If you were to capture a hotel by its tagline, the team at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite has pretty much nailed it with, ‘It’s like roughing it, minus the rough part.’
Nestled in a pine forest just two miles from the entrance to Yosemite National Park, the resort serves as a sumptuous retreat to rest weary limbs after a day exploring one of the world’s finest areas of outstanding beauty.
Nestled among the cedars and sweet pines of the Sierra National Forest, Tenaya Lodge has grown into a favourite weekend getaway of the tech-set.
With Silicon Valley less than a four-hour drive, they can comfortably (and silently) reach here in their Teslas on just one charge.
Such is its popularity, the resort has added eight Tesla Supercharger stations, which each deliver a half charge in 20 minutes, enough for a day exploring Yosemite.
Beyond the car park, Tenaya Lodge itself has freshly re-emerged after a top-to-toe refurbishment to meet its tech fanbase.
The update tastefully combines contemporary flair with the rustic charm of an alpine mountain lodge – stuffed elk, caribou, and mule deer watch over you in the lobby, while a mammoth stone fireplace will quickly return life to your veins in winter.
The 240-bedrooms and suites of the main lodge have also been reinvigorated.
The newly-decorated rooms boast bathrooms with granite surfaces, rainshowers, hardwood floors, one-off artworks, the comfiest of beds, and internet speeds that will leave Silicon Valley types suitably impressed.
In the evening, we were tempted to retreat to our room after a strenuous day in Yosemite, but there’s a whole host of great entertainment to tempt you otherwise.
A highlight for kids is the Sierra Adventure Kids Club, which offers everything from sledding and ice-skating to movies and an evening camp – and then they’ll be nagging to return the next morning for the nature hike.
The pools, too, are so good that we found it a struggle to lure the kids away from the resort and do what you originally came here for: to visit Yosemite National Park.
Swimming options include an indoor pool, three outdoor pools, kids’ pool with water features, five hot tubs and a new adults-only relaxation pool.
Add to the mix the 25-foot climbing wall, 60-plus miles of mountain bike trails (mountain biking isn’t allowed with Yosemite itself), plus a local ski hill, Badger Ski Resort (one of only three US resorts within a national park), and you’ve got the complete package.
But back to our original goal: Yosemite.
Tenaya Lodge will serve as the ideal gateway to the mighty park.
The South Entrance is five minutes away, so you get a healthy headstart on the crowds during the peak summer months, when queues in the afternoon can turn your journey into something out of National Lampoon’s Vacation.
The entrance is also close to the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias.
The area, a Yosemite must-see, is scheduled to reopen this spring after several seasons of restoration works.
Improvements will see many roads converted into hiking trails to get up close to the giant sequoias, some of which are 2,000-years old.
From Mariposa, it’s a touch over an hour to get to heart of the park.
The entrance to Yosemite Valley, as you emerge from Tunnel View, is one of those jaw-dropping, head-turners, captured by Ansel Adams.
From this viewpoint you can see El Capitan, Half Dome and Bridalveil Fall.
The vista changes with each season to show something new but the best times to see Tunnel View are early spring (when Bridalveil Fall is at peak flow) and winter, when the gravity-defying granite domes are draped in snow and mist.
On the valley floor, the Merced River snakes through green meadows and groves of trees, and from here you’ll find the starting points for a number of great day hikes.
We opted for the hike up to Vernal and Nevada Falls, two of Yosemite’s most spectacular waterfalls, which also afforded views of Yosemite and Illilouette Falls from select spots on the trail.
The granite slabs atop Nevada Fall also make for a superb lunch spot.
If you start at the crack of dawn and in peak fitness, locals recommend Half Dome as the definitive Yosemite hike.
The stand-alone summit of this glacier-carved chunk of granite offers amazing vistas, and peering down its sheer 2, 000ft north face offers a thrill you’ll never forget.
After a day in Yosemite, we tucked into the Summerdale BBQ back at Tenaya Lodge.
The barbeque offers a taste of the “Old West” and harkens back to the day when folks gathered around an open flame for a hearty meal, storytelling and a song or two after a day of adventure.
Other resort dining options range from casual to candlelit at Sierra, Jackalope’s, Timberloft and Embers restaurants.
An elegant resort in the California High Sierra, Tenaya Lodge is your gateway to four seasons of Yosemite adventure. At Tenaya Lodge you rest, play and rejuvenate.
For more information about Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite visit the official website.