I didn’t know much about Yosemite accommodations before this last trip in November despite the fact that it was my third time visiting the renowned national park. The Yosemite View Lodge in El Portal, CA touts themselves as a luxury accommodation stop over just steps away from the entrance to the national park.
The reality? Yosemite View Lodge is truly is steps away from the entrance and because of its vicinity, is probably one of the best (and most economical) places you can stay (in style that is, if you’re not up for pitching a tent) and if you’re planning to spend a few days or more in the park. They have 335 rooms and suites, many of which have a spectacular and picturesque views of the Merced River and nearby mountains.
I wouldn’t call the hotel “over-the-top luxury” however that also means that the rooms are affordable with great amenities while being a stone’s throw from the park’s entrance. We were there technically off-season (mid-November), and our crew got rooms in the $100-120 range, with spa bathtubs inside the room for very little extra $$.
They tout one indoor and 3 outdoor pools (two were closed when I was there due to time of year), one indoor and six outdoor spas, a cocktail lounge, laundry on-site, a gift shop, a guest lounge, free parking, a restaurant, safety deposit boxes and the YARTS public bus to Yosemite Valley if for whatever reason you ended up getting yourself up there without a car. (Hard to imagine, but I have heard enough random travel stories where I could conceive this to be possible….)
Room benefits include: in-room coffee, in-room fireplaces in some rooms, kitchenettes, remote Cable TV with CNN, ESPN and HBO, spa tubs and double showers in certain rooms (mine had one). Below are the views from my balcony of the mountains, the Merced River and beyond.
From the other side:
The hot tub bath in the rooms:
Below is a fairly traditional room with a riverside view and two queen beds: note the kitchenette, the balcony, the lovely traditional wooden desk, the gas fireplace, the flat screen TV and the microwave. One other thing to note: wifi isn’t complimentary – it’s around $10 per day in the rooms and they do charge for wifi in the lobby, which I hadn’t heard of in years, so if you need to be connected while you’re there, bear this in mind. That said, presumably you’re going to Yosemite to get away from technology for awhile, so my recommendation is to tune into a movie instead or if its not too cold, take in the view and serenity from your balcony instead.
They also have a lovely lobby area where you can relax after a day’s excursion and a restaurant on the grounds. The best thing about the restaurant is that it is family-oriented and their prices are reasonable. All you can eat buffet breakfast is around $10, which includes both cold (fruit, cottage cheese, cereals) and hot menu items (eggs, sausage, bacon, croissants, bagels, pancakes, french toast) – of course, tea and coffee is included in the price.
Remember that the rooms also have little kitchenettes so you can cook. On one of the nights I was there, I was so beat from constant photo shooting and the cool nights, that I opted to purchase soup and a sandwich from their attached mini store and cook in the room. I watched a Sandra Bullock movie while eating dinner in the hot tub with the gas fireplace on – not a bad way to end a long day in Yosemite’s national park.
Bottom line, it’s the best option for accommodation unless you want to stay in the park itself since it’s only a few miles from the park’s entrance itself and offers everything you could possibly need.
Choose from the following choices:
- Majestic Suite (think honeymoon), which includes a living room, fireplace and master bath complete with an oversized shower tree and waterfall, with a balcony overlooking the Merced River.
- River View Family Suite, which includes two bedrooms featuring four queen beds (sleeps 8), a fireplace, kitchenette, two bathrooms and a balcony overlooking the river.
- River View King Spa, which includes a king bed, large in-room spa tub, dual walk in shower, fireplace, kitchenette and a balcony overlooking the river.
- River View Two Queen, similar to above, it includes two queen beds, a fireplace, the kitchenette, large spa tub, dual shower and balcony overlooking the river.
- Mountain View Two Queen, as above, but it doesn’t include the spa bathtub in the room or the dual shower. The view from the balcony or patio is of the Merced Canyon.
Other options inside the park: if you want to splurge, you can also look at the Ahwahnee inside the park, although I have heard mixed reviews or the Wawona Hotel. There are also camping options if you want to go the full blown nature route.
Yosemite View Lodge
11136 Highway 140/ PO Box D
El Portal, California 95318
Disclosure: I was hosted by the hotel, but all opinions expressed here are my own.