DENVER—OZ Architecture, an award-winning, national architecture and design firm, is leading the major renovation of one of the nation’s unique resort destinations: the Oasis at Death Valley, formerly known as the Furnace Creek Resort. The historic resort, operated by Xanterra Travel Collection, is undergoing a significant transformation that will bring a variety of new luxury amenities and facilities, while maintaining the historic ambiance, stylistic qualities and Mission architecture that have attracted visitors for over 100 years.
Although construction began in 2017, OZ began designing the master plan and vision for the Oasis in 2012, with the commitment to revitalize the property into a more modern vacation destination, but with a keen eye on the historical significance of existing structures and the sensitive National Park environment surrounding the resort. The redesign calls for a full renovation of the Inn at Death Valley, the addition of private casitas, a revamped outdoor recreation area, a new reception area, the addition of a small spa, modernized dining and cocktail facilities, and sustainable, low-water-use landscaping that will be used for shading and to help cool the property.
“Whether it’s a scorching desert, a high-altitude peak, beachfront, or in the heart of an urban area, OZ’s resort team delves into the location and maximizes the natural elements that attract visitors to this particular geography,” said Rebecca Stone, OZ Managing Partner and Principal of the firm’s resort and hospitality practice. “At the Oasis our design team had an interesting challenge due to the summer desert heat, which we creatively and carefully resolved over extensive charrettes and visitations to the area to ensure that the visitor experience remains unparalleled year round. This is the hallmark of OZ’s resort practice: understanding the characteristics of the property in-and-out from the very beginning.”
The Inn at Death Valley
The Inn at Death Valley will provide a luxurious setting bordered by pergolas with vines and misters, archways, awnings and terraces leading to serene amenities including the cabana-laden pool area, pool cafe, and massage rooms with views of the lush oasis setting. Also near the Inn is the Mission Gardens, a stunning space for quiet reflection or a perfect location for a wedding or other special events.
The Oasis at Death Valley is a premier location for stargazing. “As a certified dark sky location within a National Park, dark sky principles have been an important part of our exterior and site lighting consideration,” said Chris Vandall, OZ Project Manager and a practice area leader for the firm’s resort and hospitality practice. “Utilizing downlighting, warm color temperature, low lighting intensities, and limiting lights as much as possible have all been strategies to maintaining and improving the dark sky conditions.”
Surrounding the Inn pool and adjacent to the Oasis Gardens lies a renovated fitness center, sauna, and restroom facilities. Renovations are being done to the Inn that include upgrades to rooms such as new finishes and utility infrastructure, public spaces restored to a character of its early days, a state-of-art kitchen and first-class bar and dining facilities. The arrival experience will be improved with fountains, landscaping, and shade structures to greet guests as they arrive at the 1920s hotel. Additionally, surrounding the Oasis Gardens, 11 new private two-bedroom casitas provide a new level of guest accommodations to the resort.
The Ranch at Death Valley
The Ranch at Death Valley will see extensive renovations to its aging buildings and utility infrastructure including a transformation into a mission-style town square, complete with a courtyard that will elegantly welcome guests into a streamlined, welcoming town-hall-style hotel reception area. Mission-territorial in its style, this new building adjacent to the footprint of the original structure will include a wrap-around porch and windows to view the square, fountain, and unique resort landscape. A parking lot will be transformed into welcoming public spaces, while new retail, food and beverage facilities create a central hub for entertainment and socialization by providing an ice cream counter, buffet, and western saloon, and a retail store with souvenirs of the Resort and Death Valley National Park.
“The Oasis at Death Valley’s roots began in 1904 as a borax mine and today it will be transformed into one of the most compelling and unique resort destinations of our generation,” said Gordon Taylor, VP Operations Xanterra. “OZ’s creative design vision, experience with both historic properties and resort development, and care toward the difficult natural environment made it the best firm to lead this exciting project.”
Construction on The Furnace Creek Golf Course is completed and The Inn officially reopened February 1, 2018. The Ranch is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2018.