incorrect information given by reviewers
Unique Quality: Just to clarify, at least several reviews have included erroneous information about who "runs" the hotels in Yosemite National Park. The National Park Service (U.S. federal government agency of the Department of the Interior) does NOT run the hotels. The hotels are run by companies known as concessionaires, and in Yosemite National Park the concessionaire is Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts.
I have worked for (and still work for) the National Park Service in Yosemite and elsewhere, in addition to having been employed by the concessionaire. Although the concessionaire of a particular national park is located *within* the park, the concessionaire and the NPS are completely mutually exclusive entities.
Affordable & Enjoyable
I did extensive research and review-reading on the Wawona before going. I have to say, I was nervous at many of the reviews and didn't know what to expect. Bottomline: we had an amazing time. Here are some preliminary helpful hints to help you get a mind-set and maximize your stay at the Wawona Hotel:
a. Get a mind -set. It is in the National Park and run by the government, who is not trained in five star service. But the service is friendly, adequate and comfortable.
b. Get a mind-set again. It is a historic hotel with all the fabulous quirks of an older hotel - smaller rooms with charm, but everything is clean, updated, fresh and works well.
c. The Wawona is not a culinary international sensation, no. But the breakfast buffet included in our room rate was fantastic. Good, basic hot food and lots of variety: cereals, scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, home fries, toast, coffee, juice,hot chocolate and friendly staff.
d. Did we have to wait for a table for breakfast? Yes, but only 10 minutes and we were there during prime breakfast time and they have a fabulous lobby to wait in and you can plot your Yosemite journey while you wait. The views from the dining room surrounded by the trees are fantastic and the service staff was on it - constantly checking on us, refilling OJ, etc.
e. The staff was friendly - no problems there.
f. The live pianist every night was heaven. We sat out on the verandah and sipped some drinks and watched the evening sky come out. One night we just wanted a light supper and ordered some soup and they brought it to us on the verandah so we didn't have to go into the dining room. I did notice the dinner menu was very pricey and the reviews weren't so great on dinner at the Wawona, so we stayed clear of that.
g. Next door there is a convenience store, a little historic village to explore with covered bridge - all going over the South Fork of Merced River.
h. We were on a budget and did not have an en suite bathroom. BUT the hotel provides lovely robes and the bathrooms were impeccably maintained and cleaned regularly and every time I went to shower there was never a wait (the women's showers have a little stall you can latch with a little table on the inside to rest your belongings, lots of hooks and then you can step down into your private shower stall). The walk down the verandah was a minor inconvenience and all part of the adventure. Even at 2:30 a.m.
i. Our room was nice and cool - I think some of the complaints about the rooms being too hot may be because they were on the front of the building where the heat bears down in the afternoons. We were there on a hot weekend (mid 80's and up). Our room was on the back of the main building and was always nice and cool. Same for the other buildings. Get a room that does not face the front and it will probably be more cool. We also had a fantastic ceiling fan and another fan if we needed it (which we never did).
Ample towels are folded in your your dresser. Rooms are small, and there's not a lot of room for suitcases, but you can use your drawers and the fact is, you are not in your room that often anyway!
j. The distance of the Wawona to the Yosemite Valley was a bit of a down-side (about 45 minutes one way) but the reality is, you get geared up for a day trip and when you come back, it's truly a retreat without all the bustle of the tourists down in the valley. It was a nice retreat and quiet.
Some of my favorite things were hearing the strings of piano music echoing throughout the hotel in the evenings - very vintage and romantic. Felt like we were staying in someone's old home in another era. We loved sitting in the lobby or on the verandah many times (and by the way, all rooms -all of them - have a door and window that open up onto the main walk-way verandah so folks will be walking out in front of your window all the time). But the good side is , they have chairs everywhere so you can even sit outside your own room and enjoy the view from there. We brought in our own dinner take-out and a candle and ate our own candle-lit dinner right on our own verandah. Saved money and was incredibly memorable.
Also no cell phone or Internet or TV! Heaven!!!!! We brought games and old time radio shows to listen to on our iPod in the evenings. This, along with just enjoying stars and piano music in the evening, was more than satisfying and I don't think we missed any modern entertainment at all (ok, maybe the iPod is considered modern).
