Hi, This is my 2nd review of this facility and much of what I said in 2012 still holds. Here is my review which I've updated with new information from this years trip..
We've been going to the "Lodge" for many years, most recently in early February, 2013 and find it's location perfect. We pretty much always go in the winter when you can see the park instead of hoards of tourists. It's the time of year when you can hear the water falls instead of screaming children, can be alone in a meadow on the valley floor, and have a picnic area all to yourself. Our son is a tour guide who winds up leading tours that visit the park in the summer and he tells of it taking 1.5 hours just to drive from tunnel view to Yosemite Village (this is a 10 minute drive in the winter). The winter is the peacful time. Virtually no traffic, you can get pictures of meadows and features with no tourists in them and you can find plenty of parking at all the best stopping spots. However, you can't get to the high country (Tuolomne) or Glacier Point (other than by snow shoe). But the majesty of the valley is laid out before you in all it's glory. During our Mon-Thu stay in the first week of Feb, 2013 it was downright empty. Even in the lodge food court at prime time we never found a line of more than 1 or 2 people.
The Lodge is at the trail head that leads to Yosemite Falls (about 1/4 mile walk with only a small hill to walk up right at the end (about 50 ft elevation gain) - the alternate path from the Yosemeite Falls bus stop is a bit longer but not as steep and more wheel chair accessible). It's also adjacent to the famous Cooks Meadow and is a short walk through the meadow to Sentinel bridge and the picturesque chapel. Yosemite falls can be seen from many parts of the lodge campus as can Half Dome, and many other features. But you can't see the falls from most rooms. This location is about a 15 minute walk from Yosemite Village and the free valley floor shuttle bus stops in front of the lobby. The free shuttle runs about every 15 to 30 minutes (more in the summer). You cannot beat this location.
The lodge is a series of 1950's-1960's era two story "motel" style buildings. While quite impressive in the 60's, it's somewhat dated now. The beds are comfortable and the rooms are good size. They now have in room phones, cable TV, and free Wi-Fi. They are still in the process of fixing up the rooms. This year we noticed two full buildings under renovation.
To be honest, these room take a beating. They are filled virtually 365 days a year and during much of the year contain families with children who can be quite rough on the decor and the rooms show this wear and tear.
This year we wound up in a renovated room. This included: New carpet, fresh paint, removal of cieling fan (it must be stifling in the summer as there is no A/C), new art work that was quite pleasing and new lighting fixtures. Most of the work seems to have been in the bathroom area where there was new tile floor, new fiberglas tub/shower, new faucets, new shower head, new counter top by sink - all of which are great imrovements. According to their TV channel, the furniture is hand-me-down from the upscale Ahwahnee Hotel - somewhat rustic but seemed good.
HOWEVER - the mandate for the reno work seems to be "Speed over Quality". When painting they did not remove any hardware and did not mask very well or clean paint from window glass where it slopped over. The other thing is lighting. The DNC company (which runs the place) is very big on what they call "Green path" which is touted everywhere you look. While I am in accordance with this, I find it odd then that they deliberatly leave all the outside lighting on all day long. We turn off the patio light each day when we leave in the AM and find it on each day when we get back before dinner. They also have gone to all CFL lights in the room - which is good. However, they are all the slow warm up type and lower wattage than needed for the space. So, to get enough light we wind up turning on every light in the room. We also found ourselves leaving the light on in the bathroom all the time we're in the room due to the long warm up time till they come to full brightness.
But the weirdest thing of all, espeically considering all the effort they are putting into "Green", was that for some inexplicible reason they mounted the thermostat sideways which prevented it from accuratly controlling the temperature (see photos). When we moved in we set it to 67f. Came back later in the day to a room at over 95f. So after opening all the doors and windows, knocked the setting down to 55. Same thing. We finally got it to be somewhat ok after setting it to 48f. It's that lack of attention to detail that knocks my rating down from Very Good to just Good.
However, it is in the ideal portion of the park, and for the most part you should not be hanging around in your room when in a place like Yosemite.
In the winter, food is offered in a food court cafeteria, an upscale restaurant and to some extent in the Bar. The food in the food court was OK. Nothing to write home about but served the purpose. Minimal selection, but hot. We also had a dinner in the upscale Mountain good but waaaay expensive and also somewhat limited menu. We also had a breakfast in the famouse Awhahnee Hotel which is always fantasitc - but pricey. The bar has some limited food offerings which is typical bar food fare. The bar is quite nice with a big fireplace in the middle, TV's all around and big picture windows. A really nice place for after dark.
If you join the Yosemite Conservancy (I think at the $25 donation level or higher) you get 15% off various things in Yosemite. You also get a coupon book with one time disounts one of which (at least this year) is 20% off rooms at the lodge (off peak season, mid week) - this is a good deal and supports the park.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tuesday August 27, 2013 With the exception of White Wolf Lodge, all lodging and services are available in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Valley and Wawona are largely unaffected by the Rim Fire and air quality is good. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Yosemite Hotel National Park
- Yosemite Lodge Falls
- Yosemite Ca
- Yosemite View Lodge
- Yosemite Hotel At The Falls
- Lodge Reservation Yosemite
- Lodge Yosemite
- Yosemite Lodge Hotel
- Yosemite Falls Lodge