The Driftwood Lodge was originally conceived by Bill and Joyce Mundy of St. Louis, Missouri. Joyce Mundy designed the first buildings in 1954, consisting of a main lodge with living quarters for the Mundy family, as well as a 12-unit motel. By 1958, the Mundys had decided to expand, adding four additional motel units, increasing the front desk area and adding a restaurant. During the expansion, Bill Mundy was offered and accepted a position that would take the family to the Midwest. The Driftwood Lodge was suddenly for sale.
Austen and Helen Excell, long-time residents of Springdale, purchased the Lodge in May of 1959. As the Driftwood’s popularity grew and visitation to Zion National Park increased, the Excells expanded their lodging. They added four more motel units near the Virgin River and another building in 1978 which housed seven rooms. In 1991, they added a two-story building with nineteen rooms. This building, with its tall open gables, its rough-hewn timbers and its natural colors, defines the Driftwood Lodge today and it has been emulated by subsequent lodging in the Zion Canyon area. In 2003, the new suites were built, offering spacious accommodations and fantastic canyon views.
By 2006, the Excell family had decided to retire from the hospitality business. At the time of its sale in May 2006, the new owners, Hans and Christina Dunzinger, took over with a commitment to continue the nearly 50-year tradition of hospitality and service.
Hans and Christina bring more than 30 years of Austrian hospitality tradition. Hans studied Hotel and Restaurant Management in Innsbruck, Austria and acquired experience working for several hotels and restaurants in Austria, Germany and Argentina. Until 2008, they were partners in another lodge, the Hotel Tirol in the famous ski resort of Bariloche, Argentina. Christina, an accomplished artist and interior designer, whose decorating abilities were vital in the transformation of the main building, as well as the Lodge's rooms, continues to be an integral part of the ongoing improvements. Peter Stempel, a local architect and a contributing teacher at the Delaware School of Design, helped the Dunzingers bring to life their vision of the new Driftwood Lodge.
During the 2007/2008 winter season, Hans and Christina once again made major renovations with improvements to the suites and the front entrance to the Lodge. New furnishings and other comfortable amenities for the suites include flat-screen televisions in both the bedroom and new sitting area. Our guests' lodging experience will be further enhanced by the incredible views of the Canyon, either from inside the rooms or comfortably seated in the Adirondack chairs on the patios and balconies. The inviting new entrance to the Lodge is landscaped with native Southwestern species. Our extensive lawns and old cottonwoods along the river create a serene and relaxing world after a strenuous day in Zion. To further accommodate our guests, the shuttle bus to Zion National Park stops at the Lodge throughout the day during the summer season.
During the 2008/2009 winter season, Hans and Christina made renovations to the Narrows Building, updating all of the bathrooms and adding all new furnishings to the rooms.
During the 2009/2010 winter season, Hans and Christina renovated the West Temple Building, changing the room configurations to make the bathrooms bigger and to enclose the amenities areas. They added glass back doors and windows, replaced the carpets, added new furnishings, larger fridges, microwaves and flat-screen televisions. The Angel's Landing Building was updated with new counter tops and prototypes of new bathrooms and closets. A building housing the ice machine and new guest laundry was constructed in a centralized location near the pool.
In October of 2010, Hans and Christina installed solar panels to heat the water in the West Temple and Watchman Buildings. With this improvement all rooms at the Lodge will have water heated by solar energy.
During the 2010/2011 winter season, the Angel's Landing Building underwent construction to remodel all of the bathrooms in the building as well as adding closets, larger refrigerators and adding a microwave to each room. The Narrows Building was also renovated with the installation of new insulated walls, new bathrooms with granite countertops, new closets, and amenity areas. Refrigerators and microwaves were added to the rooms in the Narrows Building as well.
In 2011, a new concrete driveway and more parking spaces were added. Concurrently, an unnecessary driveway was removed in order to add more green space to the grounds and to assist in redirecting traffic. The pool and hot tub were replastered and retiled and 24/7 water monitoring systems were added to both the pool and the hot tub. In 2011, Hans and Christina began construction of two new buildings to house 10 new guest rooms near the Virgin River.
In 2012, construction of the 10 new Signature rooms located in the Court of the Patriarchs Buildings was completed. The grounds and landscaping were enhanced with the planting of over 35 trees and over 180 shrubs. New winding pathways leading to the guest laundry and pool area were added. State-of-the-art contact locks were installed on all of the guest room doors at the Lodge.
During the spring of 2013, the front parking lot was replaced. New, eco-friendly landscaping was put in, reaffirming the lodge's commitment to go green wherever possible. A sidewalk was installed near the road, linking them with the town's existing walkway. A new concrete parking lot was also poured in front of the Narrows building. Parking is now much more convenient for the guests. The dumpster was relocated and enclosed, to minimize inconvenience and noise. Security was improved by installing a hammerhead behind the Angel's Landing building. Guests can now use this handy feature to turn their vehicles around more easily.
In January, 2013, the lodge retrofitted the fixtures in the lobby, offices, kitchen and dining areas with LED lighting. Although the investment was costly, the change will pay for itself in time, and help the environment as well.
The carpets in the double queen, pet-friendly rooms were replaced with Italian porcelain tiles. This change has been very positive for people who travel with their pets, as the rooms are now even more inviting, and the views from the patios are still amazing!
All the rooms in the Watchman building have been upgraded with Keurig coffeemakers. Guest can now take in the spectacular scenery from their private patio or balcony, while enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
In the Spring of 2015 all 19 rooms in the Angels Landing Building were updated with LED lighting as well as new energy efficient bathroom exhaust fans. This was another step in creating a more environmentally friendly lodge.
It is the wish of Hans and Christina Dunzinger to make every visit to the Driftwood Lodge a wonderful experience for their guests.