Yosemite Loding

Old Aug 7th, 2004, 02:20 PM
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Yosemite Loding

Hi, I am considering my vacation plans for next summer. My sister would like to go to Yosemite. We are not much of an "outdoors" type family. I have been looking for some decent lodging in the park. The Awahnee is much much too expensive. I've have heard mixed reviews on the cabins at Curry Village and not very good reviews on Yosemite Lodge.

Any recommendations out there? I am considering renting a home or condo too if anyone can offer any advice or recommendations.

Thanks.
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Old Aug 7th, 2004, 08:01 PM
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Just wondering, when you say you are not much of an "outdoors" type family, could you define that a little more? I could give you better advice that way since so much of what Yosemite had to offer focuses on the outdoors.

Anyway, I have been to Yosemite several times, last time this past June, over a weekend. Summer in Yosemite Valley can be a challenge due to the shear number of cars and people. July and August can be very crowded. When I went in June, it was crowded. Food for thought when planning your trip.

I have stayed outside the park and inside, and I definitely prefer staying inside the park to cut down on the driving. Taking about 40-60 to drive to the valley can get old if you have to do it twice a day. You need to book NOW if you plan to stay in the park next summer. Yes the Awahnee is expensive. I stayed at Camp Curry, which is probably the cheapest accomodations in the park next to bringing your camper. I had a cabin without a bath for about $88/night. The tent cabins are cheaper, but if you have any type of food or scented items, you can't keep them in your tent, you have to store them in bear lockers. Just a thought if you are not to keen on the wilderness experience. I threw some food wrappers in the trash can in my cabin and I had the noise from a small field mouse wake me up in the middle of the night - he was digging in the can. Reminded me of the joys of camping! I made sure I didn't leave a scrap of food in my car.

There is no phone or tv in the cabins or in any of the rooms, even at the Yosemite Lodge. The common area of Camp Curry was nice, with cafeterias, general store, gift shops, swimming pool, etc. Food is ok but expensive.

For being in the middle of a national park, I thought the cabin I had was spartan but clean. I really didn't come to Yosemite to stay inside the room anyway - all I needed was a place to sleep. What I loved about being in the park was that during the evening when the day trippers left, I really loved walking around the valley, watching the color of the rock change on Half Dome as the sun set, coming within 6 feet of a young male deer grazing in a peaceful meadow, listening to the faint roar of Yosemite Falls, having the shear beauty of the valley unfold once the crowded lessened...that and the opportunity to slow down and commune with nature was priceless.

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Old Aug 7th, 2004, 08:02 PM
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Oops! When I said 40-60 above, I meant 40-60 minutes.
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Old Aug 7th, 2004, 08:19 PM
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If you want to stay in the valley and don't want to camp or stay in tent cabins, then your options are the Yosemite Lodge, the Awhanee, the cabins with baths at Curry Village, or the motel-type rooms at Curry Village. With the exception of the Awhanee, all of the lodging is basic, without frills, but quite adaquate and clean. Most people don't spend a lot of time in their rooms in Yosemite anyway.

The Lodge is is at the center of activity in the valley. Curry Village is a bit on the edge, but not secluded by any means. There is a free shuttle which does a loop around the valley, stopping at all the lodging options.

If you want a little luxury without paying the rates at the Awhanee, then you will have to stay outside the valley. The Tenaya Lodge in Fish Camp outside the south entrance is nice. I have heard that the lodge at Wawona is nice too.
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Old Aug 7th, 2004, 08:28 PM
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There is also the Wawona Hotel, I believe, and it's close to the Mariposa grove but quite a drive to the valley. We stayed in Yosemite West - private homes/condos about midway between the grove and the valley. It was nice, but I didn't enjoy driving back and forth several times a day. I don't know what you are looking for esp. if you aren't outdoorsy people since Yosemite is all about being outdoors - or maybe the beauty of Yosemite will create some new National Park lovers out of you!
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Old Aug 7th, 2004, 09:19 PM
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despite what the previous post says.....i found yosemite west condo's extremely vile. moved onto yosemite lodge and were quite happy.
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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 01:45 AM
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Hi
We haven't actually been on our Yosemite trip yet (part of a much longer trip), but we do have a condo booked in West Yosemite (mainly because everything in the Valley was already booked). We had originally planned on going in June (this year) and booked a place with Four Seasons Vacation rentals (http://yosemitelodging.com/). However, we had to ditch our plans (through illness) and are now booked in for September at a little place called Cozy Bear Cottages, http://www.cozy-bear.com/ It might not be the most "rustic" of places, but will ideally suit our needs. The same people own and rent out a property called Pine Arbor, http://www.pinearbor.com/, which looks fabulous (but was fully booked when we needed it) and has rave reviews on tripadvisor. And there are plenty of other options.
There is some excellent lodging information on the 'lodging' section of http://www.yosemitefun.com/index.htm (shamelessly biased towards Four Seasons, to which they're affiliated!) - and lots of other info on that site too.

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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 09:28 AM
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I think the Tenaya Lodge in Fish Camp may be right up your ally (www.tenayalodge.com) It's just a few miles from the south entrance. We didn't mind the drive up into the valley at all. Also, it is closer to the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias, and not too far from Wawona and the history center.

You can enjoy Yosemite, even if your not "outdoorsy". We were there with my father-in-law, who was just recovering from a stroke, so hiking was out of the question. We still had a wonderful time.

