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“Step back in time”
Review of Big Trees Lodge

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Big Trees Lodge
Reviewed October 2, 2013

This grand old hotel was built back in the 1800's so it has lots of character. It is all white wooden exterior in a classic Victorian style. The evening meals and breakfasts were excellent, service was first class. However not all rooms have their own toilets so if you want your own facilities book a room in the Annex and specify that you want an en suite! The whole place is very old world, there are no TV's in the rooms or indeed anywhere in the whole place, which is no bad thing. You are a 30 -40 minute drive from Yosemite Village and the main valley but only 5 minutes drive from Mariposa Grove and 15 minutes from Glacier Point

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Dave T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 2, 2013

It is shabby and needs some maintenance. The owners think that being quaint is an excuse to not have quality furniture and fittings. It is in a time warp. We stayed for 3 nights which without a phone signal nor wifi was inconvenient not only for keeping in touch with family but for checking out local information and onward reservations. There was a wifi signal in the far annex but it was a small public room and often crowded and too dark to see the keyboard!

Room Tip: There is no room service because there is no phone in the room!
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank GlobeskaterUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 30, 2013

We stayed two nights and this is the worst hotel I have ever stayed in. I know by American standards its old but don't confuse old with tired. The hotel is in very poor condition. Only have the rooms have a bathroom on suite (which we had) and it was unbelievably awful. Our room (104) was opposite a generator, which kept us awake all night. I can’t prove it but -non-US residents occupied all the rooms opposite the generator. I guess they are unlikely to complain. We had to wait 30 min's for breakfast and one evening the first table available was nearly an hour (we went to bed with out eating!). Service or the waitresses were very nice, especially Natalie.

The trip to Yosemite center is 45 min's so it has no upside! I would drive 1o minutes longer and stay at the Tenaya Lodge. We stayed there the last night and it was great.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank Andrew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2013

I've stayed at the Wawona hotel with my family almost every year for 30 years.
Wawona is outside the hustle and bustle of Yosemite Valley, nestled in giant pines and sequoias with rivers and hiking trails, a golf course, and an old fashioned swimming pool in the middle of a large lawn.
We've spent hours exploring swimming holes in the rivers, laying next to the pool, and playing Pictionary and cards in the game room in the evenings. Even got "kicked out" of the game room one night (adults and kids!) due to our raucous game of Pictionary which went on past the quiet hour of 10pm.
Wawona is a gem. It's a place to slow down, unplug, and enjoy the smell of the pines and the sound of quiet conversations. (Hence, our being kicked out of the game room. We still laugh about that). The rooms are rustic, some with bathrooms, some without. Each room is decorated differently, and each one special. The lighting is dim (I find as I age that I have to bring a regular light bulb with me to replace the energy efficient bulb which does not allow me to read).
Favorite rooms are the second story of the wing overlooking the golf course because we like to relax in the Adirondak chairs outside each room in the evening, enjoying a snack and photographing the stellar jays who land close enough to touch, and the deer that congregate on the golf course each evening. If you get a room without a bath, the shower rooms downstairs are old-world white locker rooms that remind me of a country club. Makes the experience more authentic.
There are also fantastic rooms in the cabins behind the main lodge, great for renting as a group. You really can't go wrong with any room here - you just have to know that this hotel is an historic one, complete with the quirks of building styles a hundred years ago.
I miss the personal recognition we used to have as lifelong guests - but the staff is still quite nice, and this hotel has become a part of my family heritage. It's a wonderful place for couples and for families. You won't like this hotel if you're looking for night life, loud music and the modern conveniences of a city hotel.
You'll fall in love with it if you want to slow down and enjoy life.

Room Tip: Rooms overlooking the golf course are perfect for watching deer. They face the road, but traffic is...
  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Live2TravelReview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2013

If you want to check out from the day to day craziness of real life, this is the place. The hotel has lots of character and is surrounded by incredible beauty. Very little cell phone service, no Television. Great location to access trails. The rangers asked lots of questions when we inquired about hiking and directed us to trails that led to incredible beauty in every direction we looked - and a bonus - a bear crossing the trail we were on. Don't be afraid of sharing bathrooms, it's no different than the locker rooms at a fitness center. Will definitely try to stay at the Wawona again.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Soccermomstatechamps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2013

September, 2013

Summary
Since this has turned into quite a long review, I will provide this overview: This is a unique hotel built of wood in the late 1800s and early 1900. The age, nature, and layout of the facility mean that certain creature comforts are lacking; most notably: sound insulation, small rooms, no air conditioning, and no bathrooms or sinks in many rooms. The cost is also quite high, especially in comparison to other hotels outside of the park. If you can find a decent rate during the cooler off-season, then you might consider this for the convenience of staying in the Park, and for the experience. If you stay here it is because you are looking for a historic “experience,” and a not a really comfortable hotel.

