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“Showing its age but best location for the money”

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Yosemite Valley Lodge
GreenLeadersSilver level
Reviewed April 29, 2013

We had another long weekend stay at Yosemite Lodge; our previous visit was in a snowy March of 2012. Yosemite has to be on your bucket list: spectacular granite walls, glorious waterfalls (before June), wonderful walks/hikes, enjoyable ranger/naturalist talks, etc. The Lodge is less expensive than the truly expensive Ahwanee Hotel and more expensive than other choices of room lodging in the park. And you do want to stay in the park; it's a half-hour plus drive from the nearest hotel/motel outside the park. It's close to the Mountain Room restaurant for a nice dining experience and the cafeteria for a quick breakfast or lunch. Great ways to start or end the day.
The room was worn but clean and the daily refresher was fine. Beds a bit too firm for us but that's always a matter of taste. Nice folks at the desk.

Room Tip: Ask for a view of the falls.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank JCNagel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,449 - 2,455 of 3,942 reviews

Reviewed April 29, 2013

OK, I understand that you're staying in Yosemite and it will cost a premium. But there is NO excuse for charging over $200 a night for a hotel and not having a phone in the room. And when asked about it, we're told that maybe its on the list of rooms where the phone isn't working, but no, it's not on the list. And they would fix it, but no. And check in time is 5pm for some reason. This was a recently painted and I believe "remodeled room". The room had an outside small patio area with a door where the insulated glass was duck taped to the door frame. The shower curtain was set too high to prevent water from the shower getting on the floor.

And the food, don't get us started. Breakfast was outrageously expensive and poor. Cold, black toast that we were told we could microwave to warm up. Coffee that was barely luke warm. Horrible.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Sharon P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

I was very disappointed from the start. There was a mixup in my reservation, and the clerk was prepared to not honor what I had in writing, but after I insisted I would not pay anything other than what I was quoted, he spoke with a manager and I paid what I was supposed to. Check in time is 5pm, and most rooms are not ready until then even though you can check in earlier. Once we got to our room, we discovered that is was probably in the worst location in the entire hotel. They have great little patios out back, but ours overlooked the back of the restaurant, including dumpsters and employee smoking area. The front was right on the road. The only saving grace was that if you turned your chair around on the patio, you had a perfect view of Eagle Point. So we tried to block out the other distractions and enjoy the view. The room itself was clean and comfortable, with a fridge. The bathroom was clean, but the toilet was loose and wiggled when you sat down. We did not use the shower as we were only there one night and got up early for skiing the next day. I recommend you stay here because it's in the middle of the park, just be particular with the room location!

Room Tip: Do not stay in Birch building. Elderberry probably has best view of falls, but is close to road as...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank lpslp87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 24, 2013

After a 5 hour drive to the lodge we had to wait for 30 mins to get to the head of the queue to see the receptionist to check in. When eventually we negotiated our way to our room down what can only be called an alley between trash trolleys and accommodation blocks we found that our outlook was onto the boarding surrounding the swimming pool. We entered our room to find that the frame of the single window was broken and since it overlooked the alley could not be opened and therefore the only light was by way of dim artificial lights. The room itself was dingy and looked in need of a complete redecoration all in all for the nightly rate charged was unacceptable. Since we had made our bookings some 6 or 7 months previously and had expected to be accomodated in a room of an acceptable standard I made our feelings clear to reception and expressed our disappointment. We were then offered alternative accommodation at the Ahwanee hotel in the Yosemite valley at an substantially increased rate but decided to accept that since it was late in the evening.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank Ian H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2013

We were very pleased with our comforable king-bed room in the Tamarack building. I would guess that the adjacent Dogwood and Aspen buildings offer similar rooms (online map is available), which are totally modern and tasteful, very clean, have a small fridge, TV and WiFi, decent bath/shower with plenty of towels, plus a nice view of the trees. I think each building has 8 units, 4 upstairs and 4 down. Suggest staying upstairs with your own semi-private balcony and table/chairs. They also have vaulted ceilings so it seems to feel a little more spacious than downstairs. Pricey at around $250/nite inc. breakfast but you're right in the valley and wake up ready to do your daytime thing and not waste precious time. There are older buildings that may not offer such a nice experience so do check and try and get one of these more recently built ones. Ours was at the Yosemite Falls end of the lot so we took a couple moonlight walks to see them at night and were there in 5 minutes. There seem to be several of these more recent buildings so ask when you book.

