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“Believe the reviews - look elsewhere!” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Yosemite View Lodge

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Yosemite View Lodge
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in El Portal
Poole, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
75 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Believe the reviews - look elsewhere!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 9, 2012

To put this in context we recently went on a three week road trip of California - during this time we made 10 stops in various cities and National Parks. The holiday was bought from a UK holiday company and part of a mix and match package.

As part of our planning we knew we wanted to visit Yosemite - and we are glad we did - it was fantastic. However the hotels on offer by the holiday company was limited and this one seemed to fit the bill in terms of location. We had read the Tripadvisor reviews and were worried by what we had read, but then there was one or two that made the place seem ok. We looked at the "official" National Park options, but by then they were either booked up or out of our price range.

And so it was with some trepidation we pulled into the car park of the Yosemite View Lodge, and our first impressions were poor at best. We got there at about 10am aware that check in was not until 3pm. We approached the lobby building and one of the first signs to greet you is "No Shirt No Shoes No Service" - this kind of sets the tone for the experience! We went in and was faced with a male behind the counter, no uniform, no badge, and explained that although I was early I wondered if I could check in. At every single one of the previous 7 hotels we have managed to do this with no problem - we don't expect it, and ask just in case. The man looked up and replied "Check in isn't until 3pm". No attempt to check the computers, no attempt to offer to take our luggage so we could enjoy a day in the park. We asked about storing luggage and the reply was that they couldn't do this. Annoyed by his attitute we headed back into the park, with our suitcase and all.

Upon our return we checked in and found we had been "upgraded" to a river view room which was great as we were not expecting it. The receptionist did say our room number out loud (again unlike any previous hotel) but we were too tired to argue.

We headed to our room and upon opening the door there was the worst damp, musty smell in the room so we went to open the patio door straight away and even resorted to spraying our own deorderant. The decor was outdated at best, with a lovely faux-wreath on the wall(!). Still is was nice to be so close to the river, and there was a really large (pink!) jet bath in the bathroom. We enjoyed the visit of the Racoons as well!

That night wanted to test out the bath and was pleasantly surprised it worked. Relatively relaxing bath (apart from the noisy extractor fan) and then dried myself with the old thin towels. By the time I walked to the bed the sole of my feet were dirty again. Looked to eat at the Pizza place - but could not help thinking - if my room is like this, what are the cafe kitchen's like! With this returned to park and ate pizza at Curry Village which was great.

There were plenty of pools at the hotel however they appeared dirty and I did not care to use them at all - and I did not see anyone else in there whilst I was there!

Again the only hotel without free wi-fi on our trip was this one - for $9 a day you can sit in the lobby and use the net! Sounds bad - wait until you see the lobby! This hotel has one of the worst gift shops I have ever seen (where do they find all that tat!) and the shop is overpriced - don't even think about asking for any help from staff. I saw an elderly women ask the guy behind the counter where an item is - he just grunted and pointed - made no effort to leave the counter despite there was no one else waiting. I'm not sure she ever found what she wanted.

The patio outside the room had badly stained and broken furniture, and there was a strange plastic circle in the ground with a wire coming out where something obviously had been removed - see photos

As other reviewers have said the location is fantastic. If you are going to Yosemite - do yourself a favour stay in the park, which has to be done direct through the Yosemite website. Our experience of all the food outlets, services and shops inside the park was universally good - its worth paying the extra!

Another classic example of their customer service is the warning on the back of the hotel door - stay one minute after the check out time and you will be charged for a full additional day at the price of $400!!!

I would never return to this hotel unless it had a change of management and a complete refurbishment. Their attitute sucks!

If you want to see how this kind of resort could be run, check out the fantastic Furnace Creek Ranch at Death Valley - the contrast could not be any more pronounced!

Room Tip: River view obviously are the "best" but still very poor
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank evilempire13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
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La Jolla
Level Contributor
35 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 9, 2012

This place has better handicapped facilities than the Lodge in the valley. It looks very bland from the outside but the rooms by the river are pleasant and there are modest kitchen facilities. It is quite expensive. I get the impression that floods of German and Japanese tourists will keep the place afloat no matter what, but the staff doesn't seem to be very interested in repeat business.

They did not cope well with my report that I had been badly bitten during my last stay, by what seemed to be bedbugs, based on my internet research. Since I went to bed without bites, and woke up with around 100 bites, it seems clear to me that something in the room bit me. They promised to check the room after I checked out, but when I called them a day later, no report had been filed and there had been no follow through. The assistant manager emailed me a day later to say they had found nothing. Nevertheless, I would be very gun shy about staying there again.

Room Tip: If you decide to risk staying here, the riverside rooms have nice patios. Don't leave your patio...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank savolkhov
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these El Portal hotels

Saratoga, California
1 review
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 9, 2012

I recently spent two nights here; they were my first stay ever at this motel.

