One wants to love this place. It dates to the 1930s, everything operates on generator power, and there's no cellphone service or TV or much of any other connection to the rest of the world. On the restaurant patio is a series of planter boxes with dozens of varieties of weird and wonderful miniature cacti, and in front of the gas station a row of antique generators sketches the history of the resort. It's so remote that in July when we arrived you could stand in the middle of the highway with your eyes closed much of the day without danger of getting run over, and in the middle of the night you could probably lie down. When the lights go out at night, the stars are spectacular.
But it's a rough-and-ready environment in which to operate a motel and restaurant. The official web site does a good job of setting one's expectations; evidently the owners are in the process of turning around a property which had fallen into disrepair. The bathroom of our 2-bed room looked like it had been recently remodeled with stylish modern tile and pedestal sink, but the walls of the bedroom needed painting, the carpet needed cleaning, and there was a giant crack under the door, through which a fascinating black beetle came to visit. Hulks of dead evaporative coolers, unused piping, and building materials lie about here and there. Wi-fi worked 1 day out of 3. The general store was scantily stocked compared with the average convenience store. A bag of ice cost 4 times as much as it does at home (fortunately, the restaurant cheerfully refilled over and over again the ice bucket provided in our room.) The day we arrived (in July, probably the least popular season) there were only four cars at the motel, and the general store couldn't make milkshakes because they had run out of milk. On the other hand, the restaurant had good, fresh salad and excellent pizza, which is impressive considering how far the ingredients must travel. Employees were friendly and helpful. When it was 112-117 degrees outdoors, the evaporative cooler in our 1-bed room took the edge off the heat, but it remained a bit warmer than most people would like. Some of the 2-bed rooms have both an evaporative cooler and a wall air conditioner; when we arrived, the AC was off, and after we turned it on, it wasn't able to reach a comfortable temperature till after sunset, but once it did, it was able to maintain that through the heat of the next day. Of course, July might be the worst-case month.
The assortment of beer was just as impressive as the web site suggests.
We had a great time, and if you arrive primed for adventure and willing to go with the flow, so will you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Panamint Springs is a small western-style resort seated in the beautiful Panamint Valley in Death Valley National Park. Marvelous views of distant sand dunes and the soaring 11,000' Panamint Mountains complete the setting for leisure dining and relaxation. Panamint Springs offers 14 motel rooms & 1 cottage, restaurant, campgrounds, RV park, gas station, and mini-mart. Our motel rooms are very basic, but clean. Our rooms are cooled with an evaporative cooling system. Some units offer their own A/C window unit in addition to this. We are pet friendly, however additional fees apply. If you are planning on doing some exploring, you'll find that Panamint Springs makes a great base camp for neighboring ghost towns, abandoned mines, and even desert waterfalls. Great for 4-wheel drive exploring, hiking, biking, or just relaxing! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Panamint Springs Hotel Death Valley National Park
- Hotel Panamint Springs