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.
- 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