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“Not all it's cracked up to be” 3 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
Oakland, CA
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Not all it's cracked up to be”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2014

For those travelers used to the charms of 5-star hotels, this place will come as a disappointment. The bones of this place are great, but it lacks a certain spark and the interiors are reminiscent of an older relative's house that hasn't been updated in 30 years. The great fireplace is quite charming; we spent hours sitting in front of it reading a book. The restaurant was gorgeous and the food was quite good, but they messed up our reservation and we waited over an hour to get seated. Good thing for that grand fireplace.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1,403 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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Melbourne, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2014

It is a little hard for us to distinguish between the magnificence of Yosemite and the grandeur of The Awahnee, we rate both places equally special, on our first trip across the country we took in some of finest hotels the "The States" have to offer, however it was only Yosemite and the Awahnee that had me dreaming of a return while sitting on a surf board six months later half a world away.

The park is obviously the "star" however what a truly amazing support act the Awahnee provides. I honestly could not imagine a more perfect partnership than this park and hotel. If you are fortunate enough to be able to stay at the Ahwahnee, then make sure you soak up every minute allowing the history, ambiance and surroundings of this wondful building enter your heart, mind and soul, so long after you leave and the stresses of the world return, you can take a deap breath, close your eyes and be transported back to the sitting rooms, main dinning hall, entrance lobby and any other place that has become a special personal memory help you survive another day back in the real world.

Our first stay had us on the third floor over looking the lawn towards Half Dome, the second time a room up the other end facing Yosemite Falls. Each room afforded spectacular views that will never disappoint, I couldn't recommend one over the other. Beds were always comfortable and the one time we felt a bed was not quite sitting correctly on its base, two staff were quickly dispatched and the problem fixed within minutes.

Room service was always great we had some muddled orders but i believe that had more to do with our "Aussie accents". Dinning in the main hall was awesome and a must do for the experience, in all our meals at the Ahwahnee, only one entree was a tad disappointing arriving very quickly with a definite taste of reheating attached to it suggesting pre made, pre cooked on mass and not quite up to the mark.

We have found all staff to be friendly and accommodating always, and a special mention to a wonderful gentleman working in the main dinning hall at breakfast ( embarrassingly I am struggling to remember ) Clifford or Clive I believe is his name, he works his space in a manner that only someone with his experience could. He adds positively to the dinning experience.

The outside amenities were great and my son and I enjoyed some great swims in the pool with squirrels overhead in the trees. (Big deal for us as there are no squirrels in Australia, btw I hope the pool survives any future park plans) My daughter treasured catching a private moment reading a novel on one of those high backed benches/ chairs in the sun on the path to the cabins whilst being dwarfed by the valley walls in the background and the sound of the running stream nearby. My wife and I just love the whole lot!

Even as I write this review I am perched high on a hill in a 3 storey holiday villa watching our summer sun set over the southern ocean along the Victorian coastline, my family and I would give it up in a heartbeat without hesitation to be back at Yosemite and back at the Awahnee. It is honestly that special.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Sacramento, California
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2014

Originally built to attract wealthy and influential visitors to Yosemite, the Ahwahnee Hotel has been the best place to stay in the park since 1927. It still has every bit of the charm and luxury it had the day it opened, if not more. Every building that you've ever seen which looks like this one is simply a copy of the Ahwahnee. This is the original grand lodge style hotel.

It is honestly hard to review this property because was just so perfect. I can give it no less than my highest recommendation

We stayed here for three nights as part of the New Year's Eve Package. You will find the comfort and convenience of any four star hotel in any city around the nation at this property. Each and every staff member from the concierge to the cleaning crew was respectful, effective, and extremely friendly. The room was spacious, if a bit dated, and the beds were some of the most comfortable I have ever slept on. The showers were prefect too! No low pressure coin operated clunkers here! The front desk offers board games to borrow and we played Sorry next to the fire in the Great Lounge. What an experience! Also, be sure to check out the famous dining room, it's like eating in a hunting lodge and is a meal not to be missed! Valet parking is free, but leave the car and take the shuttle around, it's much easier.

One word of warning: the "heated" outdoor pool is no hot tub, it's barely warmer than the outside air. It is the only outdoor pool open in the winter though. Also, you might consider eating elsewhere (after having at least one meal in the dinning room of course) because the prices of said dining room are quite steep and can add up night after night. The bar across the lobby is more affordable but has a very limited menu. Room service prices are about average for room service prices.

Don't waste you time or money staying anywhere else, pool your resources if you have to, because if you are considering staying overnight in Yosemite, this is the ONLY place you should ever consider.

