The Ahwahnee

Address: 9005 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite National Park, California, 95389, United States | 4 star hotel
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This 4 star hotel, located on 9005 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite National Park, is near Glacier Point, Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls, and El Capitan.
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          TravelPod Member ReviewsKaltenbach Hotel Schonwald

          Reviewed by spoonball


          Reviewed Dec 15, 2014
          by (11 reviews) Saint Louis, MO and Bonita Springs, FL , United States Flag of United States

          Best hotel ever in a National Park. Beautiful. Setting is incredible. Room was lovely. Food was spectacular. Christmas decorations are to die for. Just everything is perfect.

          This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of

          Reviewed by aidand

          Nice place

          Reviewed Aug 13, 2014
          by (15 reviews) , United Kingdom Flag of United Kingdom

          With amazing dining room but a bit formal ( especially given pet was wearing trainers!) and v pricey , especially as girls don't like food!

          This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of

          Historical Traveler Reviews Kaltenbach Hotel Schonwald

          Like nothing else...


          We booked late & were allocated the only room free for just one night (all we could afford at the time). We seem to have dropped very lucky, even though it was the most expensive room we had ever stayed in !!!! Reading the other reviews on this site, I get a sense it very much depends on the room you're allocated: they are very different. Furnishings are old fashioned but the room was very clean and spacious enough with a sofa and a huge outdoor deck shared with a couple of other rooms. Restaurant & lounge were dramatic and enormous. We would love to go back - with plenty of notice so we can book the same room !! Check in desk too small to cope but friendly enough staff who were overworked. A pity the shop wasn't relegated to the back, out of site - not exactly attractive !



          Anyone that we told we were staying at the Ahwahnee made a big fuss.

          Between people's comments, reputation and room rates we were under the assumption that the Ahwahnee was a first class hotel. WE WERE WRONG!.

          The rooms were dirty. A layer of thick white dust under the amoires, airconditioning ducts and returns black with dirt, dead bugs in the ceiling fixtures, hair stuck to the bathroom walls, wood furniture that felt tacky to the touch, and very little if any airconditioning in one room. One room was not ready upon check-in at 5:00PM. In the middle of the night someone at the front desk confessed to a member of our party (who had trouble sleeping because of the lack of airconditioning in their room) that the hotel had been through several managment changes.

          I don't know if this is the real reason housekeeping at the hotel is lacking but it might be. The next moring we informed the hotel manager privately of our disappointment and offered to show him our videos and pictures. He stated that was not necessary and gave us a substantial refund.

          If we had known prior to our trip what to expect perhaps it wouldn't have been such a hugh disappointment. Old does not translate into dirty. The management should take note. I can't imagine returning in the future and will set anyone straight who ways "Ooh, the Ahwahnee!"

          Think twice about staying at the Ahwahnee


          Our feeling about the Ahwahnee was that while the location and restaurant are great, the accommodations would barely merit two stars. First off, we had requested a non-smoking room and were assured at check-in that was the case by the desk clerk. The room smelled like a combination of mildew and seventy years of accumulated smoke. The air conditioning blowing from the vent smelled so bad we had to turn it off for the evening and open the windows. After waking up feeling sick and with sore throats, we saw that the air vents were absolutely filthy and caked with grime and soot. Generally, we never have problems with smoke and are not that demanding but the air was just unbearable. We asked the hotel to send a maintenance person up to replace the filters and clean the vents. The person who came up was very nice and tried to accommodate us, even suggesting that we ask to change rooms since the vents were really bad.After the cleaning did not improve the situation, we requested a new room. We were informed that our original room was actually a smoking room and they apologized for the desk clerk having misinformed us. This was probably the thing that upset us the most a supposed four-star hotel misleading their guests about the accommodations. The excuse they gave was lame: the clerk was a trainee and simply made a mistake. Our experience with other four star hotels has been that staff do not do these things, experienced or not. Combine that with the general behavior of the staff (waiting over 10 minutes in line to check in while the clerk counts money and does not acknowledge the guests), lack of amenities typical of a four start hotel (asking for cappuccino instead of a regular coffee requires the restaurant manager to make it themselves since the restaurant staff replied they were too busy) and one wonders who rated this hotel. Dont be fooled into thinking the Ahwahnee offers some type of rustic charm we operate a tour company in Rome where many of the hotels are much older and do not come close to the spartan conditions and lack of professional service found at this hotel.In the end we were offered another room that was guaranteed to have better air. Unfortunately, this was not the case. At this point, not wanting to sleep there a second night, we checked out. Perhaps the most telling thing about our experience at the Ahwahnee was that after informing the desk clerk that we were checking out and the clerk relaying to the manager what was happening, the manager never came out from the back room to apologize or at a minimum find out what was wrong. What other four star hotel manager would do that?

