The History of Driftwood Lodge
1954 The Beginning
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 Excell’s 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 original 12 unit’s were demolished and replaced with 7 new larger suites, 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, Hans and Christina made major renovations with improvements to the guest rooms and the front entrance to the Lodge. New furnishings and other comfortable amenities were added to the Watchman Building including flat-screen televisions in both the bedroom and sitting area. Our guests’ lodging experience is further enhanced by the incredible views of the Canyon, either from inside the rooms or comfortably seated 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, renovations were made to the Narrows Building, updating all of the bathrooms and adding all new furnishings to the rooms.
In winter of 2009/2010, it was the West Temple Building’s turn for renovations, changes were made to the rooms configurations making the bathrooms larger and enclosing the amenities areas. Glass back doors and windows were added, carpets were replaced, new furnishings, larger fridges, microwaves and flat-screen televisions were all included in this update. The Angel’s Landing Building received new granite vanity countertops and prototypes of new bathrooms and closets were designed. A building housing the ice machine and new guest laundry was constructed in a centralized location near the pool.
2010 – 2011
In October of 2010, Solar panels were installed to heat the water in the West Temple and Watchman Buildings. With this improvement all rooms at the Lodge would have water heated by solar energy.
During the winter of 2010/2011, the Angel’s Landing Building underwent a remodel of all the bathrooms as well as adding closets, larger refrigerators and adding a microwave to each room. The Narrows Building was also renovated, installing new insulated walls, new bathrooms with granite counter tops, new closets, and amenities area. Refrigerators and microwaves were added to the rooms in the Narrows Building as well.
In 2011, a new concrete driveway and additional 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 a chemical monitoring system was added to both the pool and the hot tub. In 2011, construction began on one of two new buildings to house 10 new guest rooms near the Virgin River.
In 2012, These First two Court of the Patriarch Buildings were completed. The new rooms introduced Christina’s Signature room design with walk in showers, separate bathtubs and whisper quiet heating and air. 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 area was replaced. New, eco-friendly landscaping was planted, 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 area 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.
In the winter of 2014/2015, the carpet in the 3 pet-friendly rooms was replaced with Italian porcelain tile. This upgrade 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!
To ultimately preserve the views from the lodge, In May of 2015 Hans and Christina made the decision to purchase the adjacent 9.1 acres of farmland. This purchase has secured the serene setting of the lodge for many years to come.
Spring of 2016 brought exciting news. Kings Landing Bistro opened its doors for service in our adjacent restaurant space in March. This family owned and operated Bistro brought world class food to the Springdale. You can now enjoy amazing food while taking in the majestic sandstone cliffs of Zion Canyon.
At the end of 2016, Construction began on the 3rd Court of the Patriarchs building as well as the Virgin River Building. These two new buildings would add 20 luxury rooms with high end accommodations and stunning views of Zion Canyon and the Virgin River. Both buildings were completed and open by Spring of 2018. With the addition of these two buildings, the lodge now has rooming options with not only Canyon views, but ones enjoying the sights and sounds of the Virgin river peacefully flowing by.
In the Winter of 2019/2020 it was time again for the Watchman building to get an upgrade. A new built-in amenities area was designed to house the refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker. This update also included granite countertops, new carpet, lighting and furniture. Along with a new warm paint scheme.
By 2021 it was time to begin the design and construction of the new state of the art laundry facility. This new 1500 sq ft building would add 3 new commercial washers and 3 new commercial dryers to our existing equipment, a commercial dishwasher and plenty of storage for all of our guest room supplies. Along with the completion of this building in June of 2022 came an expansion of the concrete parking area for the Angels Landing Building. In Addition, four Electric Vehicle charging stations were installed, an added convenience for anyone who needs a charge while visiting or before moving on.
In Early 2022 the Main Lobby/Restaurant building, West Temple and Angel’s Landing buildings all got new Asphalt shingles, Along with the hot tub getting a fresh new redo with new plaster and tile.
We are excited to see what 2023 and beyond brings here at Driftwood Lodge.
KINGS LANDING BISTRO
Serving Dinner at 5 pm.
Closed Sunday & Monday.
It is the wish of Hans and Christina Dunzinger to make every visit to the Driftwood Lodge a wonderful experience for their guests.