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“The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly”

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Yosemite Valley Lodge
GreenLeadersSilver level
Colorado
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly”
Reviewed June 14, 2006

II was really looking forward to this trip as I traveled to Yosemite every year as a child and loved it. My husband, sister-in-law and two kids (9 and 11) had never seen Yosemite and I wanted them to see the magic of Yosemite. We reserved two rooms a year in advance at $178 per room per night. We arrived at Yosemite on Monday, June 5th at about 6:30 in the evening. We checked in we were assigned two rooms in the far end of the Laurel Building. When we pulled up in front of the building, we noticed that Bus Parking was located on the opposite side of the parking lot, but the signs indicated that the buses would only be there from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and since we were planning on being out and about at that time we felt that that was OK. When we entered the rooms the first room smelled strongly of campfire and there were a plethora of mosquitoes in both rooms. The windows had louvers controlled by handles inside. Six out of the eight handles in our rooms were broken so you had to go outside to manipulate them. The screens were old and had a number of holes in them, so it was no wonder how the mosquitoes got into the rooms even after we killed most of them. We turned on the ceiling fans and the campfire smell slowly started to dissipate. When my sister-in-law got into bed, she was alarmed to find that the bedspread reeked of B.O. We called the front desk to get another bedspread. When we turned the knobs on the shower, a bunch of ants came out from behind the knobs and they kept coming. Yuck. When we awoke the next morning, I decided to take a shower. The power cut out in the middle of my shower. Apparently there had been a rock slide outside of Yosemite and the hill where the power line was located was unstable, so PG&E had to move the power line. PG&E provided Yosemite with a limited backup generator which Yosemite had the power to decide where it would be used. Yosemite kept all the lights and cash registers in the gift shops open, but cut the power to the $178 per night rooms and cut the power to the pool, showers, Laundromat. The pool had to close due to low chlorine levels and guests at Housekeeping Camp had to go without showers. This continued for three days. The kids were sooo disappointed because the pool was really nice with a great view of the falls.
It was at this time that we realized that the bus parking outside our room was not limited to 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. Buses started arriving at 6:00 am and would sit there idling their engines for hours at a time. Myriad buses - all with back up horns going from 6:00am until after 10:00 pm. The noise and diesel fumes became overwhelming. We discovered that the campfire smell was coming from the campground across the street - every evening. Without a ceiling fan - that smell became overwhelming as well. After 2 -1/2 days of this I had reached my limit. My sister-in-law and I went to the front desk to see if we could check out early without penalty because we had had enough. In line in front of us at the Front Desk was a man from our building. When he got to the front of the line, he put his keys down on the counter and tore his room invoice in half and walked away without saying a word. That was just the tip of the iceberg - people were in line leaving in droves. The power outage made a marginally acceptable room downright unacceptable. The clerk at the counter was understanding and told we were free to check out early without penalty. We asked about compensation and he offered us 20% off per night per room. We took this offer and left the next morning.
On the positive side, the rooms were spacious, had newer carpet, and hand-me down furniture from the Ahwahnee. The rooms were "Redecorated" but not "Renovated". The bathroom and sink areas as well as the windows, screens, and electrical were the 1956 originals. As for eateries, the Mountain Room was nice, but pricy and the Food Court offered causal fare that was more reasonably priced. The Coffee Bar was really nice with delicious Seattle's Best Coffee. You received a card for free coffee or hot chocolate from the Coffee Bar. While our experience was extremely disappointing, I think if we had been placed in better rooms that we would have stuck out the full 5 days and had a much better time. I am only sorry that my family will not have the wonderful memories of Yosemite that I had from my childhood. The rooms were expensive at $178 per night for a complex built in 1956. The maintenance has been minimal, so you have to wonder who is pocketing all the $$$ from rooms. I have to mention that we stayed at Yellowstone and Grand Canyon and the facilities are managed by Xanterra. In both locations the rooms were truly "Renovated" and cost a lot less. The reservation systems for both those locations were simpler as well. Maybe Xanterra should take over as Concessionaire at Yosemite.
If you decide to stay at Yosemite Lodge and get assigned a room in the Laurel building, insist on another building unless you can handle the non-stop bus traffic and diesel and campfire aromas. Oh yeah, we had a wonderful view of the Maintenance facility from out room.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
15 Thank CatCalico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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San Francisco, CA
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed June 11, 2006

