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“A great place to relax.”
Review of Big Trees Lodge

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Big Trees Lodge
Columbus, Wisconsin
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“A great place to relax.”
Reviewed 24 September 2013

If you want to check out from the day to day craziness of real life, this is the place. The hotel has lots of character and is surrounded by incredible beauty. Very little cell phone service, no Television. Great location to access trails. The rangers asked lots of questions when we inquired about hiking and directed us to trails that led to incredible beauty in every direction we looked - and a bonus - a bear crossing the trail we were on. Don't be afraid of sharing bathrooms, it's no different than the locker rooms at a fitness center. Will definitely try to stay at the Wawona again.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank Soccermomstatechamps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Los Altos, CA
Level 5 Contributor
43 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 September 2013

September, 2013

Summary
Since this has turned into quite a long review, I will provide this overview: This is a unique hotel built of wood in the late 1800s and early 1900. The age, nature, and layout of the facility mean that certain creature comforts are lacking; most notably: sound insulation, small rooms, no air conditioning, and no bathrooms or sinks in many rooms. The cost is also quite high, especially in comparison to other hotels outside of the park. If you can find a decent rate during the cooler off-season, then you might consider this for the convenience of staying in the Park, and for the experience. If you stay here it is because you are looking for a historic “experience,” and a not a really comfortable hotel.

Review:
We spent two nights at the Wawona Hotel, in a room without a bathroom. Since this was Mid-September, the days were warm, and the nights were somewhat chilly.

We stayed on the second floor of the Main building. The hotel is a historic building, with the main building having been built in 1879. The main building has no plumbing in the rooms, so no bathroom or wash hand basin. Toilets, showers, and sinks are located in a central wash area. The advantage of the main building is that is also the location of the restaurant.

Rooms in the main building are quite small. There was a chest of drawers, and three hooks for hanging clothes (no hangers, and the hooks were too close together to use them anyway).

In the last couple of years the communal wash areas have been refurbished, which is an improvement over the cheap linoleum finishes, and cheap fittings, which were there a couple of years ago. They have also switched to the more European style of shampoo/conditioner/body wash dispenser being in the shower (as opposed to small bottles in your room).

There is no air conditioning in the rooms, or in the hotel at all. A staff member told me that they had experienced temperatures of 104 degrees (F) this summer, so that would make for a very uncomfortable experience if you wanted to rest in your room during the day. My room had a ceiling fan, and a portable fan. If you are uncomfortable with heat then is definitely not a hotel for you from June through September.

Noise… As many other reviewers have noted, the walls are very thin. You will hear your neighbors! My neighbor sneezed, instinctively I said “bless you” in a normal voice. He responded back with “thank you.” The floor boards in my room squeaked loudly. I could clear hear my neighbors walking around and people walking by outside my room, even when they were not talking. Ear plugs are provided in the rooms, which gives you an idea of how many people must have complained about this.

Rooms have wide verandahs outside of them, with Adirondack chairs. The downside of this is people may sit outside late at night talking, especially on a warm summer night, which can sound very loud.

Cell and Wireless:
Cell phone coverage is quite sporadic. I have Verizon and they operate through an “Extended Network” through Golden State Wireless. This means that you need to turn on roaming for data capabilities, but are not charged roaming rates. Others in our group had AT&T, and had no coverage.

Even with the extended network I was not able to get data to work with my phone and laptop linked up.

Wireless: Wireless is only available near the Sun Room located in the Annex building. That room may be rented out to groups, but people were able to find some chairs in the area to get connections.

Dining:
We had breakfast in the dining room. A basic continental breakfast is included in the room price, or an upgrade to a cooked breakfast cost $7.10 or more. The breakfast was quite good.
We also had dinner in the restaurant. I had the chicken, which as a bit dried out.

Room Choices:
If you afford a room with a bathroom, I would go for one of those. Slightly larger, and having the privacy and convenience of a bathroom (and available water) outweighs the slight advantage of being in the same building as the restaurant.

I would suggest avoiding rooms near/above the Sun Room, since groups may be using that facility, and their event may extend into the late evening.

Other Park Information:
Staying in the park does give you the advantage of having immediate access to the park’s shuttle bus system. In 2014 the park plans to remove most of the parking at the Giant Sequoias grove, so taking the shuttle will basically be the only option.

