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“Historic, quaint and appropriate for the wildwood” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Big Trees Lodge

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Big Trees Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Middle of nowhere, Cambridgeshire
Level Contributor
18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Historic, quaint and appropriate for the wildwood”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

We stayed three nights in Moore Cottage, which, while a bit cramped, was clean and adequate for the length of stay. Suitcases have to be opened on the bed and then put aside. Bath/shower rooms are outside around the corner and were clean. We thought the rate was over-priced for the room itself, but the location, history and quaintness made it worthwhile. We liked sitting outside the room on the porch at night with a bottle of wine (bought outside the park). We were not bothered at all by people walking the old wooden floors or using the loo. Front desk staff were helpful and accommodating.

We found the dining room rather lacking ambiance, more like a tired cafeteria. (Though at night it did look better.) We had breakfast from the menu one morning. The Eggs Benedict was awful. The muffins appeared to be store-bought, the Hollandaise was gluey and tasteless, the hash browns had a funny taste and smell -- on top of freezer burn -- and were limp. Everything was cold. The next day we had the Continental breakfast (included with the room) that was just okay. The wait staff were pleasant.

After the experience with breakfast, we didn't eat dinner there, especially since the prices are much too high for what we figured would be a mass-produced ready-meal. (Apologies if this isn't actually the case.)

The only problem with skipping meals at Wanona is that there aren't any other options. The hotel is miles from anywhere and the nearest place to get food and drink is the small convenience store with limited, over-pricing selection of junk.

We had drinks (expensive) on the main lodge porch one evening, listening to a fabulous classical guitarist inside. This was pleasant, but there was only one waitress on duty and we had to hunt her down each time for refills. She was, however, sincerely apologetic and friendly. The flowers in the wicker planters were WELL past their prime.

The pool looks like an after-thought and wasn't appealing. It's just a hole in the ground surrounded with a bit of concrete and chain-link fence stuck in the middle of an unkempt lawn.

The photo gallery on the website shows a horse-drawn stagecoach in front of the hotel, but it doesn't actually go there, probably because the drive is packed with so many cars. It is only available for a very short ride on a little path around the nearby Pioneer History Center. (The centre's buildings were closed 5-6 September, but you can still take a ride in the coach.)

We enjoyed walking around the golf course across the road in the early evening watching the deer graze.

I found myself daydreaming about how lovely this historic hotel could be with some attention to detail and TLC, That said, this IS a family resort with lots of hikers, situated in a rustic and wild wilderness. Anything more luxurious could potentially become overkill and out of place. Even so, they could do more to justify the high prices. Best advice: be really glad if you can get a hotel vacancy in the park at all, go with the flow, and bring in your own food and drink.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 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?
3 Thank NHGirlinUK
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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (530)
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English first
Chattanooga Tennessee
Level Contributor
35 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Wawona Inn back in the early 1980s and loved that is historic and so much more personal than the larger, more modern hotel in the main part of the Yosemite Valley.
True, most rooms have a shared dorm like bath, but we did not mind this then, nor when we traveled there again with our teenaged kids a few years ago. My only complaint on our later visit was the fact that the days were much hotter this time and the rooms seemed somewhat warm and stuffy. We had to keep the windows almost closed and the curtains completely drawn because the outer halls are lit at night for people walking to the bathrooms (at all hours- I suppose- not my problem). The porch and lawn are a lovely place to sit before dinner to enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine and while the restaurant is pricey....it is THERE! - no driving needed and after a day in the park, on winding roads, our family was happy to settle in. Now, my oldest son has graduated college and he wants to revisit Yosemite. His choice for lodging (despite its age and lack of amenities)- Wawona of course. The beauty and serenity of the setting outweigh all the negatives in my book.

Room Tip: I would definitely ask for a room on the end of the lodge away from the dining room. The upper and...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank ready2gogirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michigan
Level Contributor
86 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

We spent three nights at the Wanona in October, 2012, and found it to be very comfortable, if somewhat outdated. As others have said, there is no wifi in the rooms but it was a short walk to the annex to use the wifi. Our room was simple and clean, the heat was not a problem as it was for other reviewers. We enjoyed the complimentary breakfast very much and the dinners were good, but expensive, although probably less expensive than at some of the restaurants in the Valley. We did try to eat early so we could avoid a long wait. We did not know how far it was from the Wanona Hotel to Yosemite Valley and the drive is a bit scary, so we would try to stay in the Valley the next time, even if it is more expensive. The Wanona is very close to the Mariposa Grove with the Sequoias, though. We enjoyed the evening gathering around the piano--it was a reminder of how people spent their time before the days of TV and computers. There are lovely hiking trails around the hotel. We would stay here again but maybe just for one night instead of three and that's just because we'd like to spend more time in Yosemite Valley.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 13bato
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
18 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2013

We had a room without bath in the cabins around the main house. It was very nice and the room was clean. We made contact to other visiters who where sitting around on the terrace.

