After dutiful research, we booked three nights at Tenaya for my family of 4. At Yosemite, there are not a lot of hotel choices - either expensive high class properties like Tenaya or Ahwahnee, or you drop down to much less luxurious places. We were EXTREMELY happy with Tenaya. First (and in contrast to earlier post), the staff was (with one exception) VERY friendly and efficient. They often used our name when speaking to us. We booked a room with sofabed, which also comes with a balcony (these rooms are at each end of the wings) and I recommend it highly, especially if you want to wake up, step outside, and see the expanse of trees and mountains. Even better in the night when you can sit out and gaze at the unlimited starry sky. Room was nicely appointed.
The pool area was idyllic. Imagine a heated pool (not too hot, just enough to still be refreshing) surrounded by a beautiful hotel building on one side and endless pine trees on the other, with a perfect blue sky above you. What could be better? Nice chaise lounges and lots of sun cover areas to hide under if you burn easy. They play music at the pool (not too loud) and they also pump the music underwater, which was fun for me and my kids to try to recognize the song from underwater. Admittedly, at times there were lots of kids, but it's Yosemite in the summertime. Duh! What do you expect? Also, be sure to visit the pool bar; they have amazing drinks made with top shelf liquor. I had a perfect mojito. The Mai Tai's are also great. The "Tenaya Long Island" is very potent - beware.
Ate twice at Jackalopes, the more casual (and cheaper) restaurant at Tenaya. Of course, you MUST sit outside - again, you get that great view. They have a cool fire pit that is surrounded by the tables. The stone wall surrounding the dining area also appears to have heaters built into it (which weren't needed when we were there). Cheaper than Sierra, but still expensive. But the food was outstanding (although other posters thought otherwise - and we are from NYC area so we know what good food is). Try the buffalo wings - they are perfection. The unusual dessert pizza was also great - share it with your table. Service the first time was great; the second time it was abysmal (a manager later intervened to try to patch up the many problems with us and other diners that night). We think it was due to a large wedding in the conference center area that probably reduced the normal waitstaff at the restaurant.
If you are AAA members, be sure to let the hotel know as you get free breakfast for two each day - and they have a very nice hot/cold buffet. The bacon was delicious, and I enjoyed the corned beef hash (which my wife despises).
Also went to the Summerdale cookout excursion, which takes place just a short walk behind the hotel. It was a nice evening with good buffet meal, roasting hot dogs on open fire, S'mores, live entertainer, and sing-along to end the night. Bar is available at extra cost.
Some clarifications from earlier reviews:
The walls ARE on the thin side, but if you want the uppermost floor it is the 4th floor, not the 3rd floor.
Who goes to Yosemite for a spa experience?
Do not, I repeat do NOT miss the drive to Glacier Point. The highlight of our visit to Yosemite.
After walking through the Ahwahnee later in the trip, we were SO glad that we saved the money and made the choice for Tenaya. Ahwahnee is amazingly beautiful from the outside, but many of hte public areas are not as majestic as Tenaya (like the main lobby, where Tenay is a large soaring space and Ahwahnee is claustrophobic). Having said that, try to do the Sunday brunch at Ahwahnee - in the amazing dining room. If you're lucky like us, you will get the "Queens Table" (in the small alcove that looks directly towards Yosemite Falls). Unfortunately, the falls were diminished from their earlier spring deluge, but it was a perfect spot nonetheless.
We had planned to go the Mariposa Forest one afternoon (Saturday) but the lots were overfilled, so we instead went back to the hotel (close by) and enjoyed the pool for a few hours, then later went back to see the giant sequoias.
Without question, Tenaya is the place to stay when going to Yosemite.