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Old 10-12-2012, 08:18 AM   #1
CT Disney
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The Ahwahnee or Tenaya Lodge (Yosemite)

Hi All!

We will be visiting Yosemite during the 3rd week of June 2013. Some background: it will be me, DH, DD (13) and DS (10). We will be traveling from Fairfield, CA (where my sister lives). We will be staying at Yosemite for 2 nights. We are from New England and haven't been to California in 17 years so I am feeling a bit overwhelmed! (In a good way!)

We enjoy nature, but are definitely not the camping types. Cleanliness in a hotel room is important to me. We are not wealthy, but would be willing to break the bank a bit for this once-in-a-lifetime trip to one of the most beautiful parks in the US!

Right now, we have reservations at both The Ahwahnee and Tenaya Lodge. I need to cancel one, but just can't decide! This is what I know:

The Ahwahnee: I've read recent trip reports that say the rooms here are somewhat small and are a bit antiquated / worn. Also, small bathrooms. I gather it also has more of an adult vibe vs. a family vibe. But...the location is spectacular, right in the Valley! Plus, the Ahwahnee has historical significance. But, Wow, this place is pricey! $500 per night not including taxes, etc.

Tenaya Lodge: Sounds like this place is newer and the reports I've read have given good marks for cleanliness, and family-friendliness. Much less expensive at $320 per night. But, it sits a good hour plus from the Valley.

At this point, I think I'm leaning towards staying at Tenaya Lodge. But, I'd love to hear from anyone who has stayed at either place. Any feedback would be so much appreciated!!

Many thanks!!
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:30 AM   #2
Mary Jo
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I usually stay at more cost-effective places , but if you don't mind driving 45 minutes to an hour to get the valley, stay at the Tenaya Lodge. Another option, since you're going to spend the money, is to stay in a cabin where you will have your own kitchen, living room, etc. I've stayed at the Redwoods in Yosemite, and really like them. They're about 15 minutes into the park, near the Wawona Lodge, and for the money I would choose those. www.redwoodsinyosemite.com

I've also stayed at the Yosemite Lodge, which, for me, was less than both Tenaya and Awahnee, and you get to stay in the valley, too.

How many nights are you going to stay there?
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Old 10-12-2012, 10:27 AM   #3
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Have you considered Yosemite Lodge at the Falls? They have a restaurant onsite with a swimming pool that was much bigger than the Ahwahnee plus, they had the best gift shop I've ever seen. They also had an ampitheater where they showed nature shows at night. Personally for us if it was only a two night I wouldn't stay anywhere but the valley floor. Otherwise you are going to spend a lot of time driving back and forth. Plus, you need to account for once you reach the Valley Floor you will need to park and then, take public transportation to get around if you are hitting the popular sites. Last time we went we stayed at Housekeeping Tents which is like camping. We brought our bikes and rode everywhere. There were a couple places we drove to and the traffic was horrible. We went Father's Day weekend in June.

Just remember this is a national park so the accomandations aren't going to be 5 star at all. They will at best be 3 star. We had a drink and snack at the Ahwahee and it was lovely. The hotel is really pretty. It reminded me a lot of the Wilderness Lodge in Yosemite.
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Old 10-12-2012, 12:00 PM   #4
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We're going to be there June 26-June 29 at the Ahwanhee. Personally, staying in the valley, not having to drive and wait in traffic, and not even LOOKING at my car for those days is worth it to me for the extra price. The Tenaya Lodge does look awesome, though.

I would be surprised if there's any availability left at the Yosemite Lodge.
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Old 10-13-2012, 06:43 PM   #5
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Yes, when we booked a few months ago the Yosemite Lodge was already filled up for our dates.

And, the Redwood cabins looks lovely, but it looks like there is a 3 night minimum stay required.

So, I think I have a new idea:

What if we drive from Fairfield, CA on Monday morning, then spend the afternoon touring the valley. Check into the Ahwahnee Monday afternoon and stay for one night. That way we're already in the valley for our full day on Tuesday. Then on Tuesday afternoon head over to Tenaya Lodge. Stay at Tenaya lodge for one night. Then on Wednesday we can do Mariposa Grove and the big trees before we head back to Fairfield later in the day.

What do you think?

