Leave the tent at home and indulge in luxury at this California jewel
You don't have to rough it when vacationing at Yosemite National Park in California. In fact, luxury accommodations, fine dining and pampering treatments are easily found, as are private guides to show you the sights.
Stay at the Ahwahnee
Built in 1927 in Yosemite Valley, this hotel underwent renovations just two years ago and currently holds a four-diamond rating from AAA. It offers stunning views of the park's forests as well as Glacier Point, Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. Request a Featured Room with a balcony or deck from which to admire the beautiful surroundings. The views inside also impress, with an array of design influences, including art deco, Native American, Middle Eastern and the arts and crafts movement. Visit yosemitepark.com/ahwahnee to plan your stay.
Eat at a vintners' holiday session
November and December offer special vintners' holidays at Yosemite. The celebrations of the fall harvest feature wine tastings and seminars, a private reception with the winemakers, and a five-course gourmet meal that complements the often rare or limited-release labels shared by the participating wineries. The sessions run Sunday through Tuesday or Wednesday and Thursday. Visit yosemitepark.com/vintners-holidays.aspx for more information.
Climb with Yosemite Mountaineering School
Climbers of all skill levels can embark on a guided climb with a private instructor. Up to three people can make up a three-quarter or full-day class, but climbing the Half Dome or El Capitan must be done one-on-one with the instructor. Make reservations as soon as you book your flight, as the guided climbing tours at Yosemite fill up weeks in advance. To learn more, go to yosemitepark.com/rock-climbing-guides.aspx.
Hike the Valley Floor Loop Trail
Just as private instructors are available for climbs, private guides can be hired for hikes. Take it easy with this half-day excursion, which will allow you to see more popular sights in the park from less traveled paths. Your guide will tell you all about the park and its geology, flora, fauna and the Native American history of the area. As private hikes can be customized, this activity will suit singles, couples and families alike. Visit yosemitepark.com/day-hiking.aspx for more information.
Relax at Ascent Spa at Tenaya Lodge
This 10,000-square-foot spa features 12 treatment rooms, dry saunas, steam rooms and a wellness center offering various classes, as well as indoor and outdoor pools and Jacuzzis. Treatment products use natural, local and sustainable herbal blends from the region. For her, try the Tenaya River Stone Facial featuring both cool and warm river stones and organic oils to heal and moisturize your skin. For him, the Active Men's Facial gently but deeply cleanses skin and restores it to a smoother and healthier state. Check out tenayalodge.com for more.
A vacation in Yosemite National Park creates memories of a lifetime, but be sure to pack your camera as well.