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If You Have to Ask the Price, The Ahwahnee And Jenny Lake Lodge Are Probably Out of Reach

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A room at The Ahwahnee in Yosemite will set you back a bit. Delaware North Photo.

Earlier this summer we ran a list of the "Top 10 Lodges" in the park system. Admittedly it's a "soft" list, one that definitely is not objective. But what some might find objectionable are the nightly costs for staying in some of these places.

Regular reader and occasional contributor Owen Hoffman took a little time the other day to come up with the most recent rates for staying in these places, and this is what he found. The list correlates to the rankings of the Top 10 Lodges, not to respective pricing.

No. 1: The Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California
Ahwahnee Rooms...........................................................................$426
Ahwahnee Cottages........................................................................$426
Jr. Suite.........................................................................................$499
Suites............................................................................................$893
Tresider Suite with Library Parlor.....................................................$984
Additional Adult in same room-per night.............................................$21
Additional Rollaway in same room-per night........................................$11

No. 2: Big Meadows Lodge, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Big Meadows Lodge Sun - Thurs* Fri & Sat 9/28 - 11/03
Main Lodge.....................................................................................$72-$116 $78-$129 $81-$135
Lodge Units.....................................................................................$87 $99 $108-$121
Deluxe Units....................................................................................$115 $127 $135-$143
Suites..............................................................................................$130 $144 $150-$165
Mini-Suites........................................................................................$129 $139 $143-$153
Cabin Rooms.....................................................................................$92-$96 $99-$103 $100-$103

No. 3: Camp Denali and North Face Lodge, Denali National Park, Alaska
Prices $425 per person per night, double occupancy. Rates include all meals and guided activities. Minimum stay 3 nights

No. 4: Crater Lake Lodge, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Ground Floor.....................................................................................$138
Southside Rooms...............................................................................$171
Standard Lakeside.............................................................................$179
Deluxe Lakeside.................................................................................$191
Loft...................................................................................................$260
Extra Person $25
Child (under 12 years old) No Charge
Rollaway Bed or Crib No Charge

No. 5: Jenny Lake Lodge, Grand Tetons National Park, WY
One room cabin (duplex style).............................................................$525 (two persons)
Each additional person is $150 nightly
Suites...............................................................................................$695 - $750 (one or two persons)
Each additional person is $150 nightly

No. 6: Maho Bay Camps, Virgin Islands National Park
Rates For Maho Bay Camps
May 1 - December 14, 2007:
$80 / night, double occupancy.
Additional guests $12 / night.

Families enjoy the "Kids Stay Free" program for children under 16, when accompanied by an adult.
Single travelers will receive a 25% discount on tent-cottage rates - singles pay only $60.00 per night.

No. 7: Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier National Park, MT
Value Room......................................................................................$129
Standard Room.................................................................................$145
Lakeside Room..................................................................................$154
Family Room.....................................................................................$208
Suite.................................................................................................$255
Additional person $15.00. Children 11 and under free with adult. Roll-a-way bed $15.00 per night by request only.

No. 8: Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ.
Dorm..............................................................................................$34.16 per person

No. 9: Volcano House, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
"New” Wing, Crater View Deluxe.........................................................$225

Main Building:
Crater View..............................................................$200
Non-Crater View......................................................$170

Ohia Wing:
Garden View.............................................................$125
Standard...................................................................$95

Namakani Paio Cabins...........................................................................$50

No 10: Zion Lodge, Zion National Park, Utah
Hotel....................................................................................................$150.85
Western Cabin.......................................................................................$160.85
Suite.....................................................................................................$170.85
Extra person $10.00
Rollaways $12.00
Cribs $5.00

Comments

All the prices for lodging in Yosemite are very high compared to comparable lodgings elsewhere. Tent cabins in White Wolf are $93. per night for four cots and a Franklin stove. No electricity. The motel rooms at Curry Village are approx. $170. with tiny bathrooms. Yet, these accommodations are almost always full during the summer so using basic Economics 101, they are not overpriced. If people thought they were overpriced, there would be plenty of vacancies. But instead, lots of people are willing to pay the rates for the location.


Kath, if your a well heeled silicon valley boy, the Ahawahee Hotel is no subject of high prices. Why can't we All have a taste of the good life at the Ahawahee. The hotel systems in the National Parks should bear in mind that the super rich shouldn't alway's get that carte blanche treatment. There's plenty of hard working Americans that deserve just as much equal treatment...if not better (since they carry the bulk of the taxes and the blood shed of the sicking (wasteful) Iraq war). When it comes to the use of the National Parks, I believe all Americans should be on equal footing (price wise) for hotel acommodations and treatment as the rich. Something looks awfully awkward when the jaded Hollywood rich type roll into Ahawahee Hotel, slick to the gills, just to have a few gin tonics. Of couse, life is never fair, but I love my little pup tent just the same and besides I see the REAL World better.


Concessions are government-sponsored monopolies, and these prices reflect that.

It's a abhorrent that Xanterra was awarded a 5-year contract worth $250 million to operate a monopoly in Yellowstone and returns a minuscule 2% franchise fee to the NPS.

Imagine if a public trust managed Yellowstone and a large portion of the $250 million collected in Yellowstone went toward park operation and management. There would be no need to fund the park with ill-gotten, politically tainted, hard-earned taxpayer money.

----------------------------------------
Reform the National Park Service!
http://NPS-reform.blogspot.com


Gotcha Frank! Excellent points made!!


If Xanterra was taken out of the picture, with its many very low paid employees that often turn out to be thieves, sex offenders and petty drug dealers, the park service would never be able to justify their huge law enforcement budgets in these mostly remote and generally crime free areas. In many parks Xanterra employees make up the bulk of felony arrests for the mostly bored and underutilized law enforcement wing of the green and gray. The concessionaires provide an essential ingredient to justify guns, door kicking glory and gobs of Homeland Security gravy.

At one park that I worked in the Xanterra housing area was staked out every evening (in season) with night vision goggles and full complement of rangers. I went on a ride along one night with an LE friend to the Lodge area and it was just like being in an episode of COPS. We just can't take that away from them, market economics be damned!


I'm pretty much not interested in these sorts of accomodations so long as I can still carry my tent and sleeping bag. I did, however, get the steak dinner at Phantom Ranch once when hiking through the canyon and boy oh boy was that a good investment regardless of the price, which I no longer recall. After eating astronaut food for a day or two or three, that was one awesome meal.


Places like the Ahwahnee were built specifically to cater to the super-rich. Stephen Mather, first NPS superintendent, thought that in order for the National Parks to get the funding and approvals needed in Washington, they had to be places where the wealthy movers and shakers in the East Coast elite wanted to vacation. So the parks needed hotels that would attract that sort. Like it or not, that's just the way it was and it may have been a good politically savvy move.


Truth be known the prices quoted are not really all that out of line and are relative bargains compared to the price of lodgings in much less attractive locales.

I'm with Merryland and much prefer the backcountry over lodges but do enjoy having breakfast and then hoisting a few cold ones later in the afternoon at the North Rim Lodge of the Grand Canyon. The Yellowstone lodges and hotels are fun to hang out in and people watch after coming back from a few days out in the wilds.

The questions Frank raises about the mere pittance that is generated for the parks by all of this lodging business is germane to the issue because the money isn't going back into the parks but into corporate coffers after the consummation of sweetheart concession contracts.

No one likes the idea of privatization but then don't seem to mind the current pillaging that goes on by private multi-nationals operating with impunity while giving back next to nothing.


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