          Beautiful hope to stay for thanksgiving


          Like every lodge should be.

          Reservations NOT Guaranteed


          We booked the Ahwahnee Hotel for a two nights stay in July to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We arrived at sunset having driven over the Tioga Pass and enjoying the view of the valley as the evening sun gave it a heavenly glow. To my surprise, when we arrived at the Ahwahnee, they didn't have a room for us. I had made the reservations six months in advanced and had paid for the first night as a deposit. Their policy states that if you don't cancel at least two days in advance, they keep your deposit. So I was under the impression that my reservations were guaranteed. Apparently, the Ahwahnee has a policy of over booking their rooms, in the hopes that some of their clients don't show up, and they can collect the deposit and still rent the room. Looking over all of the information they gave me, they never mentioned that if you don't show up early you may lose your room.The options they offered me were to stay in a tent cabin or at the Wawona Hotel at their expense for the first night, and for the second night we could come back and pay to stay at the Ahwahnee. We opted to drive the 1 hour south to the Wawona, which is a nice historic hotel, but a bit hot in July, because they don't have any air conditioning.A forced Hotel change will ruined the best laid plans. We were planning to take the shuttle bus to the top of Glacier Point and Hike back down to the valley passing the Vernal and Nevada falls. Since we would be driving back from the Wawona to the Ahwahnee the next day, this wouldn't be possible.Our one night at the Ahwahnee was nice, and our room had a good view of Yosemite Falls. I would compare the room and the facilities to a good Best Western. You are paying the extra money for the great location and the spectacular views.If you are going to stay at the Ahwahnee, I would recommend that you call in advanced, to let them know that you are going to be using your reservations. You may want to call a week in advanced, the day before, and the morning of your reservation, just to play it save. The cost of the phone calls will be blown away by the cost of the room.

          3-Star Hotel for 5-Star Price


          Ahwahnee is in great location--but it is absolutely overpriced. Having said that, if you're looking for pseudo-luxury accomodations, then the Ahwahnee is all you've got---and they know it: Be ready to fork over those bills.

          Great location, not so great hotel.


          For a country so young, the Ahwahnee is a fabulous old building in a spectacular setting. However at 250/$400 a night, this hotel needs to pick up itself (not a criticism of the staff but of its management). The hotel is clearly trading on its reputation and location but is cutting costs at every corner possible and will lose repeat business (something I don't believe concerns them).When we arrived there was 1 valet and 1 bellboy who obviously could not cope with the numbers of guests arriving so we parked our car and went to check-in. This process was the longest of our 3 week tour of California and luckily our room was ready even though there were many guests left waiting.There is only 1 guest lift and 1 service lift - understandably they are trying to retain character but the service lift was broken so there was a very long wait for 5 floors. Our room was no better than average. I realise 1 reader thought they were classy but, coming from Scotland, you can do traditional and classy rather than shabby and in need of redecoration. This was the latter although we did have an amazing view of Yosemite Falls. Drinks in the bar were quite pleasant and the patio great for a cigarette. In addition dinner was also enjoyable. The chefs produce great food but the front of house service does not do all their hard work any justice. In conclusion, if you want to stay in a hotel in Yosemite Valley then there is this only one (although there is a lodge at much better prices) but enjoy the place for what it is rather than judging the hotel on what it promises to deliver.

