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“The Ahwahnee is spectacular.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Ahwahnee

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The Ahwahnee
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   9005 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389   |  
Hotel amenities
Thousand Oaks, cA
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“The Ahwahnee is spectacular.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2013

We just got back from the Ahwahnee where we found a wonderful, well run, nicely maintained hotel with a friendly staff. The hotel lives up to its spectacular location in one of the most beautiful locations in the world. The Ahwahnee sits in the park surrounded by forest between Yosemite Falls and Half Dome. We’d dreamed for many years of enjoying the luxury of the Ahwahnee and when we got there it turned out to be even better than we had imagined. I was put off by some of the negative reviews found on this site, but we had wanted to go to the Ahwahnee for many years, so we went anyway. I’m sure glad we did. Now, I’m kind of suspicious that some of these negative reviewers might be trying to keep this awesome place to themselves. Giant fireplaces that you could stand up inside of if they didn’t keep them lit. Huge rooms, high ceilings in the public areas with comfortable furniture. Rooms off to the side and up the stairs and around corners that are quiet and cozy. I’ve visited castles and mansions turned into museums where I wished I could spend the night. Staying at the Ahwahnee is like living that fantasy. The staff was kind and helpful and responded to my every request. The front desk, the bell hops, the housekeeping, room service and the store clerks could not have been more accommodating. Making sure I was taken care of and happy was their goal. Our room was comfortable. Everything was clean. Spotless. The view from our balcony was breathtaking. The Ahwahnee is a rare jewel in a vintage setting. People who prefer cookie-cutter hotels with shiny glass and chrome might not appreciate this hotel’s unique ambiance, but I sure did. Thank you Brett Archer for keeping this national treasure up to such high standards.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GnrlMgr, General Manager at The Ahwahnee, responded to this review, April 1, 2013
Good afternon INFJ,

Thank you for your very kind review. I am so happy that you had such a great time with us. You are correct in saying that The Ahwahnee is not a "cookie-cutter" hotel; they don't build them like this anymore. I will be sure to share all your kudos with the staff; they are truly the ones that make everything happen. I have been associated with The Ahwahnee since 1993 when I started as the Rooms Manager and take great ownership and pride in taking care of this special place. Thank you for recognizing that. I hope we get the change to take care of you the next time you are in Yosemite.

Warm regards,

Brett Archer, General Manager
The Ahwahnee
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1,308 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013 via mobile

Ever since walking through this hotel in 1962, when I was 13, I had this place on my bucket list.
Glad I finally stayed. The public rooms are delightful. Fireplaces are amazing in winter. End of March is a nice time to visit Yosemite, as the crowds are smaller.
Our room was nice but no desk and limited luggage/closet space. We moved to Yosemite Lodge for rest of our stay due to high cost of Ahwahnee - About double Yosemite Lodge.
Perhaps useful to list a few issues: 1. No AT&T wireless signal. 2. Walls are fairly thin, so hope for quite neighbors. 3. Shower heads are less than six feet tall, so hope you are shorter than me. 4. Make brunch or dinner reservations as soon as you arrive. Perhaps a challenge to make time to enjoy this beautiful hotel when you likely came to see Yosemite.

Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, England, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

The location of the hotel is phenomenally outstanding, in fact it is breath taking. The Hotel is akin to a set from any Agatha Christie book. Disappointingly, that is where the similarity ends, which is a shame as it has so much potential. The staff are okay, nothing more than I would expect from your average fast food worker (sorry if that sounds harsh but they are clearly rushed of their feet) for the price of the rooms and the exorbitant prices of food and wine I expected more. A lot more... having just come from two other outstanding Californian hotels my expectations were perhaps higher than this place could live up to. Having tried to get reservations for dinner 2 nights on the bounce only to be told "sorry it's spring break, you can have something from our bar menu" (which is beyond limited and quite frankly after last nights effort I am not looking forward to having to eat again this evening) is just not good enough. Last night was a rather insipid chilli and a very overpriced pulled pork with a generic mass produced BBQ sauce. Exorbitant prices for low quality fare. Quite frankly you are made to feel as though you are a nuisance that can be fleeced for every penny/cent and not a valued guest. Valued has nothing to do with money, it I entirely about being made to feel that your stay is important and the experience you have matters. Tres disappointing.. Were it not for the scenery, it would have been one epic and expensive fail.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antioch, CA
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2013