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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 09:39 AM
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Oops, hit post by accident. (of course I meant "you're not outdoorsy")

Things for non-hikers to do included:
Valley floor tram tour, Mariposa Grove tram tour, drive to Glacier Point lookout, Pioneer History Center at Wawona, Sugar Pine Railroad. There are also stables right near the Tenaya which aren't as crowded as the ones in the park. You can take a guided trail ride thru the Sierra Nat'l Forest.
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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 03:16 PM
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Thanks all for your fabulous responses. We are not much of a hiking family but are looking forward to seeing the beautiful sights in Yosemite.

I am considering staying in two different places, potentially the Pine Arbor home and a home in Yosemite West. I plan to stay about a week to see everything and maybe make a side trip to Lake Mary. Any comments on Lake Mary and cabins?
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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 03:46 PM
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I think Yosemite Lodge is a good place to stay- there are night-time ranger programs that kids and families enjoy. Do you mean Lake Mary, as in Mammoth Lakes, Ca? That's a couple hours from Yosemite.
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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 04:32 PM
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Best Western in Mariposa is an excellent motel. Not just the average BW. You will delighted with this choice.
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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 10:05 PM
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cm2003,in my opinion Yosemite Lodge is the place to stay, and I wouldn't weigh the negative reviews one sees of it as heavily as you seem to be.

A little while ago, I topped a thread in this forum titled "Yosemite Lodge", almost exactly a year old, because I believe it presents a more balanced view from a number of people. If you don't see it near this thread, try clicking on my screen name above and the link to it will appear to the left along with the other threads I've posted to recently.

I have stayed at the Lodge, and when I couldn't get a reservation there, at a couple of places in El Portal, at Yosemite West, and at Curry Village. These others are all pleasant places with their own attractions. However, I don't think anything compares to staying in Yosemite Valley and I would rank that above all other considerations.

If you do not want to stay in a campground atmosphere, which even the (very basic) motel and cabin units at Curry Village have as well as the tented accommodations there, but want at least standard midrange motel comforts and atmosphere, and you don't want to pay the extremely high rates of the Ahwahnee, the Lodge is it.

Especially for a first visit to Yosemite, and even more so for one a week long, I would absolutely recommend reserving there if you can over any accommodations outside Yosemite Valley, no matter how much more luxurious they might be.

I think some people overreact and trash the Lodge in reviews because it's true you will pay more there for accommodations that are not luxurious than you would almost anywhere else. On the other hand, you are paying for location, and the Lodge's is peerless. Yes, the concessionaire has a monopoly, but if there were ten Yosemite Lodges in a row in this same location, they would all be charging the same high rates. There would just be fewer people who aren't able to get reservations, which now are pretty much limited to those who reserve far in advance and those who are persistent about checking for cancellations. Accommodations as large and pleasant as the Lodge's would be even more expensive in some other locations--Manhattan for example--despite the presence of much competition.

Until you have stayed in the Valley, and experienced the sights, sounds and smells of night and early morning there, you will not know why staying there is so special and a much different, better experience than driving in and out during the day. Take seriously the testimonial of many of us that it is so.

Staying next to the river in El Portal is very pleasant. In Yosemite West, you are actually staying in someone else's second home that they are not using, so what it will be like varys greatly depending on the owner. I was fortunate when I stayed there, one of the posters above obviously less so.

But what is true about either of these locations is that you are missing the experience of living with the magic and spectacle of the Valley, as opposed to just driving in, visiting it, and driving out. You will also have to spend a lot of time driving to places in the park you want to go. This is true even if you are staying in the Valley, but because so many of the things you will want to see and do are in the Valley, if you stay elsewhere, during a week's visit you will find driving to and from the Valley again and again very tiresome, and you will be farther than you would be if you were staying in the Valley from the attractions in the northern part of the Park, where motel-like accommodations are nonexistent.

I stayed again at the Lodge last summer, getting in on short notice on a cancellation. Once again, as I have in the past, we found our room not plush but spacious, well kept and comfortable. My companion, who was on a first visit to Yosemite and had been disappointed with some accommodations earlier in our trip, was pleasantly surprised with our room at the Lodge and commented that she could easily enjoy staying there for a week, as I told her I hoped we would do in the future. And enjoying moonlight and dawn views of Yosemite Falls from our own patio was priceless.

We also enjoyed dining at the Mountain Room at the Lodge, just a couple of minutes' walk from our room, with its view of the Falls, reconciled to the fact we were paying more than we usually would for good but not gourmet food, because we were in a unique location with a special view. At both the Lodge and the Restaurant, we found staff to be courteous and professional.

I am sure that here, as in most high-volume, mid-level hotels, some people have bad experiences with rooms that are not well maintained and staff that are not well trained or supervised, but I think my experiences and those of the people who posted to the "Yosemite Lodge" thread I topped have been far more typical, and again I think people's resentment of paying extra for location and the monopoly status of the concessionaire colors their perceptions. Don't rob yourselves of the experience of staying in the Valley due to these overreactions.
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Old Aug 13th, 2004, 08:11 AM
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We were in Yosemite in late September 2002, and had few crowds and exceptionally warm weather. We stayed in a privately owned cabin in West Yosemite, prices were very reasonable - http://www.idiom.com/~slbrown/cabin/ The pictues on the site accurately portray the property. It was well supplied with linens and kitchen ware. Although not in the Valley, it was an easy drive to the Mariposa grove and the Badger Pass road. Because crowds were light the drive to the Valley was also easy.
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