Wawona Hotel

, Yosemite National Park, United States
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Wawona Hotel

, Yosemite National Park

Rooms: 104

8308 Wawona Road - Yosemite National Park - California - 95389 - United States 559-252-4848
465 Traveller

Reviews - Wawona Hotel

We Love Wawona
Submitted by: Ruby in 05/10/05
  • Age Group: 60 +
  • From: United States
  • Traveller type: Retired
We have stayed several times at the Wawona and have truly enjoyed each stay. The grounds are beautiful and we love to go to the ski place and the Sequoias. Dining is always relaxed and delicious with friendly servers. It is a wonderful place to escape and connect with nature. We will come again and I hope soon. Ruby Freeman

Historical Traveller Reviews of Wawona Hotel

Great place

from V Traveler
After reading the reviews online we were a little nervous about staying at the Wawona and eating at the restaurant. Maybe because of those lowered expectations, we were actually very impressed. Granted we had a room with a bathroom, and they put us in the "honeymoon suite", or so they said. It was room 87 - in a much smaller section of the hotel, away from the main building, so fewer people to make noise walking around at night. The room was spacious and very nice - not "worn" at all. Likewise, we had a great dinner in the restaurant. The service was very impressive, and the food and wine were excellent. I don't doubt that a lot of people have experienced horrible service there (judging by the reviews), but we didn't find anything like that. The location of the Wawona is great, near the Sycamores. We would go back.

Expectations: the key to enjoying the Wawona Hotel

from A TripAdvisor Member
The key to enjoying your stay at the Wawona Hotel is to set your expectations at an appropriate level. This is an historic hotel with unique charms that you are unlikely to find anywhere else in California.

We have been staying at the Wawona for more than 10 years, first with our children (who were in their early teens when we started going there) and more recently for mini-getaways, just the two of us.

Of the 100 or so rooms in the main building and several outlying buidlings, roughly half have private baths and the rest require guests to use communal bathrooms and showers. If you call for a reservation and find that only the latter type of room is available, and are not prepared for this type of "roughing it," then stop right there. Do not book a room. You will not enjoy it.

On the other hand, if you consider having a room with hard walls an improvement over, say, a tent cabin at Curry Village in Yosemite Valley, then you will enjoy virtually any room at the Wawona.

If you are lucky enough to book a room with private bath, you may still find that the lack of soundproofing in some rooms is a drawback.

Despite these factors, we have consistently found the Wawona to be a wonderful place to stay. We are originally from New England and this is the closest thing to staying at one of the grand hotels of the White Mountains that you will find west of the Mississippi. Sitting in one of the many Adirondack chairs around the hotel, or on the balcony of the main building, enjoying the beauty of the tall trees and the hills surrounding the hotel, possibly with a glass of wine in hand, is a marvelous experience.

Tom Bopp's piano and singing in the lounge are another reason we keep going back. He specializes in show tunes from the early 20th century as well as more obscure songs from that period. When we were there recently there were several "Bopp-ophiles" in the audience who engaged in high-spirited banter with Tom about the merits of various pieces of music.

We also had an excellent meal -- end cut of prime rib -- in the Wawona dining room. It has been uneven in the past but we found no fault with this meal.

The reviewer who said "I think the hotel is misleading people selling itself as a luxury hotel" puzzles us. The Wawona has never billed itself this way. There is, unfortunately, some confusion in people's minds between the Ahwahnee Hotel, which does bill itself as a luxury hotel, and the Wawona, because of the similarity of the names, and the fact that they are both in Yosemite. The two properties are very, very different.

In short, set your expectations appropriately, be prepared to do without some of the services and facilities that you would will find at a more modern hotel, and you will be amply rewarded by a stay at the Wawona.

Difference of opinion

from A TripAdvisor Member
Stayed here for 1 night for $80 toward the end of May 04. Myself and my partner have a difference of opinion on this (although we both agree the room was pretty small!). I didn't like it at all, especially the fact that I had to go outside to get to communal showers and toilets (dressing gowns are provided though for the walk along the green mile ;0) ). My boyfriend however, argued that we are in the middle of a national park and shouldn't expect the same luxury ameneties as you get in a major city. He did however admit that staying more than a few days might make the trips to the toilet etc... more than a little trying. Room wise the bed cover and carpet was stained and the room was a little tatty. Free continental brekkie was part of our deal and was only ok (wouldn't have been worth the price normally!).

