A map of the ground floor, and surrounding area of the Ahwahnee Hotel (temporarily named the Majestic Yosemite Hotel), showing Royal Arch Creek, the pond, the free shuttle bus stop, parking lots, one way roads, Porte-cochere (roofed driveway) at the main entrance and the roofed walkway into the hotel, Dining Room, front desk and concierge, Gift Shop, Sweet Shop, bar with summer outside dining, Great Lounge, Under Lounge, Winter Club Room , Mural Room, Solarium, swimming pool, kitchen, AED alongside the main hallway, the staircase to mezzanine and elevators (guest elevator on right, bellmen on left).
The roadway to the Valet Parking only lot is noted, as well as the loading dock, with no parking, (but with occasional RVs who try to drive into it and get stuck).
The walking route to the cottage rooms and wedding lawn are also shown.
(The Colonial Room is upstairs above the Winter Club room, the Tresidder Room is upstairs above the Mural Room and the Tudor Lounge is upstairs above the Under Lounge.)
The ladies room and accessible/family restroom are upstairs on the mezzanine (turn right at the top of the stairs, or turn right when you get off the elevator at the mezzanine floor, floor #1 on the elevator). The men’s room is down a short hallway from the main ground floor hallway, on the right just past the front desk.
Detailed DIRECTIONS to get to the Ahwahnee hotel from any/all roads/entrances to Yosemite Valley are at the end of this page.
A photo of the Ahwahnee from Glacier Point, the dining room and kitchen take up the left wing you see below. When arriving you enter the hotel from the far side of the right wing of the building:
People who are not guests at the hotel can dine there. Reservations are often advised and there is a dress code for some dining room meals.
The bar has a limited menu, but without the dress code for dinner that the main dining room has.
Menus for the dining room (including the Sunday Brunch) and bar, as well as a link to making dining room reservations, are at: http://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/dining/the-majestic-yosemite-hotel/
The Sweet Shop has chocolate truffles as well as many other potential hiking snacks.
The schedule for free one hour tours of the hotel and occasional Ranger programs held at the hotel, can be found in the the Yosemite National Park newspaper Yosemite Today.
Below an NPS photo of the Great Lounge during WWII when the Ahwahnee Hotel was used as a naval hospital. https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/historyculture/navy-hospital.htm There is a book to read about the naval hospital.
and below that, the same area during a December Bracebridge event, with people caroling before dinner, note the two pianists (on the left, Ted Long and on the right, Christer) at two Steinway grand pianos in about the center of the photo:
The swimming pool is only open to guests of the hotel. Guests in the main building can find stairs to the pool at the far end of the mezzanine floor, (floor #1 on the elevator) and use them instead of traipsing around the lobby in a wet swimsuit/robe. Turn left as you exit the elevator, go down a long hall to outside stairs leading directly down to the pool. The stairs are behind the pool to the right in the photo below:
Your room key opens the locked gate to the pool. If there is also a padlock on the gate, the pool is not available for guest use (evening/overnight or due to occasional weather/chemical problems or when a large branch / section of trunk from a nearby tree falls into the pool).
Pools open to the public for a fee at other Yosemite valley hotels, as well as suggestions for safe river swimming, including thunderstorms, bacteria in the water, safety issues, favorite beaches, are at Swimming in Yosemite National Park
Anywhere in Yosemite, including at any of the Yosemite lodgings, you have the possibility of seeing animals. We saw a ringtailed cat jog across one of the large balconies one evening and (rarely) a raccoon has found it’s way into the main hotel building.
The resident Ravens will try to take any food you leave unattended on your patio or balcony table, even knocking the room service metal trays off the plate. Keeping food within arm’s reach is a wise idea at every National Park hotel, cabin or campsite.
Out on the grounds there is a sign:
At the back of the cottages after a February snow fall, we found bear paw prints in which you could clearly see claw indentations:
and you might see other animals not listed on the sign, such as this coyote walking just outside the swimming pool fence
or a skunk (photo courtesy of Harold (Harry) Bradbury):
or this bobcat on the grounds (cottage rooms area) of the Ahwahnee (temporarily named the Majestic Yosemite Hotel), a large reason why Yosemite park says: “pets must be restrained on a leash not more than six feet long or otherwise physically restrained.”
