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“Loved Family Camp experience” 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
LA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Loved Family Camp experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2008

Loved Family Camp at Montecito Sequoia Lodge!

Pros:
- Kids activities were fantastic, varied, and great new experiences. More than even listed on their website.
- Kids were supervised by enthusiastic, charming counselors many of whom grew up going to this camp every year. Morning pow-wow with fun camp songs for all.
- Parents had tons of free time knowing the kids were well looked after
- Grown up activities were fantastic, hugely varied, from learning to mountain bike, to yoga, hiking, tie-dye and arts and crafts, astronomy. Or you could sit at the pool and read
- Easy to get evening babysitters at affordable rates
- Food was really good, and plentiful
- At least half of the campers were repeats, a big vote of confidence, in fact you will find some families and groups who have been coming for years and years

Cons:
- Lodge rooms are adequate, not luxurious, bathrooms and beds were fine. This is a rustic but comfortable enough camp, not the four seasons
- Pool is fine, but not big enough for true lap swimming
- Lake is pretty small, fine for beginner waterskiers but not huge
- Not cheap, but you do get alot for you money. Prices quoted do not include 13% taxes, AND add additional 10% on top for gratuities at end of stay - it is expected, as is a large portion of counselors pay. By end of week you will agree they are worth it
- Many folks need a day to adjust to altitude

All in all a wonderful family experience with loads of fun and relaxation for kids and parents. Love that the parents get to go to camp too!

  • Liked — Tons of family fun and parent down-time too
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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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
Northern CA.
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2008

We are leaving next week for our fourth visit to Montecito. Each year we spend a week at the summer family camp with our kids. I've read some of the complaints with this resort and, while I agree with them at some level (having once been a real person and not a mom), I have to point out that the main focus of this lodge (at least in summer) is as a sleep-away summer camp that caters to families. If someone is going to provide you with three good meals a day and take care of your kids for six hours (while you are in a National Park), you can put up with a lot of "dump", or perhaps call it "funky"? It's a whole lot cheaper than Club Med. As a camp experience it is right up there with all the sleep-away summer camps I ever went to as a kid, except with fewer rules and your parents come too. What's more, the adults can do all the summer camp activities as well (I like the riflery - though my son doesn't). It's good value as an all-inclusive summer week for the family.

  • Liked — bunk beds
  • Disliked — kinda of seedy
  • Stayed August 2007
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Georgetown, Kentucky
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2008

We stayed in Montecito Sequioa the first weekend in May 08. Overall the hotel was fine, but we were mislead about the included activities and that put a damper on our stay.

The website lists spring activities including archery, rock climbing, tennis, boating, astronomy, and archery. I called and asked which activities would be offer right before I booked. I was told they were transitioning to spring activities and that archery and canoeing should be available. When I booked our room via the website, our room was listed as "Cabin, no bath, with Meals & Activities ".

When I arrived and asked again about the acitivities, I learned that even through we paid the same price as for any other time, no activites were being offered to us. I can understand that some activities are dependant on weather (there was still some snow in some areas at the lodge), but it was their choice not to offer any. We were told that we go to climbing wall, put our feet at the lower line and try to traverse it horizontally. That was seriously the only "activity" that was offered. The snow might have made it difficult to run the canoeing, but it shouldn't have affected, the rock climbing or even astronomy. I felt that since we paid for included activities that should have offered something. They took our money and did not give us what was promised. If they can't offer activities in the spring, they should make that very clear on the website and the rates should be lower.

Now on to the rest of the stay.....

Our group consisted of 4 adults. The cabin was larger than I anticipated and was located next to the lake. The lack of bathroom really wasn't a big deal since there was a shower house and bathroom nearby. The only problem we had was that the cabin was very drafty. Lots of heat was lost through the poorly sealed rear cabin wall. So those sleeping next to the wall were freezing while those in the bunk beds were burning up.

The spring was sort of a mud and snow time at the lodge and it is probably prettier at other times of the year. But the reflection of the lodge in the lake was nice.

The included food was a definate plus. We ate breakfast and dinner at the lodge and ordered trail lunches while we explored the national parks. The food was pretty good. It was buffett sytle with a couple of choices for the main cource and dessert.

All in all the main thing that the lodge has going for it is convenience. The included food is a plus since there aren't a lot of dining options in national parks. It was nice not having to drive the winding roads in and out of the area every day. But they are other options for staying inside one of the parks, if I get the chance to come back, I will look into other in park lodging.

  • Liked — The convenience of staying in the park and having meals prepared for you
  • Disliked — Lack of activities, draft room
  • Stayed May 2008
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
central, nj
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2008

Walk into a giant hall, check in desk freestanding by the door. Ten or twelve oval, formica tables in the hall, scattered diners eating right where you checked in. Wierd. so, it 7:00pm, sorry, dinners been served and you are late so breakfast is served tommorrow. You are a long, long way from food, so when i objected, she told me to go into the kitchen and make myself a cold cut sandwich, it i'd like to do it myself. the confirm didn't say about being there by 7. so the gross experience of sticking my hands into the refrigerators holding food others would east the next day and eating in the giant hall with formica tables, running kids yelling the jumbo adjoining playroom didn't endear me.

but that was nothing compared with the room. this hotel's web sight showed only the window shaes and a drop or wall/headboard. but the picture was desinged to disguise the fact it's a dump. dresser standing in a closet with no door. walk up stairs, to then have to walk down stairs to get into the hotel.

so, after only a half - nights sleep in what felt like a dump, when i told the manager i didn't want to have to pay for a second night since the place wasn't anything like depicted on their web site, he replies "i took that picture". so, there was nothing more to be said. it's the national park screw that you forfeit the prepaid rent if cancelled withing 48 hours. they need it since who would stay. at least, they offered to let us stay at their reasonably nice logdge near the general grant entrance. I had a great prime rib dinner in that restaurant. but montecito is a DUMP. it always irritates me how the laws of supply and demand are trumped in national parks. I understand that it's to control development, and that's good, but why does the Park Service tolerate lousy park facilities.

Stayed April 2008
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sierra_Cement, Lodge Manager at Montecito Sequoia Lodge, responded to this review, May 23, 2008
Whilst I apologize that our rooms didn't meet the authors standards I do have to point out that the pictures on the website are of the rooms at the lodge.

Our cancellation policy did prevent us from reimbursing the author but after listening to their comments and feeling we transferred their remaining reservation to John Muir Lodge free of charge and comped their meals for the remainder of their stay (Something that is not included in the Muir Lodge rate). Our rooms may not appeal to everyone but we will always do our best to accommodate an unhappy guest.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Near Stanford U.
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2008

we stayed at The Montecito-Sequoia Lodge in the past (www.mslodge.com) but it was our 1st winter time, the place went thru a remodeling and the room and bathrooms in the main lodge are nicer now! we wanted to do some skiing but the resort is for cross-county skiing more than anything. We rented the skii bikes (it was fun) but since the resort does not have a lift to carry you up hill (it had old pretty quick) hauling the bike up hill. It would be nice if the had a tow rope lift or something to get you up hill....the bikes is not light to carry that many times up hill.

The food is good and even the price is worth it since the 3 meals area included. The equipment rental at $5 is a great deal.

Staff are very nice and friendly! We had a great snow hike with Kate and loved it! it was tiresome but well worth it!

I think we will stick with our spring or summer visit since the snow without the lifts is a pain!

Overall we will return in the spring or summer...very family oriente resort!

  • Stayed February 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berkeley, CA
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newport Beach, California
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
20 helpful votes 20 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.

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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
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) 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*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
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. Buffet Meals and seasonal activities included in room rate. 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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