The Ahwahnee Hotel is well known for its historical presence and beautiful location. It's also known for its high rates, which is why I never stay there. What I love about the Ahwahnee though is that despite the fact that I am not I guest, every time I go I am treated well and able to enjoy the Ahwahnee experience.
This visit kicked off with the Sunday brunch. As part of a very large group, we were unable to get a reservation for 19 but had to break into two groups with reservations one hour apart. Not a terrible situation, but highly annoying to find that large tables sat empty during both reservation time slots. The brunch was fabulous, as always, and the dining time of 10am allowed my party to enjoy both the breakfast fare as well as the lunch fare, a changeover that occurs at about 11am. The piano player was quite lively, the waitstaff extremely friendly and the food delicious. It's expensive to be sure, but well worth the money to enjoy such a wonderful dining experience.
I also dined in the small casual hotel bistro. This dining experience is nothing spectacular, even if you are able to snag an outside table. The food is overpriced and the menu hasn't changed in years. This component of the Ahwahnee needs some freshening up. Also, the wait staff seem less attentive here. Friendly, to be sure, but they always seem to be running a skeleton crew.
As a non-guest I always enjoy lounging around in the hotel's great room. I've spent many hours there, in all seasons, reading or just enjoying the comfortable furniture and wonderful ambience and views out the windows. Outside is also open to anyone who cares to enjoy it. There are lounge chairs for resting, an inviting lawn to stroll or become a soft napping spot and umbrella tables from where you can order drinks. I thoroughly enjoyed all of these options, as well as the cold water dispenser on the patio (perfect after a long walk).
One day I may decide to splurge and pay the price for a proper Ahwahnee experience but for now I'm quite satisfied enjoying all it has to offer otherwise.
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