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“Stay at the Ranch, Not the Inn”

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The Oasis at Death Valley (formerly Furnace Creek Resort)
Reviewed 11 April 2012

You have two choices in Death Valley - the Inn or the Ranch. The Inn is obviously very nice, and much more expensive. I think it was $199 for the Ranch vs. $350 for the Inn. I didn't see the rooms at the Inn, but we had dinner there. The food was actually very good at the Inn - definitely worth the one mile trip, and have a drink on the deck overlooking the valley too. But for value, stay at the Ranch. We had a lovely room overlooking the golf course. Not all rooms have such a great view - some look over at the other buildings, but if you can, get a room overlooking the golf course. Rooms have a balcony with french doors, table and chairs. Quite lovely to sit out there was a glass of something. Room had two double beds, very comfortable. Staff was friendly. Overall, the Ranch has more amenities - stables, museum, two restaurants plus a bar, general store, pool, playground etc. The Inn has lovely grounds but seems a bit stodgy and boring.

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the golf course
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank MarleenLee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 11 April 2012

We decided to splurge and stay at this expensive hotel because of its reputation and because we wanted a lovely evening in Death Valley. Unfortunately, the mechanism for the draining the bath tub broke before we got there and the tub would not drain. We discovered it at night when we tried to wash our feet before going to bed. At first the hotel was unable to commit to finding someone to fix it. When they did, the first one they sent was unable to fix it, so he called for a maintenance person who came quickly, but was unable to fix it. Though the problem was not difficult to fix, his problem was that he did not have a big enough screwdriver to open the cover and free up the stopper. We would have to wait until the morning, after 8 to get someone in to fix the drain, so we could take showers. This put our whole next day on hold and instead of a nice picnic breakfast somewhere in Death Valley, we had to wait around for them to figure it out. As compensation, we were only offered 20% off of our bill. When I asked for more, they gave half off, but in retrospect, we got a better value at a Comfort Suites the next night for 1/4 the price.

It's a beautiful spot, though, and you are paying for the privilege of staying there. On the other hand, the management of the hotel should take into account that guests are paying a lot and have a better maintenance staff on hand for moments like this.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Tim H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Xanterra, Manager at The Oasis at Death Valley (formerly Furnace Creek Resort), responded to this reviewResponded 16 April 2012

Thank you for your feedback on the Furnace Creek Inn.

I sincerely apologize for the drain issue you experienced in your room. After reading your comments I was frustrated by the though of this problem and the inconvenience it likely caused you. Your room should have been in 100% functioning condition upon arrival. And since our maintenance crew wasn't able to fix it immediately, you should have been offered to relocate to another room. I apologize if this option was not offered. I am, however, relieved that a staff member was able to secure a 50% discount for you to hopefully make up for the inconvenience.

I hope this maintenance issue doesn't prevent you from returning to Furnace Creek and staying at this lodge again. Should you decide to return, please contact me so I can make sure you are fully satisfied with your accommodations.

Rich Jones
General Manager
Furnace Creek Resort

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2012

My wife and I stayed here in early Feb 2012 while participating in a Gary Hart photography workshop. Three venues for meals on the property. Clean and comfortable rooms. Great service. Came back from shooting photos one morning and found water leaking from behind the shower wall. Notified the staff and within minutes help was on the way. Initially told we would have to change rooms. Left for a couple hours and upon returning found the problem fixed and we didn't have to move. The breakfast and lunch buffets offer a reasonable variety. Food was a little expensive but considering the location that's not surprising. My wife and I plan to stay there again next Feb for a couple days enroute to another workshop.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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Thank AA3RR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2012

We just got back from three nights at the ranch. We had a second floor room with a balcony. The room was clean and nicely decorated, cable television, mini fridge, rocking chairs on the balcony. The room was very quiet--no hallway noise, etc. The pool was delicious. The restaurants offered variety but i would recommend bringing some food as well because the prices were high. We brought a case of water that probably saved us $50 lol. I had read about the hotel at stove pipe wells and panamint springs ---we only drove past them so it may not be fair-but the ranch far surpassed them. We went inside the Inn at furnace creek to check out the gift shop and truly it looked dull--stuffy--whereas the ranch was full of life with kids and people throwing frisbees, enjoying picnics etc. i used trip advisor to make my hotel pick and very much felt i had made the right choice.

