Furnace Creek Inn, and its sister accommodation (Furnace Creek Ranch) amount to form Death Valley’s main service centre. Thus, using the inn as a base camp, you can easily access the National Parks main ‘attractions’ within 1-2 days… Depending upon what pace you want to explore at.
(Check out my post – Top 5 Things To Do in Death Valley, for tips on exploring the park)
Being the main source of accommodation within Death Valley, Furnace Creek Inn is expensive: ranging from $200-$400 A NIGHT! – Depending on the season, for a double room.
None the less, if you’ve visited enough National Parks around the globe, you’ll accept this high price and, unwillingly grow to except it as the norm.
A huge selling point is the historical prominence of the Inn. It was built in 1927 long before Death Valley was recognised by the government as a place of significance within the USA.
Further, after a long day of travelling through the arid National Park, the Inn emerges out of the desolate landscape, creating a sense of intrigue. It’s perfectly manicured garden, the only greenery for miles, instantly catches your eye, establishing a sense that you’re about to enter an Oasis within the desert.
It appears to be ‘the Jewel of Death Valley’ – as the lodge itself proclaims. The impressive stone structure draws you in, and as you embark up the winding palm lined drive to the Inns reception, you begin to feel better about splashing out $400 for a night.
The lobby is equally impressive. Its wide open spaces, marble floors and massive windows looking out onto the desert are beautiful. However, its furnishings are outdated! The sofas and lounge chairs would not be out of place on the set of Downtown Abbey…
Okay, I’m being slightly extreme… But, the decor certainly hasn’t been updated since at least the 1960’s.
The outdated decor of the reception is only amplified in the rooms. As you open the door (which alone is in good need of a paint job) You’re met by drab Curtains, a worn carpet and rickety bed.
Don’t get me wrong, the rooms are perfectly comfortable, clean and the beds a good size. But, after the grandeur of the approach you expect more and can’t help but feel disappointed.
Thankfully, the air conditioning works effectively which, is much needed within the 50°c heat.
On the other hand, the ‘cold water’ is in fact hot. I suppose this could be expected… I mean you are in the middle of the desert. But for the price, is cold water too much to ask for?
In terms of facilities, the Inn has everything you could need for a short stay. The spring fed pool is a must! It’s the perfect place to cool off and avoid the scorching sun, even into the late evening. During my visit, I was still lounging by the pool in the 40°c heat at 8pm… Its a hard life.
In terms of dinning, you are slightly limited. But again, as most people only stay for one or two nights the Inns dinning room is more than sufficient – serving great quality food for breakfast lunch and dinner. Served as a buffet style, it enables you to eat at your own pace – which after a long day of exploring is always welcomed.
The Furnace Creek Ranch houses other dining options such as the Forty Niner Cafe. We had a very pleasant breakfast here before heading off to our next destination.
It serves classic, simple dishes and much reminded me of an old fashion American Diner. Its more relaxed feel is a great alternative to the Inn’s dinning room which implies a strict dress code. You don’t always want to be dressed to the nines, especially in the heat of Death Valley.
For those more active than I, the Inn boosts several tennis courts and the Ranch (just over the road) is home to Death Valley’s very own golf course!
To Summarise, The Inn’s expensive for what you get which, is essentially an outdated room in a once impressive hotel. But, the accessibility and beauty that staying within Death Valley provides somewhat makes this obsolete.
If only the Inn’s owner took some time and money to renovate the rooms and update the decor, it would be near perfect. Unfortunately, like so many national park lodges, demand for accommodation will always be high so in the eyes of owners, there’s no need to update the rooms… People will come anyway.
Would I recommend staying here? Yes. If you’re planning a visit Death Valley I would recommend the Inn as accommodation for your trip. BUT, for no more than a few night… Any more than that and the dingy decor would begin to get to you.
DISCLAIMER – I do not own any photos on this post, all have been taken from the Furnace Creek Inn website.
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