Room Tip: Suites on the 6th floor have impressive views of Half Dome, cottages out back offer more privacy in...
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  • Stayed December 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Blue Heaven, South Carolina, United States
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2014

We had reservations, but asked to see other rooms on higher floors when we arrived. Good thing, because we ended up with a prime room on the corner of the building that provided a sitting balcony. We were not so impressed with the other rooms - quite average. For $500 a night make sure you get the best one available !

The bed was very comfortable and you literally open your eyes in the morning to a spectacular view of the dawn sprawling across the imposing rock faces. The antiquity of the room has been well preserved with "built ins" I dearly love signature to the 1920's. We had every amenity we needed , including a small table in the corner. The spa products were very nice and they did provide a hair dryer. I have learned in my travels that older hotels and resorts often do not include one. It was cold in the early morning, so wet hair could leave something to be desired as you head out for a hike.

The dining room was the most beautiful one that our group of four, well traveled adults had ever seen. This room has cathedral ceilings and very tall arched windows framing spectacular views abound. Breakfast was quite good. I recommend the buffet, because it is the same food offered on the menu for triple the price.

Our room looked down upon the sitting courtyard where at times deer stopped by and wandered around the guest with ease. It provides great space for kids to stretch their legs. Our clan played several games of "Zombie tag". There is patio dining area for lunch that faces out towards this yard. We found that quite relaxing.The servers were really good at the lunch spot and the food and soups were alright. After lunch you can exit down the path by the sitting benches for an easy walk.

My favorite time of the day was 4:00 - High Tea ! The lounge area has two huge walk in fireplaces that are very impressive. We sipped brewed tea and munched on cookies fresh out of the oven. It was so Heavenly to sit in this area and read.

Dinner hour required proper attire and employed a pianist who was quite good, but a bit loud if you sat directly in front of him. The dinner menu was decent, but not reflective of the high end tone it seems the resort is trying to communicate in justification of daily rates. My other criticism of the dining experience that while we appreciate salt of the earth people, we felt the servers "hung out" at the table a bit too much beyond the tone of friendly. Again, I do appreciate meeting people in my travels and some chat, but shouldn't professionalism and polish be a given in the flavor the resort is trying to convey? At times the delivery of our meals took too long, although for the most part they were extremely considerate of the children. Perhaps it is fair to mention our stay fell on the grand reopening after the government freeze. This could explain a few things. It is also fair to say in the final scheme of things the magnificence of the dining room, the breath taking architecture and the good fortune to be there dwarfed all my complaints

My final comment is get good directions as you head off for the day to experience the abundance of stunning nature. The signs can be rather confusing and signage was surprisingly limited at times. October was a truly beautiful time to visit. Many roads we drove down were cradled in wedges of trees that snapped to a bright yellow. It is not often California offers a genuine feel of Autumn.
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Over all I give this resort a high rating and I wish you a wonderful visit in this stately place thriving in the gift of Mother Natures arms.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Moorestown
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

It is a beautiful hotel in an amazing location on the vally in Yosemite National Park. I have been to several hotels inside National Parks (Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Shenandoah) and they are usually old and very dated looking. This was the exception to the rule.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
San Luis Obispo
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2013

If you are expecting the Ritz Carlton, this is probably not the place for you. If you want a wonderful classic historical hotel in the best location in Yosemite Valley, this the place for you. You are close to major trailheads and most of the attractions in the Valley, where the Yosemite Lodge is a bit further away, requiring you to take buses most of the time. It is a bit pricey, over two times the cost of the Yosemite lodge, but in my opinion it's worth it for a splurge. The staff was extremely helpful. Dinner at the dining room was spectacular. Each course was excellent and extremely creative, from the seared scallops to the filet mignon. Everyone in our party was pleased. The hotel is not modern, our classic rooms were very comfortable and roomy, with a couch to sit on and enjoy a glass of wine looking at half dome. The bathroom was very acceptable with a collection of Ahwahnee lotions and shampoos. The other alternatives for food are not great. There is the Ahwahnee bar, which has a limited but decent menu. it is small so you may have to wait. The prices for food are are on the high side, but the value was okay. While we were there they had just done away with full service breakfast and lunch in the dinning room. According to the wait staff is "an experiment". I hope they change it back. Standing in line for a buffet in a spectacular dining room is not my idea of a special experience. I miss their full breakfast menu which had some unique Ahwahnee foods.

The great room is a large room where tea is served daily at 4:00, a every nice touch after hiking. All in all the Ahwahnee and the Yosemite experience is wonderful.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2013

I couldn't be more disappointed with my experience at this hotel. I (incorrectly) assumed that $500+ per night rates would be indicative of a property that treats its guests with respect and competency. I had issues checking in , checking out, with the bell service, and especially at the restaurant. Stay far away from the restaurant. Check out the Yosemite Lodge instead.

Room Tip: Check out the Yosemite Lodge instead.
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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*
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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