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Reader Participation Day: Best and Worst Values in National Park Lodging

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Are the rooms in The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite and the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone good values for their rates? NPT file photos.

The quality and rates of national park lodges span a wide range from rustic cabins in several parks renting in the $60 - $80 range to suites at Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel that rent for approximately $1,000 per night.

The differences in service, amenities, comfort, and atmosphere are substantial, but is a night in an Ahwahnee suite worth ten nights in a cabin at Maswick Lodge on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim? Or 16 nights in a Woodland Cottage at Mammoth Cave?

Guessing that many of you have stayed in several park lodges, we were wondering about your opinions regarding the best and worst values in national park lodging.

Don’t forget to consider price when rendering your judgment. We are looking for the best value, not necessarily the best lodge. More expensive lodges should provide a superior experience. However, was your enhanced experience worth the higher cost?

Comments

Personally I would take the 10 nights at Maswick or Yavapai over a night at Ahwahnee. We felt Maswick was a good value - pleasant furnishings and a short walk from the rim of the Grand Canyon.


Maswick was fine for us. Definitely basic, but that fit our trip (hiking to Phantom Ranch and staying there two nights).
I think value is going to be highly related to desired activity while in the park. If a person is unable or unwilling to do some moderately strenuous hiking or other activity, the more expensive lodges would provide value due to their prime locations and the ease of seeing spectacular sites.
The lodge at the north rim of the Grand Canyon would be excellent for some, but we were quite happy with our spartan cabin. Likewise, the bunkhouse at Phantom Ranch was a reasonable value, but not as good a value as the cabins.


Just give me a good tent and I'll be happy.

By the way, where the heck is the Maswick Lodge at GRCA?


Lee, Maswick is on the South Rim across from the Backcountry Information Center...


Maswik Lodge (am I the first to spell it right ;) ) is about a quarter mile away from the South Rim, although how close depends on which cabin. I found it a really good value staying at a quad (one unit in each corner) cabin. They were also available when options closer to the South Rim (or even with views from the room) were already fully booked for the times I wanted to stay. They also had a TV and phone in each room.

http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/grand-canyon-maswik-lodge-412.html

However - Bright Angel Lodge is right on the South Rim, and their lowest prices are even lower than Maswik, although those include shared bathrooms. The historic cabins are a bit more expensive, but the location is excellent.

http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/bright-angel-lodge-408.html

Yellowstone has a lot of bargains with cabin accommodations, starting with the lowest price at Roosevelt. I really liked it, although I understand a lot of people would think the Roughrider Cabins are substandard. There are bargains to be found all throughout Yellowstone in cabin-style accommodations, and some don't even require shared bathrooms.

I'm wondering whether or not the price at Jenny Lake Lodge (Grand Teton NP) is worth it, at $600/night for even a duplex cabin. I understand it is all inclusive for two including meals and activities.


Exclusive and expensive lodges should not be part of the park's services. They should be catering to the majority of the visitors not a handful of customers. Experiences at National Parks should be the natural beauty and serenity the Park offers and not spas, messages, exclusive pedicures, fine dining, etc.

A visitor' memories should be of the parks beauty not whether the service at the spa was exceptional!


Maswik might be affordable but I don't recommend their lousy cafeteria food.

The Grand Lodge on North Rim has no accommodations just the cabins which look pretty cute.

I'd rather camp for free in the adjacent forests and save my money for travel.


Concerned Taxpayer:

Exclusive and expensive lodges should not be part of the park's services. They should be catering to the majority of the visitors not a handful of customers. Experiences at National Parks should be the natural beauty and serenity the Park offers and not spas, messages, exclusive pedicures, fine dining, etc.

A visitor' memories should be of the parks beauty not whether the service at the spa was exceptional!

What's wrong with fine dining? When I've visited Yosemite, my meals have been everything from instant oatmeal while backpacking/camping to a steak at the Mountain Room. The whole gamut is there. I know it offends some people that others spend money, but it's not as if there aren't choices at different price points. If you want a cheeseburger at the cafeteria, it's not as if the guy eating the meal at the Ahwahnee is preventing you from doing so.

As far as spas go - that's pretty rare these days at NPS settings. Even the high priced establishments typically don't have spas. The only one I recall was Sol Duc Hot Springs at Olympic National Park, and about the only spa treatment they offer is massage. They've got pools filled with natural hot spring waters with reasonable day use rates for non-guests.


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