We originally booked a room the Yosemite Lodge & upon arrival they told us they could 'upgrade' us to the Ahwahnee hotel for $30 more. I had an odd feeling about that, but my husband gave me that 'don't be ridiculous, we have to take it' look, so we did. There's reasons why they sell Ahwahnee rooms at half price. Relative to primo location, historical significance, and room price, we believed Ahwahnee would be a wonderful experience. To say we were disappointed is putting it lightly. Hope all who read will learn and laugh at this experience so you can spare yourself from repeating ours.

At the usual rate of $400 to $500 something per night, instead of answering the final 2 sided question during check out (did you enjoy your stay, how could we have made your stay better?) I opted not to begin our list of disappointments because it would only magnify the negatives, and waste another 20 minutes of time we could be outside enjoying the beautiful park. I had just one all-important question which I asked, “Are all of your rooms similar, as to beds, carpet, amenities, and decor?” They said yes.

Happy hotel hopper beware! Ahwahnee's rooms & beds should be comfortable & offer down or down alternative pillows but you will get big, heavy, dead pillows. Bathroom had hair & dirt in corners (even my husband saw it). Tub had shadow scum ring. No microwave, no coffee pot, skimped on towels, shampoo & cond. Has modern digital CD clock/radio with offensive lazer type blue light that lit up entire room (so abstract with the antique décor). Guests next door were having a party at 6am so loud it jolted us from our sleep and from this point forward left us with little energy to enjoy our only day in the park. The Ahwahnee restaurant may be historically elegant, but the prices are astronomical. I observed a guest trying to get reservations (at front desk 'dining reservations') for that evening 2 hr prior to dining & the staff shook her head no & told her it was tight, they were all booked up but she would see what she could do. My husband goes to the dining room then, see's the huge vacancy, and the hostess says she can't get him in until 8pm. She gives him a pager, he brings it to our room & goes out for a walk; I'm showering, the beeping, buzzing pager goes off at 6:15pm. My husband comes back to the room, hurries down to the still vacant restaurant, looks at the menu $$$ posted on the wall, and tells the hostess we'll not be dining there that evening - then hostess proceeds to interrogate my husband as to why not? with attitude. He felt uncomfortable & politely said we had other plans - but he meant "it's crazy expensive here, you have plenty of vacancy when you say you don't, and you're very rude".

Now, if none of these things bother you, I'm sure the feel of bare feet on cold floors and carpet that's like indoor/outdoor will. I have plenty of suggestions that could effectively change most of their guests satisfaction levels, and with the exuberant room prices, perhaps Ahwahnee could afford to be the classy hotel it claims to be. But if it's only about the location, view, and history, you might as well bring a tent & sleeping bags, and go use the free showers in Curry village!

I believe it will be difficult or impossible for Ahwahnee to even get a facelift - new texture & paint on all interior walls, nice plush feel carpet, and insulated walls for privacy, unless some top of the ladder Delaware North Corporation executive really cares about the experience the Ahwahnee visitors are receiving and will actually make it happen. Preservation is not only about repairs, it's about renewing, improving, and enhancing the character of the original features. You can't do that with a broom and a bottle of cleaner. So as my husband and I commented to each other as we walked out of Ahwahnee's entrance door to forget and become refreshed with beautiful Yosemite, we laughingly said , “ahwahnee yah money” – and, “ahwahnee never stay here again” ! .

