We stayed at the Squaw Valley Motel for 2 nights during a trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, something I suspect is true for most visitors to Squaw Valley. We didn’t book the motel expecting luxury or first class accommodations-we wanted something in our budget ($55 a night) that was close to the parks and the Squaw Valley Motel fit the bill. Also didn’t hurt that there aren’t a lot of options in town.
That being said, we enjoyed our stay here. The rooms are small but cozy and clean, with a bed and breakfast feel-no cookie-cutter corporate-chain furniture here. There were homemade quilts on the bed, a little desk area with a clearly hand-painted chair and night stand, and the bathroom had recently been redone, with very nice tiling. The shower was quite large and the hot water plentiful. The room even had a TV with Direct TV programming, which we didn’t watch much, but was useful in catching the tail end of a Sunday night football game. Parking is directly outside your room door and plentiful. The owner was very accommodating and helpful. He lives on the property and due to our schedule, we didn’t get to the motel until about 9:00pm. When I called to inquire whether this was an issue for check-in, he told me I could arrive at any time and to just enjoy my time in the parks. Sure enough, when we pulled into the motel, he heard our vehicle and was at the check-in desk almost immediately. Check out was as easy as dropping a key in a drop box outside the office door as we left.
Our only complaint was noise while sleeping. Yes, the hotel is located right off a highway, but it’s only busy during certain periods of time and night didn’t seem to be one of them. In fact, we rarely heard highway noise, thanks in part to the AC/heating unit, which was a window unit in the bathroom. Sounds like it wouldn’t be powerful enough to cool or heat an entire room, but, as I said, these rooms are a little small and the unit was powerful, so we never had any temperature issues. And the noise the unit made drowned out the highway, best we could tell. However, if there is someone in the rooms on either side of yours, you will hear them as they come and go. You will hear their doors opening, their TV playing, their vehicle arriving and leaving and headlights shining into your room. Our first night at the motel, there was someone to the right of us, but we barely heard them. The second night, however, we had someone to our left who watched TV until 3:00am, then left the room about 5:00am. I had brought earplugs with me, so these helped, but whether due to poorly insulated walls and/or windows, or just an especially loud neighbor, we heard a lot more noise than we cared to. Still, that was the only complaint and it wasn’t that big of a deal to us as, like I said earlier, we were there to visit the parks and kept a pretty early rise/late evening schedule ourselves. We got a good night of sleep both nights and the noise wasn’t excessive or extreme-just more able to be heard than expected.
The town of Squaw Valley itself is very small but, as other reviewers have mentioned, a great little pizza place named “Bear Mountain Pizza” is directly next door to the motel and has later hours, which worked great for us. They have a large screen TV and very friendly staff, as well as great pizza. There was another café in town, but they had shorter hours and we never got to try them. We did drive to Orange Cove one night just to check out other options and quickly turned around and headed back to Bear Mountain Pizza when we saw the town-bars on all doors and windows, a few Mexican bars on the main drag and one open Mexican restaurant. One look at the menu and whiff of the air and we knew it wasn’t worth the 15 minute drive-back to cozy Bear Mountain we went. There aren't any bars on any homes or businesses in Squaw Valley, by the way-seemed very safe.
All in all, I would definitely recommend the Squaw Valley Motel for those looking for a budget-friendly, comfortable and clean place to stay near the Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks. The motel is about 20 minutes from the northern entrances and an easy, nearly traffic-free drive during the early fall, with some great scenery along the way. If you came to Squaw Valley or the motel looking for luxury, first class accomodations and pampering you clearly didn’t do your homework. But if you’re looking for a good bargain and a comfortable place to rest your head after a long day, this is the place.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.