Room Tip: In the main building avoid rooms close to the communal shower/bathroom area and kitchen. These are...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
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Helpful?
2 Thank Smokeyham
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PA
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 September 2013

This historic hotel sits in a lovely setting near the route 41 entrance to Yosemite. Sitting on the porches and around the fireplace in the main hotel is really a step back into time. So, if you like up to date amenities look elsewhere. No phone ,TV, coffee maker, new linens or heat ---- just to name a few things you might miss. Food was very good in the restaurant and the staff was great but maybe we are spoiled. It was 40 at night and asking to turn on the heat 3 times was just a little irritating.

Room Tip: Walls are thin. No elevator. Bathrooms are from 1910.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank CHROMEfan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Llanbedr, Powys, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 September 2013

A great experience - we stayed in one of the 19C buildings. The room was very small, but we had our own bathroom. The atmosphere is terrific - very peaceful and you feel as if you have been taken back 100 years. The pianist in the main building in the evening was very good and gave an amusing and knowledgeable talk about the park. Service in the restaurant was strange and inefficient, but the food was quite good. Definitely worth a night at the price!

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank David T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Geneva, Switzerland
Level 6 Contributor
451 reviews
103 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 September 2013

"Going to Yosemite??" a good friend said. "Then you must stay at the Ahwahnee." Not very good at remembering exotic names, by the time I went onto the internet I ended up reserving at the Wawona. A stroke of good fortune. We found a lovely place run by lovely, genuine people. In a peaceful setting, close to the Mariposa Grove with age-old Sequoia's. We have no base to say anything, good or bad, about the Ahwahnee, but realized next day when we visited Yosemite Valley, that its location has a much higher human density than Wawona. So find your peace, spy on deer and squirrels and have wholesome breakfasts at Wawona for a true return to nature. O, and bring a sweater!

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank robert_bos53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leicester, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 September 2013

My husband and I stayed at the Wawona Hotel for 3 nights in July 2013. I loved this historic hotel - it was unlike any other hotel I have stayed at, and that was certainly part of its charm. It was lovely sitting out on the upper balcony outside our room (we were in 203, in the main building), reading and enjoying the beautiful scenery. The rooms without bathrooms seemed to have better views than those with bathrooms, and though I was a bit apprehensive about sharing a bathroom it was fine and if anything added to the experience - never had to wait to use the showers, and they were always clean. The food in the restaurant was really good, not cheap, but had some of the nicest meals of our trip here - good hearty portions. The nicest bit of the trip was hearing the piano player, Tom Bopp, who plays most nights in the lobby - he did an excellent talk on the history of Wawona and Yosemite with songs, music and slides which was so interesting and really memorable.
I was really glad we stayed at Wawona rather than down in the Valley - it was peaceful, easy to get to the valley on the shuttle bus, and the absence of TV and the usual signs of modernity (you could get wifi if you wanted but we chose not to) was actually a welcome relief for a couple of days on our busy trip. The staff were friendly and helpful. I would love to go back.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Helen1039Leicester
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 September 2013

Yosemite is a place like no other and this hotel is gem of a find located near the southern entrance of the park. My husband and I decided on getting married at this hotel a year ago after a tour of greater California and what has resulted is a lifelong place to visit and enjoy. We returned this year to celebrate our one year and plan on many more trips.

Over 100 years old this hotel has held on to it's turn of the century feeling proudly. Wonderfully maintained with little or no cell or internet service, no televisions and no phone in the room there is nothing to do when you come here but unwind and spend time together. There are a variety of different rooms depending on what building you stay in and when it was built but having stayed in rooms with their own baths and shared baths either it perfectly acceptable. 5 nights a week there is a piano player who performs and has since 1983. There are horseback rides, tennis courts, golf, and a swimming pool all on the grounds along with many a porch for sitting, not to mention the hundreds of miles of hiking trails nearby. This hotel isn't for everyone but for those it is it holds a very special place in their hearts.

The only disappointment I feel I have to mention out of fairness is the food is sadly very average, especially for the price.

Room Tip: If booking a room with a shared bath ask for one in the smaller cottages as there are less people pe...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lisa M
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:
Region: 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 (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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