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GnrlMgr, General Manager at The Ahwahnee, responded to this review, April 1, 2013
Good afternoon Queen B,

I am disappointed to read that you and your husband did not enjoy your Ahwahnee visit. I wish you would have brought your dissatisfaction to our attention while you were still here, so we could have made it right.

We have updated our guestroom linens, carpet and draperies in 2011 and are always looking at ways to blend modern conveniences while maintaining the historic value of the hotel. I appreciate that you may have a certain opinion of us, but know that I do care about my guests' experiences and would have appreciated the opportunity to try to change the impression with which you left.

Regards,

Brett Archer, General Manager
The Ahwahnee
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Seattle, Washington
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

This was my second stay.

On the plus side, of course there's the location, and the public rooms are magnificent. I had read some reviews indicating less than welcoming staff, but that was never our experience. Everyone at the Ahwahnee was gracious and helpful.

Now to the other side of it. It's a historic hotel built in 1927. Rooms are small, but I was prepared for that. Ours had a balcony and it was very enjoyable. But the door to the balcony was ready to fall apart, which leads me to my first point: Folks, you need to shut the place down for a while and do some serious maintenance or you will begin losing fittings and fixtures. I understand you also need to do a seismic retrofit. Those stone columns are pretty, but will come tumbling down.

Then there is the dining room. Other than their "grand brunch," which is excellent, the quality of food and service is substandard. Okay, Ahwahnee, you're not in the middle of San Francisco. I do understand. But is that really an excuse for serving a $14 salad that had obviously sat in the fridge all day? Come on, you're in California, not the middle of Nebraska. If I ran the dining room there (which, by the way, is drafty as all get-out because those beautiful windows leak air like a sieve and no one has done the maintenance they need), I would be embarrassed by it.

Now here's the real scandal, truly amazing: A lot of Ahwahnee guests wind up eating in the bar, because the food and service are better. So what is the hotel doing? They are -- get this, for real -- going to require the bar to cut way back on their food offerings, in an effort to force diners back to their underperforming restaurant.

I paid $500 a night to stay there. I'm obviously not too price sensitive, but I really think the quality is lacking. A $500 a night hotel, even in an an out-of-the-way place, ought to do a much better job than this. It's by no means a total disaster. Our room, for example, was clean and well-appointed, and the bathroom had been redone. You'll enjoy yourself at the Ahwahnee, but you'll shake your head at times, not so much in anger or irritation but in sadness for what's happening to the place.

Also, a word to the wise: It's much better to stay here mid-week, because weekends are for weddings. This means that parts of the public rooms are reserved and blocked off. That's not a huge problem because the Ahwahee's public areas are enormous. But the noise level from these wedding parties is quite intrusive, and you'll quickly wonder what ever happened to that peace and quiet you were looking for. Come Monday, it all gets better.

Room Tip: This is an old place, built at a time when hotel rooms were small. Forewarned is forearmed.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GnrlMgr, General Manager at The Ahwahnee, responded to this review, March 25, 2013
Good morning ITravelandEat,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience here at The Ahwahnee. I am glad that you found the staff to be gracious and helpful.

I can certainly appreciate the perception you must have of us in regards to taking care of the hotel. We work very closely with the National Park Service, who owns the building, in maintaining this grand place. Being a National Historic Landmark, in a historic district, inside a National Park has it challenges when improvements need to be done. There is much studying and compliance that needs to be done prior to any action. I am happy to report that a comprehensive rehabilitation plan is being developed.

It seems though you may have fallen victim to the rumor mill in regards to the food service in the bar. If foodservice is reduced in the bar, it is not due to our desire to push more people into the Dining Room. The space that is the bar was originally going to be the porte cochere, or entry into the hotel. The story goes that 10 days prior to the opening of the hotel (in 1927) the staff preparing the hotel on the floors right above the porte cochere smelled the fumes from the trucks delivering the last minute supplies. They ended up relocating the porte cochere in 10 days to it's current location which is now 86 years old. The original space was boarded up for many years and has served in many different capacities. With that all said, the space was never designed as a food venue and it presents many challenges. As a National Historic Landmark, we cannot simply just add a kitchen like most other places. I am hoping that this clarifies why we might be re-evaluating the level of foodservice in the bar.