The good:

I requested and (more or less) got a "ground floor" room. (I actually had to walk up a ramp, but that was better than having to drag myself and suitcases up stairs.) I had reserved a river view room, and I was impressed with the size and cleanliness of the room. The small balcony overlooking the river was very nice (but as things turned out, I was never in the room long enough at the right time to be able to enjoy it).

The bathroom in particular was very large (partly to accomodate the spa tub/shower combo - more on that later).

The room boasted a gas fireplace and a small kitchenette area (small fridge, two-burner iirc stove, toaster, coffee maker). I only used the fridge, but I thought that it was a very nice small setup.

The mixed:

The service here was of mixed quality.

I checked in after 8 pm the first night, having driven down from Tioga Road after hiking May Lake. I was stiff and sore and could barely drag myself into the lobby (which, by the way, could be better signed; I had some trouble finding it, and I wasn't the only person with that problem).

I was told by the front desk people that the restaurants (a more upscale "River Room" and a pizza place) would be open til 10 pm. Great! I could lug everything into the room, clean up a bit, change clothes, and then go eat...

As it turned out, I had hand and bath towels, but no washcloths. Good thing that I had brought paper towels! On the way to the restaurant (that or on the return from, I don't remember which), I queried at the front desk about the washcloths, which was met with some surprise. (The next day, my room had washcloths, and also a bath mat and dish towel for the kitchenette, which were ALSO missing that first night.)

As for dinner...

I walked into the River Room entry lounge about 9:30 pm, asked for a table, and was told that they had stopped serving a half an hour ago! When I expressed incredulity (and said that "the front desk said..."), the hostess suggested that I step into the adjoining bar and ask the barkeeper (I believe his name was Travis) if I could be served in there. Travis said it was up to the kitchen, but he would inquire... and the kitchen was agreeable (if it was something fast).

To sum that up, I had a nice hamburger-and-fries meal, along with two glasses of Pepsi, AND dessert, sitting at the bar. (It's a nice little bar.) Travis did his bartenderly things and was sensitive to not talk to me when I was busy (I was using my cell phone to chat my husband (at home) to let him know that I had safely arrived and was eating), but friendly enough to talk pleasantly with when I was done with business. I very much appreciated Travis (and the kitchen) and their willingness to serve me.

On the way back to my room (which was about as far from the restaurant as one could get), I stopped at the front desk again to inform them that they were telling their guests the wrong thing re the restaurant hours. It turns out that the hours had shortened just a few days ago, so they were claiming confusion, but still.... I could have missed dinner entirely! (Note to lodge: your employees MUST know when these hours change over, so that they can give the correct information to your guests.)

I also asked about irons and ironing boards, and was told that they didn't have enough for every room, but I could bring them back to my room. Now, it should have been clear to anyone watching me that I was really dragging along, and they wanted me to schlep that stuff all the way back to my room?! In the end, they said that they would be "happy" to have someone bring the stuff out.

As it turns out, some time later (within 20-30 minutes, no big deal to me), someone DID turn up with the iron and ironing board. This person was very impatient, pounding repeatedly on the door while I was dragging myself up from my chair to go answer it. An angry and surly looking young man thrust the items at me, and did not thank me when I gave him a $5 tip for the inconvenience.

The next evening, I did finally get to eat in the River Room proper. The server was pleasant and efficient - too efficient, as I couldn't help the sense that they (the restaurant, not just the server) wanted to rush me through the meal and out the door (and it's not because they needed the table, either).

The food quality was mixed.... there was a minimal salad bar, a soup bar (the clam chowder was good), and panini bread served (meh). I ordered crab cakes (which were spicy but not very crabby - so I can't say that I enjoyed them), trout (okay), mashed potatoes (very good). For dessert, I asked if it was possible to just get a few scoops of ice cream (not something officially on the menu, but I knew that they had it as they served some desserts with a side of ice cream), and the kitchen was flexible enough to do that.

(The decor was okay... I've eaten at Yosemite Lodge and I think that I prefer their Mountain Room restaurant - both for decor and for food.)

The bad (and a rant thereon):

The ironing board turned out to be one of those bogus small "table top" boards and the iron barely produced any steam.

With the obscene prices that this place charges, I find it incredible that they cannot supply a REAL ironing board, and a decent iron, for every room. Even in Lee Vining, the motels (I have stayed at two) have real ironing boards and decently working irons. The last time I was at Yosemite Lodge (some 6 years ago), THEY had real ironing boards and irons. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THIS LACK. There isn't always time to iron clothes before packing, and even ironed clothes can get wrinkled or creased, so those of us guests who want to look civilized rely on having irons and ironing boards wherever we stay.

(To the lodge: Costs too much money, you say? With the outrageous rates you charge, you should have enough money to supply these items. If you don't (hard to believe!), then raise the room rate $1-2 a night (it's already so expensive such a raise would hardly be noticeable) and you should make back the cost within a season. (Grumble grumble stupid (probably male, never have tried ironing their own clothes on such a miserable contraption) beancounters.... or maybe it's just greed...))

