Death Valley’s Hottest Hotels
PHOTO: Mineral-fed pool at the Inn at Furnace Creek. (Photo courtesy of Furnace Creek Resort)
For such a desolate location, Death Valley has a variety of options when it comes to lodging. You wouldn’t think that its location in one of the hottest, lowest and driest deserts in the world would be able to provide such a lush oasis, but it does. Situated under Death Valley is a vast and ancient aquifer, which allows the region to provide convenient guest accommodations in a variety of categories, from tent camping to luxury bungalows.
The Inn at Furnace Creek
The 66-room Inn at Furnace Creek is referred to as the “Jewel of Death Valley.” It is recognized as one of the Historic Hotels of America and has received the Four Diamond Award from the Automobile Association of America. The inn was built in the 1920s and opened to guests in 1927. It features a spring-fed pool, palm gardens, a gift shop, the Stargazers Deck, and a restaurant that offers views of the entire valley.
There are a variety of accommodation options at the property. The Pool bungalow is a unique room just steps away from swimming and offers views of the valley, a queen-size bed and a full bath. Suite rooms a king-size bed as well as an attached living room. Luxury spa rooms are available with two king beds or two double beds. There’s a shared deck/terrace as well as a spa tub in these rooms. Deluxe rooms are available in a variety of configurations from double/twin-bed rooms to king rooms. Standard king rooms take advantage of views of the oasis garden or the Panamint Mountains. Standard hillside rooms are intimate, but lack the views of some of the other guestroom categories.
Furnace Creek Ranch
Furnace Creek Ranch is a 224-room family-friendly lodging option at 191 feet below sea level. Guests will find everything they need from dining options and activities to a general store.
There are three types of lodging at the ranch – cabins, standard rooms and deluxe accommodations. Cabin units are the least expensive option, close to the reception area, the general store and the dining options. The units are free-standing duplexes that offer two double beds or one queen-size bed. The rooms are equipped with air conditioning, hair dryers, in-room coffee makers, a mini refrigerator, a television, a phone and bathrooms with a shower only.
Standard rooms are larger and part of two large two-story buildings that are located toward the back of the resort property on a part of the golf course. They have French doors with patios or balconies. Each room has two queen-size beds and all of the amenities that are also in the cabins.
Deluxe rooms are located in two, single-story buildings that are across from the pool, tennis courts and playground. A large, grassy lawn with several large firepits separates the guestrooms from the pool, playground and tennis courts. Most of these rooms have two queen-size beds, but a few offer a single, king-size bed.
For those looking for a more rustic experience, camping is popular in the valley. There are three national park campgrounds that surround Furnace Creek Ranch, and the resort operates the Fiddlers Campground, located next to the Furnace Creek Golf Course. There are campsites for tent camping as well as RV parking with full hook-ups.
There are so many things to see and do at the ranch in addition to everything that you can do at the park. On-site they have a spring-fed swimming pool that is heated to 84 degrees. It can get quite chilly in the winter time and the pool is the perfect place to kick back after a long day of hiking.
They also have stables on the property, as exploring Death Valley on horseback is one of the coolest ways to see the park. The stables offer one- and two-hour guided trail rides as well as carriage and hay rides in a covered wagon in the evenings. The one-hour horseback ride takes you out onto the valley floor and the two-hour ride travels into the footsteps of the Funeral Mountains with views of the valley. The carriage ride takes guests around the golf course – the lowest in the world – and through the date palm grove.
Bike rentals are also available at the resort in winter, spring and fall. They offer a variety of sizes for the whole family and rentals are available by the hour, half-day or full-day. The national park has information on biking the park, including a variety of trails perfect for every level of cyclist.
For golf enthusiasts, a round on the world’s lowest links is pretty much a must. And, being the lowest in the world is not the course’s only claim to fame. Golf Digest named it one of the 50 toughest courses and it was recently featured on Secret Golf on CBS Sports Network.
For those interested in something a little more on the adventurous side, guests can rent Jeep Wranglers from Farabees Jeep Rentals or try one of their organized Jeep tours. A popular choice is the ride through Titus Canyon, a road that is best accessed by four-wheel-drive or at least a vehicle with high-clearance. The tour includes a visit to one of the country’s famous ghost towns in the former town of Rhyolite, Nevada.
Both the inn and the ranch offer tennis courts. There's also a massage room, where there are a variety of relaxing treatments available, including swedish massage, hot-stone treatments and more.
There are even more opportunities for activities through the visitors center located next to Furnace Creek Ranch, including interactive stargazing, guided hikes and educational talks in the evenings. Death Valley is designated as an International Dark Sky Area and the stars are a sight to behold. You can view the Milky Way with the naked eye here, but the visitors center sets up telescopes for guests to view other galaxies.
One of the best times to visit is coming up soon – the wildflower season puts this desert landscape in full view. This year, due to some extra rainfall, the flowers are supposed to be even more spectacular than usual. Head to the valley in late February to take advantage of one of the best times to see the flowers.
More by Janeen Christoff
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