All the Majestic Yosemite Hotel rooms have large flatscreen televisions, including (in the main building), an in-house TV channel that plays videos from the Yosemite Conservancy Nature Notes series. You can watch the videos at:
Almost all the main building rooms do not have a patio or balcony (almost all of the Yosemite Lodge rooms do have patios or balconies).
Standard rooms are smaller than other rooms, cost less, but most in the main building have cliff and loading dock views and one has no view at all. Most rooms are called Classic rooms, with various views depending on which side of the building they are on. A few rooms are called Featured, each with a balcony (various sizes, often shared, some with a simple wooden partition).
Accessible rooms have widened doors, grab bars in the bathroom, (some) roll-in shower, raised toilet seats and low density carpet.
The huge balcony at the far end of the Ahwahnee from the parking lot is a part of the Presidential Suite (President Kennedy stayed in it) on the second floor. It has a parlor (room 232) with fireplace, a large balcony and can have 1 to 2 to 6 bedrooms included, all accessible to a can-be-made-private hallway to the parlor and balcony.
The south end of the Ahwahnee hotel, (including the Presidential suite) under construction, upper Yosemite Fall in the background (photo courtesy of the NPS historical photos collection:
A large third floor parlor (room 332) with fireplace, but no balcony, (above the Presidential Suite), can have 1 or 2 to 4 bedrooms included with it.
One of the main building ADA suites (room 106) has a balcony it does not share with any other room:
From the hotel website: “The El Dorado Diggins Suite was at one time a private dining room, a cocktail lounge, and a chapel in the 1940s,” The living room space is step down from the wide entry hall with a slate floor and the bathroom has a Jacuzzi tub. It has a “double sofa-sleeper” and a king bed. No balcony. (Room 118)
24 cottages / (bungalows / cabins) are in one story buildings out on the grounds of the hotel, a short or long walk out in the weather.
Two of the Classic Cottages are ADA (702, 703).
Classic and Featured cottages have their own patios.
Standard cottage rooms (720, 721, 722, 723) share their patio with another unit. Two of them have almost no closet space.
Four (#710, 711, 717 and 718) of the classic cottages have an alcove between the bedroom and the bathroom with a bed you can fit a child on, and a door between the bedroom and alcove for privacy.
Featured cottage #714 has a generous sized patio with a view through the trees up towards Glacier Point. In the photo below 714 is in the center, a corner window of Classic cottage 711 is on the left and a corner window of Classic cottage 713 is on the right:
Reservations and more details about the hotel are at: https://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/the-majestic-yosemite-hotel/
The N.P.S. Merced River Plan includes restoring views at the hotel that have been lost as trees grew. Appendix H of the plan shows windows at the end of the dining room, in the Great Lounge and winter Club Room facing towards Half Dome, the Solarium looking towards Glacier Point and has lists of kinds / number of trees that will be removed to restore some of the views. (Search for H24, H25, H26 at: https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/management/upload/Volume-3A_MRP-FEIS_AppA-L_508.pdf)
The Ahwahnee dining room view is on the list to be worked on in 2018-2019, removing as many as 207 trees. This photo, courtesy of the National Park Service of the “estimated area where trees will be removed” (the light gray colored almost rectangle extending to the left from the dining room wing of the hotel)
is from the report at:
https://home.nps.gov/yose/getinvolved/upload/2018-Scenic-Vista-Work-Plan.pdf Note the TIMING section of the report. “Work is scheduled to minimize potential impacts on bird and bat species. In general, September through December would be the best estimated time for vista clearing to take place, subject to site-specific conditions. All work that generates noise levels above 76 decibels near residential or visitor use areas will be performed between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Temporary road closures will generally not exceed one -half hour. Road closures will be scheduled in periods of low visitation when possible. Workers with signs will direct closures.”
In the photo below of the Ahwahnee (temporarily named the Majestic), the bridge on the road at the bottom of the photo is the Ahwahnee bridge. The road is now a pedestrians/bikes only route to Mirror Lake / meadow. (It will have occasional park service vehicles).
To hike to Mirror Lake from the Ahwahnee,
and beyond to the Snow Creek trail
the trail along the cliffs below the Royal Arches, (across the parking lot from the Majestic (Ahwahnee) hotel entrance, the top dotted line on the map below) is longer but can be much more pleasant and less crowded than the paved road from free shuttle bus stop 17, the usually recommended hike start.
At the start of this trail, in some months, you can see and feel mist from the Royal Arch Cascades or may be walking in water.
