The Ahwahnee Hotel
One of the most spectacular hotels in North America.
Reservations (note: they have changed the way on-line reservations are taken.  You enter your dates and all available rooms in all park facilities are displayed.  It is impossible to simply ask for rooms in the Ahwahnee.)

There is simply no comparison to the Ahwahnee Hotel.  Designated a National Historic Landmark, the Ahwahnee Hotel is a grand hotel in a grand setting.  (I tried to get photos of the interior of the rooms, but they are quite persnickity about things like that.  Copped an attitude with me when I asked!)

Completed and opened to the public in 1927, it was the brainchild of the then head of the park service who began planning for the hotel after Lady Astor pitched a fit when accommodations at the Sentinel Hotel (no longer in existence) were not luxurious enough.  She stormed out of the hotel and went back to Fresno.  The hotel has 123 guest rooms comprising 99 hotel rooms, 4 suites and 24 cottage rooms on the grounds surrounding the main building.


The Ahwahnee features Indian art and artifacts from the Meewok and Mono tribes, and other rare pieces of art throughout it's public areas.  Fireplaces in the lobby areas are 6 feet high and use real wood only.

You may browse the gift shop for some of the finer gifts available in the valley.  There is a cocktail lounge, an outside patio, and a very small sundries shop where you can buy incidentals.

The Ahwahnee Hotel is almost always 100% occupied.  Reservations must be made at least a year in advance for weekend or summer.  3 to 6 months is recommended for stays during the week in the off-season.


The Ahwahnee Hotel Main Lobby.


View of the outside patio area adjoining the Main Lobby and cocktail lounge.


Same area as above from a different angle and time of day.

Look carefully; at the left edge of the shot, toward the bottom, at the far edge of the lawn and under the trees, you can see a newlywed couple posing for their wedding day photos. 


Friendly courteous service on the patio.


Ahwahnee Dining Room.

Jacket-and-tie is required for dinner, but casual dress is allowed other parts of the day. (if you push the issue they will let you in, but they REALLY prefer you wear a jacket. Often they will have one you can borrow.)


Eating Christmas dinner 2005

I was pushing my luck taking these shots, and the only way I could shoot the table without imposing on the customers was to shoot a 30 second timed exposure.  Obviously the people are moving, but the table setting is clear.  Very elegant.


Another shot of the Ahwahnee Dining room on Christmas Day, 2005.




Grand Lounge fireplace.

Massive fireplaces such as this are located throughout the first floor lobby areas.

The Ahwahnee has a tennis court and swimming pool.  The tennis court is in danger of being plowed under as part of the "return-to-nature" momentum that is part of the 1980 General Management Plan being accelerated due to flood damage of 1997.

It features all the amenities you would expect of a grand, expensive, luxurious hotel.



Grand Lounge

The hotel also features a storied history.   It once served as a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers during World War II. Legend has it that the soldiers hated being sent there to recover due to the blackout of information about the war. Newspapers were two or three days old when they arrived, and there were no movie theaters for newsreels, and radio did not reach the valley in those days, except at night.


Another view from the balcony.


Sitting area outside the dining room.


My mom, Virginia, in front of the hotel in November, 1987.


Strolling on the grounds of the hotel toward the bungalows.


When it's cold and snowy outside, maybe a nice leisurely brunch is in order...


...or a good book in a comfortable chair...


...or maybe you really do want to make a snowman...


The Ahwahnee Grand Lounge is one of the best places to read; extremely comfortable easy chairs and sofas, some beside the fire, others with nice views outside...


Catching up on the Saturday football scores on a blustery Sunday morning.


Same guy reading to his daughter


When it's warm and comfortable by the fire...