This was a bucket list stay for my wife and I. I had seen the Ahwanee in books and magazines, so when we planned a trip to Yosemite, this was our place! Upon arrival, we were awed by the beauty of the exterior. When we got to our $700 room, we were less awed. It was dated, not too clean and tiny. We expected dated, having stayed at The Grove Park Inn many times. However, this was way dated, with scarred furniture, old carpet, dirty bathroom, a tiny toilet that I won't go into the difficulty of using as a male, stained furniture and more.
The dining room, great hall etc., are truly amazing to see, but it's kind of like Main STreet USA at Disneyworld. The facade is beautiful, but there's no substance behind the facade.
We ate in the dining room our first night and when we asked for a window table, of which there were at least five available at 8:00 pm, the host acted like it was an imposition. The rules said that a jacket was required for men and that there was a dress code for men and women. When we arrived, we saw people in jeans. WHile not snobs, we were dismayed to see that the standards had been dropped, as we made the effort to dress nicely.
Our server was good but there were two tables who were seated after us who were approached first. While we were not in a hurry, it was irritating. The piano player was a nice touch. I ordered the pork chop special and my wife had prime rib. Both were good but not great. I ordered a bottle of nice wine. The meal was not worth the price. The food was about what I'd expect at a middle of the road restaurant, not a very expensive restaurant. Especially after eating at The French Laundry last week.
The next morning we wanted a quick bite following a birdwatching hike. When we got to the hike site, we found out it had been cancelled. This was after getting up at 6:00 am specifically for the hike. Upon walking back to the hotel we notified the concierge, a rather large black man, that they should not have cancelled the birdwatch without notifying people. He told us that he had no control of that. When I tried to tell him that if the flyers in his hotel were announcing the event, he had an obligation to have control, he blew me off. He obviously didn't give a s_ _ _ _.
We walked about one mile from The Ahwanee to Yosemite Village to get breakfast sandwich. Because we were hiking we didn't take a wallet. Upon ordering and receiving our food, we also ordered coffee and then were told we couldn't charge to our room. SO... we had to walk back to the hotel. We tried the casual venue but didn't want sweet rolls so we went to the dining room. When we asked the manager if we could just get a bagel and cream cheese, as we were not big buffet eaters, he couldn't answer our question and handed us a menu. I asked again, and he mumbled something. We asked to be seated and ordered our bagels. The server was nice and attentive.
Overall, this is a tired and old hotel that needs an infusion of cash and love. The employees were either very friendly or surly. They did not speak to you unless you spoke to them first. Not a first-class experience and certainly not worth the money this place commands. I've stayed at better Marriotts. I'm not sure who runs this place, but they need help. I guess they are living on their reputation. We like to stay in Westin, St. Regis, Ritz Carlton properties and price is not an issue. This was not in any way, shape or form, the same type of experience we receive when staying at the alternative hotels. I am in the hotel business and I know how hard it is to find good help. This hotel needs help!!