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“Indoor Campling”
Review of Big Trees Lodge

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Big Trees Lodge
Hertfordshire, England
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Indoor Campling”
Reviewed 19 February 2014

We booked the Wawona Hotel because we wanted a hotel which was in Yosemite Park, thinking that it would be closer to the main lodge area. In reality we could have actually stayed outside as the Wawona is still about a 45 min drive from the lodge.

As we booked late, we could only get rooms in the “historic” main building, which don’t have en-suite bathrooms. We arrived quite late and the lady on the desk seemed to have some problems with our credit card; the next day I found it had been blocked as she had tried to put the same transaction though 4 times.

The rooms were.... simple. No wardrobe, just hooks on the wall. No TV, radio, aircon, just a ceiling fan and a portable fan. As we were on the first floor windows opened on to the public balcony outside, which everyone has to use to go to and from the wash room and showers. And there lay our major problem. The rooms were HOT. The only way to try to cool them was to open the window and place the fan in it to get cool air in, but that meant everyone who walked past could see in the room.

The rest of the hotel was “quaint”. Objectively it was a bit run down (although the showers and toilets were modern and very clean), the wifi only worked in one small part of the building and the bar closed at 9.30 on a Saturday night.

However it was also charming, the barbeque dinner was great as was the pianist / sing-a-long in the lounge, and the local line dance in the barn just down the hill. Its also a pretty location.

Overall we enjoyed it, but know what you are getting into, if you think "high class camping with a roof", you won’t be disappointed.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
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8 Thank 2Adults2Kids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Horsham, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
305 reviews
120 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 373 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 December 2013

We arrived at the West Entrance to Yosemite NP, late one afternoon in mid-May, to be greeted with loads of signs advising us that the Park was 'FULL' - No rooms at the Hotels, Motel, Campgrounds, RV Parks or anywhere. A positively Bethlehem-esk moment, but being a disbeliever we pressed on.

Ringing round, we were rather surprised to find that the Wawona Hotel had indeed got a few Rooms left, so we grabbed one and decided to ignore the dire Reviews - we didn't seem to have much choice anyway.

Our room was in Moore Cottage, an Annex no more than 50 yards from the main Hotel building, and affording an added advantage in that we could drive and park right next to it.

But where was it, we asked, having checked in at Reception (main building). Simple she said - "Down to the end of the drive, turn left and left again at the first rock". Anyone that has ever been to Yosemite will tell you, that there are quite a few around these parts - we were utterly hysterical & like a pair of giggling teenagers.

Parked right next to Moore Cottage (2 floors at least), & emptied the car completely (bear concerns). We were on Ground Floor (1st), in a large room, 2 x double beds, old 'Grandma style' décor (apologies to any offended Grannies), even older bathroom fixtures & fittings, mega-creaky doors, floors and everything, delightful old wooden deck and wrap-around balconies. If being in an old wooden structure deep in the Woods bothers you, then I would counsel, you should stay Home, or in a City at worst.

We loved it - character, fun, spooky, and eerie at times. Though not first thing in the morning, when the folks upstairs began packing up, loading up and moving out - they did seem to try and be quiet, but with those creaks, they did not stand much chance.

We giggled again, and went to have an early breakfast. Bit like Diner the nigh before (2 x Steak and salads & a glass or two of House) - good, fresh cooked, simple service and completely acceptable - no more and no less.

After check-out we headed to the Sequoia in Mariposa Grove - crucial to get there early, otherwise one is required to park & ride on a bus. Access after that to Glacier Point, Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Bridal Falls, and all the other main points of interest was very straight forward, if at times a bit crowded. The weather was fabulous though, but cool.

In Summary, Wawona was significantly better than expected, very acceptable for Lodging and Food (meals), but in a superb location deep in the Park, with a fabulous Outlook. It wasn't cheap, but we still did not feel ripped-off. There has to be a premium for that location, and we had no problem with that.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
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14 Thank Safariholic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SW Wales. UK
Level 6 Contributor
128 reviews
56 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 December 2013

Very old fashioned property near the entrance of Yosemite. The property has a feel of old colonial. We loved the charm and old fashioned fixture and fittings. The night’s stay was expensive but a lovely start to our Yosemite trip; I wish could have stayed longer rather than staying at Housekeeping Camp! (See my other review). It was a bonus for our family that the rooms slept 5 one on a roll away bed that we had booked in advance. We visited Yosemite during August and it got very hot during the day although there was no air conditioning in the rooms they were comfortable. We enjoyed a full breakfast in the Mountain Room Restaurant. We did not eat dinner as we had stopped on the way. It was a long trip to Yosemite but worth every minute we can’t wait to return.
Our family on a two week road trip (2 adults & 3 children) travelled from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon to Lake Havasu, Los Angeles, Yosemite, Santa Cruse then San Francisco if you need advice planning a similar trip feel free to ask questions.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
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7 Thank tam6572
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mill Valley, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 November 2013

The location amazing, the scenery spectacular and history obviously very impressive. The rooms are naturally much smaller by modern day standards, but with character. If you're looking for a good night sleep you're extremely unlikely to get it, the beds/mattresses are as old as the hotel, and the experience feels a bit more like camping than staying in a nice hotel

The restaurant was a complete disaster zone, so bad in fact that we ended up giving up on it . The 15-20minute waits just to have breakfast (or any meal), the rude and/or erratic service, the the so so quality of food at astronomic prices (for California), tainted the whole experience. We often felt like a sketch out of a Faulty Towers episode and so by our 3rd night we actually opted to buy cold food and eat in the lounge rather than have to deal with this (a lot of other folk did the same!)

