Friday, January 3, 2014

Hotel review: Yosemite View Lodge

The first thing to know about Yosemite View Lodge is that it does not offer a view of Yosemite National Park. True, the lodge is fairly close to Yosemite, but even if you got on the roof and stood on a ladder, you will not see the park.

That said, Yosemite View Lodge is a pretty good place to stay, though it does have some negatives. Whether it works for you will depend on exactly what you're looking for and whether you're able to get a price discount on the room.

My family and I used a Groupon discount to get two nights in a river-view room with two queen beds for a total of $219 (plus $16 tax). Supposedly, that's half off the regular price, although my impression is that this hotel frequently offers discounts (along with Groupon, try Living Social or AAA). I was happy with what we got for the money; I would not have been happy paying twice as much.

Yosemite View Lodge is a big hotel it has 336 rooms and is the closest lodging outside the park to Yosemite Valley. You can be in the heart of the park in about 20 minutes as long as traffic is light.

One important issue to consider with this hotel is that the dining options are very limited. They have the rather plain-looking Parkside Pizza on the site, which we didn't try, plus the expensive River Restaurant, where entrees run from $14 (for a burger) to $25. We ate twice at the River and the food was fairly good. We managed to keep the cost down a bit by choosing appetizers as main courses for some in our party.

There are no other restaurants nearby other than those inside the park.

Consider bringing your own food for at least some meals. Our room was equipped with a refrigerator, stove, several plates and pans, and utensils (be sure to ask what your room has).

Our room was clean and comfortable and we had no problems with noise from other rooms. It also had a enormous spa tub, which we had fun using one night.

The front desk staff is not overly friendly, but were efficient enough.

A significant negative is that the hotel charges $10 a day to using wi-fi. Good grief. There's a computer in the lobby, but you have to pay to use it.

The hotel is sprawled out next to the Merced River. and has three outdoor pools and one indoor pool, plus hot tubs. If you're there in the winter like we were you might want to see if you can get a room near the indoor pool.

It was near freezing the night we went to the indoor pool and we were stunned to the point of giggling to find the pool was practically the temperature of a hot tub. I've never swam in a pool so warm. The hot tub, meanwhile, actually was TOO hot.

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