Rates and Reservations:
The Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite National Park, California
Operated by the Delaware North Company
Reservations phone (801) 559-5000 (Central reservations for all Yosemite lodging)
Internet room rates & reservations: http://www.YosemitePark.com
Planning a Visit:
NEVER GO TO YOSEMITE EXPECTING TO STAY THE NIGHT WITHOUT ADVANCED RESERVATIONS! This applies to all accommodations, including camping. For the Ahwahnee Hotel: holidays and special events generally require booking a year and a day in advance. Booking at least 6 months in advance is generally necessary for weekends in spring and summer. Weekdays in summer and weekends in fall and winter often need to be booked 3 months or so in advance. Reservations may not be made more than a year plus one day in advance.
Room rates start about $250.00 per night mid-week during winter. Standard room rates run $439.00 or higher per night at peak demand. Parlors and suites are more. Rates may vary, of course. These rates are based on the 2008 year.
Dinner at the Ahwahnee Dining Room is expensive by most folk's standards, but worth it if you can afford it. Breakfast and lunch are less expensive alternatives that will still give yu a chance to enjoy eating in the grand dining room. There are many other dining choices close by, with a very wide selection of food types and prices.
Yosemite National Park is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains on the east side of central California. There is a $20.00 per car entrance fee to enter the park. The park roads are narrow and slow, expect travel times to be longer than you might think. Once in Yosemite Valley, free shuttle buses provide transportation between the hotels and other facilities. Day use parking is extremely limited, once you find a space, park the car and take the free shuttles. Yosemite has frequent road closures and vehicle restrictions, these can cause delays or the need to reroute your trip, so always check. Check the current Yosemite Road Conditions before traveling to Yosemite. Road closures can occur at any time of the year due to snow, rock slides, construction, or accidents! Call (209) 372-0200 (press 1 then 1) for the most up-to-date road conditions.
The free shuttles make Yosemite Valley a great location to visit with teenagers. They can roam on their own, and they quickly find new friends, often from other countries. The Valley is not crime-free, in fact there is enough crime in summer to support the presence of a magistrate and court in Yosemite Valley. So be sure your kids use common sense regarding whom they hang out with, and understand that the rangers do not put up with any misbehavior. They are particularly intolerant of under-age drinking of alcoholic beverages (21 is the minimum age) and any illegal drug use. One place I do not recommend you visit is the Yosemite Valley Jail!
If you plan to fly to Yosemite, the closest major airport is the Fresno/ Yosemite International Airport in Fresno, California: www.flyfresno.org. Rental cars are available at the airport. The drive to Yosemite from the airport takes 2 to 3 hours. Train service via Amtrak is available to Merced, California: www.amtrak.com. Bus service to Yosemite Valley is available from the train station in Merced: www.yarts.com.
Other accommodations in Yosemite National Park include the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, Curry Village, the Wawona Hotel (a vintage Queen Anne style wood hotel that is about 30 years older than the Ahwahnee), the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, and White Wolf Lodge.
Lodging outside Yosemite National Park is available in the adjacent towns of Oakhurst, Mariposa, and Fish Camp.
Advertisement: For an Oakhurst hotel I recommend the Best Western Yosemite Gateway Inn . This is a beautiful location, large clean rooms, spacious wooded grounds, a childrens's play area, with both indoor and outdoor pools and spas. 2-story wood frame buildings, no elevators, exterior corridors. This isn't an empty recommendation of an unseen hotel, Julie and I have stayed at the Yosemite Gateway Inn over 20 different times over the past 25 years and we highly recommend it. We last stayed here in February 2010 and the facilities are still very nice.