We booked directly with DNC via their website www.yosemitepark.com and avoided a 10% service fee offered by some other website who's link appeared first via Google.

My only complaint is the crappy food at the Food Court. If it were good but expensive, or average but reasonable, I'd say 'you're at the park for the wonders of the park and not a fine dining experience and should have lower expectations'. But the Food Court is both expensive AND terrible. Since you're basically a captive audience its particularly annoying that the DNC company that runs the show doesn't take some steps to improve the offerings. No salad bar, watery mashed potatoes, grisly burger -- the worst institutional food that costs airport prices and is lower quality than that. Its obvious that no respectable chef regularly tastes whats being served. I can understand that every single item served has to be trucked in through a difficult route and maybe that adds to the cost. But at least make it decent! Shame on you, DNC.

The Mountain Room Lounge has a few OK salad, soup and sandwich options that seemed totally worth the extra few dollars. The Mountain Room itself has steaks and other higher-end items but at $20-$30 per entree, wasn't going to be a daily dinner option, especially if you have a family to feed.

Breakfast can be included as part of the bed & breakfast package when you book your room, and you get a $13 credit plus a coupon for large, good cup of coffee or tea from the cafe's Peets counter. I'd say do it if you're planning on breakfast at the cafe. We had good granola ($4), supplemented with fruit we brought and grabbed a sandwich and chips for lunch later ($9) to use up the $13. The plated traditional American breakfast of eggs/spuds/meat was I think $9 but one bite of the sausage my partner got was unpleasant and made you instantly wonder about exactly what it was ground up to make it.

The overall park experience was, and always will be, stunning. Don't think its one of the seven wonders of the world but it should be. Just bring as much picnic food as you can and be very careful at the Food Court.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank TripperSanFrancisco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2013

We stayed here over Spring Break and it was just what I expected. It is not luxurious but comfortable, clean and right where you want to be! Staff was courteous. There is a food court, bar and full restaurant there. The food court was disappointing. Not very good food. We did better going into the village and getting sandwiches for hiking at Degnan's deli. They were freshly made. I had a caprese and my husband italian They also have great egg sandwiches for breakfast. The bar was alright. The restaurant was very good but you do pay for it.

The only comment I would make is that I expected to have someone knowledgeable about hiking at the desk. We came in at 7 at night wanting to start early on a rigorous hike. The desk staff knew the basic little jaunts that were all close to the road but would give no further info. We were told to visit the ranger the next morning at 9am in the village. We ended up asking people in the bar for help. We did the upper falls hike to the point. Wonderful!

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank voyageurfoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2013

If this review was based purely on location it would get five stars. If is was based purely on the room it would only get two. The rooms are very basic with old fashioned furniture and in need of freshening up and updating (the colour on the walls is hideous!), but the expensive price you have to pay is based on the location, which is stunning and unbeatable. From walking past other blocks it looked like at least one had been refurbished and the rooms looked more modern with cream walls. It seems like some rooms with balconies give you a view of the Yosemite Falls - we had to step outside our room to get a view, but loved being in such amazing scenic surroundings and being able to leave our car parked up for three days and just get out on foot.

Make sure you carefully check your bill when checking out - one night in the food court we were charged for a soda that should have been included in the meal. Instead of giving us a refund they did a new bill (for the whole meal for four of us) at the correct price and said they would void the first transaction at the incorrect price. When we checked out we spotted that they had not refunded the first transaction, so we'd paid twice for the same meal (and the food is overpriced as it it!) We had to keep re-explaining what had happened for the receptionist to understand, showing him that both transactions had the same reference code. Eventually he understood and refunded us, but if took a lot of effort to get it sorted out.

Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
1  Thank LondonFlipflops
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

Address: 9006 Yosemite Lodge Dr, P.O. Box 578, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389 (Formerly Yosemite Lodge At The Falls)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Ski-In / Ski-Out Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Yosemite National Park
Price Range: $271 - $460 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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