Just spent 3 nights at Sequoia High Sierra Camp (SHSC) and WOW, are we glad we made this the centerpiece of our trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Assuming you are going to read the many other reviews posted, I'll start by saying that anything positive you read, I agree with wholeheartedly, so I'll try not to be repetitive.
And to think that I was almost swayed by some of the negative comments people wrote. Yes, honestly, some of those remarks made me pause and wonder "is it really worth the money?" and "am I going to be disappointed?" Well, it was MORE than the worth the money, and all our expectations were exceeded.
SHSC is a wonderful mix of camping and comfort. Yes, it's cold at night. Hey, you're at 8,000 feet. What do you expect? It's a short hike in, and you don't need to bring much, but you do get to carry your own backpack to your tent.
Burr and Suzanne have an incredible vision, and they are very hospitable, but please don't expect Four Seasons rump-kissing. (personally, that being greeted every five steps by every single employee at the Four Seasons makes me nuts...) That would be missing the point.
SHSC provides a VERY luxurious back-drop (by traditional camping standards), and you get to make it your own. And if you need something, all you have to do is ask. They are very gracious. We are vegetarians and neglected to tell them in advance, and when I realized at our first dinner that they were serving a set menu (and guests were talking about the fabulous lamb served the night before...) I quietly excused myself from the table during the salad course and quickly mentioned to one of the staff, and no one batted an eyelash, and we had a fabulous meal. After dinner, Suzanne was so kind in asking us specific questions about our preferences, and we enjoyed one amazing meal after another throughout our stay.
Value at $500/night double occupancy? You bet!! That includes 3 fabulous meals a day. Heck, the Marriott down in Visalia is $200/nt., and no food. A decent room in Hawaii is +$400/nt. and no food. Yes, you are paying to be somewhere VERY unique, and at $250 per person a day, I think they have priced themselves quite fairly. Do people think this is easy to set-up a luxury camp where they have done this? Fair to say, that people come with different expectations.
Another reviewer commented about the young foreigners hired as staff. Most U.S. college students head back to school long before the SHSC season ends, so hiring young people from overseas who can commit to the full season up there makes complete sense.
Our King-sized bed was exactly that. Not 2 twins pushed together. Tents probably vary, and it's hard to blame the proprietors for possibly needing a variety of bedding options. We came mid-week, and there were about 15 people total in camp, and the day we left, they were expecting a full house of about 50. These people work HARD to create a great experience, and they deliver.
You can be social with other guests or spend time alone with whomever you came with. People were very respectful of one another, and we really enjoyed meeting people from all over the country. Now that I re-read those old reviews from 2008 about the loud people, I'm sooooo grateful that there weren't people there like that during our visit, and I'm so proud of the proprietors for confronting what sounded like very "unaware" people.
Oh, and the people who had wished for more proactive hiking advice? Wow... every other guest we met was so excited to share their hiking experiences from their stay and offer little tips about the trails and where to look for markers etc... It was quite the topic of conversation at every meal. And of course, Burr and Suzanne were available and happy to offer suggestions and fill in the details. Perhaps I'm not the type that likes to be spoon-fed? SHSC really hit the sweet spot between the side of me that want to be outdoorsy and the side of me that really doesn't mind comfort.
Prices in the Camp Store are quite fair... I bought a high quality fleece pullover with the camp logo embroidered on it, and $65 is to be expected. Want cheap fleece? Go to REI during a sale. For cheap gifts, there are plenty of gift shops throughout the National Parks. SHSC offers a tasteful selection of items in their little store, all of top quality. Oh, and the "store" cabin is unlocked and available 24/7 and you fill out a chit on the honor system and they add it to your bill. THAT'S the spirit and flavor there. Same with the wine. You can just pour a glass and add it to your chit. Need something? Just walk into the back room and ask one of the staff. It's all very open-door. Burr and Suzanne welcome their guests to experience and enjoy their special vision. Very relaxing.
Finally, we had great hikes. Kudos to the reviewer who zoomed to the top of Mitchell Peak and didn't find it challenging enough. Most guests DO find that it's a hike that will get your heart-rate up, and the 360 degree view is a spectacular reward. We also spent a full day in camp (gasp... no hiking?!?) and we LOVED having the place pretty much to ourselves. You can be active or you can chill out (or do both) and it's all what you want to make of it.
Again, everything positive in the other reviews I agree with 1000% -- we really loved our stay, would happily come back again, and think it is a very special place. And if you have questions, call or email the owners. My friends are going to get so tired of hearing me talk about how much I enjoyed our stay there!!! :)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Sequoia High Sierra Camp offers a rare opportunity to explore the spectacular background of California's Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks – while enjoying the deluxe furnishings, guest amenities and friendly hospitality that are hallmarks of this secluded mountain retreat. You can experience the parks like no other hotel or lodge in the area. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Sequoia High Sierra Camp Hotel Sequoia And Kings Canyon National Park