Outdoor pool at The Oasis at Death Valley, California, USA.

The Oasis at Death Valley
Death Valley, California, USA


Despite a major refurbishment, which saw the hotel taken apart and then methodically put back together using its original plans, there is something seductively nostalgic about this 1920s oasis hotel in the desert – The Oasis at Death Valley.

Our arrival – through a tunnel dug out of the rock under the hotel to get to the lift – was a unique experience, as was working out in the small but functional gym beside two huge palm trees, which grow out of the ground and through the roof. Palms are very much the motif of the hotel and are planted throughout the gardens, which are as charming as they are remarkable, considering the desert location where the high temperature regularly breaks world records. However, we discovered that the water sustaining these palms and filling the swimming pool comes from natural springs, maintaining a constant temperature of 87 degrees.

Situated within a short drive of a number of Death Valley’s most famous sites of interest, including Zebrinski’s Point (the location of U2’s famous Joshua Tree Album cover photo), the hotel provides the perfect launching pad to explore one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. In fact, Hollywood has frequently chosen Death Valley as a cinematic backdrop, with Star Wars being a notable example, thanks to its otherworldly characteristics and relatively close proximity to Los Angeles.

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While you’re Out There
There are so many awe-inspiring spots to visit within Death Valley that it’s hard to choose just one to recommend. But if we were pushed, then it would be to take a drive out to Dante’s View. The approximately 45-minute journey itself is worth it, but upon arrival, you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable, breathtaking views from 3,000 feet above Badwater Basin. At 12km long and 8km wide, with a flat surface covered in white salt deposits, the Basin is so otherworldly, that you could be forgiven for thinking you’re on another planet. If you can, set out before dawn to get there for sunrise, and watch the whole thing emerge out of the darkness. Alternatively, set out at mid-afternoon and get there for sunset to see the dramatic changes in the colours of the rock as the sky turns from blue to orange. Either way, it’s a sight you’ll return to in your mind’s eye forever more.

Our suite, located directly next to the restaurant, was spacious and comfortable, with period-style furnishings and a stylistically sympathetic bathroom. Original oil paintings depicting western scenes and landscapes adorned the walls, as they do throughout the property. We half expected to see the ghost of Clark Gable roaming around the corridors as we made our way to the Stargazer deck to awe at the star-filled night sky.

The restaurant was an event in itself, continuing the nostalgia in every way, from the menu to the characterful waiters, who on consecutive evenings, remembered not only our names but also drink orders without a moment’s hesitation.


Photography courtesy of The Oasis at Death Valley

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