Room Tip: I got the impression the second floor rooms were considered less desireable but it was more than fin...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank frtwaynie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2012

We stayed at Furnace Creek Ranch for two nights on March 14th and 15th, 2012. We booked our room online and they require a two night stay. We drove in from the Stove Pipe Wells side of the park and by the time we got to the park entrance the visitor center was closed. We saw a ranger and he told us we would have to drive back in the morning to get our pass. The good news is that there is a visitor center right at Furnace Creek too so getting our pass was quick in the morning.

The Furnace Creek Ranch and Inn are two separate properties about a half mile apart and on opposite sides of the street. The Ranch is the one that has the Chevron station (gas just under $6 per gallon, make sure you fill up before you enter the park to save a few bucks…I still needed a few gallons, but visited most of the sites), Visitor Center, and Golf Course. The check-in desk is immediately as you pull into the property toward the Gas Station. It is in a low one story building. The process was fairly quick and they staff seemed to know a lot about the Park. The “Ranch” itself is a nice place and reminds me a lot of a theme campground. As you drive back to your room you pass thru “town” there is a little museum, the restaurants and stores, and the golf course…all with a western town theme.

The rooms are either cabins…which are really rows of one story rooms or standard or deluxe rooms in a two story building. The cabins are closer to the restaurants and the rooms are all the way at the back of the property by the stables and walking to dinner can take a few minutes. You could always drive and I think many do. We were in a deluxe room on the bottom floor. Our room had two queen beds, a small table with two chairs, a nightstand with alarm clock, a dresser, mini-refrigerator, coffee maker, hair dryer, sink with mirror outside of the bathroom, closet, Heat/AC, and a back porch with two chairs and a small table. Our building also had an ice machine and pop and snack vending machines. Everything worked as was clean. The only complaint was that it was hard to find parking close to your room if you were staying in the back buildings.

We did not spend much time at all at the ranch as we wanted to go out and see the sights in the park. There is a 9-hole golf course that in hindsight, I wish I had made time to play. It is the lowest golf course in the world so they guarantee you will have a low round. We did go for a walk around the perimeter of the course and it looked nice. We saw a male roadrunner calling and displaying for an unseen female and there is a solar panel farm that is neat to check out…the panels track the sun. The ranch also has a small museum, but we only looked at the outside portion of the museum and the pieces they have displayed add to the western ambiance. The ranch store and the various restaurants are grouped together near the museum. They offer various horseback riding opportunities and we saw people heading out on their trips. The pool looked great and there were basketball and tennis courts, putting green, shuffleboard court, bocce ball court and bike rental among other various tour opportunities.

Unless you want to drive to Stovepipe Wells, dining options are limited to the three Ranch restaurants, the saloon, and the Dining room at the Inn. They had the menu for the Inn Dining Room displayed in front of the Ranch restaurants and it looked like more of an upscale dining experience. This didn’t seem to fit with our traipsing around the desert so we did not try the Inn. We looked in the Saloon and it looked like a fun place to hang out and they had a good sized menu so you could eat there too. We did not check out the 19th hole over by the golf course.

We did have dinner at the Wagon Wheel Steakhouse. We went there on a Thursday night about 8:00 PM and had to wait for a table. They gave us a pager and we hung out on the porch and 5 minutes later they were buzzing that our table was ready. The restaurant has great ambiance with a western gold town theme and the grill where they cook the steaks is visible. The smell was awesome. There we a lot of people in there and the dress was casual…you are on a Ranch. I ordered the barbeque plate ($34) which was a half slab of ribs and a quarter chicken. It was great! Quality meat and cooked just right. Jodie got the Filet ($38) and she thought it was great too. We each had a couple prickly pear margaritas ($8) which we pretty good, but on the small side. They did have a desert menu but we were stuffed from our meals. Overall we enjoyed our meal but some might not want the $125 price tag for one meal.

We also ate dinner one night at 49'er Café. It is a nice little diner, again in the gold rush theme. They had an all American menu with the standard comfort foods and some things you might not suspect because it is right by the other restaurants. I had the Chicken Fried Pork Meal ($15) and Jodie had the Linguini Bolognese…both were very good and more than we could eat. We also each had one of the nightly drink specials ($9) and they were good but kind of small.

The high prices are somewhat justified as it is expensive to get anything to such a remote place. We did a few things to help make sure we did not have to spend too much on things we could just as easily bring. Right after we picked up our rental car we went to Wal-Mart and bought a cheap cooler, some ice, a case of bottled water, Gatorade, pop, beer, and snacks that would not melt. We also bought energy bars and doughnuts so we could eat breakfast out on the trails. We picked up two subs each right before we entered the park and this allowed us to stay out exploring while eating lunch. We also filled up our gas tank at the last big town before the park.

