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“Wonderful Lodge” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Montecito Sequoia Lodge

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Montecito Sequoia Lodge
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   63410 General's Hwy, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, CA 93633   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Berkeley, CA
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Wonderful Lodge”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 6, 2008

We just returned from a 2 night stay at Montecito and had a wonderful time. It was our first visit to the snow with our chilren (1 1/2 & 3), and it was a blast.

Our son spent most of his snow time innertubing and sledding down the slopes. The lodge rents all snow equiptment for $5 per day, and you can interchange as much as you like. We never tried skiing or snowshoeing because we had so much fun tubing and sledding. Although the lodge does not rent sleds, you can bring your own (or borrow from another guest as we did).

When we tired of being in the snow, we came into the lodge to warm up in front of the fires and drink hot chocolate. The lodge is stocked with games (although pieces may be missing or mixed up). It also had a ping pong table and foozball (sp?). My children enjoyed interacting with the many children and made some friends in the two day we were there.

The food was delicious, and I think this is a great place for families. Especially during school holidays, it would not be a good fit for somebody looking for a quiet getaway. Children can be noisy and messy, and this lodge is filled with happy sounds. People spend a lot of time in the lodge common areas, so they are rarely clean.

The lodge also has included children's activities (5 and up) and guided ski tours and lessons. Although we did not take part in these activities, everyone we talked to enjoyed them. Kids were eager to follow their counselor for snowboarding lessons, snow cave building, treasure hunts, etc.

We look forward to returning each year. It was the most relaxing "ski" trip I have ever taken.

  • Liked — food, fires, sledding hills
  • Disliked — Noise in the hallways
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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373 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Newport Beach, California
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2008

We recently returned from a Christmas stay at the Montecito Sequoia Lodge. It was such a pleasure to spend the holidays there, among families and the generous staff. We stayed for 4 days and three nights and were blessed with perfect winter weather.

I first learned of the resort through an ad in OC Family magazine. We were thinking of getting away for Christmas, and their offer sounded just right. Our positive experience started from the first moment I called to make our reservation. The booking representative taking my call was friendly and patient and answered all of my questions (and I asked A LOT of them).

Fortunately, the roads were open when we arrived, however the lodge does have a vehicle escort service that will accompany you through the closed roads to the lodge. Snow chains are a MUST at this time of year.

Our first impression was of the gorgeous scenery around the Montecito resort. The snow scene was like a postcard. When we stepped into the Main Lodge to check in, we found the guests milling around the two huge fireplaces and seated at tables having a snack or playing games.

One drawback was that there was no help carrying our bags up to the second-floor rooms, a fact that should have been pointed out to me during one of my many calls. However, we managed and quickly settled into our room. Although not luxurious, I found it very clean and cozy. We learned from other guests who have visited before the new owners took over that the rooms and bathrooms have been renovated considerably. There were new mattresses, carpeting and towels. Also, despite the cold outside, we never once turned on the room heater, even at night while we slept! The rooms were extremely well insulated. Our view was not fantastic, however we spent very little time in the room so we hardly noticed.

Something that stood out to me was the warm family atmosphere. Most of the guests were there with children, ranging in age from 1 to 15, and they all seemed to be having a blast. My own 4-year-old made friends instantly. Kids played freely in the game room where there was a ping-pong table, foosball as well as a cupboard filled with games for people of all ages. The environment felt very safe. Many children played while parents read by the fire.

The resort also schedules various activities for children and adults throughout the day. I dropped my son off for two hours in the morning of snow play, sledding, skiing or tubing. Meanwhile, I was able to rent snowshoes or skis (a cheap $5 a day for guests of the lodge), and enjoy some "me" time, knowing my child was in good hands. The staff was amazing. They were always busy helping guests, cleaning or leading activities. Most of them were young (about in their 20s), and overseeing most details, was "Mama".

The ever-abundant food is served buffet style. There are set meal times when all the guests converge in the downstairs area. There is plenty to choose from, though my big complaint is that there are not enough healthy options at meal times, such as hard-boiled eggs, grilled meats and steamed or sautéed vegetables. Most everything had a sauce that was usually cream or cheese based. But it was all very yummy. I was impressed with the 24-hour snack bar, consisting of beverages of all kinds, cereals, soups and sandwich fixings.

I loved the all-inclusive aspect of the lodge. Only alcoholic drinks and ice-cream bars had an additional cost. It made my stay headache-free. I do think, however that the price was a bit steep. During special holidays, the price goes up, although the offerings seem to be the same (I questioned the staff and found out that everything they offer is pretty much the same all year). We paid $330 per night for a family room (king-size bed and bunk bed) plus 13% tax. During off-season, the same will only cost around $70 per night. So basically, you're paying for the holiday.

We were fortunate that during our visit the owner attended with a group of musician friends. They entertained us almost every night of our stay with performances of Christmas music and sing-alongs. And on Christmas eve even Santa made a special visit! They offered a special Christmas dinner and decorated the dining halls with balloons and streamers. The evening activity was a night of dancing with a DJ.

