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Death Valley accommodations have gotten too expensive

Philadelphia, PA
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Death Valley accommodations have gotten too expensive

I see that the standard room at Stovepipe Wells (generally the cheapest accommodations in the park) are now going for $153/night, including tax. Through the magic of an internet mailbox, I can tell that I paid only $112 for the same accommodations in 2010.

As a concessionaire, I'm surprised that the National Park Service has allowed them to raise the rates that quickly.

Death Valley is certainly not the only National Park where the "in park" lodging has gotten very pricey. It's a shame because in-park accommodations are very convenient, and much more comfortable -- and practical -- than other alternatives for many visitors.

I was thinking of taking my family back to Death Valley in January, but I may choose another alternative. The accommodations at Stovepipe Wells just aren't worth $153.

Other visitors must feel the same way, as I see that both Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek are offering promotional discounts on certain days. Alas, those days don't correspond with my travel plans.

Santa Cruz...
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1. Re: Death Valley accommodations have gotten too expensive

I think it is called demand vs. supply. If people won't pay it, the rates will go down. If they fill up all the time, the rates will not go down.

Vancouver...
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2. Re: Death Valley accommodations have gotten too expensive

You might consider staying at Beatty, Nevada. A full service town on the edge of Death Valley with very reasonable prices for food, lodging and gas. Chuck.

Philadelphia, PA
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3. Re: Death Valley accommodations have gotten too expensive

Well, Puter, rates in National Parks aren't really supposed to reflect "supply and demand." They're generally kept below "market rates" because the Park Service limits the number of accommodations built and then sets the maximum price that can be charged. Because of this, there's usually way more demand than supply and the in-park hotels usually sell out well in advance. But, at $150, that's not always the case at Stovepipe Wells, and the concessionaire is resorting to promotions.

I've never stayed in Beatty (I have driven through) and I think you may be right BlackBelt that this is a plausible alternative. The weather won't be as good in the winter due to the elevation, but it's only 33 quick miles to Stovepipe Wells. And in addition to saving half on the room rate (for probably more comfortable accommodations), I'm sure we'd also save a bunch on food -- the restaurant at Stovepipe is also getting quite expensive, and they don't have many budget menu choices.

It seems like the Exchange Club motel generally gets the best reviews in Beatty. Does anyone have another suggestion?

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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4. Re: Death Valley accommodations have gotten too expensive

This is a very real issue.

I've enjoyed Stovepipe Wells for decades, and in the past I would stay there for several days for a vacation. It's almost beyond my means now. Even before the new Death Valley Lodging Company contract, when Xanterra was still running it, the prices were soaring. About the only time I can afford it now is after one of my periods of volunteering with the Park Service, when I live in park employee housing, and then spend a night at SPW as a special treat. Panamint Springs is the most affordable park resort, and it is so far west that it is not too practical as a base for several days of exploring the park.

TA destination experts, whether for a city like San Francisco or a large national park, typically suggest staying in the area you want to see and explore. This is for convenience, proximity to most of the things you want to see and do, and ambience. There is nothing like going to sleep and waking up in one of these parks, seeing and hearing the unique sights and sounds of that park as you nod off and again when you wake up. No town, even the most charming and enjoyable ones (Lone Pine and Beatty) can offer the same experience. And of course, commuting on vacation isn’t what most people really enjoy, even though the drives between most “gateway” towns and their parks are scenic.

It's too bad that some of us TAs often can't afford our own advice and that so many visitors are being priced out of a priceless park experience. But I’ll continue to recommend staying in park lodging if people can afford it, because so many TA inquirers are once-in-a-lifetime visitors and I’d like to see them have that priceless experience.

Philadelphia, PA
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5. Re: Death Valley accommodations have gotten too expensive

Right, Frisco, as a "once in a lifetime visitor," you should probably stay in the Park. But as a frequent visitor, one has to balance cost vs. convenience.

I've been visiting Death Valley for almost 30 years now. I've never stayed outside the Park. I used to mostly stay at the Furnace Creek Ranch (which I still generally prefer), but when their rates got high (they're an out parcel, so they can charge whatever they want) I started staying at Stovepipe Wells. As the rates there went over $100/night, I became mildly annoyed, but resigned myself to them (staying in a National Park is a special treat, so you can't expect the same value as elsewhere). The last time I visited, with a family of 5, I became alarmed at the restaurant prices (I see Stovepipe management has now pulled the menu from their website!) and brought a cooler and travel grill to keep costs down a bit. We had a great time grilling dinner, although it isn't allowed outside your room at Stovepipe.

But with room rates starting above $150 and restaurant prices still extremely high, Stovepipe is seeming a bit ridiculous for what it is (which is modest). I see a room at the Exchange Club will cost me half what Stovepipe costs, and the number one rated restaurant in Beatty is about $5 a meal.

https:/…

It seems like it's time to try Beatty if we want to return.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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6. Re: Death Valley accommodations have gotten too expensive

Beatty is the nearest feasible town to stay in, unless you want to try Death Valley Junction. DVJ is a great experience for folks who like history and adventure and don't mind doing without a lot of creature comforts. The only business is the Amargosa Hotel and Opera House, with a cafe. This is a ghost town and has no other services, no store, gas station, library, school, church, post office, or other things that average people would consider basic. It does have a cemetery, just south of town on Hwy 127.

I have spent a lot of time in Beatty and it's a nice town. Although I continue to suggest park lodging for first-timers, Beatty works fine for repeat visitors. I have a User's Guide to Beatty thread on the Beatty forum.

Philadelphia, PA
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7. Re: Death Valley accommodations have gotten too expensive

Thanks. I read your Beatty User's Guide. How would you say the Exchange Club compares to the Death Valley Inn? I see they're about the same price, so I'd obviously prefer the nicer one. Tripadvisor scores are the same.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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8. Re: Death Valley accommodations have gotten too expensive

The Death Valley Inn has a lot more amenities, including the pool, laundromat, and nicer landscaping. It used to be the Burro Inn until it was renovated maybe 3 years ago. The Exchange Club is pretty bare-bones, with no pool.

The Exchange Club is closer to all the conveniences of "downtown" Beatty, but just about everything in town is within walking distance. Neither location will be really quiet, since the DV Inn is right on Hwy 95 on the way to Las Vegas and the Exchange Club is just off Hwy 374 next to the 24-hour gas mart and across from the bars.

Vancouver...
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9. Re: Death Valley accommodations have gotten too expensive

I stay away from the Exchange Club. My wife (I didn't) got bit by several fleas. We always stay at Stagecoach Hotel & Casino. Ask for a room on the ground floor by the pool. As far as the weather, keep in mind that Beatty has palm trees, so it doesn't get too cold. As far as a place to eat, try The Happy Burro. Chuck.

tripadvisor.com/…REVIEWS

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g45919-d2481…

Pacifica, California
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for Pacifica
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10. Re: Death Valley accommodations have gotten too expensive

Where the heck have you been, Chuck? Did they finally let you out of prison? ;-)

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