complimentary golf cart for guests to drive around the resort. There is a tastefully decorated living room with a sleeper sofa and wet bar. A separate bedroom with either a King bed or two Queen beds. Each casita is within walking distance to the swimming pool, pool cafe and bar, spa, sauna and gym.
On our last night we visited The Ranch for dinner at the new 1849 saloon. Besides 224 guest rooms, many with golf course views, there is a new town hall, large store for provisions and souvenirs, and a 1849 buffet restaurant. Guests can tour the Borax museum, swim in the spring-fed 80 degree pool, play basketball or tennis next to a children’s playground. The Ranch also offers horseback and carriage rides at the stable.
After dinner we walked outside and looked up into the midnight sky. Death Valley is one of the only sanctioned Dark Skies in America where you can see the Milky Way.
Escape the cold and explore one of the most picturesque spots in California.
For additional information, call 760-786-2345 or visit www.oasisatdeathvalley.com.