(in heavy rain – two photos below from February 2017 – the white is not snow, it is rushing water – this section of trail can become an unsafe creek/river!)
Compare the photo above to April 2017:
Or make it a loop (to or from) the official Mirror Lake trailhead bus stop #17 (to or from) the Majestic parking lot.
The trailhead is at the north-east end of the main guest parking lot, just to the left of the red Valet parking sign shown in this photo:
Dogs and bikes are prohibited on all unpaved trails in Yosemite (see also links to Yosemite rules and regulations)
At the start of the trail, right next to the parking lot, on the left hand side of the trail, you might be able to spot a rock where Yosemite indians ground acorns and left behind deep holes in the rock. (You could call it the original Ahwahnee kitchen.)
If you start up the trail and decide it is too wet for you,
you can turn around, then turn left and walk the dirt/paved road through the valet parking lot, through some storage and on to where it deadends at a “T” intersection with one of the paths to Mirror Lake, then turn left, perhaps after walking out on the bridge to take a look at the river.
And here is a NPS photo/map of the trail to Mirror Lake as a loop from shuttle stop #17, note the hotel in the left hand side of the map:
Yosemite valley weather report:
Other hotel, cabin and tent cabin choices in Yosemite valley are at: Yosemite Valley accommodations
DIRECTIONS to get to the Ahwahnee hotel (temporarily named the Majestic Yosemite Hotel):
(If you need directions to Yosemite valley from the Bay Area see driving directions.
Anytime there is a rockfall, for example, one way roads can need to become two-way. All the signs, roadways, etc. shown below could change without notice, so take a look before you make any turns.
Once in Yosemite Valley you will follow directional signs along Southside drive, the bottom road in the map below.
Shortly past the Chapel on the right, you arrive at a stop sign before Sentinel bridge to the left across the river.
The one way section of Southside Drive you are on continues as one way (usually) as it goes straight ahead towards the Pines Campgrounds and Half Dome Village, but it turns into two-way as it goes left over the bridge towards the Ahwahnee.
We watched vehicles at this intersection for 20 minutes one summer day. One out of five drove right through the stop sign without slowing down. (Were they too irritated about slow traffic? Had no campsite reservation?) Only about one of five stopped fully behind the stop sign white line in the road before going forward. One turned left and must have not noticed the signage, or was just too irritated about slow traffic/in too big of a hurry, because he drove into an oncoming traffic lane and almost was hit by a car traveling in the proper lane over the bridge.
People going to the Yosemite Lodge, Ahwahnee (Majestic) hotel, Camp Four and the route back out of Yosemite Valley should turn left and go over the bridge (that after sunset may have lots of photographers trying to get a picture of Half Dome with pink or gold sunset color on it), again on to a two-way road.
After the left over the bridge, go to a stop sign at a T intersection with the road that goes around the Yosemite Village day-use parking lot (especially if you have never been to the hotel or it has been a few years, for this section of roadway see the map at Yosemite Village day use parking and round-about).
Turn right and circle around Yosemite Village day-use parking, enter the round-about
and circle along the right side of it, exiting at the north end. You then drive past the garage and more on your right / the backside of the store on your left and make a right at the stop sign.
The next road section, Ahwahnee Drive, takes you past the Medical Clinic on your left, then past the Ahwahnee meadow on your right / small picnic area (Church Bowl) on your left.
Stay on the the perimeter road that runs between the cliff face on your left and the main parking lot on your right. This road then bears right across the end of the main parking lot and bears left as you pull up under the porte-cochere (roofed two-lane driveway by the hotel main entrance) and drop off passengers, unload luggage for the bellman to take (or you can bring them in) and either go find a parking space or have the valet park your car.
The right lane is for passenger/luggage drop off/pickups and valet parking, the left lane is for thru traffic. And yes, more than one person got his large RV stuck when he ignored the “maximum clearance 11 foot 6 inches” sign.
Below, the view from the free shuttle bus stop / (some years) YARTS bus stop, looking toward the Majestic (Ahwahnee) porte-cochere (covered entrance), notice the end of the white bus under the covered entrance towards the right hand side of the photo.
The park service notes that “Electric vehicle (EV) charging stations are located only in Yosemite Valley: one at the Village Garage, one at The Majestic Hotel in Yosemite (formerly The Ahwahnee) as well as one Tesla charging station at the Majestic Hotel. You do not need to be a guest at the hotel to charge your vehicle, however, you must move your vehicle from the space once it is finished charging.”