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Reasonable Luxury

Yosemite's Ahwanee Hotel


Yosemite is heaven on earth. I've been there nearly every year since I was born here in San Diego, and the thrill of this spectacular valley never seems to wear off. But there are tricks to visiting Yosemite. First, we usually approach from the east entrance, through Tioga Pass, which is one of the most beautiful drives in the world. And we stay at the Mono Lake Lodge. It means we have a nearly two hour drive to the valley, but the rates are cheap, they have vacancies in the middle of the season, and the beautiful drive seems to go by in minutes.

The premiere hotel in Yosemite is the Ahwahnee, with rates far above my budget, and dinners that can set you back a hundred bucks a person. But I have a secret way to dine at the Ahwahnee, have a great view, and pay a fraction of the dinner prices. The Ahwahnee bar has an outdoor dining area, with views of those incredible Yosemite cliffs, with that first class Ahwahnee food, but fairly reasonably priced.

The California Cobb Salad is $14 bucks, but filled with bacon, ham, turkey, eggs and monterey jack, vegies and an excellent blue cheese dressing.

The Antipasto for Two has a first class selection of imported meat and cheese, marinated roasted peppers artichoke hearts and bruschetta, and goes for $21. Not cheap, but considering the luxury location, this is the vacation bargain of the year.

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  • Name: Ahwahnee Hotel
  • Address: Yosemite Valley