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“beautiful winter wonderland” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Yosemite Valley Lodge

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Yosemite Valley Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
San Luis Obispo, California
Level Contributor
123 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“beautiful winter wonderland”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2013

Stayed for 2 nights in the beginning of February. The rooms are a bit dated, the hotel does go back quite a while, but were very comfortable. the winter rates were fine, had dinner in the main dining room, very good, drinks and heavy appetizers in the bar the next night, also very good with the fireplace going strong. The location is unbeatable, an easy walk to the falls which can also be seen from the dining room and some hotel rooms. Truly beautiful with the snow in the winter. Added bonus, very few people, yea!

Room Tip: during times of snow and ice, we took hwy 140 into the park as it follows the merced river and does...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank john b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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English first
Wareham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
140 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

I have now stayed here twice and like many reviewers were disappointed the first time but really enjoyed the second time. It is quite basic but wholly adequate. The problem is compared to the amazing surroundings it looks a bit bland but look past this and you will see its location is undeniably spectacular (open your door and look out on the 4th largest waterfall in the world), the staff are very friendly and the facilities are perfectly respectable if a bit "Scout" campish. Not a hotel to lounge around but a great hotel to get out there.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 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
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Claude K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rowhedge, Essex
Level Contributor
41 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2013

Luckily had only booked for one night at Yosemite Lodge, it is overpriced for sure. Our room was tired with poor lighting, the grills on the outside vents were broken which meant a draft that could cut your feet off in Jamuary. No denying the location is what sells the place being right opposite the Yosemite Falls. The quality of food in the food court was terrible but there are few alternative choices. If we did it again would stay in El Portal, it's only a 10 min drive to the park and there are about three motor inns there that could be booked at a far less price and I suspect they have to do better as there is more competition.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank RowhedgeRosie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palo Alto, California
Level Contributor
251 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1,081 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2013

Hi, This is my 2nd review of this facility and much of what I said in 2012 still holds. Here is my review which I've updated with new information from this years trip..

We've been going to the "Lodge" for many years, most recently in early February, 2013 and find it's location perfect. We pretty much always go in the winter when you can see the park instead of hoards of tourists. It's the time of year when you can hear the water falls instead of screaming children, can be alone in a meadow on the valley floor, and have a picnic area all to yourself. Our son is a tour guide who winds up leading tours that visit the park in the summer and he tells of it taking 1.5 hours just to drive from tunnel view to Yosemite Village (this is a 10 minute drive in the winter). The winter is the peacful time. Virtually no traffic, you can get pictures of meadows and features with no tourists in them and you can find plenty of parking at all the best stopping spots. However, you can't get to the high country (Tuolomne) or Glacier Point (other than by snow shoe). But the majesty of the valley is laid out before you in all it's glory. During our Mon-Thu stay in the first week of Feb, 2013 it was downright empty. Even in the lodge food court at prime time we never found a line of more than 1 or 2 people.

The Lodge is at the trail head that leads to Yosemite Falls (about 1/4 mile walk with only a small hill to walk up right at the end (about 50 ft elevation gain) - the alternate path from the Yosemeite Falls bus stop is a bit longer but not as steep and more wheel chair accessible). It's also adjacent to the famous Cooks Meadow and is a short walk through the meadow to Sentinel bridge and the picturesque chapel. Yosemite falls can be seen from many parts of the lodge campus as can Half Dome, and many other features. But you can't see the falls from most rooms. This location is about a 15 minute walk from Yosemite Village and the free valley floor shuttle bus stops in front of the lobby. The free shuttle runs about every 15 to 30 minutes (more in the summer). You cannot beat this location.

The lodge is a series of 1950's-1960's era two story "motel" style buildings. While quite impressive in the 60's, it's somewhat dated now. The beds are comfortable and the rooms are good size. They now have in room phones, cable TV, and free Wi-Fi. They are still in the process of fixing up the rooms. This year we noticed two full buildings under renovation.

To be honest, these room take a beating. They are filled virtually 365 days a year and during much of the year contain families with children who can be quite rough on the decor and the rooms show this wear and tear.

This year we wound up in a renovated room. This included: New carpet, fresh paint, removal of cieling fan (it must be stifling in the summer as there is no A/C), new art work that was quite pleasing and new lighting fixtures. Most of the work seems to have been in the bathroom area where there was new tile floor, new fiberglas tub/shower, new faucets, new shower head, new counter top by sink - all of which are great imrovements. According to their TV channel, the furniture is hand-me-down from the upscale Ahwahnee Hotel - somewhat rustic but seemed good.

