NPR Reviews Provided by
John Muir Lodge
rcm-ca from: Santa Cruz, California
Published Date: Sep, 7, 2020 Travel Date: Sep, 1, 2020 Rating: 3
OK place, few alternatives
I was very disappointed in this place.
They call themselves a 'lodge' and charge 2x hotel rates, but it's more like a 1-2 star hotel.
The check-in receptionist was rude (every other worker we met was very friendly)
Despite all the Covid warnings, the receptionist allowed her nose to be exposed above her mask (why even wear one?)
You can hear every single step of the 2nd floor guests
Wifi only worked in the lobby
Coffee only available in the lobby
Shower head was 5' high, rather difficult taking a shower.
Sink only provides enough space for 1 person's bath items
Bath had a blue stain on it - drain cleaner?
No clock in the room
I've stayed at plenty of nicer places for half the cost.
The Good? - location and room was decent size
Unfortunately few alternatives to stay in the park, campgrounds were full or closed.
- Value: 1
- Cleanliness: 4
- Service: 3
RedRockLover2007 from: Temecula, California
Published Date: Sep, 3, 2020 Travel Date: Jul, 1, 2020 Rating: 4
Stay was slightly above average. Better than the Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia NP.
The location, like the Wuksachi, is the main selling point of this hotel. It is located between the junction between the CA-180 (which goes down the mountain) and the CA-198 (which comes from Sequoia Park), and the Grant Grove. The room that we stayed in was better than what we had at the Wuksachi, however it was barely above average. The hotel is a couple minutes' walk from the Visitor Center and village. In the village, we had some dinner at the cafe. It was slightly on the expensive side, but I thought it was good enough. In terms of WiFi and cellular service, neither worked well, I don't even remember if there actually is cellular service. To conclude, this hotel is quite average but has some redeeming qualities.
- Location: 5
- Cleanliness: 4
- Service: 4
Chris_23_11 from: West Hollywood, California
Published Date: Aug, 31, 2020 Travel Date: Aug, 1, 2020 Rating: 4
Nice stay at John Muir Lodge - Fantastic Location
Stayed at the main building at the John Muir Lodge. The room was clean and comfortable, but could be updated/refreshed.
The staff were all friendly and welcoming. The hotel room rate was high, in my opinion, but you're paying for an amazing location with great hiking/walking trails from the hotel.
The front lobby area has snacks, for sale, and complimentary coffee in the mornings. There is a cafe/restaurant and gift shop a few minutes walk away, but they close at 8.00pm.
No issues with covid; hotel is abiding by necessary rules.
- Value: 3
- Sleep Quality: 5
- Service: 5
DrHickenlocher from: Irvine, California
Published Date: Aug, 20, 2020 Travel Date: Aug, 1, 2020 Rating: 4
Excellent location, okay-ish accommodations
My wife's idea of "camping" is a fully-enclosed room with an attached bathroom, so John Muir Lodge was really our only option in the Grant Grove/Kings Canyon area. There are also a few Grant Grove Cabins that have an attached bathroom, but during COVID, those rooms got cancelled on us and we were able to re-book in the lodge itself. Unlike Wuksachi, which is spread out across multiple buildings, John Muir Lodge is a single building with only 30-odd rooms on two floors, making for very convenient and easy in-and-out access from the parking lot.
At check-in there were circles on the floor marking 6-foot social distancing. There were also rectangular plexiglass shields mounted atop the front desk itself to provide an additional barrier, although each shield is only a couple of feet wide and there were several times when the hotel manager and I were speaking without a shield directly between us as she moved around to activate our room keys, etc. She only looked at my driver's license and credit card but never touched them on the counter; she was able to charge the credit card on file. And I also didn't have to sign any paperwork.
It's location is close to the crossroads between the Big Stump Entrance, the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, and Generals Highway to Sequoia NP. We had also initially considered Cedar Grove Lodge, but that was also closed during COVID, and the idea of being down in the valley during 95-degree summer heat in a room without air-conditioning didn't really appeal. John Muir Lodge doesn't have a/c either, but our room faced north and never got direct sunlight, and the elevated mountain air chills quickly in the evenings to help cool down the room. Columbine picnic area is just down the road to barbecue, and has fairly nice bathrooms. The Grant Grove Village area is just down the road, with the restaurant, gift shop, and visitors center. We didn't try the market.
The room quality itself was okay. It's about the size of your normal Hampton Inn/Fairfield/Best Western. Beds, carpeting, furniture were all perfectly adequate. The sink is outside the shower/toilet area, but it has an extremely small countertop area, which is annoying. The closet doesn't have any doors, just a high shelf and a hangar bar. The room had a much bigger and nicer TV mounted on the wall while Wuksachi had a smaller TV atop the dresser. The remote control was missing the plastic battery cover, which was a little odd. But overall, the room is still much more comfortable than camping and we couldn't really complain.
Walls are paper thin, so you can hear your neighbors, hear the kids jumping on the ceiling above you, hear everyone going down the hall, etc. Plus, everyone leaves their windows open to let in fresh air (again, no a/c), so don't expect peace and quiet.
WiFi is provided but only works in the lobby. We could detect the router from our room, but couldn't get a signal, so we didn't really try. My wife's phone had LTE on Verizon from the room anyway, although my T-Mobile phone couldn't get any service.
There was only one attendant at a time at the front desk, and there was one instance where I went to ask something but there was a sign on the desk saying "Be back in 10 minutes".
There was no coffee maker in the room, but the lobby provides free coffee (and ceramic mugs) in the lounge in the mornings. There was no milk or creamer, however. There is also a microwave for anyone to use in the lounge. We didn't have microwave options at Wuksachi, although they told us there are open-access microwaves at Lodgepole Market. The Grant Grove Restaurant has a courtyard window and offered mobile ordering. Unfortunately, the website always said "ordering unavailable", so I just drove down there myself. There's a covered canopy to shield guests in line from the sun, and a touchscreen kiosk for ordering your food. Much better setup than the Wuksachi Pizza Deck, and the food quality was okay. Not great, but okay. My kids did enjoy the cheeseburger.
Overall, there's nothing luxurious or modern about John Muir Lodge. But it was clean, conveniently located, and gets the job done. You're not coming to Kings Canyon for a 5-star resort. Get out and enjoy nature! I would recommend it and happily stay again.
- Rooms: 3
- Sleep Quality: 3
- Service: 3
Thalina from: Thalina
Trip Type: Family
Published Date: Jul, 19, 2020 Travel Date: Jul, 1, 2020 Rating: 4
Booked tents, was transferred to the lodge
My daughter and I booked a stay at the tents, but they are still not open due to Covid. At no charge, they upgraded us to the lodge. I’m not going to complain about getting my own bathroom and shower! Hot water, good pillows and linens. The hotel is a little dated but it’s not terrible. The restaurant has to go serviced based off of a touch kiosk, and the pizza was actually pretty good. The market and store have a good selection. Definitely take the road behind the lodge up to the scenic point, it’s really quiet and beautiful. I also found the park to be very low traffic in general, and it’s nice not having the place overrun. For what it’s worth, even number rooms face nature and not the parking lot.