It was a advanture to get to the bathroom outside the house at night. I could be too coult in winter time. You can have your own bathrooms in the main building.

We were a little bit surprised in the morning when we entered the nice breakfast room because of the plastik plates and cutlerys they provided for guest. Nethertheless the breakfast was great!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Engbers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madrid, Spain
Level Contributor
27 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2013

My wife an I stayed at Yosemite in dec, 2009 and we choosed the Wawona Hotel by web and friends references. Well, the Wawona is one of the best hotels I ever saw: vintage and cute room with own bath, awesome breakfast (you must taste the chocolate, it's just delicious!), kindly staff, good pianist, nice christmas decoration... The hotel it's located at the beggining of the park, just 30 minutes away from the base of the Upper Fall, I guess. And the hotel staff brings us all the tips about the Yosemite and Mariposa Grove parks.
We will return at Wawona asap!

Room Tip: Don't forget the car chains in winter!
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Nestor A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hixson, Tennessee
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

My husband and I stay at the Wawona when we visit Yosemite in September. The hotel is historic and as such there are no tvs or air conditioners in the room. My husband and I love this! We always have been fortunate to get a room in one of the small houses that contain four rooms each (similar to a condo I suppose) and we have always had our own bathroom. The hotel does have rooms with shared baths but I have to put my foot down on that one! The food is pretty good and the grounds are wonderful. We always grab a cup of coffee in the mornings or a glass of wine in the evenings to sit on the porch and watch people as well as nature. We seem to always see deer roaming on the grounds.
Also, there is a golf course on the property as well as several hotel-wide events on the weekends including a barbeque (that we always seem to just miss but see them breaking down the food).
My suggestion, if you enjoy a little bit of history and a chance to get away from it all without staying in a tent or paying A LOT more for the other hotels in the park I would definitely suggest the Wawona. We always have a wonderful stay!

Room Tip: Ask for one of the rooms in the bungalows with a bathroom.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jaclyn Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
51 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013 via mobile

I would not stay here again if I had the choice, but if it is your only option for staying in Yosemite, then suck it up and stay here. It's probably way better in warmer months, but in October it was downright unpleasant. It's quite a far drive from Yosemite Valley to the hotel, and the roads are a bit nerve-wracking, so because we didn't want to make the drive in the dark we made sure we were back at the hotel by dark...which was more or less 5 pm. That presents a problem because hen there is absolutely nothing to do. There are no TVs in the rooms, which is fine, but then they only had wi-fi in one room - a "lounge" at the furthest point from the lobby. The only entertainment option is sitting in the old-timey lobby listening to an old-timey pianist play songs from the 1920s. If that's your cup of tea, cool, but I suspect it's not for most people. When it's mercifully time for dinner - I say mercifully because at least that's something to do - you have to put your name down then wait for a table. And wait. And wait. Some advice: don't wait until you're hungry to put your name down. Actually, here's some better advice: buy some sandwiches, crackers and hummus, fruit and cookies in the camp store to eat in your room instead of braving the dining room. That's what we did our second night at the Wawona after our first night experience in he dining room. I suspected we were in for trouble when our waitress described the soup of the day as being "gai-er" soup. I wondered if she meant gruyere and asked what else was in the soup. "That's pretty much it," she replied. "And cream." I ordered the one other soup, the pork soup, and when the "gai-er" soup was mistakenly placed before me I discovered it was indeed just a soup of gruyere cheese and cream. When I got my pork soup I wanted the bowl of cheese and cream back. The pork soup looked like dog food and didn't taste much better. So that was an adventure. But my real issue with the Wawona came later. The rooms have radiator heat, which is fine. But they were only turned on between 7 and 9 pm and 7 and 9 am, which is less fine. There was quite a cold snap when we were at Yosemite and he frigid rooms made the stay really uncomfortable.

But, all that being said, the park itself is spectacular. If you're in California you really must see it. It was breathtaking. So, in sum, if staying at the Wawona is your only option for visiting Yosemite, go for it. Just be prepared.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 2 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Allycat789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Big Trees Lodge

Property: Big Trees Lodge
Address: 8308 Wawona Road, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389 (Formerly Wawona Hotel)
Location: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Yosemite National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Big Trees Lodge 2*
Number of rooms: 104
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Big Trees Lodge is cherished as one of the most respected and most frequently visited Yosemite hotels. Its authentic Victorian architecture features beautiful white buildings, classic verandas and lush natural surroundings. At the Big Trees Lodge, there's something for everyone-including golf, tennis, horseback riding, or fishing. Evenings are spent gathered around the piano for musical performances in the lounge. Big Trees Lodge dining is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Wawona Hotel Yosemite National Park
Wawona Yosemite National Park

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