This is such an exciting trip to plan and I'd love to hear any thoughts!
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CT Disney View Post
Yes, when we booked a few months ago the Yosemite Lodge was already filled up for our dates.

And, the Redwood cabins looks lovely, but it looks like there is a 3 night minimum stay required.

So, I think I have a new idea:

What if we drive from Fairfield, CA on Monday morning, then spend the afternoon touring the valley. Check into the Ahwahnee Monday afternoon and stay for one night. That way we're already in the valley for our full day on Tuesday. Then on Tuesday afternoon head over to Tenaya Lodge. Stay at Tenaya lodge for one night. Then on Wednesday we can do Mariposa Grove and the big trees before we head back to Fairfield later in the day.

What do you think?

This is such an exciting trip to plan and I'd love to hear any thoughts!
I think, that would be a good idea. I would make sure you make a list of things you want to see on the valley floor and so, you can make a good plan on when and what to visit. Also, you can save some time if you pick up sandwiches earlier in the day instead of eating around lunch time. Last June, we were riding our bikes around and the kids really wanted a sandwich at the Deli instead of riding back to camp and making lunch there. Well, that was a huge mistake. We ended up spending about 45 minutes in line waiting for our sandwiches to be made. It was that crowded. They even have tours you could take if you wanted to get a quick overview of the park. I saw a bunch of open air type buses. Yosemite is so beautiful you could never spend enough time there. Good luck...
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CT Disney View Post
Yes, when we booked a few months ago the Yosemite Lodge was already filled up for our dates.

And, the Redwood cabins looks lovely, but it looks like there is a 3 night minimum stay required.

So, I think I have a new idea:

What if we drive from Fairfield, CA on Monday morning, then spend the afternoon touring the valley. Check into the Ahwahnee Monday afternoon and stay for one night. That way we're already in the valley for our full day on Tuesday. Then on Tuesday afternoon head over to Tenaya Lodge. Stay at Tenaya lodge for one night. Then on Wednesday we can do Mariposa Grove and the big trees before we head back to Fairfield later in the day.

What do you think?

This is such an exciting trip to plan and I'd love to hear any thoughts!
I think this is a good idea. Make sure you also go to Glacier Point/Washburn Point. You can do that after your valley activities and before you go to the Tenaya Lodge.
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:12 PM   #8
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Tenaya Lodge is too far away. We stayed at the Yosemite View Lodge which is just outside the parks (literally a minute or so). Good location and better prices than the two you stated and the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls which has the best location but the hotel didn't look so great.

Have fun. Yosemite is amazing.
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:04 PM   #9
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We just got back last night from a trip where we stayed at both Tenaya Lodge and the Ahwahnee. We stayed in the reverse order of your plan, and it worked out perfectly. We drove from Monterey to the Tenaya, arriving there a little later than we had planned. We had to drive the very winding road in the dark. The Tenaya Lodge is nice. We stayed in the 2 bedroom cabin room. After seeing the layout, I wished I had booked the main lodge. Our room was nice and comfortable, but too far away from the lodge to relax in the lobby by the fireplace. It was extremely convenient to the south entrance of Yosemite.

We began our next morning at the Mariposa Grove. Then we worked our way up to Washburn Point and Glacier Point for the breathtaking views. Then we made a stop at Tunnel View on our way to the Valley. We checked into the Ahwahnee for our second night's stay.

We had a room in the lodge here, and it was perfect. The room itself is older, but the mattresses and linens were newer and very comfortable. We ate dinner in the bar, which is actually more of a small restaurant. We loved reading by the fire while listening to the pianist. It was a very relaxing evening.

Our kids are 14 and 11, so close to the ages of your kids. They enjoyed the experience as well.

Hope this helps! Enjoy planning!
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Old 10-21-2012, 05:51 AM   #10
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- just back from our trip which included a 3 night stay at the Ahwahnee. The location is great & it has character, but - although the dining-room looks great, very atmospheric, we, and fellow guests, found big problems with the staff working in the restaurant. (Elsewhere in the hotel, the staff are exremely pleasant). The service & general attitude is not good - if you stay there, I'd suggest in-room dining for breakfast.
As it is only a 2 night stay, you could go over to the Yosemite Lodge for dinner in the Mountain View restaurant, where you will receive very pleasant & good service & decent food: you can either drive there, or if you want a drink, take the free shuttle.