HOWEVER - the mandate for the reno work seems to be "Speed over Quality". When painting they did not remove any hardware and did not mask very well or clean paint from window glass where it slopped over. The other thing is lighting. The DNC company (which runs the place) is very big on what they call "Green path" which is touted everywhere you look. While I am in accordance with this, I find it odd then that they deliberatly leave all the outside lighting on all day long. We turn off the patio light each day when we leave in the AM and find it on each day when we get back before dinner. They also have gone to all CFL lights in the room - which is good. However, they are all the slow warm up type and lower wattage than needed for the space. So, to get enough light we wind up turning on every light in the room. We also found ourselves leaving the light on in the bathroom all the time we're in the room due to the long warm up time till they come to full brightness.

But the weirdest thing of all, espeically considering all the effort they are putting into "Green", was that for some inexplicible reason they mounted the thermostat sideways which prevented it from accuratly controlling the temperature (see photos). When we moved in we set it to 67f. Came back later in the day to a room at over 95f. So after opening all the doors and windows, knocked the setting down to 55. Same thing. We finally got it to be somewhat ok after setting it to 48f. It's that lack of attention to detail that knocks my rating down from Very Good to just Good.

However, it is in the ideal portion of the park, and for the most part you should not be hanging around in your room when in a place like Yosemite.

In the winter, food is offered in a food court cafeteria, an upscale restaurant and to some extent in the Bar. The food in the food court was OK. Nothing to write home about but served the purpose. Minimal selection, but hot. We also had a dinner in the upscale Mountain good but waaaay expensive and also somewhat limited menu. We also had a breakfast in the famouse Awhahnee Hotel which is always fantasitc - but pricey. The bar has some limited food offerings which is typical bar food fare. The bar is quite nice with a big fireplace in the middle, TV's all around and big picture windows. A really nice place for after dark.

If you join the Yosemite Conservancy (I think at the $25 donation level or higher) you get 15% off various things in Yosemite. You also get a coupon book with one time disounts one of which (at least this year) is 20% off rooms at the lodge (off peak season, mid week) - this is a good deal and supports the park.

Room Tip: No elevators so choose floor accordingly. They have family suite units that may be of interest. So...
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  • 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
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Califdan69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

The room wasn't bad and it was nothing special either. But the beds were fine and I slept well with is really what counts.

Cons:

• Shower temperature was very hard to control and one morning was jumping between scalding and freezing.
• Both the soap and shampoo were provided smelled awful and the smell was very strong.
• Walkways were icy (though most were at least sanded).
• Not much sound proofing between rooms.
• No air conditioning which can be a big problem in the summer.
• The "Food Court" is not cheap and the food isn't very good.

Pros:

• You're in Yosemite
• Nice view of Yosemite Falls just outside the room.
• Free WiFi (but slow in the evening and my login expired at inconvenient times).

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank eeekster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
48 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

As previous reviewers have pointed out, you cannot beat the location of the lodges. Every time we opened the door to our lodge, we were greeted with a breathtaking view of Yosemite Falls. There is a great (steep) walk - about 7 miles - up to the falls which can be done straight from the lodges. The staff were nice, there is plenty of choice when it comes to food and the accommodation isn't the Ritz, but it has everything you need and the room was nice and warm on a cold January day. Can't say fairer than that really.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Laurasaurasrex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sunnyvale, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

Since you'll be spending most of your time outside the room, this seems to be sufficient. The shower was lame- water it spewed was either too hot or too cold, but other than that, it is located at a fantastic location - with a view of the Yosemite waterfall from the room and a 10 minute trek to the fall itself.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank 1divya1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Yosemite Valley Lodge

Property: Yosemite Valley Lodge
Address: 9006 Yosemite Lodge Dr, P.O. Box 578, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389 (Formerly Yosemite Lodge At The Falls)
Location: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Ski-In / Ski-Out Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Yosemite National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 245
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Yosemite Valley Lodge is a favorite choice for families and large groups. Its close proximity to Yosemite Falls makes it the perfect base camp for exploring Yosemite National Park. Its glass and wood architecture work in unity with the surroundings and the ample windows allow in the bright mountain sunshine while providing remarkable views. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Yosemite Lodge At The Falls
Yosemite Hotel National Park
Yosemite Lodge Falls
Yosemite Ca
Yosemite View Lodge
Yosemite Hotel At The Falls
Lodge Reservation Yosemite
Lodge Yosemite
Yosemite Lodge Hotel
Yosemite Falls Lodge

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