There is no better location in the Yosemite valley. The operators of this facility know that and are not making much effort to upgrade the facility. I will give you an example. A racoon broke into our room in the middle of the night and when I tried to grab a phone to ask for help, the phone was dead! It turns out that racoon breakins are quite common as the screens on all the windows (except ours) were broken which makes one wonder why they management doesn't try something else.

Enough about that. The location of this hotel is awesome - right by the falls. I always try to get a room there despite the rates - which are way too high for what you get. But, it is still a great place to stay because of where you are.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
5 Thank SunnyNoCal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Walnut Creek
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed June 11, 2006

Interestingly enough, the room not ready at check-in seems to be a consistent. With a 5:00 pm check-in, you really don't want to wait around. We were told our room was not ready at 5:00, but they would give us another room. The staff was friendly and suggested Birch Lodge for our family, the single story on the road out. We liked the single-story, and the road noise was minimal at night. I had paid for the upgraded suite, but still did not get a view of the falls. The desk clerk told me only five rooms in the lodge had waterfall views, so keep in mind that most of the rooms at the Lodge don't have waterfall views.

Our two queen bed upgraded room was spacious, and simple. There was a sliding glass door and a little patio outside. No problem with wildlife coming into the room. The room was a bit dark for my taste. There was television. The bathrooms could have been slightly cleaner (the non-slip decals looked a bit grimy) but on the whole, the room was fine for a family with 2 kids.

The food court was convenient, and not that bad. The hotel location by the falls is terrific! The lodge seemed to have an excellent pool and lounge also. I liked that the hotel rooms were not too glitzy and preserved the Yosemite feel. So, overall had a good experience, just watch out for the late check-in, and don't expect a luxury hotel (even though you are paying luxury prices). Location, location, location.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Janiele
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, California
Level 6 Contributor
25 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
Reviewed June 5, 2006

We just returned from a short stay in the valley, where we had a standard room with 2 queens at the Lodge, in the Cedar Cottage. This is my fourth time staying at the lodge, and this particular room was the smallest I have stayed in. The standard rooms are smaller than most, but less expensive as a result. Our family of 4, inlcuding 2 teenagers, fit nicely. Most rooms in the other buildings are larger and also have balconies. Nonetheless, I was perfectly content with our stay. We were actiually able to check in when we arrived at 2:45. The room was similar to any older brand name motel room, except for the fact that there was a view of Yosemite Falls from our window! It was very centrally located to everything, including the pool, gift shop and restaurants. It is the location, and that view, that insure that a room at the lodge will always cost more than a similar motel room anywhere else.
This particular room was on the second floor, and without a balcony to provide some extra breeze, it was hot. The fan provided was good, but I do look forward to the day when all the rooms are upgraded and some AC is provided. A room on the first floor would be cooler, but then you lose the view and have to watch out for the squirrels and racoons that will gladly check out your food if you leave any doors or windows open!
The rooms now come with TV, but no coffemakers. You will get a coupon for a free coffee at the food court, but for the coffee addict, that may not suffice. Speaking of the food court, it's one place in Yosemite I can unequivocally suggest you avoid, esp. for dinner. Most of the food is bland and overpriced. My youngest daughter had a pizza, which turned out to be the best of all of our choices, Fortunately, there are many other places to eat; even at the Lodge you can eat at the Mountain Room Restaurant, and the bar also has pub food.
As long as you understand that you are paying an inflated price for a standard room, I can recommend the Lodge as a comfortable spot to stay in the most convenient location in the park. I also recommend splurging on the larger rooms if they are available. But most of all , wherever you stay in the park, get out of your room and enjoy the nature around you!

