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“Definitely NOT one to consider” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Wawona Hotel

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Wawona Hotel
2.0 of 5 Hotel   |   8308 Wawona Road, Yosemite National Park, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389   |  
Hotel amenities
Guildford, Surrey, UK
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Definitely NOT one to consider”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2005

We stayed at the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite with our teenage daughter in August, as we wanted to be inside the Park and all the other hotels were full when I booked, back in June. I had been hoping that a room would become available in the Ahwahnee, but sadly that didn't happen. We ended up paying $253 for two rooms (they were so small we couldn't have one for the three of us) and that was WITHOUT BATHROOM!! I presumed that at that price the hotel would have been stunning. But in fact it was miles from the main centre of Yosemite and was totally rundown and DIRTY. I could not believe that the public areas (including communal bathrooms) were not kept clean. The staff were not particularly helpful and we had to carry our own luggage up the rather rickety stairs. The pool was little more than a "hole in the ground" - I didn't even bother to go and have a look. The only saving grace was the restaurant which we thought served quite good food (though not cheap). I also find it astounding that in the renovations that are planned, they are not puttting in ensuite bathrooms. This hotel should be advertised as a lodging providing "hostel" type accomodation and priced accordingly!

I would strongly recommend staying at either the Yosemite Lodge or the Ahwahnee (both of which we visited and liked the look of) or, if they are full, at one of the hotels on the edge of the park (which could well be closer to the main village than the Wawona).

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 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.
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1,270 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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Santa Maria, California
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
97 helpful votes 97 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2005

Having just returned from a vacation that included two nights at the Wawona, and just now checking the recent TripAdvisor reviews, I am in complete agreement with the last 2 months worth of reviewers comments on this hotel, but have an additional comment or two on what I found to be an odd style of management by the concessionaire running the hotel for the Park Service.
First of all, my family has frequented the Wawona about 5-6 times over the past 15 years, and when meeting family at the hotel for a weekend reunion it has always felt special. And despite the inherent noise when a group of 20-25 of us would check in en masse, we would try to be considerate of the other guests, especially in the quiet hours after sundown.
The visit a few weeks ago, however, was just me, my wife, and our two kids. I felt lucky to be one of the few who was able to reserve a room with bath, although it came with a meal package that was no bargain ($215/night for room w/bath including two buffet breakfasts daily). We were put on the second floor of the Annex building, a long two story wooden structure that houses the majority of the rooms at the Wawona. It includes the golf clubhouse (the Wawona has a really nice little nine hole course) and a lounge (on the second floor, directly above the golf clubhouse). Other times that I've stayed here I have seen parties in the lounge; one time there was a wedding reception in that room.
We checked in on a Sunday afternoon, and as we carried the bags up to our room I noticed a full bar, completely stocked with all kinds of booze, sitting outside of the room two doors down from ours. It was unattended, and if I were (still) a drinking man it would have been a nice perk to have a bar so close by. But it wasn't furnished or managed by the hotel, it was for a weeklong party that another family was having throughout the hotel grounds. Although they weren't out of control drunks, they were a large group with a very large flock of young (ages 5-15) and unattended children who were running, yelling, fighting, etc. It was pretty much impossible to get any real relaxing in on the veranda, because it was non-stop for the entire 2 days we were there. At one time it became pretty unbearable, and I went down the hall to ask the boys to quiet down (they were having a screaming contest). At this point a woman, I'm assuming one of the moms, came out of the room by the bar and said she would help me with the children "problem" (gee, thanks!). At no time did I see any hotel employee come out to the Annex building, and I know that everyone within 200 yards could hear these kids. When I was checking out, one of the front desk clerks made light of the noise situation, something like "well, they are active children, aren't they?". I didn't mention the open bar in a common hotel area, left unattended. Wouldn't that pose some liability to the concessionaire and the NPS?
One other thing...we tried to check in on Sunday around 11am, and when I asked if we could drop our bags in the as-yet unmade up room the desk clerk (a different one) was dismissive and patronizing; she was vague as to when would be a good time to return for our room assignment. While she was having me fill out the registration, she had our pre-printed form with room assignment in front of her, and I could see the room number (in a box labelled "room number"). Even though I could see the room number (I can read upside down!), she wouldn't tell which room when asked if we could just take the bags up (I took them up anyways). She said the housekeeping crew doesn't like to be pressured by guests wanting in to their (>$200/nite) rooms. We were made to wait right up until the crew had finished EVERY room in the Annex before we were given our room keys. It was kind of like a Monty Python skit.
I have to agree with the folks above; the Wawona is a hotel from a different time in a beautiful setting, but it is way overpriced and woefully managed. I don't believe that the renovations that are taking place now will enhance the lodging experience as long as the current style of management is in effect.
Stay instead in the Valley, or outside the park for the same money at the nearby luxury hotel (Tenaya Lodge) near Fish Camp or a little further down Hwy 41 in Oakhurst (less money, good accomodations, many dining options, 30 min. from Wawona).

