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.
- 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