We saw bears (mother & cub) in a tree near the visitor centre & more when driving to Mariposa Grove. (At Mariposa Grove, the open-air tram ride will be extremely cold - be sure to take lots of outerwear!)

(Glacier Point is an absolute Must See!)
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CT Disney View Post
Hi All!

We will be visiting Yosemite during the 3rd week of June 2013. Some background: it will be me, DH, DD (13) and DS (10). We will be traveling from Fairfield, CA (where my sister lives). We will be staying at Yosemite for 2 nights. We are from New England and haven't been to California in 17 years so I am feeling a bit overwhelmed! (In a good way!)

We enjoy nature, but are definitely not the camping types. Cleanliness in a hotel room is important to me. We are not wealthy, but would be willing to break the bank a bit for this once-in-a-lifetime trip to one of the most beautiful parks in the US!

Right now, we have reservations at both The Ahwahnee and Tenaya Lodge. I need to cancel one, but just can't decide! This is what I know:

The Ahwahnee: I've read recent trip reports that say the rooms here are somewhat small and are a bit antiquated / worn. Also, small bathrooms. I gather it also has more of an adult vibe vs. a family vibe. But...the location is spectacular, right in the Valley! Plus, the Ahwahnee has historical significance. But, Wow, this place is pricey! $500 per night not including taxes, etc.

Tenaya Lodge: Sounds like this place is newer and the reports I've read have given good marks for cleanliness, and family-friendliness. Much less expensive at $320 per night. But, it sits a good hour plus from the Valley.

At this point, I think I'm leaning towards staying at Tenaya Lodge. But, I'd love to hear from anyone who has stayed at either place. Any feedback would be so much appreciated!!

Many thanks!!
We visited Yosemite in Sept and were in the same situation as you except I could only get Ahwahnee for 1 nt, not 2, so we would have had to change rooms again which I was trying to minimize since we were coming from 2 nts in SF and still had to have a 1 nt stay near Sacramento airport.
I ended up booking a loft condo through Scenic Wonders.
http://www.scenicwonders.com/

Technically they are inside the park, about 1/2 hr drive to valley floor. We did eat at Tenaya Lodge one evening and while it was way more modern than our condo, it was a much further drive. Scenic Wonders has newer single family homes, some with wifi, some brand new. They were a lot more expensive than the condo and we were on a tight buget since this was a sort of unplanned trip, needing to burn up credits with SWA.

Anyway, the condo was sufficient. Enough space for a family of 4 and we chose a loft that had bunk beds so our kids wouldn't be griping about who's hogging more than half the bed, etc. Not all of them sleep 4. It also had a full fridge, fireplace, balcony, gas grill & 2 full bathrooms. No AC but it had a great fan and really cooled down at night. Overall the exterior was in dire need of maintenance but for 2 days was ok; we weren't buying the place. If this were our main vacation for the year, I would have splurged on one of the newer single homes.
The neighborhood is very close to the turn off for Glacier Point.
http://www.scenicwonders.com/map/
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:29 PM   #12
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I would go camping, but that's just me.

As for other options, there are some inholdings where vacation homes are rented out. Look up rentals in Foresta and Yosemite West. You can get an entire home that accommodates up to 8 people for less than the Ahwahnee. There are more modest condos too. The best part is that you can cook in these rentals.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:14 PM   #13
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OP here...

Thank you, thank you to everyone that has taken the time to respond to my question. Even though I haven't responded in a while, I am still reading.

Thanks!
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:54 PM   #14
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I mentioned Foresta and Yosemite West. There's also the community in Wawona, although I don't believe they have many rentals. That's not the same as Wawona where the Wawona Hotel and the golf course are.

I also need to correct myself in that Yosemite West is not an inholding. It's technically outside the park, although the only road to get to Yosemite West is Wawona Road. Apparently they do get resident passes to get to their homes just like the inholdings. If you're a paying guest at a vacation home, I don't think they give out those passes.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:53 PM   #15
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We always stay at Yosemite View Lodge, right outside the park. It takes about 15 minutes to drive to the valley floor. The price is much more reasonable than staying in the park, and you can get a river room with a balconey, which is lovely. If you request the first floor you have a table and chairs and patio right next to the river. It is a perfect spot for that morning cup of coffee!

Wherever you stay, you will love Yosemite.
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