Great location for the giant sequioa trees, although the main part of the park is a 30-40 minute drive away (albeit picturesque). All in all not great, but not quite as bad as some have made out on here. You have to remember that you are limited to accomodation in the park (and we were not feeling rich enough to splash out on the Ahwanee!).

Loved the Wawona Hotel

from JZNKCB-George
Stayed at Wawona 15-17 June 2004.
Loved it.
Had a room with a bathroom, so the main problem was solved. (see below)
Yes it is is a bit noisy, but it is old (by US standards), and it actually has an interesting history. Food and service, plus local advice and historical info. was good, and the food, like the hotel itself, a bit pricey, but worth it.
Sitting on the verandah before (and after) dinner with a cold drink in your hand watching the sun go down was very enjoyable.
Downside - I had to use the toilet (restroom to all you americans), and used the ones in the shower block for the peasants! without their own bathroom. Was not impressed. Old and dirty. As this is the START of the US school holidays, and therefore the peak season, you would expect some degree of cleanilness here.

Does the good out weigh the bad?

from cavedwellerwi
If hotels could be diagnosis with schizophrenia this place would be the model patient. Its grounds were lovely. We loved sitting on the porch having a drink and watching the sun set. The dining room was lovely and the food was good. (After several days of hiking and eating squished sandwiches, my taste buds may have been altered) However the rooms turn this wonderful hotel into a nightmare. IT IS LOUD!!!! We were lucky to score a room with a bathroom, which is charming with the claw foot tub, but I could hear the German couple next door talking and I am sure they could hear me doing my business. (not a plesant thought) During the middle of the night I was awaken by my upstairs neighbor sneezing. I almost said bless you to him/her. Since ther is no TV I wanted to read but the lighting was poor. I would recommend that you visit during the day and find another place to sleep at night.

Worst hotel I have ever stayed in.

from A TripAdvisor Member
I agree with most of the other negative reviews on the site. The building is historic and therefore "cannot be altered". We checked in - paying a 'bargain' $80 / night to find that the room in the annexe contained a locked door with a bathroom on the other side - we were informed by a notice that the room did not have a bathroom and we should use the central facilities. Fair enough. However, we were on the 3rd floor and the showers were in the basement and there is only one WC per floor, and it was at the other end of the floor to us, meaning a long walk outside along the verandah to get there. Not good in April in the cold at 3:00am. I never have had to walk outside to a WC before.
The showers in the basement were filthy and unwelcoming and the hotel was noisy due to the wooden construction. Even worse, we were woken at 2:00am by the people in the room next to us using the bathroom - the rooms seem to be arranged with a bathroom between two rooms, each room having a door into the bathroom. Our door was locked. Next door had access to the bathroom and of course therefore we could see a line of light under the door and I didn't really want to be woken by the sound of someone else using the bathroom at 2:00am. We couldn't sleep because we could hear all the conversation, snoring etc from next door. In addition, the radiators in the annexe can not be turned off or adjusted. The management suggest you "leave your window open". It doesn't work. We were too hot all night. The room was tiny and had 2 beds crammed into it. The decor was dingy. The food in the restaurant was dissapointing and overpriced. I was furious and we checked out early next morning and I demanded a refund for the room. Do yourselves a favour and think very very carefully before staying here. I have stayed in hotels all over the world and this really is one of the worst. Even a cheap motel in the US has better facilities - at least you get a bathroom - for example - and I think the hotel is misleading people selling itself as a luxury hotel. It really isn't and in my opinion should be turned into a museum if the building is of historical importance rather than remain open for business charging $160+ per night for what has to be one of the worst value experiences on the planet.


from A TripAdvisor Member
great charm, super staff, fantastic new years eve dinner/dance.If you are looking for hi-tech, phones,internet-dont stay here.If you are looking for tranquility, beauty,warm welcome,great restuarant-this is the place.