  • Stayed June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank macjack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed May 30, 2006

My partner and I stayed at the Lodge for 2 nights, and unfortunately since they were all booked up even when I made the reservations almost a year ago, stayed one night in a cabin in Curry Village. After reading all the negative reviews we were unsure of what to expect, but were pleasantly surprised. We wished we could've stayed there all 3 nights!

We did our initial check-in around noon and were assigned a room on the first floor of the Cedar Cottage, right next to the main building and very convenient to everything. I explained my concerns to the check-in attentdant about all the negative online reviews, and he assured me that everything would be clean, and even called the maintenance staff to request a priority cleaning! I found all the staff to be very curtious and professional. Since the room wasn't ready we hiked around a bit and came back a few hours later, and after peeking in the room and noticing that it was cleaned, went back to the lobby and got the key. The room was very clean, and since we were on the first floor and the weather wasn't too hot, was also quite comfortable, though I could see how it could get quite hot in the middle of summer with no A/C. Sure the bathroom could've been more modern, but you're paying for the convenience and the view (we had a great view right outside our door) , not the accomodations. If you're expecting the Taj Mahal you'll be disappointed, but if you want a clean comfortable room then you won't be.

Eating tip: While the food in the food court was ok, it was generally over-priced. Check out the buffet in Curry Village, much better food and very reasonably priced!

Stayed May 2006
Helpful?
10 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Crown Point IN
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed May 28, 2006

My husband and I arrived on May 18th. We were pleasantly surprised with our spacious room. We were expecting a less than average room from the other reviews of the lodge. We have been to many other national park lodges and we know that sometimes the rooms are not the best. The check-in staff was not very friendly and I did sign the bear aware statement but was not told of the raccoon problem. We went to the food court, food was pricey and it was VERY,VERY LOUD. When we went back to our room we noticed a bag of chips on our balcony when we went outside to investigate we were met with a rather large raccoon and he was not afraid of us.He must of stole the chips elsewhere and was eating them on our balcony. He finally left after we pushed the bag of chips off our balcony. Overall, it was a great experience to be in this national park and well worth staying in the lodge We loved every minute of it and when we checked out I was met with such a nice man working at the front desk. Just make sure you keep your balcony door locked and you will have a great time.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank travelcrazy2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
n.c.
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed May 22, 2006

Room was not ready at check in. Either take what was clean or stand in long line again. Their computer crashed, apparently they do not have paper trails as they could do nothing till the computer came back on. our room was in the Hemlock building. The rails on the balcony were popped up from shrinkage wood on metal. We saw deer and birds. We ate at the cafateria styled place. Food was precooked and served cold.

The fixed door facing outward to the balcony is slatted. I was on the bed next to it. I keep seeing a raccoon going back and forth on the balcony. Falling asleep, I would hear a rustling sound. As soon as I moved or called out the sound stopped. These went on till my friend thinks I am going nuts. In the middle of the night, we are both awaken by the sound of a bag rustling. My friend turns on the light and there is the fattest raccoon I have ever seen. We all freeze then the raccoon wattles out the door. He had opened the unlocked door. He ate a banana and dark chocolate truffle, he had taste, he was coming back for the orange when he got busted. Oddly the only danger from the raccoon was his stuffing himself with your food. I think the former reviewer over re-acted. Just make sure to lock the door to the balcony when you go to bed,

The rooms are thin walled and dated. I was not impressed by the check in staff. The rest of the staff were friendly.

The room itself is a very, very poor value for the money. Check in is too late it should be the normal 3 with check out at 12 giving a person time to explore the park. Not checking in at 5 then room is not ready.

But remember poor service begins at the top.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank strollingbones
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)
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 (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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