NPR Reviews Provided by
Kimbabites from: Los Angeles
Trip Type: Family
Published Date: Jan, 5, 2023 Travel Date: Jan, 1, 2023 Rating: 4
We stayed here with our family of four for 2 nights in January 2023. The location is beautiful in the winter and we had a good amount of snow. We were originally going to stay for 3 nights, but a big storm was coming and we decided to leave early. The hotel is very accommodating about canceling nights due to winter storms and we got a refund through Expedia. We stayed on the 3rd floor in the Stewart building and there is some noise if other people are talking in the hall or coming up the stairs noisily. For an NPS property we thought the room and bathroom were pretty clean and up to date. We had a problem with the sink trap leaking a little, but since we didn't stay that long, we didn't have it dealt with while we were there and just left a note for the staff. Because of other reviews about the food, we brought most of our own food. There's a microwave and decent-sized fridge in the room. The coffee maker is small, but we brought our own French-press and electric kettle. We stayed in the NPS property by the falls in Yosemite valley last year and experienced zero wifi in our room, so we were expecting the same and were pleasantly surprised that the wifi worked in our room, albeit a little slowly. We had to dig out our car the first morning, but the staff had warned us the night before and told us about the shovels at the front desk. Most of the staff we met were very helpful and friendly. Bret Lee at the front desk was especially knowledgable and helpful. He was the one that called our room to warn us about the upcoming storm and to let us know that we could cancel our last night if we decided to leave early. There isn't much to do in the area in the winter unless you drive a short distance to the Wolverton snow play area and the Sherman tree, Big Trees and Museum walks/hikes. The Generals Hwy to Kings Canyon was closed. For a few days, though, it was cool for people from LA who don't see snow to experience winter, and of course the whole point is to see the amazing Sequoia trees.
- Sleep Quality: 4
- Cleanliness: 4
- Service: 4
devbowman from: Los Angeles, California
Trip Type: Family
Published Date: Dec, 31, 2022 Travel Date: Dec, 1, 2022 Rating: 5
A great family winter getaway!
First, a little context about us a travelers:
A moderately experienced outdoorsy family of three: early-50s and somewhat active, and a VERY active and gregarious 9 year old boy. We are equally at home in a five star hotel as well as in the middle of the Anza Borrego desert with nothing around but us, the stars and a cat-hole. ;)
We were so impressed with the location and the lodge that upon check-in we immediately extended our stay an extra day, and probably would've extended further if our schedule allowed. The scenery is breathtaking and we talked about how it was totally worth the extra 90 minutes on the road to get here versus Arrowhead/Big Bear. The dining area seemed to be just the right size, decorated for the season with a Christmas tree and a fire burning in the hearth.
Fair warning: youre gonna get your steps in! From the main building to the room lodges is about 200 yards on a small incline with the parking lot in-between. At 7000' with backpacks it could be a little taxing if youre de-conditioned. During winter however.. who cares.. its like youre walking through a winter wonderland and the kids are having a blast playing in all the snow!
BEAR NOTE: The hotel requires all food, beverage containers (full and empty) and toiletry items be removed from your vehicle lest it be vandalized by wandering Yogis.. bears.. not gurus. So given the walk, and bear consideration, I STRONGLY SUGGEST to pack light for maximum enjoyment. There are bellhop carts but in the winter they are pretty useless.
Beds were nice, the view is amazing, and furniture and fixtures in the room seem to have been updated.. except the shower head. I had a good laugh at that. It worked well enough for a hot shower after a day of snowshoeing and I was so grateful for it even if it was akin to a gardenhose. So I have some bad news for you: if you're gonna get chuffed at an old shower head then you may not want to make the drive and we can all enjoy the Sequoias for you.
The food was much better than what we were expecting based upon other users' reviews as well from our experiences in similar establishments. My wife is on a nutrition/training regimen, and our son has a grown-up palate but enjoys his waffles too. Even with that, we were able to find breakfast and dinner options easily. But for heavens sake - be realistic everyone. This is a really nice lodge in an amazing setting.. not The Langham.
At the time we went, it was the busiest off-season week for them (Christmas to New Years) and as such, the dining room got busy.. but heres the crazy thing.. if youre nice to the staff and treat them like living, breathing, feeling human beings.. they are nice back and it makes their day all that much better.
DESERT NOTE: If you oder a desert with your meal at the time of ordering as the cashier to hold the desert for later otherwise you'll get everything at once.
