Tenaya Lodge is located on the edge Sierra National Forest just past the small town of Oakhurst and a short ten minutes to the south gate of Yosemite National Park off highway 41. Five handicapped parking spots were located closest to the hotel’s main entrance. Handcrafted wooden awnings provided a shelter from rain, snow and intense rays. The main entrance has automatic doors with adjoining manual doors. Once in Tenaya Lodge Lobby the check-in counter is to the left, restaurants to the right and a grand stone fireplace with seating area in the center. The floor in the lobby is a flagstone tile which is almost like cobblestone so wheeling over it is uneven and may be a little nuisance for some. I certainly had to slow my speed. The wheelchair accessible portion of the check-in desk is closest to the door (on the left side). Past the main area of the lobby and into either the west or east wing the walkway becomes carpet.
At Tenaya Lodge there are a few ADA lodging options. Access to most of the rooms is via elevator in the West or East Wing. However, one must drive to the two access bile cottages. No matter what fits your preference when it comes to a bathtub or roll-in shower, you get a hand-held shower nozzle and can request a portable shower bench. It is a basic shower-bench with a backrest and adjustable legs. The doors to the ADA accessible rooms have been widened and all have a lowered peep hole and latch as well as key card access. Doors to the bathroom have also been widened and include grab bars and a roll-up sink. The controls for the AC and heat have been lowered for easier access.
I stayed in room #301 which was just around the corner from the elevator and at the beginning of the hallway of rooms so there was noticeable foot traffic. Once through the door the hallway was widened and had a closet with a lowered bar. There was access to both sides of the bed after a slight adjustment to the lounger on one side. The bed itself was at a manageable height for self-transferring. I found the window easy to open but unfortunately the desk was way too low for me to wheel under. The roll-in shower had a ramp and a 2×2 inch lip and this combination made it a bit challenging when transferring in and out of the shower.
Room #201 and #301: ADA Lodge Rooms with Roll-in Shower and 1 King Bed
Room #141, 241, 278, 378, 478, 341: ADA Lodge Rooms with Bathtub and 2 Double Beds or 1 King Bed
Room #510 and #515: ADA Cottage Rooms with Bathtub and 1 King Bed
Pools & Spas
What really impressed me at the Tenaya Lodge was the fact that there were both a indoor and outdoor pool and spa and all four had permanent, battery operated wheelchair accessible lifts. The lifts which were installed in 2012 are operated by water proof remote in which you pick-up at the front desk. The seat to the lift is hard plastic with a back and two arm rests that are not adjustable, a seatbelt and a metal bar footrest. For operation, a battery must also be added to the lift. A manager will be in charge of placement and removal of it. While not in use, the lifts are shield with a blue cover which may be heavy for some to remove, however this is also something management can assist with.
Outside there are actually two pools, a regular one with a lift and the other is a wading pool (max 1.5ft deep)but even the wading pool has been made accessible as a ramp with handrails has been installed to gradually lower or wade you into the pool. The wading pool has specially designed domes on the edge of it that moderates the temperature. The outdoor pools and spa are saltwater. Surrounding the outdoor pool area are cabanas and tables with umbrellas. Access to both pool and spa areas requires your room key to enter and food can be delivered from the hotel to either location. Getting to the indoor pool does require a few steps as one must go the second floor, cross over the lobby, around the indoor pool’s balcony and then down and the elevator to get to the indoor pool’s main floor. The door to this pool is real heavy but hotel management tells me they are looking into getting an automatic door which would be real helpful.
Food & Beverage
The Sierra Restaurant is the fine dining restaurant at Tenaya Lodge which is open for breakfast and dinner only. The dining tables surround a large stone fireplace, creating a cozy ambiance. When the lodge is full a buffet breakfast is offered; otherwise, you order off a menu. Access to the Sierra Restaurant main floor is through the doors in the bar and is entirely carpeted. Otherwise, limited seating is available via pathway behind the restaurant podium. Right next to the Sierra Restaurant is Jackalopes Bar & Grill which is a more casual dining experience and is open for lunch and dinner. There is a full bar too if looking to enjoy a drink. However, despite the fact that there is no lowered section to the bar there are tables in the bar area that are wheelchair accessible. This area is a split between wooden and carpeted flooring. Across from the bar is the Parkside Deli which is great to get sandwiches and snacks for a day out exploring. The Timberloft Pizzeria is not in the main lodge but up the road just a hair near the cottages and offers brick-oven pizzas and other Italian dishes.
Take the elevator in the west wing down one floor from the lobby to reach the spa. The Ascent Spa takes up the entire space. The desk at the spa had a lowered area for transactions. Reservations can be made there or by calling the spa directly. On the day of the appointment, guests have access to all the spas amenities, including steam and sauna room with built-in benches. Lowered lockers as well as an accessible restroom and shower are there for use. The spa offers different body treatments and massages, including couples massage. The massage room more spacious than most I have seen and the tables lower to a superb level for a manual wheelchair transfer.
After Thanksgiving during the winter months the property transforms into a winter wonderland. The week after Thanksgiving the lodge is decorated for the Christmas holiday and remains until a little after the new year. The property is covered in snow during the winter months but the staff does a great of making sure walkways remain clear. Two fire-pits are often lit during the winter months in the front of the lodge and on the back patio. The one on the back patio is exceptionally large and s’mores supplies are available for guests for $19.95 (feeds 10 people). In this area one will find a ice skating rank but from spring to fall it becomes an a covered outdoor event pavilion.
No paved bike trails near the lodge but the south gate to Yosemite National Park is a short 10 minute drive away. However, once through the gate it is about an hour to the Yosemite Valley Floor. On the way you will pass Mariposa Grove, which has a wheelchair accessible tram (closed during winter) or you can follow the tram in your car that your arrange with the tram driver. Between the town of Oakhurst and Tenaya Lodge is the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad (open March-October). The Logger Steam Train is wheelchair accessible and takes you on a 4 mile journey into the Sierra Mountains.