The overall experience was so good that we are seriously considering returning for the Family Summer Camp or perhaps in the spring.

It's an A+++ for families with young children who don't want a place packed with snowboarders and skiers!! Be prepared to interact with other families. You'll end up with a lot of email addresses to share photos!

  • Liked — The family atmosphere and helpful staff.
  • Disliked — The healthy food options.
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntington Beach, California
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
45 hotel reviews
Reviews in 64 cities Reviews in 64 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2007

$80 double occupancy with all meals in the midst of a national forest!! Fantastic. The meals alone are worth a special trip as le Guide Michelen would say: Notable are the sausage gravy with biscuits we had one morning alone with the more than ample regular breakfast, the vegetarian meat loaf, and the filet mignon wrapped in bacon and covered with blue cheese we had on our return from a 7.5 mile hike (from 6000' to 7000') on Redwood Mountain along the Sugar Bowl trail. (Oh, and they'll pack a lunch, also included in the price, for you to take on the trail.)

The rooms are not overheated. The beds are exceptionally comfortable. The air (no charge) is pure and unpolluted. Ample pillows, blankets, and towels.

  • Liked — Food, location
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ipswich, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2007

We spent 4 days at this place whilst visiting Kings Canyon/Sequoia national parks.
We loved this place, though I have to warn that it is not a conventional hotel. If you expect to be waited on at meal times, not to have to clear away your own dishes, expect to have your room made up every day etc then this is not the place for you.

The lodging comes fully inclusive of three meals and at the rate I was paying I didn't expect anything fancy at all. Turns out the food was much better than I expected. It's served buffet style, with plenty of variety and lots of it available. Even if you a vegetarian like me, there is still plenty of choice, and they will cook stuff for you if there is nothing out that you can eat. My husband is a carnivore and found the meat and fish on offer to be good quality and well cooked. As we spent the days out and about hiking, we weren't in for lunch. They do a packed lunch for you, you just need to order the night before. Best of all there is free access to the kitchen so if you get peckish in the night you can get a snack. Tea coffee and soft drinks are always available from the dining room. The place has a small bar as well. You eat at tables which sit 8-10 people so its a good chance to meet other people. I really liked this aspect. Coming form the Uk on holiday to California it's easy to only have contact with hotel and restaurant staff. It was interesting to talk to ordinary Americans. We met people from Texas and Louisiana as well as Californians, people from all sorts of backgrounds. Everyone seemed to be enjoying their stay.
The staff were very friendly, always seemed to be busy but happy to talk to you and answer your questions.
As this is a resort lodging, it offers activities like Archery and Horse riding. We came for the hiking, so didn't try any of those.
The Lodge is really convenient on Generals Highway between Kings canyon and Sequoia national parks, and is in a beautiful setting itself. Next to a lake in the middle of the forest, with views of the mountains. It has a swimming pool and hot tub and you can go canoeing on the lake.
We booked a double room with a bathroom, though the lodge also offers more basic cabin accommodation as well. The room was clean comfortable and well stocked with toiletries. There is no TV in the room, but you don't need that at a place like this.

  • Liked — Sitting in the hot tub watching the setting sun light up the mountians beyond the forest.
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2007

Just got back from a week of family camp. It was my husband, myself, and our two boys (6 and 5). We went with about 4 other families with young children. One family had a special needs child - the counselors were exceptional with her.

The good:
-The staff and counselors were amazing. They were all friendly and knowledgeable. I can't say enough about the staff. The skits, the pow wows, and other fun activities that they led. The group leaders all had so much personality and were so accomodating.
-There were a huge variety of activities. They ranged from arts and crafts room to guided mountain bike tours to water skiing.

The less good:
-we stayed in a cabin with no running water. I would not do that again. Especially, when I realized they have rooms that have bathrooms in the lodge. The cabins were not very clean (lots of dust and bugs).
-the price. I feel that it was overly expensive. A lot of activities are included, but a quite a few are not. Waterskiing, horseback riding, mountain biking (if you use one of their bikes), some arts and crafts, and others I may not know about. I was offended that they put an ice cream freezer right next to the buffett line. It became a battle with my kids when they wanted an ice cream and I said no. I belive the ice cream ranged from $2-$5 - definitely full price. Why? You are already paying a lot, build in an extra $20 for ice cream. The other thing I was surprised about, but paid, was the gratuity. They suggested an average of $100/person in your family. I did tip $400 because I heard that the majority of the counselors and staffs pay comes from tips.

I felt like the price (If I remember correctly, we paid around $4,000 for the family, without tips and the extra activities), reflects a nice resort. The grounds needed some improvements. To their credit, it sounds like the new owners are fixing it up (new boat, new beds in the lodge, new horses, etc.), but I felt the price I paid subsidized some of the improvements in the future. All of this being said, I would recommend the Montecito Sequoia and I would go back. It is a unique experience to share with your family. We enjoyed talking about what we did during the day, singing songs around the campfire, catching fish, and strengthening our bond as a family. The family time is much more important than luxury anyway!

