Road trippin’ to Yosemite National Park
We had a pretty epic rainy season this year in California, and it came out of nowhere. If you’re not a native of the Golden State, you may not be aware that us Californians have been experiencing one of the most dire droughts in history. Last year there was big talk of an “El Nino” weather pattern sweeping in with big waterworks and such, but it didn’t really happen. So, the drought continued…
Well, cut to this winter and Mother Nature finally decided, “Nope, no drought today. Here’s some rain. Actually, here’s a lot of rain. Here’s a torrential downpour. And here’s another. Enjoy!
With California’s lakes suddenly full and mountains suddenly snow-covered, Mark and I decided an adventure was in order. We dug out the winter gear, packed up the car, and made the 5 hour drive from Los Angeles to Yosemite National Park for a weekend.
And whaddya know, when we got there it was S N O W I N G. My family always did the winter destination vacations as I was growing up, so I’m a HUGE fan of the mountains, snowboarding, snowstorms, and all things associated.
So, yup. I was lovin’ it.
The Ahwahnee Hotel The Majestic Yosemite Hotel
The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, on the valley floor, was our home base for the weekend of snow frolicking. We’ve stayed here once before, back when it was called The Ahwahnee Hotel. The re-name is extremely controversial, especially as there’s so much history attached to the Ahwahnee (JFK once stayed here, it’s a national historical landmark, etc).
Delaware North, the company that was originally in charge of running the hotel for the last few decades, was recently replaced by the government in favor of a cheaper contract. In a shady move, Delaware North claimed that all the beloved historical names that have been associated with Yosemite National Park for generations (“Ahwahnee,” “Curry Village”) were somehow trademarked by them.
It’s become a huge legal dispute, and has pissed off tons of parkgoers in the process. I mean, we’re not talking about Mickey Mouse here. These names are associated with the history of the valley (old Native American tribes, etc.) so it’s a load of bull that some company can trademark them. I just hope they get it sorted out, cause the new names distract and detract from the historical grandeur of Yosemite National Park.
But, anyway. /Rant. The hotel is nestled in amongst the trees, hugged by the granite cliffs that Yosemite is so famous for.
We checked in around three, then wandered outside to catch the last hours of light.
There were still signs with “Ahwahnee” when we were there, but I read that they’ve recently been putting black tape over the name now. Completely ridiculous, but I take pleasure in knowing that guests have been pulling off the tape in silent protest.
This was a bummer, especially since there’s only one elevator in the entire building, and our room was on the top floor. That said, the beauty of our room made up for it!
The Sun Room Suite
Ahwahnee Majestic Yosemite Hotel has a number of themed suites: the Library Suite, Presidential Suite, Tressider Suite, etc. They were all sold out when we were booking our stay, but we got lucky with a cancellation when we were checking in, which allowed us to upgrade to the gorgeous Sun Room Suite.
It’s located in the 6th floor with the rest of the suites, and offers sweeping views of Half Dome off in the distance. The actual sun room is located just off the main bedroom area, with ample seating area, tons of windows, and lots of natural light.
The bedroom area was, admittedly, outdated. But hey, what do you expect from something ultimately run by the U.S. Government?
The bathroom looked like it’d been redone somewhat recently, and the toiletries were nice. They even gave us bath salts – and a little Rubber Ducky Park Ranger!
The Grand Dining Room
After our first night in the hotel, we grabbed breakfast at the Grand Dining Room. We didn’t have reservations (something they highly recommend) but we had no problem getting seated.
We’d eaten here for dinner on our last Yosemite visit, and the service was abysmal. They essentially sat us in the corner and then forgot about us, and what should’ve been an easy in-and-out dining experience became hours of us trying to flag down a waiter. Didn’t help that the next morning we had to be up at the crack of dawn to hike Half Dome.
The experience was much better this time. The service was great, the staff was friendly, and the food was fresh and tasty.
Of course, it’s not a legit hotel stay until you’ve tried the room service, right? And I’m happy to report that the in-room dining was fabulous. It only took maybe 15 minutes for the food to get to our room after we ordered it, and it was all warm, cozy, filling and delicious.
And this warm cookie dessert?! Oh, baby.
But let’s be real, it’s hard to be disappointed by anything when this incredible vista is your backdrop.