It feels a real shame that the Wawona is trading on their historical ties, good fortune to be located in one of the most beautiful places in the world (i.e. lots of people coming through so i guess they are always full without trying) to try and get away with not bothering to make any effort. We certainly won't be coming through again..

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
15 Thank Xanadu1971
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oceanside, California, United States
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 November 2013

The Wawona is an old historical hotel with a lot of style and character. It is in the unique setting of Yosemite National Park, about an hour away from the famous Yosemite Valley. The hotel is maintained in a historical fashion, without TV or phones. Your cell phone may very likely not work, or be unreliable. There is one lounge for WIFI connectivity. You enjoy a simpler way of life by visiting with others, or playing games, or reading by the fire, or listening to live vintage music. The room have old style decor to fit the exterior design. Rooms were cozy and comfortable, and from the past. Staff members were all very nice and seemed proud of their hotel.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank Paul S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cleveland, Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 November 2013

When I walked up to this hotel I was instantly in love.
The property was adorable, our room was fantastic and the overall hotel and staff amazing.

HOWEVER:
Please note, our room was affordable (off season $80-included breakfast) because it did not have a private bath, the bathroom was instead a communal bath outside down the veranda, the room also did not have a TV or phone.

The communal bathrooms were spotless and glowing white, they give you big bathrobes to walk to the bathrooms in, so that's no problem. The bathrooms were also super heated so you weren't cold when you got out of the shower. They also have gone "green" and just put giant dispensers of soap/shampoo/conditioner in the showers to reduce waste. The bedroom was pretty small but adorable, had a very comfortable bed (though we did fold the antique looking comforter onto the chair) and the room was heated perfectly even though it had gotten rather cold outside. Only real con was in the main building the walls are pretty thin so you can hear everyone pretty easily, but they did have earplugs available on the nightstand if you were interested, after all the hiking I didn't even mind still hearing the piano downstairs and was out cold.

The lobby in the main building was like stepping back in time, we were by far the youngest people there (25/26) but I really enjoyed the roaring fire, the live piano and the fun chatter about history and stories of vacations and anniversaries past and cocktail service in the lobby, a change from the usual hiding in your hotel room flipping through channels with nothing on. Maybe isn't for everyone, but playing borrowed games and sipping wine by the fire was a perfect evening for me after a day of amazing natural beauty and hiking.

Dinner was also fantastic, a little on the pricy side (ended up being $100 for 2 for entrees, wine and dessert) but the portions were large (perfect for post-strenuous hiking) and fresh cooked. The staff was amazing in the restaurant too!

A wonderful place to visit, meet new people and relax, just make sure you're expecting the historic amazingness and not a modern luxury suite.

Room Tip: Don't worry about not having a bathroom in suite, its not a problem at all to walk around the co...
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank KRR1236
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania, United States
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 November 2013

Stayed here on a whim after spending the day in Yosemite. Planned on going out of the park to one of the towns on the outskirts, but ended up leaving Glacier Point late. While en route to Oakhurst, stumbled upon the Wawona. It looked pricey, but we decided to check just in case. The woman at the front desk was quite possibly the most friendly hotel receptionist I have ever met! She explained the different prices, and had a suggestion for all of my concerns. We ended up booking a shared bathroom room in the Annex building for a fraction ($80) of what I thought it would cost to stay in the park last minute. The building felt historic and magical, and it was beautiful waking up in the middle of the park. We also enjoyed dinner at the restaurant, which was decent, but slightly overpriced (ok ribeye was $30, pasta was $22 and slightly dry, blue cheese wedge salad was very, very good and worth $8, decent bottle of wine $26). The service was fantastic though, making it well worth it to not have to leave the property after being in the car all day! After dinner we took what was left of our wine and lounged by the fireplace, which was constantly stocked with wood by the front desk woman (wish I knew her name). In the morning continental breakfast was included, or you could upgrade to a hot breakfast for around $8.00. We did one of each, and both were good, even for the extra money. I would absolutely stay here again, especially with such a caring and accommodating staff. On a side note, the shared bathroom was about three doors down from our room, a brisk walk on the outside porch. It did not bother me in the least bit, but might deter others. An en suite bathroom was around double the price.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Stephanie G
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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