  • Stayed August 2005
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2005

It is sad to say that the historic Wawona is a shabbily worn down hotel. It has soooo much potential, but simply has not been properly maintained. We paid for one of the nicest rooms with bath....what we got was a dilapidated old room with worn out furniture, wallpaper pealing off the walls, a bathroom that had mold ALL OVER the shower curtain, lights that did not work, and port-a-potties for hotel guests. All this for only $200 a night! Food at the restaurant was average, at best, and the staff, while cordial, consisted mainly of high school students who were clueless as to what service really means. Most of the guests we spoke with were quite disappointed in the hotel. We were not expecting the Four Seasons, but it is a shame that at one of our most beautiful national parks the government has allowed the hotel to fall into such disrepair. Yes, they are currently renovating the hotel, but in all fairness, they should have CLOSED the place down while they are doing the work. Maybe in five years the hotel will be worthy of an overnight stay, but until then we WAWON'TA be going back.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palm Beach, Florida
14 reviews 14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2005

The Wawona is a neat historic hotel, but is undergoing major renovations. While I loved the setting, and the historic swimming tank, I did not like my room with an uncomfortable double bed and a sink (We couldn't get a room with a bath). What I did love was the dining room, where we had a delightful dinner and the lounge, where Tom Bop, sings and plays a mean piano in many different styles. He takes requests, and even sings the names of restaurant patrons when their tables are ready. He is worth a trip to the Wawona. I will wait until after the renovations are complete to stay at the Wawona again (which the hotel clerk told me may take five years), but I will definitely stay near the Wawona (Fish Camp is the closest town) so I can eat in the Wawona dining room and listen to Tom Bop.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brentwood California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2005

Great place if you are looking to spend a pretty penny to stay in a historic building inside the Yosemite National Park, but in my opinion not worth the $$$. You would be better off staying outside the park in El Portal or Oakhurst or even spending the night in Curry Village for a lot less cash.

Not a great place to stay with young children.

The restaurant should stay open an little later, it closes at 9 PM and if you are not served by 9 PM you are not eating. We got to the restaurant at 8:10 and we were turned away because they could no longer accomodate any more diners for the evening. So we loaded up the car and headed 40 minutes back to the nearest town of Oakhurst for dinner. This was very inconvenient and a little scary to be driving the windy park roads in the dark. They also have a general store onsite but it closes at 8PM, so once you find out you are not having dinner in the lodge it's too late to go get some last minute provisions.

Also, I had made several requests that were not taken into consideration. One was to be near or next to our traveling companions, we were placed on the other end of another building. I also requested a crib which was never delivered to the room and it was entirely not worth it with a toddler and infant to trek back to the front desk to correct the issue. There are no phones to call the front desk so once you are settled into your room, you get what you get.

We nicknamed the hotel the Wawon't.

Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 27, 2005

We very much wanted to stay within Yosemite park the couple of nights we would be there. I booked the Wawona and was happy to be near the grove of giant sequoias and expected a grand hotel experience for the price of the hotel - almost $200 /night with the rollaway bed. We had a room with a bath, thank god, but it was very old fashioned (and not in a charming way either). The room was cute, furnished with antique reproduction furniture, but not as clean as it could have been with spiderwebs on the hanging lamp and dingy floors. The restaurant was ok but high priced for average food. I am sorry the parks can't do better with the lodging, especially if they are going to charge high prices for it. I guess they figure they are full, so why bother. Bad business, I think. I have to say with all its problems, the Wawona was better than Curry village, but only slightly. Probably would work our visit to stay outside the park next time.

  • Stayed July 2005
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huddersfield, United Kingdom
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2005

We booked and paid well in advance for the experience of a lifetime in this historic hotel. We didn't book a room with a bath because of the cost (half the rooms have baths and half don't) BIG BIG mistake! There was one bathroom on our landing for some twenty rooms. It was small and didn't have a wash-hand basin, very UNHYGENIC. The only way to the toilet was via an open veranda, picturesque but UNSAFE at night. The mens shower area was a disgrace. Building was going on but there was no real excuse for their poor state. Our room had a broken window pane which had been repaired with cardboard and tape! We checked in, saw the rooms and facilities, argued our case, got a refund, checked out and headed to a very nice Best Western nearby.
National Parks charged a $50 booking fee and despite my attempts to contact them they just ignore e-mails.
Historic it may be but be warned, the facilities are ancient and wouldn't be allowed in Europe!

Was this review helpful? Yes 18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Wawona Hotel

Address: 8308 Wawona Road, Yosemite National Park, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Location: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Yosemite National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2 star — Wawona Hotel 2*
Number of rooms: 104
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Also Known As:
Wawona Hotel Yosemite National Park
Wawona Yosemite National Park

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