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“Historical landmark and classic gem.”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Big Trees Lodge

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Big Trees Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Concord, California
Level Contributor
135 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Historical landmark and classic gem.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 26, 2014

After all our kids made other plans for Thanksgiving, we decided to splurge on a special trip. All other hotels in Yosemite were full, and we felt lucky to get a room in the Wawona. What a classic beauty....from the quaint decorations in the main lodge to the comforts of our room, we felt like we had stepped back to a bygone era. We enjoyed listening to live music every night seated in front of a roaring fire and enjoyed several nearby hikes. The continental breakfast was hardy and delicious, and could be upgraded to include bacon and eggs. Thanksgiving Dinner was pricey, but well worth it and we especially enjoyed the beautiful dining room overlooking the garden and forest. We were warned that the wooden hotel was noisy, but it was not a problem and internet access is only available in one corner of the inn which forced us to limit our time online. All in all, a great way to spend Thanksgiving and one we hope to repeat.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank Sojourner_mom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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Santa Rosa, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 11, 2014

Excellent location! Obviously is an old place, so it's going to have some issues, some of the front desk staff just need to go and find another job, they are burnt out, long time Yosemite employees that are meaner than a rattlesnake. No smiles, bad attitude, and just plain miserable. If you want to deal with these people stay there, if not I suggest you stay outside the park!

  • Stayed November 2013
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Helpful?
10 Thank Moonshine46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hertfordshire, England
Level Contributor
23 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2014

We booked the Wawona Hotel because we wanted a hotel which was in Yosemite Park, thinking that it would be closer to the main lodge area. In reality we could have actually stayed outside as the Wawona is still about a 45 min drive from the lodge.

As we booked late, we could only get rooms in the “historic” main building, which don’t have en-suite bathrooms. We arrived quite late and the lady on the desk seemed to have some problems with our credit card; the next day I found it had been blocked as she had tried to put the same transaction though 4 times.

The rooms were.... simple. No wardrobe, just hooks on the wall. No TV, radio, aircon, just a ceiling fan and a portable fan. As we were on the first floor windows opened on to the public balcony outside, which everyone has to use to go to and from the wash room and showers. And there lay our major problem. The rooms were HOT. The only way to try to cool them was to open the window and place the fan in it to get cool air in, but that meant everyone who walked past could see in the room.

The rest of the hotel was “quaint”. Objectively it was a bit run down (although the showers and toilets were modern and very clean), the wifi only worked in one small part of the building and the bar closed at 9.30 on a Saturday night.

However it was also charming, the barbeque dinner was great as was the pianist / sing-a-long in the lounge, and the local line dance in the barn just down the hill. Its also a pretty location.

Overall we enjoyed it, but know what you are getting into, if you think "high class camping with a roof", you won’t be disappointed.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
8 Thank 2Adults2Kids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Horsham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
305 reviews
120 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 371 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 14, 2013

We arrived at the West Entrance to Yosemite NP, late one afternoon in mid-May, to be greeted with loads of signs advising us that the Park was 'FULL' - No rooms at the Hotels, Motel, Campgrounds, RV Parks or anywhere. A positively Bethlehem-esk moment, but being a disbeliever we pressed on.

Ringing round, we were rather surprised to find that the Wawona Hotel had indeed got a few Rooms left, so we grabbed one and decided to ignore the dire Reviews - we didn't seem to have much choice anyway.

Our room was in Moore Cottage, an Annex no more than 50 yards from the main Hotel building, and affording an added advantage in that we could drive and park right next to it.

But where was it, we asked, having checked in at Reception (main building). Simple she said - "Down to the end of the drive, turn left and left again at the first rock". Anyone that has ever been to Yosemite will tell you, that there are quite a few around these parts - we were utterly hysterical & like a pair of giggling teenagers.

