Let me preface this by saying what you pay for a room will have a significant bearing on perceived value at the Tenaya Lodge. We got a phenomenal rate during September so it makes a stay at a resort hotel like the Tenaya seem a better value for what you get.
The resort is just that. It's a resort with all the amenities. You are greeted by the bellman right when you drive up and they are friendly, welcoming and know the banter to set your stay off right. Especially after a long drive. Mind you they are pretty persistent about offering to deliver your luggage after checking in. It's a free service but they probably get a good portion of their wage from tips. Go own...set your stay off right and let them take your luggage.
Sitting at the outdoor patio at Jackalopes looking out across the pool surrounded by trees is very relaxing especially over an evening refreshment. You know you are at a higher end resort. The pool area has two hot tubs, a main "beach style" pool and a water park style small pool area for kids. There are many lounge chairs. Cabanas are also for rent. During September we never had a problem finding a lounge chair but it must be crazy during high season.
Our king room was clean, spacious and well appointed however the bed was average. It was a plain box spring, plain mattress king bed, no pillow top/Euro style. Not noticeably uncomfortable but every movement was felt. The Tenaya would probably benefit from upgrading the beds. Especially for some of the higher room prices that can be paid.
The lodge has a charmingly goofy layout. Our room was in a wing that we always went outside to get from our room to the main lodge and we finally had to ask the front desk if there was an interior route. Indeed there is and it's one of those down the hall, past the rabbit hole, over the indoor pool and down the beanstalk routes. Simple after doing it once but it was a source of laugher and amusement for us trying to find it. It's lodge-style so expect the odd taxidermy stuffed animal or elk/deer head or antler chandelier.
You are also paying resort prices for food. It's not shockingly expensive but it's definitely more than in the town of Oakhurst which is a 20-25 minute drive each way. The question is after driving an hour each way in and out of Yosemite do you want another 20-25 minute drive each way into Oakhurst? What's your time worth? And it's a winding road. Not the best choice if you don't have a designated driver if you partake in a couple of wobbly pops.
We did eat at Embers one night in celebration of our wedding anniversary. It was a treat to ourselves and the price was as expected for a fine dining restaurant. It's great that you can be casual with style of dress. No suit and tie required. Last thing you want to be is "stuffy" in Yosemite National Park (YNP) The steaks were extremely good. The service was attentive, friendly and we never felt hurried. We were paying more for a fine dining experience and the staff let us enjoy it at our pace. I'll make a couple of observations and it's up to you to decide if that's your "thing" or not. You sit in these very high back velour chairs that tower at least a foot above your head. Very "Adams Family". The very good Caesar salad and the impressive show of their version of flaming Bananas Foster, they call it Bananas Diablo, is rolled up on trollies to your table and made in front of you. It's impressive and part of the experience but I felt it a bit dated. Think dark steakhouse of the late 70's. I think Embers would be missing something in its ambience if the tableside prep of the Caesar salad and Bananas Diablo were taken away but it still seems a bit kitchy to me. Especially when the cart is wheeled over on squeaky wheels. It seems a bit Mafioso. Overall Embers is a good choice. You'll pay more for fine dining but that's what you are there for and you will enjoy it.
If you get a very good room rate like we did you will probably really love the Tenaya Lodge. The accommodations in Oakhurst are less expensive but now that we know about the Tenaya it would be hard to stay in those. But again...it all depends on what you pay. The more you pay the higher your expectations will be. If we were paying full rack rate ($350-$450+) this review may have been more critical.
As a note about Yosemite National Park. Pretty well from anywhere except at the signature lodges within the park you'll have a lengthy drive to Glacier Point or the valley floor. Do yourself and others a favor and take your time on the roads. The majority of times most drivers were speeding (Posted at 35 MPH but they were going at 45-55 MPH) on windy, narrow roads with no shoulders and some drop-offs. Other drivers were tailgating to "encourage" drivers to pull into turnouts to let them pass. Most will find the drive uneventful but for those mildly afraid of heights the speeding and tailgating won't be appreciated. Why in such a hurry? No one wants to arrive in YNP as a big bundle of nerves. Is there a reason to drive the YNP roads like a rally driver? Just my humble opinion.
Enjoy your stay at Tenaya Lodge. We did.