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Review of Big Trees Lodge

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Big Trees Lodge
Reviewed May 29, 2013

We were delighted with the turn-of-the-century charm, and we felt the best location. Just inside the south entrance, but quiet and tranquil. We spent a day in the Valley, and with so many people and congested roads we were happy to head out to our peaceful respite. I was unsure about sharing a bath--was not a problem. Food was OK, continental breakfast included, although you could add items off the menu for a price. We enjoyed sitting on the lawn in the late afternoon sunshine with a good book!! No complaints.

Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank lovestotravelFlorida
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 28, 2013

This place is charming, and those who like to stay in bed and breakfasts will love it. But if you're a light sleeper or desire privacy, stay somewhere else. The ear plugs they place by the bed (an ominous sign) are no match for the property, no matter how considerate your neighbors try to be.

The pros: historic, beautiful place with porches and chairs and a nice breeze, at least in mid-May. Very relaxing -- until you need a bath or a night's sleep. We stayed in a cottage, and it was beautiful, with its own bathroom. But we shared that cottage with other people, and only a door separated us from their bedrooms -- even our bath connected. That meant that when we left the bathroom light on (there was only one light, and we were trying to use it as a nightlight) we unknowingly kept our connecting neighbors awake, because there was such a large crack around the frame that the light shone in their eyes all night!

I could hear every word -- even the throat-clearing -- of our neighbors on the other side. And although our room jutted out onto the porch and therefore we didn't have neighbors completely above us, just the few feet their room's floor shared with our ceiling made loud noises when they walked above.

All this for $250 a night -- which was quite a splurge for our budget. It's really a shame that Yosemite doesn't have better accommodations. We were even more disappointed with the night we spent at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. It wouldn't take that much to update these facilities with some insulated walls and other sound barriers. I felt particularly sorry for those who didn't have in-room baths. I can't recommend anyone staying here.

Room Tip: They were kind enough to give us the quietest room they had -- which wasn't quiet at all. The st...
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Alabama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

Staying at the Wawona is getting a glimpse at what a nice country hotel was like in the late 1800's. The oldest of the 6 buildings that comprise the hotel was built in the 1870's, the newest in 1918. For California, this makes them quite historic. The 1918 construction, which included the Annex (which is the largest of the 6 buildings), the dinning room/kitchen additon to the main building (including the guest rooms above them) and the swimming pool, featured rooms in pairs with a shared bathroom between them. Renting the whole pair with bath is a good arrangement for those traveling with children. Otherwise the orginal construction was rooms without bath with a few exceptions. After World War II two buildings were converted to rooms with bath - a total of 24 of them. They are like older motel rooms. Many have a king sized bed. Many (or all) have a nice walk in closet. Occupants of the remaining rooms need to use modern rest rooms that have been built on the sides of the buildings. Most of the rooms upstairs in the main building and in the building up the little hill behind it are in this catagory. (The latter building has its own little parking lot hidden behind it, so you can park close to you room if you stay in it.) In fornt of the buildings is a circular drive with parking around it and a nicely restored fairly large and decorative water fountain in the middle of the lawn in the middle of the circular drive. Most of the rooms open onto verandas equipped with wooden chairs and small tables. They are great places to sit out in the late afternoon and early evening and enjoy the small animals (mainly birds) and perhaps enjoy some food and drink that you have brought with you. There are no elevators (4 or the 6 buildings are two story) and it is a long way from some of the parking to the rooms. If you ask at check in, bell service is available, but that is not obvious. There are no room phones, television, or wi-fi in the rooms. There is wi-fi in the lobby. Room rates included a breakfast buffet of mainly cold items, but also all beverages and hot oatmeal. Cooked to order items are available at extra cost, but you have to wait to get a table in the dinnig room before you can get any of it except the coffee. The food was good. There is a nine hole golf course with reasonable green fees that goes back into the woods across the road. We saw the earplugs that are mntioned in other reviews, but had no reason to use them. Overall, stay at the Wawona is an interesting, quiet, relaxing experience.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank wanttogotoall50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

This historic hotel is a lovely place to spend the night and enjoy a break from the crowds at Yosemite. The rooms are historic, so you may expect them to be small, but well-appointed. It's expensive to stay in the hotel; more so than rooms outside of the park, for certain, and you won't get TV, a coffee maker, or wireless in your room. It's a simpler, old-fashioned type of lodging. Instead, you get to enjoy wireless in a common area where you will meet fellow travelers from around the globe, share stories, and maybe make a new friend. The restaurant offers an ample free breakfast for lodgers, or a good deal on ala carte items, if you prefer to order off the menu.