I do sincerely apologize that you found the salad to have sat in a refrigerator all day. That is not the standard by which we want to operate At $14, one should expect and receive a freshly prepared salad. I will be sharing this concern with our culinary team.

Your passion for Yosemite and The Ahwahnee is very evident and for that I am very appreciative. Know that we share that passion in taking care of this special place and hope to be able to take care of you on your next visit.

Warm regards,
Brett Archer, General Manager
The Ahwahnee
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Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013

As many reviewers have commented, the Ahwahnee is a National Park hotel, not a Four Seasons. The rooms are modest and dated, as they should be. However, the common areas in the hotel are among the most spectacular rooms in any hotel anywhere. So, spend time there.

Our room was not ready until 4:30 PM, a minor annoyance.

We ate three dinners and three breakfasts in the main dining room which is one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the world. The service was extraordinary. At each of our dinners we were served by Jerry, who had been there 37 years. The food was excellently prepared. However, the process for making dining reservations had all the charm, warmth, hospitality, and efficiency of a visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Hard to understand why they subject customers to this experience. Inside the dining room, it was a wonderful experience, outside the dining room, not so good.

The concierge was helpful as was all of the staff.

A stay at the Ahwahnee should be on everyone's bucket list.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rancho Mirage, California
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

Left The Chateau du Sureau for a special nite at the Awanhnee. It had been 20 years since we were last there. What a disappointment. Paid extra for junior suite. Candidly, the rooms at a Marriott are nicer. And there was no comparison between it and the Chateau du Sureau which was only $95 dollars more! I know it is a special place, but the hotel rooms are in desperate need of updating and repair -- one of the tiles in the bathroom floor was missing!

THE DINING ROOM, well we were told at check in that reservations were mandatory but that there were none. Really? It's March in Yosemite. We were told to simply walk up at 5:30 when they open and get a pager. We did. The dining room was empty but we were told it would not be until 8-8:30 before we would be paged and that we could go to the bar for a drink or some bar food if we wished. After an hour, in the bar, we checked back and were told again it would be 8:30 even though there were no more than 15 tables, most of them tables for two, seated in this huge venue. 15 minutes later we were paged and seated. While everyone was very nice I really can't conceive of an acceptable excuse for any of it. Clearly the hotel's management needs an update too.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GnrlMgr, General Manager at The Ahwahnee, responded to this review, March 22, 2013
Good morning James t,

I do thank you for staying with us while staying here in Yosemite and sincerely apologize that we let you down.

I am happy to report that we have just selected a new interior design firm to help us remodel our cottages and suites. You are correct in saying that the El Dorado Diggins needs a makeover. I was hoping to have this project underway already but finding a new firm proved to be more daunting than originally thought. A missing tile in the bathroom floor is not acceptable and certainly not predicated on a remodel. I have asked that it gets replaced before any new guests arrive.

Unfortunately, we do not staff the massive dining room, that can hold 300 guests, during the winter season when there are only a hundred or so guests staying with us. With that said, it does sound like we need to do a better job at reaching out to our guests in advance to encourage them to make dining reservations so we are properly prepared from a staffing standpoint. I will be sharing your example to our Dining Room management team.

Once again, I apologize we failed you and hope that this does not discourage you from visiting Yosemite in the future.

Warm regards,

Brett Archer, General Manager
The Ahwahnee
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Additional Information about The Ahwahnee

Address: 9005 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Location: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Ski-In / Ski-Out Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Yosemite National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Ahwahnee 4*
Number of rooms: 123
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:
The Ahwahnee Hotel Yosemite National Park
Ahwahnee Yosemite National Park
Ahwahnee Hotel Yosemite National Park

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