  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, TX
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2007

While the lodge may be an entertaining place for families, it is not suitable for couples interested in visiting the Sequoia National Forests. The prices are ridiculously high and the rooms are in disrepair. Our room was full of insects and the towels in the bathroom had not been changed from the previous guests. There were friendly members of the staff. However, by and large, these young people were unable to solve simple problems (such as getting clean towels for their guests) without calling in the manager (who always seems to be far, far away from the main lodge).

If you have kids and a week off, this may be the place for you. If you are looking for a place to spend one or two nights stay elsewhere.

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — Condition of room and price.
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northern California
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2007

This is not a luxury lodge, so please book somewhere else if that is what you are looking for. This is a place for families with kids in tow (like us!). This is a blue collar experience, not the Ritz.

We stayed here during the early summer, and the hotel was gearing up for the "Family Camp". So there were alot of young folks around doing training, however they were all courteous and followed the quiet time rules (10 PM to 8 AM).

First let me discuss the positives and then the negatives:

The rooms are large compared to a standard hotel. We had a king bed and two bunk beds and still had room to move around. Beware that the bathroom (at least in our room) was tiny. We had a room in the main lodge, and I would definitely recommend staying in one of the cabins if you can get it.

The beds were comfortable and looked like that had been recently replaced. The only problem with the bunk beds is that there was no safety bar. Maid service only replaced towels during our stay and did not make the beds. Not a big deal for us.

The biggest problem we had with the rooms was the location and the lack of air conditioning. It gets warm up there in the summer months and none of the rooms have AC. We had the windows open all night and the fan going full speed with little relief until late into the night. If you are going to stay at any of the parks resorts, make sure to inquire about AC.

So with the windows open came alot of noise and full sunrise too early for us! There were several porch lights that beamed right into our room, and the back door to lodge was used all night long. Unfortunately it was right below our window and also very load when every person let it slam behind them. We did not sleep well any night and the kids were exhausted when we left.

We also had a terrible view from our room. It overloooked two large garbage cans and the counselors housing. I tried to include a photo of that with this posting.

Meals are included with your stay, and we found them to be acceptable. We are not talking about gourmet cooking, but the adults and the children all found something to eat every day at every meal. The first night we arrived about 6:30 to the buffet and several main items were already gone. And when they are gone, they are gone!

The eating area ia large enough to accomodate everyone, however if it is crowded you could wind up sitting with another family. If you don't want to socialize, go to the outside tables! During our stay, we did not have any trouble getting a large table to ourselves. Beer and wine can be purchased as well.

The biggest problem with the food are the flies and the so-called 24 hour snacks. Given that the food is served buffet style and sits out for awhile, flies do land on everything. It was a bit disgusting to be honest, but we managed. The kids liked serving themselves and loved getting hot chocolate whenever they wanted.

Forget the 24 hours snacks. It is a row of cereal dispensers that you can help yourself to whenver you want. There are no real "snacks" like chips or cookies or crackers. Bring your own. There is an ice cream selection, but you do have to pay extra for these. Coffe and tea are available anytime.

There are alot of things to do at the camp. We spent our days touring the park and then did a few activities when we returned after dinner. We most enjoyed canoeing on the small lake and catching the small fish with the provided nets. We were going to play tennis but never got around to it!

This is one of the areas where the place has potential. There is horseback riding, water skiing, canoeing, hitting golf balls, tennis, archery, firing range, fitness course, hosershoes, volleyball. But be forewarned that these activities are not included in your stay unless you do Family Camp. You will pay extra.

To be honest the facilities are run down and need work. Our kids had a great time while we were there, but we did not pay for any of the extra activities either. I have no idea how good the camp counselors would be with the activities. They all seemed pretty young and maybe need more training?

The lake is pretty small and there was no swimming when we were there (no lifegaurds on duty). The kids were very disappointed. We thought we would have the pool as a backup, but it is very small and was filled with alot of debris. The kids did not want to go in it. THe hot tub looked nice, but we never got in.

Oh, and if you go in the summer months bring alot of bug spray with you. The mosquitos are pretty bad, especially at dusk.

There was a nice walking path around the lake, maybe about 1/2 mile long. I did it a few times in the morning and never saw a sole out there. It was very peaceful and well maintained.

There is a shelf with alot of kids books on it, they all looked well used. THere are also some board games, but not a whole lot. I saw many puzzles in the game cabinet as well, although we never put one together. I expect they would be missing alot of pieces.

The web site does not really show you much of the facility with photos, so it is a bit of a guess when you book where you will be. We booked online and did not have any issues. The hotel was recently purchased by new owners and I believe being renovated.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — No Air Conditioning and the noise at night with windows open
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Montecito Sequoia Lodge

Address: 63410 General's Hwy, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, CA 93633
Location: United States > California > Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Montecito Sequoia Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 37
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
All Meals and seasonal activities included in the room rate: A Rustic Mountain Lodge & Summer Family Camp located in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, California. Spectacular view of the Great Western Divide of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. All Lodge Rooms have private bath. Cabins have shared bathhouse. Open year-round. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Montecito Sequoia Hotel Sequoia And Kings Canyon National Park

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