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“An experience like no other...” 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
Fountain Valley, California
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“An experience like no other...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

We have camped for years in Yosemite with our kids, but this was the first time my husband and I went alone. For our anniversary we booked a long weekend at the Ahwahnee and had the best vacation/anniversary we could imagine. The staff was extremely accomodating and went out of their way to make our stay memorable. We had a corner room with a view of Yosemite Falls out one window and Half Dome out the other. The room was clean, bed was large and comfortable and we slept well. We had dinner in the dining room on two of the nights and were treated to the most romantic piano music and excellent service by Dave, our waiter, who surprised us with a "Happy Anniversary" dessert. Dinner is pricey and the dress code is strict but SO worth it! Chef Bob is a genius! Be sure and do the historic hotel tour while you are there. It's free and very interesting. Faith was our tourguide and she was great. Also, you must have afternoon tea at least once, it is served free with homemade cookies every afternoon. There is a free shuttle bus service right outside the front door to most places in the Valley, but we found the Ahwhanee location to be very walkable and chose to walk most of the time. There were deer grazing and we even saw a bobcat one morning. Picturesque, peaceful, perfect for a relaxing get-away. It is expensive, but both my husband and I felt it was definitely worth the price for this little bit of heaven!

  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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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English first
Denver, Colorado
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

We just came back from two nights at the Ahwahnee and I couldn't say enough great things about this beautiful hotel. We took our two kids who enjoyed the pool, tea time at 4pm, hiking and hanging out. What a spectacular setting!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

All I have to say is, why would anyway stay anywhere else!!!!!!!
I stayed here in March with my husband and 2 teenage sons and where very welcomed by the staff at the Ahwahnee. This hotel has the most amazing views of Yosemite, and the building is just beautiful with its high ceilings, large meeting areas and cosy fireplaces.
Absolutely loved this hotel.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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 Tiana72,

I am so happy to read that you wouldn't stay anywhere else when in Yosemite. The Ahwahnee was indeed constructed in just the right spot to to afford views of Yosemite's most iconic sights. This location was the home of the old Kennyville Stables. You see, stable operations are a big part of Yosemite's past as the valley was used as grazing grounds for livestock for many years. Now guests staying with us can see Half Dome, Glacier Point, Yosemite Falls, or the Royal Arches depending on the room they might be occupying. I am also happy to hear that you felt very welcomed by the staff. We are very honored to be able to carry on that tradition set nearly 86 years ago.

Warm regards,

Brett Archer, General Manager
The Ahwahnee
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Thousand Oaks, cA
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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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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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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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*
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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