We chose a room without its own bath and found it easy to make do with a bathroom downstairs and around a corner - the shower facility was lovely and squeaky clean and in excellent condition. Every room has a couple comfy chairs on the wide veranda in the annex. Quite nice. This hotel is located more than 1/2 hr from the busy Yosemite Valley and about 15 minutes from the Big Trees. Take the shuttle to see the trees (pick-up is at the general store just downhill from the hotel) as the parking lot is almost always full and you get redirected back to the hotel for the shuttle anyway.

Yosemite is a must-see park. Even though the vistas seem familiar from seeing them so often on a calendar or a poster, the sheer scale of the place is remarkably surprising, and rather humbling.

Room Tip: The walls are thin, so if you are a light sleeper, bring earplugs or inquire about a quiet room. Br...
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank CommonLoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2013

If you are looking for contemporary decor, modern amenities and an exciting night life, stay somewhere else. If you appreciate historic architecture and a slower pace of life, the Wawona Hotel is an ideal place to unwind. The lobby and dining room are lovely. The rooms are basic but comfortable. The absence of television is a good thing. Sit a spell on the porch, watch the birds, listen to the wind in the pines. Take the free shuttle to Mariposa Grove and marvel at the gigantic trees. Enjoy a lovely dinner. Meet other travelers and exchange stories in front of the fire. Look at the stars. If you absolutely have to stay connected to the outside world WiFi is available 24/7 in the sunroom in the Annex building.
We stayed at the Wawona for two nights after a long flight to Fresno and prior to our visit to Yosemite Valley. It was a very pleasant and restful time before facing the crowds and traffic in the Valley.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank AuntCassie_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2013

You might think that on going into your room for the first time and seeing complementary earplugs on the bedside table that you had made an error in judgment. Well, at some hotels that might be true, but not at the Wawona. This place is an artifact and an anachronism, intentionally so to be sure. It is old and wooden and rickety and in need of sprucing up. It is noisy, but not from TVs or loud telephone conversations or Wi-Fi connections playing Pandora in the rooms, because there aren't any TVs, or telephones, or W-Fi connections in the rooms. There is a dedicated Wi-Fi area on the property, however, for anyone to use. The noise is from your neighbor's plumbing and guests walking around on wood floors and verandas. The conceit here is that without being wired into the outside world, just staying at the Wawona allows you to really relax. There's some truth to that and with none of the usual electronic distractions, you do tend to go to bed early. And it is quiet, all day and night long. And dark. You can see stars. This isn't the hotel for the raucous crowd or the spring-breakers. There is beer and wine with meals, but no hard liquor and no bar. The good parts are very good, though. The grounds are beautiful, with large and rolling green lawns dotted with white Adirondack chairs, where the guests simply sit and gaze. There is a slight aura on the lawns of a convalescent facility, but only for a minute. The hotel is close to the South Entrance to Yosemite and the magnificent Mariposa Grove, but about 45 minutes from the Valley and about an hour from Glacier Point, so expect to drive if you want to see the sights. We did not eat at the hotel, but chose to drive out of the Park to the Tenaya Lodge, about 6 miles from the hotel, so I can't comment on the Wawona's dining room. There is a swimming pool, empty when we were there, but rumored to be filled around Memorial Day weekend. The staff were friendly enough, but they don't go to lengths to make you feel special. The price of the rooms, though, would lead you to believe you were special. Remember, you are in a National Park, maybe the best of the best, and also remember there are other hotels in and near the Park that make the Wawona seem a bargain by comparison. Ask for a room on an upper floor, unless you don't mind people walking along the veranda in front of your room and the unusually-situated bathroom, where you can sit and watch your neighbors walk by. Would we go again? Of course! With all its quirks, the Wawona is the kind of place that probably you won't find more than a few times as a traveler. It's like an eccentric old relative, the good kind.

Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
5  Thank FlyingHome
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2013

We only stayed here for one night and I was loathe to make the booking as it is very expensive given the reviews, unfortunately if you want to stay near the forest there are no other hotel options.

We waited a very long time to check-in and the staff were extremely slow. However, the lobby with the nice log fire and seating area looked very welcoming and cosy. The room was VERY tiny and old fashioned (as you might guess from it being an old hotel). However, I really don't understand why this place hasn't been given a lick of paint given the rates it's charging!! The room was quite cold, but had a radiator on one setting (HOT HOT) right by the bed, which then left us then opening all the windows all night.

In the restaurant we ate dinner and breakfast. On both accounts nothing to write home about and the evening meal was again particularly pricey for what we ate.

Value for money no, but bearable if you're only there one night.

Thank Where_Magic_Happens
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: $286 - $384 (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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