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“Don't waste your money!!”
Review of Big Trees Lodge

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Big Trees Lodge
Reviewed October 28, 2005

What a disapointment this hotel was. From the small cramped rooms to the dirty shared bathrooms, I would not recommend this as a place to stay in Yosemite. If this hotel was in Australia it would have been condemned and closed down many years ago. It was the most expensive hotel my husband and I stayed in during our five week tour of the west coast of the USA, and that included the five star hotels we stayed in in Las Vegas! I don't mind sharing a bathroom but the conditions in the bathrooms at the Wawona were like something out of Victorian times. And with no water available in our room, we were expected to pay US$2.75 for a bottle. The beds were advertised as queen size but were only doubles and the blankets were that small they hardly covered the bed, not to mention the filthy bedspread. Try not to dine at a table near the dining room windows as the floor slopes so badly you have to eat sitting at an angle!! This is after listening to a pianist (who was quite good) while you waited a half an hour or more for a table. We choose to stay here as there was no other accommodation available inside the park but as you have a drive of at least an hour from this hotel to the Yosemite village, we would have been better to stay outside the park at Fish Camp or Oakhurst. Save your money and stay in the tent village I am sure it would have been cleaner and more comfortable!!

7  Thank psav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Hamburg, Germany
19
Reviewed October 23, 2005

We spent 2 nights in the main building of the Wawona Hotel. It's quite old but still nicely kept in shape. It's about 30 minutes south of Yosemite Valley.

Our room was right above the kitchen, at 6 am a hotel employee started emptying trash cans, which was very loud. Trucks came to unload supplies and we were no longer able to sleep. Bathrooms and showers were right around the corner. The ladies rooms were all clean, mens room were kind of dirty and should be cleaned more than once a day.

If you are smaller than 6' 5, the Wawona is a great place to stay. Taller people do not fit into the small queen size beds.

9  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
112
Reviewed September 26, 2005

1st - The Good... The setting of the hotel is lovely. The golf course is a very nice touch. The food at the dining room was very good, both breakfast and dinner. Coyotes and 3 large buck deer outside the room.
Now the Bad... The hotel was built in the 1800's. We assume electricity was added in the 20's or 30's. It hasn't been updated since. No T.V.'s, no Blowdryer use. Wooden floors that transmit sound from 10 rooms away. Tiny 1" sq tile in the very tiny bathroom. Sink was approx 1.5' in diam, with barely enough room to put a glass or razor. A 'quaint' claw foot bathtub with a shower curtain that sucked tight to the body when water was turned on. Paint peeling from the ceilings. We could hear everything our neighbors said or did. The metal pipe heater unit on the wall would start making very LOUD noise as soon as the 1st shower was started in the morning. Sounded like someone banging under the building with a sledge at 6:00am... And the worst thing, the hotel is 30+ miles from the Yosemite Valley over an unreal mountain drive. Being from Florida and having stayed in numerous 4 and 5 star hotels around the world I was appalled that our National Park system would have the audacity to charge $180.00 plus Calif tax for a room that you could find on any roadside in any seedy part of any small town for no more than $40.00 a night. Terrible!!!

  • Stayed: September 2005
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12  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2005

Arrive at night, leave before first light, and maybe it will compare with that seedy hotel you stayed at when in college for $30/night. This hotel is unsafe and unsanitary. Didn't book a room in the valley early enough, then this is not your answer. Just gross. I wrote an e-mail to the NPS telling them that I have pictures I can e-mail to them (broken everything, the mens showers are something out of a horror movie). If you must stay here, please leave the kids at home, it just isn't safe for them (my kid almost got his foot stuck in a broken step). The hotel is undergoing a (hopefully total) restoration, however, it will take 15 years (according to the Asst. Mgr Robin) for the whole thing to be done. This will someday be a grand hotel again, just right now, you would be better off anywhere else.

Tips: the womens showers are in a portable trailer and are newish and sanitary, wait until the middle of the night (if you are male) and use them. We stayed in room 118, which did not have a shower, but according to some guests down the hall, the in-room baths are unsanitary (I really think she didn't know what she was talking about because mold is the least of the issues with the communal bath I used). Stay at the hotels just 4-5 miles out the south enterence, or, at the camp ground nearby (at least you will feel comfortable there).

This hotel may be a hour drive from the valley, but in a prime location (golf, horseback riding, big trees, etc.)

  • Stayed: July 2005
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32  Thank martindockter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2005

We stayed at the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite with our teenage daughter in August, as we wanted to be inside the Park and all the other hotels were full when I booked, back in June. I had been hoping that a room would become available in the Ahwahnee, but sadly that didn't happen. We ended up paying $253 for two rooms (they were so small we couldn't have one for the three of us) and that was WITHOUT BATHROOM!! I presumed that at that price the hotel would have been stunning. But in fact it was miles from the main centre of Yosemite and was totally rundown and DIRTY. I could not believe that the public areas (including communal bathrooms) were not kept clean. The staff were not particularly helpful and we had to carry our own luggage up the rather rickety stairs. The pool was little more than a "hole in the ground" - I didn't even bother to go and have a look. The only saving grace was the restaurant which we thought served quite good food (though not cheap). I also find it astounding that in the renovations that are planned, they are not puttting in ensuite bathrooms. This hotel should be advertised as a lodging providing "hostel" type accomodation and priced accordingly!

