by Amanda Norcross
Located at Death Valley National Park, The Ranch at Death Valley is a former working ranch turned family-friendly hotel. Here, families can expect to find comfortable guestrooms with patios or balconies, a spring-fed swimming pool, playground, and sports courts. Onsite activities include horseback riding and carriage rides, and guests can also rent Jeeps to explore the national park. The hotel is situated next to a little town square where guests will find a sit-down restaurant, ice cream parlor, coffee shop, and general store.
Our Editor Loves
- Location next to town square
- Jeep rentals to explore Death Valley National Park
- Playground and sports courts
- Horse Back Riding
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Liked the fact that the rooms were clean and the staff were friendly. The downside is that the rooms are kind of dated for the prices being in the luxury range. Still the amenities are nice to have considering you are staying at a hotel in the middle of a desert named Death Valley.
We took advantage of the "natural spring-fed pool" and the water was surprisingly warm despite it being incredibly windy while we stayed within the park. The colorful views of the surrounding mountains were quite spectacular especially during sunrise and sunset.
One downside to being in the middle of nowhere is that everything within the park in terms of food and supplies needs to be trucked in from elsewhere and so prices tend to be on the expensive end.
One thing about Death Valley National Park is that if you are going to have any time at all exploring, you really have to stay in the park, and there are just a few options, so in many ways, you have to take what you can. This hotel provided us a place to stay in a really convenient area of the park, and that is the best thing about it. We were in the 900 building, which is located at the back of the property and adjacent to a golf course. Things we liked about the room were the little porch outside with rocking chairs and the beds were really comfortable, which is crucial. The bedding seemed new, and the bathroom was updated with new tile and fixtures. So the room was fine -- on the good side of average. The hallway leading to the rooms was dark with really low ceilings and it smelled really gross -- the carpet looked like it had not been replaced in a number of years. The walkway to get into the building had an area where the pavement was missing, and this was covered with a piece of steel that was slippery when it was wet. So the room was okay but the area outside the room was definitely not.
The food situation here was really problematic for us. There is a really nice restaurant that charged more than we were willing to pay (when we were there the first menu item was a steak for over $100). The staff there explained that there is a buffet sometimes, but it was not open that night (it was open the next night when we found out that it was around $30 per person, which was crazy). They directed us to the ice cream shop where we could order pizza or a hot dog. We got a pizza, two salads, and three soft drinks - and it was over $60. When we got back to our room with the food, the salads were mostly just lettuce (very few toppings) and I really think the pizza was a frozen pizza that they heated up -- it was NOT good.
The next day we found out that the general store on the property has a wide variety of sandwiches and salads, and compared to everything else here, the food was reasonable in price and good. For the rest of our trip, all our meals came from the general store. You can take in your own coffee cup and fill it up. They have ice cream and fresh fruit and all kinds of snacks, so for us, this was the way to go!
I think that this property has a lot of potential -- there is a golf course, pool, post office, and a lovely outdoor area with a fountain. They seem to be doing some updates, so maybe all the buildings will get new carpet, etc. I think that would help, but most of all, there needs to be some better food options -- a restaurant with mid-priced entrees that is family-oriented would be a welcome addition.
With limited options in the park, we would stay here again -- but we would wish for an overall experience that reflects the prices charged for lodging.