The sites: It is possible to see most of the sights in one long day. We went on a few hikes, rarely more than a mile in and back. The good news is almost every trail starts going up so when you turn around you have an easier walk back. Once you have walked a couple of the canyons they all are pretty similar so if you are finding you have too much to do, consider eliminating a canyon hike. Must Do’s: 1. Badwater Basin. Lowest point in North America, easy walk, handicap accessible, restrooms. 2. Artists Drive – Get to see some of the most colorful rocks with little effort. 3. Devil’s Golf Course – don’t need to spend much time but it give you an idea of how hard it would be to cross this area. 4. The Ubehebe Crater – only if you have never seen a volcanic crater. 5. Either Zabriskie Point or Dante’s View – Great panoramic views of valleys below. Great for sunsets and sunrises. 6. The best for last – the stars. They look great when you step out on the ranch grounds, but that pales compared to what you see if you take a short drive out of the lights of Furnace Creek. We drove about a mile to a turn-off road and got out of the car. It was the most amazing view of the stars I have ever seen…more than you ever imagined you could see with your naked eye. We had good binoculars so we had some even better views. Doesn’t matter how tired you are…you have to do this. Overall we enjoyed our stay in Death Valley.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Bobo185
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 April 2012

The cabins at Furnace Creek Ranch are nicely decorated, clean, roomy, comfortable and terrifically located. They included all the amenities: TV, phone, refrigerator. The pool while free to guests is open to all who paid a $5 fee, including campers, so the pool chairs were hard to come by, but the warm spring-fed pool is a nice temperature for a Spring day and very deep. For children, there is very little shallow area, no place for non-swimmers. They do allow pool floats, so bring these along. Don't expect to get your money's worth at the grocery store, restaurants or hotel---this is in the National Park and you pay for location and for food to be brought in. Compared to Stovepipe Wells, this location is much more central, food options are more varied, and the room is nicer, cleaner (because of the proximity of Stovepipe to the sand dunes in a sandstorm), better decorated and unlike Stovepipe Wells the showers run hot if you want them to.....but the pool at Stovepipe Wells is less crowded. Stovepipe runs about $50 dollars less a night after taxes for a room with a queen bed but without TV or phone, items I'm not looking for in a National Park....still, if it weren't for the money, I'd stay only here for the more central location (and to avoid the pelting sands of the sandstorm we experienced each day in Stovepipe Wells. One annoyance: our cabin had a parking space next to it, but not all cabins do, so parking is open....so we'd come back to our cabin to find people parked in "our space" and have to schlep our things from the general parking.

Room Tip: Ask for a cabin that has a parking space next to it....at least then you'll have a chance of bei...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Rooms
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Thank wishIwerent_here
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2012

We stayed at the Furnance Creek Ranch with our two kids (10 and 12 years old) for five days. The room was a little small but very clean. The mini refrigerator was nice as was the patio. The three restaurants at the ranch are average. There is a wide selection of menu items to pick from which was nice for my picky eater. I liked the takeout pizza option. Not surprising, the food is expensive, but that is what I expected in Death Valley. Overall the service was very good. The only onsite activities we did were the horseback riding and pool. The western style trail ride was nice. The kids especially liked the warm spring fed pool--no chemicals. It was also good to have a general store at the ranch.

Stayed: March 2012
Thank Elizabeth K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Oasis at Death Valley (formerly Furnace Creek Resort)

Address: Highway 190, Death Valley National Park, CA 92328 (Formerly Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Resort)
Region: United States > California > Death Valley National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Death Valley National Park
Price Range: $365 - $731 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Oasis at Death Valley (formerly Furnace Creek Resort) 3.5*
Number of rooms: 290
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Oasis at Death, situated in a lush oasis surrounded by the vast and arid desert of Death Valley National Park, California is just 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada and 275 miles northeast of Los Angeles, California. This property hosts two hotels - the historic, 4-diamond, 66 room Inn at Death Valley and the more family oriented 224 room Ranch at Death Valley. The Inn at Death Valley offers guests elegant accommodations in the heart of Death Valley. This 4-diamond resort has operated for more than 86 years, and still pampers every guest. The Ranch at Death Valley has been welcoming guests since 1933 and offers a casual, family-like setting - the perfect complement to the classic elegance of the Inn at Death Valley. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Furnace Creek Inn And Ranch Hotel Death Valley National Park
Furnace Creek Resort
Furnace Creek Hotel
Furnace Creek Ranch
Furnace Creek Inn Death Valley

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