Wireless.... The Lee Vining motel I stayed at this trip (and also at (at least) one other L.V. motel, I believe), has free wireless for its guests - IN THEIR ROOMS. Yosemite Lodge has free wireless for its guests (while not in its rooms, it extends beyond the lodge lobby). FREE. I found out that this place requires its guests to pay for wireless access (via a third party), and it is ONLY available in the lobby. This made no difference to me; I had just gotten a new cell phone with a Verizon account, so I had phone/email/chat/internet access almost everywhere in Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra, and had no problems doing so from anywhere on this property. Wireless access may very well be of importance to some people, however, so buyer beware!

The spa tub... I realize that some people like such things, but I personally never use a tub (of any kind) when traveling. All I need or want is a large, clean shower with good water pressure and adequate hot water. Given how stiff and sore I was, that tub was actually a liability as I had quite a bit of trouble getting into and out of it (even with the handlebar). Once in it, it was certainly spacious enough for showering, although I would have enjoyed a bit more water pressure. (Compared to the Lee Vining motel I had just come from, which had a very invigorating water flow (from (I suppose) a high pressure head), the shower here was merely adequate.)

I asked at the front desk about this, and was told that the river view rooms had spa tubs, but the other rooms did not. So buyer beware (again). (The other rooms also lack the fireplaces... but seriously, who needs them?)

The bottom line:

I made reservations here because this was a belatedly thrown-together trip, and Yosemite Lodge was full for the dates that I wanted. Although the rooms are nicer here than at Yosemite Lodge (and have kitchenette facilities that Y.L. lacks), I prefer staying at Yosemite Lodge (why not wake up already in the Valley, and stay at a place with a good restaurant?), but there are some situations where I would consider a return stay: when the weather (in the Valley) is expected to be warm (because Yosemite Lodge does not have air conditioning), or if I plan on doing any of my own cooking (not likely), or if I am making another not-planned-well-in-advance trip. I would probably, however, try to get a mountain view room, as to avoid the difficulties with the obnoxious spa tub.

Room Tip: River view rooms have gas fireplaces and spa tub/shower combos. The spa tubs can be hard to get in...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank moongardener
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jackson, Wyoming
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2012

I have stayed at this hotel three or four times now and feel compelled to write a review. While the location is great, the service and attitude is consistently poor. The room prices are quite high, and to not have recycling removed from the previous person is inexcusable, or to check in late and have no towels and no way to get them. If you want a great location this place is fine, but honestly the service is so subpar I won't stay there again, especially for the money they charge.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank uhanska
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
104 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2012

Location, location – this is what you pay a premium price for (c. 2 miles from Park entrance, it is ideally located) – motel style layout, rooms are adequate and have bathroom with spa-bath and shower at each end) but are dated and a little ‘tired’ – it really does need some money spending on it. On site shop (we found it no more expensive than the one down the road) useful for provisions – rooms have fridge and microwave and some basic cutlery/crockery. No room safe but some safe deposit boxes at reception. Restaurant and pizza parlour on site are OK but are too small to cater for the number of visitors when the motel is busy, hence mixed reviews are understandable. Our best outcome was to get a pizza on a take away basis (it was excellent) and eat on the balcony, accompanied by a little chilled wine/beer!

Mariposa (c. 30 miles west on H140) worth a visit for restaurants if you don’t mind an hour long drive.

Room Tip: River view rooms worth a small premium - allow you to eat on the balcony with a pleasant view.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Sotongirl49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2012

on arriving after a long drive was barely spoke too, very rude staff, the accommodation was unclean, food on floor from previous people and after killing flies in the bathroom with the flannel they remained there the whole stay, we tried to stay in the park to avoid going back.

Room Tip: there is not a good tip to give other than to try and stay in the park
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank beverley c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey
Level Contributor
107 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2012

We stayed here for 4 nights as part of an organised tour and thought the location was great. We had a ground floor room with patio overlooking the river. The food in the restaurant was just about OK for breakfast but the evening food was poor. The service was quite good but queues for the bar were long on occasion. I would suggest self catering as a good alternative but buy your supplies elsewhere as the hotel shop is very expenisive. The YART bus runs into the park and takes about 30 minutes.

The baths are hard to climb into and outof and being as we were encouraged to save water we used the shower option.

I notice someone else has commented on the pool/hot tubs being dirty but we did not find any evidence of this having used both during our stay in fact they were very good.

Room Tip: Request a room overlooking the river.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank BadtravellerSurrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Yosemite View Lodge

Property: Yosemite View Lodge
Address: 11136 Highway 140, PO Box D, El Portal, CA 95318
Location: United States > California > El Portal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in El Portal
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Yosemite View Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 335
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Yosemite View Hotel El Portal
Yosemite View Motel

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