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“A So-So Stay at the Furnace Creek Inn”

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The Inn at Death Valley
Reviewed 13 June 2017

My wife and I spent four nights at the Furnace Creek Inn over Thanksgiving, 2016. It’s likely the best bet in Death Valley, so it gets a qualified recommendation – but read on.

I see that the concessionaire is presently badging this property as the "Inn at Death Valley". I'm not sure why you'd change the name of an historic inn. I'm also not sure why Tripadvisor is listing the Inn and the Ranch as a single property. Don't be confused -- they are very different. Make sure the review you are reading relates to the property you are considering.

This was my third stay in National Park Lodging in California over the past two years. See my previous reviews of Yosemite’s Ahwahnee (June 23, 2016) and Sequioa’s Wuksachi Lodge (June 1, 2017). I’ve concluded from these three stays that the concession agreements between and National Park Service and the operators don’t really allow the concessionaires to make enough money to operate these properties at other than a basic level. You can have a decent stay at these properties, but you leave with a sense (particularly at the Ahwahnee and the Furnace Creek Inn) that the inns could be so much more if the concessionaires had “skin in the game” beyond a relatively short concession.

Like the Ahwahnee (and unlike the Wuksachi), the Furnace Creek Inn has good “bones” – it was built to a pretty high standard. The location is great – terrific views from the public areas over the valley and on to the Panamint Range.

Our room was a Standard King on the ground floor – the most basic of rooms at the Inn. We had a king bed, a couple sitting chairs, and a desk. The room was cozy.

Consistent with the period of construction, we had a very large walk-in closet. The bathroom also evidenced the era of construction – smallish, with a single sink and a shower/tub combination.

The bathroom had a small window, and the bedroom French doors that opened immediately to the exterior. We had a small table and two chairs, but shared the outdoor space with a public walkway and the tables and chairs of several adjoining rooms. As a result, you really (i) couldn’t have your doors open at night for air flow (anyone could have walked right in) and (ii) couldn’t have the drapes open at night (without putting on a show for passersby). I get it – this is the most basic room, so this type of inconvenience is not wholly unexpected in a hotel of this era.

On the whole, the room was in decent repair. The bed was comfortable, and the lighting decent.

Although the evenings were cool in late November, the room, left to itself, was rather warm (and way too warm for me to sleep comfortably). In other circumstances, I would have simply left the windows open at night – but our ground floor room made that unworkable. I tried turning on the air conditioning on only to find that it simply blew tepid air. I reported the problem to the front desk, and got an “as soon as we can” response. We made do the first night with the ceiling fan. On return from our activities the second day – still no a/c. Again, a comment was relayed to the desk, and we soldiered through the second night. Finally, on our third day the a/c was repaired. While the room temperature was successfully lowered, this was far from the quietest a/c we’ve had, and so it wasn’t until the fourth night (having gotten used to the noise) that I slept well.

We had some hiccups with housekeeping on two occasions – not enough towels or no washcloths. Easy enough to fix, but still annoying.

We ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room all four days. Breakfasts were decent. The first dinner was disappointing (poor execution of the dishes – mainly overcooked fish). The other three dinners were pretty good, especially the Thanksgiving buffet, which was exceptional (and I generally strongly dislike buffets). On the whole, I’d give the food a thumbs up. Make sure to reserve your dinner times well in advance of busy periods – I had called two months before. I noted some folks showing up without reservations being told the first available table was well after 9 pm.

So, where does this leave me? Given the time of year, we were paying an average of $500 per night for this room. For $500, I expect a lot more than we received. And I don’t expect a non-functioning air conditioner. Since the choices in Death Valley are limited, pick your poison – it’s cheaper down at the Ranch or elsewhere within the park. But moderate your expectations if you stay at the Inn.

Room Tip: Make your dinner reservations well in advance during busy times. Avoid Standard Rooms if you want t...
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  • Stayed: November 2016, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank OrrvilleRedRider
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 June 2017

Accommodations were average at Furnace Creek Ranch. The Inn was closed and our first choice. The other town of Stovepipe, which was the only other closest town was 28 miles away. We chose Furnace Creek Ranch because of the convenience to the major areas of interest. The room was antiquate! It was clean and the air conditioner (a MUST) worked well. We were disappointed in the availability of a relaxing good restaurant. The buffet was less then antiquate and the bar & pizza average....no other place to eat, so don't expect good food. We luckily took some fruit and snacks, for which we were 'grateful'. It is a cute little town and served our purpose of a place to stay. That being said.....DON'T miss the opportunity to experience Death Valley. We really enjoyed ourselves!

  • Stayed: March 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Service
Thank Joan T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2017 via mobile

Good location, within 9 miles of quite a few viewing spots. Grounds not real well lit especially if you need to walk to one of the restaurants on the grounds.Aircon in room very noisey. Meals quite good at all three cafes/ restaurants but a little pricey

Stayed: September 2016, travelled as a couple
Thank Parry065
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2017

We recently stayed at the Furnace Creek Inn and had an enjoyable trip. The staff was very accommodating and the meals were very good. The place is a bit pricey, but it is definitely the best choice for a couple within the national park. It's proximity to all the major sights was very good...it was an easy, quick drive to Zabrinskie Point, Dante's View, the Badlands, Devils Golf Course, sand dunes, the old borax mine and visitor's center. It may be too pricey or formal for a family, in which case I'd recommend the Furnace Creek Ranch.

  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Darci M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2017 via mobile

We stayed for 1 night in between Yosemite and Las Vegas and was pleased with everything they had to offer. We ate and had drinks in the bar which was very reasonable the pizzas are huge! The rooms are dated but considering the hotels location I can understand why. Would definitely recommend this hotel and make sure you star gaze at night the sight is unbelievable

Stayed: May 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank Joshguniden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Inn at Death Valley

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: $270 - $769 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Inn at Death Valley 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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