I would strongly recommend staying at either the Yosemite Lodge or the Ahwahnee (both of which we visited and liked the look of) or, if they are full, at one of the hotels on the edge of the park (which could well be closer to the main village than the Wawona).

  • Stayed: August 2005
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10  Thank rambling_rosie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2005

Having just returned from a vacation that included two nights at the Wawona, and just now checking the recent TripAdvisor reviews, I am in complete agreement with the last 2 months worth of reviewers comments on this hotel, but have an additional comment or two on what I found to be an odd style of management by the concessionaire running the hotel for the Park Service.
First of all, my family has frequented the Wawona about 5-6 times over the past 15 years, and when meeting family at the hotel for a weekend reunion it has always felt special. And despite the inherent noise when a group of 20-25 of us would check in en masse, we would try to be considerate of the other guests, especially in the quiet hours after sundown.
The visit a few weeks ago, however, was just me, my wife, and our two kids. I felt lucky to be one of the few who was able to reserve a room with bath, although it came with a meal package that was no bargain ($215/night for room w/bath including two buffet breakfasts daily). We were put on the second floor of the Annex building, a long two story wooden structure that houses the majority of the rooms at the Wawona. It includes the golf clubhouse (the Wawona has a really nice little nine hole course) and a lounge (on the second floor, directly above the golf clubhouse). Other times that I've stayed here I have seen parties in the lounge; one time there was a wedding reception in that room.
We checked in on a Sunday afternoon, and as we carried the bags up to our room I noticed a full bar, completely stocked with all kinds of booze, sitting outside of the room two doors down from ours. It was unattended, and if I were (still) a drinking man it would have been a nice perk to have a bar so close by. But it wasn't furnished or managed by the hotel, it was for a weeklong party that another family was having throughout the hotel grounds. Although they weren't out of control drunks, they were a large group with a very large flock of young (ages 5-15) and unattended children who were running, yelling, fighting, etc. It was pretty much impossible to get any real relaxing in on the veranda, because it was non-stop for the entire 2 days we were there. At one time it became pretty unbearable, and I went down the hall to ask the boys to quiet down (they were having a screaming contest). At this point a woman, I'm assuming one of the moms, came out of the room by the bar and said she would help me with the children "problem" (gee, thanks!). At no time did I see any hotel employee come out to the Annex building, and I know that everyone within 200 yards could hear these kids. When I was checking out, one of the front desk clerks made light of the noise situation, something like "well, they are active children, aren't they?". I didn't mention the open bar in a common hotel area, left unattended. Wouldn't that pose some liability to the concessionaire and the NPS?
One other thing...we tried to check in on Sunday around 11am, and when I asked if we could drop our bags in the as-yet unmade up room the desk clerk (a different one) was dismissive and patronizing; she was vague as to when would be a good time to return for our room assignment. While she was having me fill out the registration, she had our pre-printed form with room assignment in front of her, and I could see the room number (in a box labelled "room number"). Even though I could see the room number (I can read upside down!), she wouldn't tell which room when asked if we could just take the bags up (I took them up anyways). She said the housekeeping crew doesn't like to be pressured by guests wanting in to their (>$200/nite) rooms. We were made to wait right up until the crew had finished EVERY room in the Annex before we were given our room keys. It was kind of like a Monty Python skit.
I have to agree with the folks above; the Wawona is a hotel from a different time in a beautiful setting, but it is way overpriced and woefully managed. I don't believe that the renovations that are taking place now will enhance the lodging experience as long as the current style of management is in effect.
Stay instead in the Valley, or outside the park for the same money at the nearby luxury hotel (Tenaya Lodge) near Fish Camp or a little further down Hwy 41 in Oakhurst (less money, good accomodations, many dining options, 30 min. from Wawona).

  • Stayed: August 2005
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11  Thank sloopiek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2005

It is sad to say that the historic Wawona is a shabbily worn down hotel. It has soooo much potential, but simply has not been properly maintained. We paid for one of the nicest rooms with bath....what we got was a dilapidated old room with worn out furniture, wallpaper pealing off the walls, a bathroom that had mold ALL OVER the shower curtain, lights that did not work, and port-a-potties for hotel guests. All this for only $200 a night! Food at the restaurant was average, at best, and the staff, while cordial, consisted mainly of high school students who were clueless as to what service really means. Most of the guests we spoke with were quite disappointed in the hotel. We were not expecting the Four Seasons, but it is a shame that at one of our most beautiful national parks the government has allowed the hotel to fall into such disrepair. Yes, they are currently renovating the hotel, but in all fairness, they should have CLOSED the place down while they are doing the work. Maybe in five years the hotel will be worthy of an overnight stay, but until then we WAWON'TA be going back.

  • Stayed: July 2005
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7  Thank SWSpencer
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: $287 - $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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