Really enjoyed our stay

from A TripAdvisor Member
After reading the mixed reviews here, we weren't sure what we were in for going to Wawona and Yosemite for the first time. But it turned out to be a wonderful place, very quiet, very pleasant. Perhaps it helped that we paid extra for a room with a bathroom, we'd recommend it if you're heading up. We were there over Thanksgiving, so it was getting cold at night. I know I wouldn't want to have to get dressed to go to the bathroom in that cold! The only drawbacks were that it's kind of far from the valley, and the Wawona restaurant is the only place to eat within 30 minutes drive. But we had good experiences with the restaurant staff, and the food was quite good as well. Maybe a bit on the expensive side, but very good nonetheless.

t go back

from A TripAdvisor Member
The Wawona Hotel is beautiful. Its green lawns were spectacular and I immediately felt transported to another time. One day, I even saw a deer gently cross my path. I live in an old home so I have a great appreciation for historical places. Our living space was decorated w/period pieces and I loved the old clawfoot bathtub in the bathroom it looks like we were lucky to secure.

But unfortunately, the Wawona Hotel is rickety, and we stayed in the Annex, a building with attached verandahs. You could hear every word anyone said as they walked past (and yes, simple walking sounded like stomping). Additionally, they decided to fire up the largest loudest lawn mower I have ever seen at 8:30 am on Saturday morning. As one of the previous reviewers experienced, the Wawona was noisy beyond belief.

Another reviewer said something like unspoiled travelers should their experience, and sir or ma'am, I beg to differ. Compared to a tent, it's luxury, but I would much rather spend the night out in the peace and quiet of the unspoiled wilderness than another night in that noisy hotel. A piano player just isn't enough.

The restaurant was a disappointment. I ordered salmon, and I rarely want to send something back, but in this case, I was tempted. It had an odd, off-note flavor and was dry. The service was very, very bad and very, very slow so I decided to just gulp it down rather than risk another long wait. I ordered creme brulee. Rather than custard, underneath the over-burnt crust was a rather bland pudding mixture. My husband's chocolate pie was straight out of a box. Just bad. And overpriced, overpriced, overpriced!

Besides the grounds, the only other good feature about the hotel is the golf course. You just won't find a prettier backdrop. But I don't have to stay at the Wawona to use their course, and they don't have to worry about me going there again.

Loved the piano player

from A TripAdvisor Member
I spent a night at the Wawona Hotel in July. For me, the ambience was wonderful -- a portal to the late 19th century. True, there was no television. Instead, there was the lively and charming Tom Bopp, singing and playing the piano in the Victorian-era parlor. Bopp is an accomplished musician with a wide repertoire; his ragtime playing is outstanding and his patter is hilarious. The dining room was magical -- with twilight falling on the forest, frogs croaking, shy dear nibbling the lawn. The food was fine -- heck, this is a national park, not Manhattan. I agree that the room rates are a bit high -- but my room with bath was pretty and comfortable. Wawona is a 45-minute drive from Yosemite Valley -- but the drive is magnificent and I found it better to be away from the crowded valley during a mid-summer visit. All in all, I recommend the Wawona Hotel for unspoiled guests who are looking for something beyond the plastic and electronic.

Top Local Tips for Yosemite National Park

Stick With the Easier Hikes in the Winter Trails get very icy in the winter. Unless you're an expert, my advice to you is to stick to the easier hikes. The trail to Bridal Veil Falls was so icy that both my husband and I fell down. And I fell down hard enough that I saw a few stars. We even had snow boots on, but that wasn't enough.

what to see in may A big "wow" for Yosemite which is awesome but be prepared for different weather conditions, out of 3 days, one day brilliant sunshine with brilliant views, one day breezy and cool but brilliant views, one day snow showers, heavy mist and none of the expected views so don't go for one day at this time of year, go for longer! It's too early for most of the flowers but the dogwoods were lovely to see. The waterfalls were fantastic.

Get to the restaurant early!!! While the restaurant at Wawona was good (but a little overpriced), I would suggest getting to the concierge prior to opening, especially for breakfast. If you get there right when breakfast opens, you will be caught waiting in a line and by the time you get to the front, there will already be a wait. Get there at least 15 minutes early!!!!


Other names for Wawona Hotel

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  • wawona hotel yosemite national park
  • wawona hotel yosemite
  • wawona hotel
  • Address: 8308 Wawona Road - Yosemite National Park - California - 95389 - United States
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