WiFi: essentially only good for emergency emails/texts (in our case trying to reach a pet-sitter so we could stay an extra day) but who cares if you cant stream a movie and post to IG/FB/TT/ blah blah blah.. youre in the Sierra Nevada.. getcha face outta the devices and soak it in.
Activities: We took the lodge up on their snow shoe rentals and had a blast. Just strap em on and go anywhere. Theres a trailhead in the parking lot of the lodge, as well as numerous trails all over the park. We met up with a group of folks who took a trail from the Giants Museum and ended up a General Sherman.
SNOWSHOE NOTE: If you plan on going backcountry snowshoeing, BE PREPARED. Water, snacks, trail map, GPS/SOS locator if owned. REI has a great checklist to guide you. Weather changes, exhaustion, disorientation can have dire repercussions.
Shuttles: They leave approx every half-hour and go to a variety of stops: General Sherman, Wolverton, Giants Museum.
Check the weather if traveling in winter and pack chains. We have a very capable vehicle but carried chains anyway.. and they were required to be carried at one point. If youre in a 2WD vehicle have your winter driving skills ready. We saw a few passenger cars with chains really struggling on wet inclines.
We inadvertently went during the busiest off-season week for the Lodge but it never felt 'busy'. According to the staff, if we had booked the following weekend, we would've essentially had the place to ourselves and the prices for rooms clearly reflect that.
We had the opportunity to speak with a couple front desk staff as well as one of the Chefs and they all said the same thing that they had just recently had the ability to get staffed back up from the COVID staffing shortage and are continuing to add staff so I imagine that the great experience we had will only get better.
Some of the earlier reviews really confuse me.. like, "Were we staying at the same place?" I get the staffing issues, especially after chatting with a couple of employees, but people getting down on the lack of WiFi or expecting a full-blown resort.. are you really aware of where you're headed and what the experience is truly about?
So based upon location, access to trails, snow play, friendly staff I would highly recommend the Lodge as a family getaway thats pleasantly removed from more crowded, local winter destinations. We are already talking about going back in January to explore more trails and goof around in the snow. Hope to see you there!
- Rooms: 4
- Location: 5
- Service: 5
Harperama77 from: London, United Kingdom
Published Date: Dec, 3, 2022 Travel Date: Sep, 1, 2022 Rating: 1
Amazing potential needs vast improvement and new management
The location and scenery was beautiful and this lodge has amazing potential nestled among the giant sequoias.
Sadly everything else is a shambles. The restaurant hands down the worst dining experience I have. Large queues for horrible, lukewarm and vastly overpriced food. Everything served in plastic containers (15 usd wine served in tiny plastic food bowl) which in the middle of a national park seems unforgivable. There weren’t even recycling bins. the room was fine though very tired. We ended up eating in our room a lot because microwave noodles infinitely better than restaurant offering. We asked for room service one day which was very cursory, no vacuumed carpet nor replaced tissue. Please leave cleaning equipment for guests if you won’t provide basic cleaning services.
Broken hairdryer which was falling apart and fire risk. Freezing cold and was told by front desk no replacement. This is after my husband walked down to reception because the room phone didn’t work either.
I appreciate you are paying high room rates for location rather than luxury but this place is worse than any motel or basic hotel I’ve visited. The front desk staff were nice but clearly over stretched and demotivated.
The park itself is stunning and the lodge pole campsite next door looked great. It hi k camping would be a better bet,
- Value: 1
- Location: 5
- Service: 1
JCS11MCR from: Manchester, United Kingdom
Published Date: Oct, 26, 2022 Travel Date: Oct, 1, 2022 Rating: 2
Beautiful location, sorry state of a hotel
OK so granted, if you want to be in the best location, you’re kind of stuck with the US NPS and their hotels. Sadly, the Wuksachi Lodge really disappointed. And it’s not cheap. I paid USD $325 a night for 3 nights.
What did I get? A fairly large room on the middle floor (granted, given for ease of access with luggage as there are no elevators), but with paper thin ceilings, most of my time in the room was marred by what seemed to be a whole kindergarten upstairs. The view was ok; to the rear with the trees behind. Not amazing. Views are better on the top floor and request a room facing into the valley, not to the back.
The main thing is that this whole hotel needs an urgent update. Bathrooms are tired as anything. Showerheads from the 1950’s that barely do anything, which is less than ideal after a day’s hiking. Water was hot sometimes, cold others. The plastic bath/shower enclosures are vile, and they all need ripping out and the bathrooms fully redoing.
Bed/bedding was fine and comfortable. Less so was the tacky vinyl wipe-clean “sofa” in the room, which was just awful. Why can’t you get proper comfy sofas that people can enjoy after their long days in the park?
