Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Yosemite: The Ahwahnee Hotel

One afternoon during our recent visit to Yosemite we went and checked out the park's legendary Ahwahnee Hotel.

The Ahwahnee dates from 1927 and is a National Historic Landmark. The architect, Gilbert Stanley Underwood, designed several other National Park lodges over a period of three decades.

The Great Lounge (below) is filled with stained glass windows by Jeanette Dyer Spencer which depict Native American basket patterns.

The pool is rather small, but elegant in its understated way:

You can watch a detailed slideshow tour of the Ahwahnee here. The photos include the hotel's majestic dining room. I'd love to eat there one day.

Each Christmas the Ahwahnee hosts the Bracebridge Dinner, a tradition as old as the hotel. The dinner pageant recreates Christmas traditions from 18th Century England.

When I was in the Sierras a few years ago I happened to read that Laura Bush was then visiting Yosemite privately with friends. Her stay included a stop at the Ahwahnee. I found a copy of the article online; it's a fun read.

Along with Yellowstone's Old Faithful Inn, the Ahwahnee was one of the inspirations for Disney World's Wilderness Lodge, seen below. (Yellowstone was clearly the inspiration for the geyser on the grounds of the Wilderness Lodge!)

You can learn more about the Ahwahnee in the book GREAT LODGES OF THE NATIONAL PARKS, which has a companion DVD.

Related posts: Mariposa Grove, Vernal Fall, and Yosemite Falls.


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