Parked right next to Moore Cottage (2 floors at least), & emptied the car completely (bear concerns). We were on Ground Floor (1st), in a large room, 2 x double beds, old 'Grandma style' décor (apologies to any offended Grannies), even older bathroom fixtures & fittings, mega-creaky doors, floors and everything, delightful old wooden deck and wrap-around balconies. If being in an old wooden structure deep in the Woods bothers you, then I would counsel, you should stay Home, or in a City at worst.

We loved it - character, fun, spooky, and eerie at times. Though not first thing in the morning, when the folks upstairs began packing up, loading up and moving out - they did seem to try and be quiet, but with those creaks, they did not stand much chance.

We giggled again, and went to have an early breakfast. Bit like Diner the nigh before (2 x Steak and salads & a glass or two of House) - good, fresh cooked, simple service and completely acceptable - no more and no less.

After check-out we headed to the Sequoia in Mariposa Grove - crucial to get there early, otherwise one is required to park & ride on a bus. Access after that to Glacier Point, Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Bridal Falls, and all the other main points of interest was very straight forward, if at times a bit crowded. The weather was fabulous though, but cool.

In Summary, Wawona was significantly better than expected, very acceptable for Lodging and Food (meals), but in a superb location deep in the Park, with a fabulous Outlook. It wasn't cheap, but we still did not feel ripped-off. There has to be a premium for that location, and we had no problem with that.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
14 Thank Safariholic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SW Wales. UK
Level Contributor
117 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 7, 2013

Very old fashioned property near the entrance of Yosemite. The property has a feel of old colonial. We loved the charm and old fashioned fixture and fittings. The night’s stay was expensive but a lovely start to our Yosemite trip; I wish could have stayed longer rather than staying at Housekeeping Camp! (See my other review). It was a bonus for our family that the rooms slept 5 one on a roll away bed that we had booked in advance. We visited Yosemite during August and it got very hot during the day although there was no air conditioning in the rooms they were comfortable. We enjoyed a full breakfast in the Mountain Room Restaurant. We did not eat dinner as we had stopped on the way. It was a long trip to Yosemite but worth every minute we can’t wait to return.
Our family on a two week road trip (2 adults & 3 children) travelled from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Lake Havasu, Los Angeles, Yosemite, Santa Cruse then San Francisco if you need advice planning a similar trip feel free to ask questions.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank tam6572
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mill Valley, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 29, 2013

The location amazing, the scenery spectacular and history obviously very impressive. The rooms are naturally much smaller by modern day standards, but with character. If you're looking for a good night sleep you're extremely unlikely to get it, the beds/mattresses are as old as the hotel, and the experience feels a bit more like camping than staying in a nice hotel

The restaurant was a complete disaster zone, so bad in fact that we ended up giving up on it . The 15-20minute waits just to have breakfast (or any meal), the rude and/or erratic service, the the so so quality of food at astronomic prices (for California), tainted the whole experience. We often felt like a sketch out of a Faulty Towers episode and so by our 3rd night we actually opted to buy cold food and eat in the lounge rather than have to deal with this (a lot of other folk did the same!)

It feels a real shame that the Wawona is trading on their historical ties, good fortune to be located in one of the most beautiful places in the world (i.e. lots of people coming through so i guess they are always full without trying) to try and get away with not bothering to make any effort. We certainly won't be coming through again..

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
15 Thank Xanadu1971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oceanside, California, United States
Level Contributor
45 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 28, 2013

The Wawona is an old historical hotel with a lot of style and character. It is in the unique setting of Yosemite National Park, about an hour away from the famous Yosemite Valley. The hotel is maintained in a historical fashion, without TV or phones. Your cell phone may very likely not work, or be unreliable. There is one lounge for WIFI connectivity. You enjoy a simpler way of life by visiting with others, or playing games, or reading by the fire, or listening to live vintage music. The room have old style decor to fit the exterior design. Rooms were cozy and comfortable, and from the past. Staff members were all very nice and seemed proud of their hotel.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank Paul S
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)
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 #3 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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