I really was hesitant after reading many reviews prior to our stay and went with a hyper-critical eye and was pleasantly surprised. I would recommend staying at the Wawona Hotel and would do it again - although next time we definitely want to get actually in the Valley.
Unique Quality: See above
Non-Stay at the Wawona
I had every intention of staying at the historic Wawona Hotel and was very excited about it. I had planned ahead, reserved our room online, and had received a reservation confirmation.
When my husband and I arrived at the Wawona, we had already driven 4 hours to get to the park and then hiked around Yosemite Valley all afternoon (the Wawona has an unusually late check-in time of 5:00 pm). We were tired but were looking forward getting cleaned up, having dinner in the hotel dining room, and listening to some after-dinner music.
None of that happened. After standing in a long check-in line, we were told that the hotel was overbooked and we were being "walked" (bumped) to another hotel 15 minutes away, outside the Park. At that point, I was not a happy camper.
It actually turned out to be a good deal in the end, since the Tenaya Lodge (see my other accommodations tip) was more expensive than the Wawona but honored the Wawona's lower room rate.
However, it bothered me that the Wawona never contacted me afterwards. I have worked in the hospitality industry before, and in a situation like that, we would always have written a letter of apology and included a discount for a future stay as an incentive to return.
But, as a friend of mine pointed out, the Wawona is run by the Park Service, so these are federal employees who are not trained in the finer points of the hotel field and -- because of Yosemite's popularity -- they don't have to worry about return business.
lots of charm and a bit less expensive too
The Wawona Hotel was built in 1879 and is one of the oldest mountain hotels in California and is obviously a National Historic Landmark. It is the most rustic of all Yosemite lodgings and is preferred by those seeking a more tranquil experience. Its setting close to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Trees makes it a bit more remote and hence quiet. It has a more old world feel with many rooms opening up onto the large veranda that is the hotel's key feature. Fitted with antique furniture, some rooms do not even have private baths. The grounds around the hotel are lush and equally charming.
Rooms with bath are $180 and those without are $125. Neither has TVs or telephones which helps you pay more attention to why you came to such a beautiful place in the first place.
Entering this link you can book online your stay in Hotel Wawona (see link
Actually, it's so expensive...I just checked it from outside and the hall
area...so cozy but so posh at the same time...so it's not for me ... I went to
the campground some bends hitting up the road towards Yosemite valley. I slept
for free in my car. This place was fully occupied in late September and I
didn't know how to pay because nobody was on duty at the desk.
The campsite is so large and follow the stream up for round about 500 m. there
are several campsites and there are a few facilities, just a handful of
restrooms, no showers, and really nothing else.
My advice. is to make this campsite a last resort. It's a 40-minute ride from
Yosemite Valley by a long and winding road and another 40-minute ride back to
the valley to explore it next day. When I was there, all campsites in the
valley were overbooked and with guards at the entrance so it was impossible to
Directions: this web belong to the proper Wawona hotel not the campsite,
Average Hotel in Yosemite
This is a convenient place to stay if you're breaking up your time in Yosemite (and it's a fairly large park in a 7 mile long valley).
Located at the southern entrance, the Wawona Hotel is is one of the oldest mountain resort hotels in California and is a National Historic Landmark. What's nice about it is that it's close to the Mariposa Grove Park - home to the world's largest sequoia trees.
It's popular among the older crowd (my opinion) because of its European style hotel rooms, period-piece furnishings, and wide open, signature verandah. You'll see lots of folksy folks rocking to their hearts content on the verandah both around breakfast time and in the evening. They're probably sipping on lemonade or sweet tea. Maybe a spot of Wild Turkey too...who knows.
We stayed in a room without a private bath. It still wasn't worth the money. Little did we know that compared to the Curry Village experience, this would be our last lap of luxury for a few days.
Oh - you'll want to check out my "Warning".
Hotels Inside Yosemite
We stayed at Wawona in 2000 and again in 2002. I'll have to admit that we are used to more comfortable accommodations. The hotel is old and we opted for the less expensive tooms that do not have a private bath. This requires a trip outside and along the porch to get to the common facilities. However, having said that, there are limited opportunities for lodging inside the park, and I would recommend staying at Wawona as opposed to staying outside the park and commuting in each day. Just be prepared to "rough it" a little.
