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“Travel back in time”
Review of Big Trees Lodge

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Big Trees Lodge
Reviewed April 4, 2013

We stayed one night in one of the shared bathroom rooms of Wawona. It was one very fun night. It is not that much of a hassle that you have to go around the corner to take a shower. In fact if you are up for some out of the ordinary experience I highly recomend staying in these rooms. It was actually a good feeling in the coldish morning to walk back to my room in the warm bathrobes they giver you.
The building was built in the 1800s and still everything has the feel of that era on it. The glass wall dinning room is an experience in it self in the morning in the bright sunlight. Although the food they serve is average and not cheap. Such a shame.
The patios around the hotel are so welcomming you would just want to sit there and do notthing but enjoy the warm breeze and sunshine.
Funny thing is that when they tell you they gonna give you a roomkey they mean a real key not a key card like in almost all the hotels nowadays. It is so fitting.
The staff was very helpful. The location is somewhat great since it is in the park although a bit further from the actual valley (about 30 min drive).

Room Tip: They have two bigger than the others room 213 and 215(I think)
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank jozsasz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 23, 2013

A great 'old' victorian hotel in a great location. The rooms are not what you expect from a modern hotel. This is a hotel that brings you back to the 19th century. The restaurant was quite good. There are many opportunities to go for a walk. We found it a pleasant experience.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Rufie-O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2013

i stayed here recently with a school group so won't comment on price or food. I checked reviews here before because I wanted to see if I needed to bring my hairdryer. When I got there, we were told not to plug in hairdryers in the rooms at all as the electrical system was not up to it. In our room in the annex we couldn't even get cell phones to charge (not that we had cell phone service).
I brought earplugs because the wooden building is fairly noisy if someone is walking outside on the porch. There were also lights outside that were left on all night, not sure if this is always the case, but I wish I had brought one of those eye masks.
On the good side, beautiful porch, adirondack chairs, beautiful views, less busy part of the park.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank redfish1024
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2013

Wawona promised so much yet delivered very little. Being in the midst of one of the world's great parks gives owners the right to charge for the privilege but their prices were borderline extortionate.
$200 a night for a pokey room. OK, I understand the need to retain the character of the place but some effort needs to be made to improve basic of the facilities.
The main buiilding is lovely - lots of history - and we enjoyed dinner on the verandah. No real complaints there - except the prices were a little excessive.
I'm glad we visited but, if there is a next time, we'll be staying out Yosemite!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Thelonghaul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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3  Thank NHGirlinUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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4  Thank ready2gogirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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1  Thank 13bato
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

Address: 8308 Wawona Road, Yosemite National Park, CA 95389 (Formerly Wawona Hotel)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Yosemite National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge 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: $308 - $391 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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