          OK once, but never twice


          We booked a two night stay to celebrate an anniversary in February. The hotel was charming, but at $400/night I felt the service should be MUCH better. The room was comfortasble enough; large bed with wonderful down bedding, which was a good thing because the heating in the room was minimal. Our "turn down service" arrived at around 6PM while we were in the middle of showering and changing for dinner after a great day hiking in the park..they never returned. We booked late dinner reservations knowing how busy the dining area was...we waited an hour for our "reservations". The wait was worth it, though as the food was delicious. The afternoon tea was a disappointment as we arrived from our hike about a half hour before it was over. we anticipated a relaxing time in the great hall by the fireside befroe retiring to our room to prepare for dinner. We were informed that they were out of cups and would not be providing anymore...I guess they were unable to count the number of guests they had that afternoon to prepare accordingly. dollar wise, in comparison, our stay at the Grand Californian ( the Awahnee mock-up at Disney) provided much friendlier and attentive service. The stay was an OK experience, that I do not regret, but shall not repeat. as with other Yosemite concessions, the service is poor...they know they've got you and your dollar, there is no competition, so they don't have to work too hard. We will not be giving much more of our $$$ in the future to any Yosemite Concession.

          Magic from Another Era


          We cancelled a reservation at the Ahwahnee this winter on the basis of Fodor reviews (we read here on the TripAdvisor site) which called the hotel's rooms "shabby", "worn" and "spartan." Having second thoughts I went on the park's website to their real-time reservations, and rebooked for New Year's. (You can pick up rooms on a last minute basis if you are persistent about checking for cancellations -- and a little lucky.) I am very, very glad I did.

          The Ahwahnee is a "Grande Dame" in the best tradition of the west's elegant/rustic National Park lodges. The hotel lobby is unremarkable, but as you penetrate further into the hotel, you come upon huge, walk-in fireplaces which, in January, burned with fires all day long. There are intimate common rooms where you can sit and read (or talk), and one huge hall arranged with small "conversation areas" as well larger ones. All overhung by great wrought iron chandeliers, and separated by immense wooden plank tables dating from the Ahwahnee's beginnings. There is also a stately dining room with cathedral ceilings and great picture windows. Outside those windows -- and many of the hotel room windows -- is the glory of the Yosemite Valley.

          About the rooms: they are refined. Classic not "glitzy." This may not suit all visitors. The fabrics used for bedspread, upholstery and window "treatments" are first quality. Some may find the room's conservative color schemes (dark red, blue and green) to be boring. I accepted and appreciated them for what they are: muted approximations of simple American Indian dyes, rendered with a 1920's sensibility.

          I am not easy to please. In fact, I am critical and insistent when it comes to evaluating places/products that are very expensive. And this place is. Very.

          If I graded the Ahwahnee on cleanliness, genreal maintenance and atmosphere I'd give it an A-. Considering that this is a 75-year old lodge that welcomes thousands of guests yearly, that's an enthusiastic rating. "Shabby," "worn" and "spartan" are about the last words I'd use in describing this place. "Magic" is the term I'd pick.

          Exciting Holiday


          In 1989 I visited the USA and toured California with friends from Groveland. The day we spent at the Yosemite park was magic. we saw the half dome, diablo and other beautiful sights, had lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel. I come from New Zealand.

          TripAdvisor Reviews Kaltenbach Hotel Schonwald

          4.00 of 5 stars Excellent

          Travel Blogs from Yosemite National Park

          Yosemite driving tour

          A travel blog entry by allyf on Jan 10, 2016

          35 photos

          We stated off the day by leaving our heated tent in Curry village to stop if at the Ahwahnee. For those who don't know, the Ahwahnee is a very grand and upmarket hotel that the Queen, president, and celebrities stay at when they visit Yosemite. In the main sitting area there is s lovely big fireplace, and Native American designs and embroidery …

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          A travel blog entry by buddyp on Sep 14, 2015

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          We peaked out of our room window to see a few breaks in the clouds but still plenty of smoke. We had a reservation for breakfast which was included in our room rate. It was an excellent buffet which we enjoyed.

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          The Grand Room at the Ahwahnee
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