Rooms generally are tired. Old wardrobes and damaged lampshades, smelly curtains and filthy yellow nets. Really not great. Carpets are filthy in communal areas. Yes I get that people are mucky, but come on.
Prepare also to bring light luggage, as you have to haul it all up steep steps / a hill to get to the room. There are luggage trolleys, but with the damaged pathways and rickety entrance ramps to the buildings, you may as well just carry them.
Wifi was actually OK for me, fine for emails and instagram. But maybe download some films, as you can’t stream here.
A big bug bear of mine was lack of proper lighting when walking down to the main lodge. Various bulbs were out, and there’s not enough of them. It’s a bit terrifying. Make sure to bring a good torch!
Staff on front desk were all lovely and couldn’t do enough to help, so props to them. No issues there. There’s also a decent gift shop and a few provisions like basic drinks and snacks.
The restaurant however is a shambles. Again, management staff were nice and helpful behind the counter and I can’t fault them. However, there’s literally NOWHERE else to eat, unless you bring your own cutlery & crockery (there’s nothing in the rooms at all) and want to do a microwave dinner.
When you do eat there, prepare to use vile cheap plastic cutlery (come on, you’re a National Park, that’s never sustainable, get proper metal ones please!), and have all of your food served lukewarm. I repeatedly had to ask for things to be hotter. The annoying thing was the food was actually all quite tasty, but ruined completely by the shoddy presentation and temperature. No crockery at all. Plastic glasses and cups. Everything is in plastic or on paper plates / takeaway containers. Has crockery / dishwasher not been invented in Sequoia? It’s a joke. The dining room itself has no ambience or character, unlike Ahwahnee. All in all it felt like a sad, cheap, cafeteria like experience, which for $350 a night, should be and could be ALOT better.
Whoever runs this place really needs to look at their operation, and take a leaf or two from the Ahwahnee.
Have a proper dining room. Proper service. Glasses and cutlery and crockery. Not this basic excuse. It's embarrassing, and not fun for us. People are travelling a long way to come here, look after them. They are paying enough!
Whilst you’re at it, close each building one at a time and rip out and replace the sad sorry excuses for bathrooms, as well as replacing those hideous sofas and old curtains and nets. Improve the noise insulation too. Hearing everything from above and below when you’re tired is so infuriating.
Fortunately, one trip to here was enough for me.
My tip? Request / demand a top floor room, in the Silliman building. Go for the biggest room. Take light luggage. Oh, and metal cutlery for you to use when you go down to eat!
Oh and make sure to fill your car with gas/petrol at Three Rivers before you enter. Whatever you do don't enter on a half tank, as the altitude and slow traffic will drain your tank faster than you think!
- Value: 2
- Location: 5
- Service: 4
travelerfromsj from: San Jose, California
Trip Type: Couples
Published Date: Oct, 23, 2022 Travel Date: Oct, 1, 2022 Rating: 3
Pros and cons
Having stayed at lodges in national parks before, we booked the best room we could (a superior room), and crossed our fingers. The pros: lots of space with the addition of a little alcove that had a TV, mini fridge, microwave and Keurig- yes! Nicely appointed room, although the curtains were missing some parts, but they did the job. The bathroom was much nicer than in most lodges, with lots of counter space and eco-friendly soap dispensers. And the front desk staff was friendly and polite; no issues there. It was also an easy walk from our building to the lodge and restaurant for pizza and beer, although you’ll want to take a flashlight once it gets dark.
The cons: the big one for us was definitely the noise from the heater, which would come on intermittently during the night and make a noise that sounded like someone drilling. To make things even more interesting, the way the room was set up we could also hear our neighbor’s heater, so just as one heater quieted down and we almost fell asleep, the second heater would start up. The second issue for me was the location of our room, which was on a corner right near the building entrance next to the front door. It was a highly-trafficked area next to the walkway, so we had no privacy, plus the noise of folks wheeling luggage by our windows day and night. I would really appreciate it if there was some way to request a room above the first floor, which leads to the third issue: the lodge buildings are built on a small hill above the parking lot. This didn’t bother us because we were there to go hiking after all, but I can see how it would be very difficult for some folks to make it up the hill, or push someone up in a wheelchair. We would definitely have picked a second or third floor room if we’d been given the option, and left the ground level to someone who might need it, especially because the buildings have no elevators.
Finally, my favorite thing about this lodge is the location. Twice we saw deer nibbling on the bushes around our building, and the stargazing here is excellent! We walked just a few feet