Review:
We spent two nights at the Wawona Hotel, in a room without a bathroom. Since this was Mid-September, the days were warm, and the nights were somewhat chilly.

We stayed on the second floor of the Main building. The hotel is a historic building, with the main building having been built in 1879. The main building has no plumbing in the rooms, so no bathroom or wash hand basin. Toilets, showers, and sinks are located in a central wash area. The advantage of the main building is that is also the location of the restaurant.

Rooms in the main building are quite small. There was a chest of drawers, and three hooks for hanging clothes (no hangers, and the hooks were too close together to use them anyway).

In the last couple of years the communal wash areas have been refurbished, which is an improvement over the cheap linoleum finishes, and cheap fittings, which were there a couple of years ago. They have also switched to the more European style of shampoo/conditioner/body wash dispenser being in the shower (as opposed to small bottles in your room).

There is no air conditioning in the rooms, or in the hotel at all. A staff member told me that they had experienced temperatures of 104 degrees (F) this summer, so that would make for a very uncomfortable experience if you wanted to rest in your room during the day. My room had a ceiling fan, and a portable fan. If you are uncomfortable with heat then is definitely not a hotel for you from June through September.

Noise… As many other reviewers have noted, the walls are very thin. You will hear your neighbors! My neighbor sneezed, instinctively I said “bless you” in a normal voice. He responded back with “thank you.” The floor boards in my room squeaked loudly. I could clear hear my neighbors walking around and people walking by outside my room, even when they were not talking. Ear plugs are provided in the rooms, which gives you an idea of how many people must have complained about this.

Rooms have wide verandahs outside of them, with Adirondack chairs. The downside of this is people may sit outside late at night talking, especially on a warm summer night, which can sound very loud.

Cell and Wireless:
Cell phone coverage is quite sporadic. I have Verizon and they operate through an “Extended Network” through Golden State Wireless. This means that you need to turn on roaming for data capabilities, but are not charged roaming rates. Others in our group had AT&T, and had no coverage.

Even with the extended network I was not able to get data to work with my phone and laptop linked up.

Wireless: Wireless is only available near the Sun Room located in the Annex building. That room may be rented out to groups, but people were able to find some chairs in the area to get connections.

Dining:
We had breakfast in the dining room. A basic continental breakfast is included in the room price, or an upgrade to a cooked breakfast cost $7.10 or more. The breakfast was quite good.
We also had dinner in the restaurant. I had the chicken, which as a bit dried out.

Room Choices:
If you afford a room with a bathroom, I would go for one of those. Slightly larger, and having the privacy and convenience of a bathroom (and available water) outweighs the slight advantage of being in the same building as the restaurant.

I would suggest avoiding rooms near/above the Sun Room, since groups may be using that facility, and their event may extend into the late evening.

Other Park Information:
Staying in the park does give you the advantage of having immediate access to the park’s shuttle bus system. In 2014 the park plans to remove most of the parking at the Giant Sequoias grove, so taking the shuttle will basically be the only option.

Room Tip: In the main building avoid rooms close to the communal shower/bathroom area and kitchen. These are...
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled on business
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2  Thank Smokeyham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2013

This historic hotel sits in a lovely setting near the route 41 entrance to Yosemite. Sitting on the porches and around the fireplace in the main hotel is really a step back into time. So, if you like up to date amenities look elsewhere. No phone ,TV, coffee maker, new linens or heat ---- just to name a few things you might miss. Food was very good in the restaurant and the staff was great but maybe we are spoiled. It was 40 at night and asking to turn on the heat 3 times was just a little irritating.

Room Tip: Walls are thin. No elevator. Bathrooms are from 1910.
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank CHROMEfan
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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