My experience at the Hotel is about 20 yrs old, fair warning. I first saw it in the '91 movie Delusion and was intrigued by the lonely location in the desert. (I love the deserts of the Southwest.) I finally made it to Death Valley Junction in the early/mid '90's on a road trip from Hwy 395 to Vegas, and got a room. At the time, only about 5 rooms were habitable, and the others were in various states of rehabilitation or just dilapidated and unused. I didn't know at the time about the rumors of the hotel being haunted, and I didn't have any related run-ins during my overnight stay.
I wasn't able to dine at the cafe since I was gone on a day trip until late, but the minimal wait staff (who doubled as hotel reception) were friendly and made me feel welcome. My room was simple, clean and quaint, and since I'm into vintage, retro and just plain historic, I wasn't bothered by decades-old stucco. I did wander out into the inner hall later in the evening and was struck by how dang quiet it was, but then, I might have been one of the very few guests staying there that evening. My lodging at the time was about $35, a downright steal in today's market. I was struck by the zen austerity of the locale and strayed outside to take more than a few pix of the entrance, main bldg and opera house, both in the afternoon light and later in the evening. (I'll dig up the pix someday and add them here.)
I regretted missing a performance by Marta, and sad to hear that she's finally hung up her pointe shoes. (I did chance to see her chatting with others in the parking area.) She was probably one of the main tourist draws, and I hope that the hotel continues to flourish. (See the documentary "Amargosa," if you can.) It's in a very remote location, but wouldn't it be great if a school dance troupe took the opera house on as a unique (seasonal) opportunity to carry on the tradition? Just a thought.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The complex which houses the Amargosa Hotel, Opera House & Cafe was built in 1923 by the Pacific Coast Borax Co. The town of Death Valley Junction was established in 1907 with the Tidewater Tonopah Railway line, which carried Borax from the area to southern California. By 1940, the last train had run through the area after which the town had several owners. Then, in 1967, while waiting for a tire repair at the gas station, Marta Becket (a dancer from New York City), came upon the old community hall. She said it called to her and said, "I offer you life". After making arrangements with the town manager, Marta and her husband agreed to pay $45/month rent and make the necessary repairs. They began work a few months later after moving permanently to the Junction and Marta had her first performance on February 10, 1968. Later that year, Marta began painting the walls and ceiling of the Opera House, which took her 6 years to complete. Marta performed at her Opera House for nearly 50 yrs. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Amargosa Opera House Hotel Death Valley Junction
- Amargosa Opera Hotel
- Hotel Amargosa Opera
- Amargosa Opera House And Hotel Death Valley National Park/Death Valley Junction