The view from Room 204
The Ahwahnee Hotel, like the Royal Hawaiian of my childhood hometown, has a rich and storied history. The Yosemite landmark’s art, architecture, and ambience reek of old wealth, the kind so old that it frowns on silver certificates as disreputable tender. With the sand in my hourglass dwindling even faster than my money, however, it was time to pull my nose away from the window and go through the door.
I walked up to the Ahwahnee's front desk and inquired about a one-night stay. (The inclement weather and the half-empty parking lot suggested that my chances of securing a room were good.) The manager glanced at my, er, extremely casual garb and helpfully suggested that if I waited until 6 p.m., and if there were still rooms available, he would cut the rate. The prospect of looking for different lodging on icy roads in the dark, especially with an irate spouse, was not worth the potential savings: "I'll take it now."
Our weekend trip had begun on impulse, so we hadn't packed clothes that would pass muster as dinner attire in the Ahwahnee dining hall. No matter. We sat down to a fine meal at the Mountain Room at Yosemite Lodge and watched a movie about Yosemite's history.
We returned to the Ahwahnee and spent the evening in the Great Lounge, quietly reading, sipping coffee by the fire, and tapping on our laptops and iPhones. The atmosphere took me back to my college days, with the added benefit of the Google.
Our day at Yosemite and the Ahwahnee turned out better than we had planned (to be sure our "plans" had been quite unformed). However it turns out, 2009 has started on a positive note.
© 2009 Stephen Yuen