We found out that we needed to book rooms in this hotel several months in advance. So we ended up taking a chance, in cases that someone cancel. One night, we got rooms without bath. Some nights we got rooms with bath. Having your own bathroom in your room just means convenience. Food in this hotels restaurant is good. There is entertainment in the salon. We all gathered in the salon to listen to some piano music.
Unique Quality: It is off the busy area of the valley floor of Yosemite Park. More quiet. There is a golf course, and you can rent golf clubs. There is a river nearby. A small grocery store next to the bus stop . A California Pioneer village is nearby too, where there were some live demonstrations of what people used to do during the earlier years of California.
WAWONA Wonderful Old Fashioned Historic Atmosphere
The Wawona does a marvelous job of preserving the old fashioned feeling. They have a professional pianist who plays ragtime and the like, lawn chairs that look like something out of The Great Gatsby.
It`s a beautiful hotel in a beautiful place. Definately worth the money we paid for it.
Keeping in mind that this is a historically preserved hotel, the only downside is the noisy pipes that activate at night to heat the rooms. The pipes all use heated oil. We didn`t mind so much but it would have been nice to have been warned about it before they scared the heck out of us. The pipes are so loud it sounds like someone banging on a metal bed post in the room next door.
It should be mentioned that if you`re use to Hotel Hilton and spoiled in your perceptions of how the world is supposed to treat you, you`ll probably not like it. If you`re someone who has a greater respect of history and nature, you`ll love it. President Teddy Roosevelt and other dignitaries have stayed here. Wawona is part of history.
Unique Quality: The hotel is gorgeous. I loved it. I wish we could have stayed longer.
Directions: 5 miles from the South entrance of Yosemite park off Highway 41
The oldest hotel in the park
Wawona is located 13 miles south of Glacier Point. The hotel is a historic landmark which has been renovated but still retains the turn of the century features such as no air conditioning, televisions or telephones. Many of the rooms lack private bathrooms. This may not be a big deal, but for $100 plus per night, I decided on something a little more modern and a little less expensive.
Fair sized but old rooms. I enjoyed it but if you're expecting finished out elegance, you'll be disappointed. This is more like old elegance that has deteriorated. The nightly piano sessions in the main building were great. This was a good experience. The weather was a little too unpredictable for camping - turned out having beautiful sunny days.
Elegant and classic
I never stayed in Wawona Hotel, so I can't really rate it. But I managed to take a few showers in its golf club while camping nearby. The hotel looked elegant and classic (perhaps because of its age). Compared with other hotels/lodges in Yosemite, it's only second to Ahwahnee in terms of class and luxury. But it's probably a lot less expensive than Ahwahnee for not being in the valley.
By the way Wawona Hotel is a registered National History Landmark.
Directions: Only a few miles from south entrance.
On my third trip we stayed at the Wawona Hotel inside the Park. This is a lovely old buiulding which was the first hotel to be built in Yosemite. However because of its age it does have a few quirks:
- many of the rooms have no ensuite and you have to use a common shower area accessed by walking along the comunal balcony around the edge of the hotel.
- my room's old wooden floor had a distinct slope to it. Good job I didn't have too many drinks before retiring.
- the bar closes quite early but it does mean you're fresh for getting out early the next morning.
The picture shows some other guests sharing the hotel with us.
This hotel has a certain southern charm to it with it's wrap around porches and outdoor barbaques in the summer. Across the street is the Wawona golf course. Rooms are elegant and comfortable. About 50 rooms have private bathrooms. The rooms without share a communal bathroom.
Directions: Located about 6 miles into the park from the south entrance station and about 15 miles south of Yosemite Valley on Wawona Road (Highway 41)
Nearby Wawona Hotel
Nearby HotelsSee all 33
Yosemite Big Creek Inn 4.1 miles away
White Chief Mountain Lodge 4.3 miles away
Tin Lizzie Inn 4.3 miles away
Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite 4.5 miles away
Narrow Gauge Inn 4.7 miles away
Nearby AttractionsSee all 50
Mariposa Grove 3.6 miles away
Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad 4.2 miles away
Tunnel View 4.9 miles away
We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:
- Wawona Hotel Yosemite National Park
- Wawona Yosemite National Park
Address: 8308 Wawona Road, , California, 95389, United States
Amenities at Wawona Hotel
- Swimming Pool
- Wheelchair Accessible
- Free Parking
- Continental Breakfast
- Bar / Lounge
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