Friday, June 13, 2014

Yosemite View Lodge: A Review

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views from Yosemite Valley Floor, Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite National Park is such a sight to behold, and is one of our favorite vacation destinations in California. The only drawback to staying here for non-campers (like us) is the price. Not all who loves the amazing and therapeutic wild are willing to camp. Sadly, we belong in that category. Most National Park hotels offer very little luxury for the money. You are paying for the price of 5-star hotel and resort (or more), yet only getting maybe a 1-star  or 0 ( very basic ) service and accommodations. Plus, you have to book your stay at least a year in advance to get a place to sleep inside the park. Though there are cheaper and more available lodging and hotels in not so nearby towns and cities, but they are quite far, needing at least 1-2 hours drive on a windy mountain road. The price and availability is probably the reason why most visitors to this amazing place stay somewhere in San Francisco (3-4 hours drive), then, only drive through the park for a day, not really experiencing the best that Yosemite has to offer. For after all, they could get luxurious accommodations for much less the price, and without having to book a year in advance. 

Last spring, we shifted our plans from a Death Valley National Park spring vacation to a Big Sur and Yosemite vacation. Of course, before cancelling our reservations at Death Valley, I made sure first that we will have rooms to sleep in both Big Sur and Yosemite. Because of very limited time ( about a month going into our vacation), as expected, there were no more rooms available inside Yosemite National Park, despite we would be visiting on a non-peak month, April. Fully booked inside-Yosemite hotels was a "blessing in disguise", because we were able to find Yosemite View Lodge, the only hotel outside Yosemite that is about 11 miles to the heart of Yosemite Valley. Unlike other outside-Yosemite lodging, Yosemite View Lodge is only maybe 15-20 minutes drive to the park, with a plus: no windy mountainous driving from the lodge to the valley floor. 

Pros of Staying in Yosemite View Lodge:

1. The hotel is next to Merced River, with as good mountain views.
Views near Yosemite View Lodge

2. Rooms have mini-kitchenette, very good for someone like us who prefers to make our own food ( we believe ours is many times healthier, and tastier, haha!) than settle with limited choices in restaurants, that have very limited vegetable dish option. I actually enjoyed cooking for our dinner after the long day hikes. :)

3. I was told that for summer, reservations need only about 6 months in advance, well, compare that to inside-Yosemite, where accommodations must be reserved at least a year in advance if intending to visit summer.

4. For spring vacation, we only booked one month in advance, and got it. We learned of this place because all lodging inside Yosemite at least a month before our intended visit were all fully booked. 

5. It is the closest hotel outside-Yosemite National Park. Other outside-hotels need at least 1-2 hours driving on windy mountainous road. Yosemite View Lodge is only about 3 miles from the El Portal entrance, and about 11 miles from heart of Yosemite Valley. There's even a waterfall near Yosemite View Lodge, haha! 

6. Rooms are decent enough, not too small compared to some more expensive rooms inside-Yosemite. Rooms have clean bathrooms ( with a full bath and jacuzzi ). They have several heated swimming pools, but we don't really care. A visit to National Parks for us must not be spent on swimming pools, but on the grandness of nature. 

7. They have store, restaurant, and pizzeria within the complex.

Cons of Staying at Yosemite View Lodge:

1. Though cheaper than staying inside-Yosemite, but Yosemite View Lodge price range is still expensive, from $300-$500 a night for some very basic accommodations, like the TVs are very outdated ( no big flat screen, hehe), with no complimentary hot breakfast buffet, etc. The price you are paying is not for the grandness of the room, but the grandness of Yosemite National Park outdoors. 

2. We were at the upper floor, and there was no elevator. We are not complaining climbing the stairs as it is very little compared to hiking, but it is the hauling of our luggage to the 2nd floor via outdated stairs that is inconvenient. 

3. I may have asked the wrong persons at the front desk and store, but they seem to be not very knowledgeable of the most current area hikes conditions. Somehow, I am used to hotels serving National Park guests where even hotel staffs could provide you enough information on area hikes, instead of going to, and lining up at Visitor Center to get some information. Trail conditions and weather are often provided as basic information for hotel guests, but those were not available at their front desk.

4. There is no cell phone signal ( we were using AT&T) in the area, and wifi is not included in the room rate. If you want to use wifi, you pay an additional $10/day, or $25 for 3 days, limited for only 2 users. Considering that the cheapest room is around $300/night, to pay extra for wifi feels like being robbed. But then, again, this situation is not new to wilderness or National Park areas, where I believe the money you are paying for is not for luxury but for a refreshing and grand taste of nature. 

Would we stay in this lodge the next time we spend another hiking vacation in Yosemite? I believe so. The pros outweighs very much the cons. And lovers of wilderness like us, can't really be choosers when it comes to hotels, otherwise, we would be city vacationers, which we both are not into. Somehow, city vacation, though may be cheaper yet luxurious, but just does not just give us that much needed therapy that NATURE provides. 
♥♥
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12 comments:

  1. That falls is just gorgeous! The last images are very soothing!

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  2. I hate it when we have to pay additional fee for wifi. Really? Some public areas/establishments already offers free wifi.

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  3. Seems a good place to spend the days. Love your photos sis.

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  4. awesome photos! it's been awhile since our last visit to yosemite...I have not seen it during snow season.

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  5. wow..no wonder why you keep coming back into that place sis, kasi its like everything is there, from the nice accommodation the perfect scenery and nature you are looking for is closer too.

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  6. Wow! Look at that amazing and breath taking view :-) I am sure that by night Sis, you and your hubby will have a peaceful sleeping night because of the adventure you did in that amazing place. What a beautiful review :-) Thank you again for the beautiful pictures :-)

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  7. There are a lot of hotels, both here in the US and abroad that still charges WiFi kahit steep na ang price nila per night (sigh). One day I will see Yosemite :-)

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  8. That looks like a good place to stay while vacationing in California. I'd prefer, though, to have free wifi inside the room.

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  9. What a nice view! Yosemite is always mentioned here online and I really wonder what it is! But I would love to see their rooms and why is it so expensive. Wi-Fi here in our city is for free and you don't have to pay for it! But I'd love to see what Yosemite can offer. :)

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  10. Another awesome virtual tour. The falls is very gorgeous! <3

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  11. Your photos of nature are really wonderful! This is perfect in magazines and books.

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  12. I read the pros and cons and did not just looked at the gorgeous photos. LOL! That's a very detailed and comprehensive review, Te Betchai. I am sure some others who would like to do the same adventure will find this post beneficial to them.

    As always, you never disappoint with your breathtaking photographs. They are all beautiful!

    For the price, they could have installed a new TV(Flatscreen? haha!), and yes! Wifi these days is a must :-)

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THANK YOU SO MUCH!!