Xanterra Parks & Resorts this week will announce a
multimillion-dollar restoration of its resort in Death Valley National Park,
the latest in a series of upgrades across its national parks portfolio.
Detailing plans that were to be announced June 5, company
officials said that Xanterra would spend tens of millions of dollars on what
they call a full "renaissance" of the Furnace Creek Resort, which
will be renamed the Oasis at Death Valley.
Plans include a complete renovation of the resort's Inn at
Furnace Creek -- to be renamed the Inn at Death Valley -- that will make it the
most luxe among Xanterra's iconic park properties.
Xanterra chief marketing officer Betsy O'Rourke said the
improvements are in response to increasing traveler demand for better amenities
and more luxurious offerings.
"Most importantly, the trend is about collecting
experiences and wanting to experience these remote places without giving up the
daily comforts," she said. "While the luxury consumer doesn't expect
the level of luxury found in an urban environment, they still want their
creature comforts in the way of comfortable, well-appointed rooms, great dining
experiences and great service."
Over the past several years, Xanterra has invested more than
$100 million in major upgrades across the National Parks system, including the
construction of five lodges in Yellowstone's Grand Canyon area and a
multimillion-dollar upgrade to its historical Mammoth Hotel, which opened in
1887. Renovations to the park's other iconic property, the Yellowstone Lake
Hotel, were completed in 2014.
At the Grand Canyon, the company is planning a
multimillion-dollar face-lift of the 78-room El Tovar Hotel, which is widely
considered the crown jewel of the historical National Park lodges. That
project, which also calls for replacing the Maswik South buildings with a new
lodge, is scheduled for next year.
Likewise, the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel was recently
refurbished to include all-new rooms, a new restaurant, new retail at the depot
and restored railway dome cars.
This summer, Xanterra will complete renovations to the
five-story, 205-room Many Glacier Hotel at Glacier National Park, which
includes a refurbishment of its original staircase and significant improvements
in rooms and public spaces as well as its retail and food and beverage
'Restoring its original splendor'
At Death Valley, the renovation and expansion of the AAA
Four Diamond Inn at Death Valley, a 66-room luxury property set into the side
of a mountain range, will make it a standout across the company's portfolio of
national park properties, O'Rourke said.
"With the significant renaissance restoring it to its
original splendor, it belongs in the rarified class of national park hotels
that have significant historical reference as well as the most upscale
accommodations, like El Tovar at the Grand Canyon, the Many Glacier hotel in
Glacier National Park and the Lake Hotel in Yellowstone," she said.
The Oasis at Death Valley, which in addition to the luxury
inn includes a larger hotel and resort area as well as a golf course, is built
around an oasis of natural, spring-fed streams, gardens and date groves that
offer stunning views of Death Valley. Two hours from Las Vegas and four from
Los Angeles, it is where George Lucas filmed scenes for the original "Star
At the Inn, plans call for doubling to 22 the number of
private, two-room casitas surrounding both the spring-fed pool and gardens;
updated rooms and lobby; a new wellness center with treatment rooms and a
larger fitness area; the addition of cabanas and a poolside bar; and a terraced
garden for weddings and other group events that will be called Mission Gardens.
Renovations have already begun at the Inn, which will be
closed until November.
Plans also call for upgrades across the public spaces at the
rest of the resort, which includes the 224-room hotel, restaurants, a general
store, a U.S. Post Office, horse stables, a historical museum and a gas
Other updates include a larger bar at the popular Western
Saloon, a new check-in area, family-friendly pedestrian areas and hitching
posts and troughs for horses.
The Furnace Creek Golf Course, the world's lowest at 214
feet below sea level, will keep its name. It has already been overhauled with
more natural landscaping and a focus on reducing water consumption. Though
playable now, the company said it is expected to grow in and be ready for prime
time in early spring 2018.