Christmas at Montecito-Sequoia Lodge, Kings Canyon National Park – Review

We lodged at this park for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day during the Holidays in 2006. The all-inclusive package deal was priced at $149 for adults, $89 for children ages 5-12, and $20 for kids under the age of 4 on a per diem per person basis. Our accommodation was at the Sugar Pine lodge, a minute away from the main lodge. The room is very basic with a bunk bed and queen size bed with a smallish bath attached. Since then, owners have changed hands and a renovation is complete - the rooms are upgraded - the rustic atmosphere & basic nature remain. Our room was used primarily to sleep in as the rest of the time was completely used up by the activities that were included in the package.

We arrived around 3 PM at the place after a drive of around 4 hours from the Bay Area. Finding a good place to eat lunch on the way was a challenge even with the help of our GPS and we settled for a Denny’s restaurant in the Clovis/Fresno area. The lodge itself was a breeze to locate although the last few odd miles were snowed in. The maintenance crew had cleared the roadway but a 4-wheel drive and/or snow-chains are recommended. Checking in was smooth but getting all our stuff to the room was an ordeal as the parking lot was a little distant and instead of driving closer to the lodge we foolishly decided to lug our belongings from the parking lot using a trolley. The pathway was snowed in and without snowshoes at that time the going was tough. A hint we learnt from other vehicles parked in the lot was to point the windshield wipers out before leaving the vehicle. It will get buried under the snow the next day and odds are high that the windshield motor will get overloaded when you try to clear the snow.

Food is buffet style with dinner served from 5 PM at the main lodge. Coffee, sodas, and snacks are available round the clock in the kitchen area. Dining area is an extension of the main lobby with round tables for eight through out. The adjoining activities area is another large room with its own fireplace, media-center (TV, karaoke equipment, etc), ping-pong table, and cabinets full of board games. The rest of the space is used as an extension to the dining area complete with round tables for eight. Drinks can be purchased from a small counter in the activities area. Ice creams and desserts were aplenty in the main lobby. Buffet food is very good with a broad array of choices. We had vegetarians in our group and they also found the food very appealing. Our older kid who is very picky about food had a good time too as she was able to find things to her liking, given the extensive options.

Some sort of a planned group activity follows dinner. The night we arrived the planned activity was to build a gingerbread house from scratch. This was a great experience for the kids as they appreciated the process of mixing the dough, decorating it with goodies, all the way through baking “all by themselves”. The following night was the Christmas program. The staff started off with a few hilarious standup comedy shows, and Christmas carols in karaoke style. The guests followed this up with some fine performances interspersed with a few from the kids. At the end of the night Santa Claus arrived and gave a photo opportunity for every kid and no kid was denied a present. As for daytime activities, there were several choices. Some, like the dog sled were not included in the package. The first day we signed up the kids for skiing lessons in the morning and for tubing in the afternoon. The staff had an art program that kept them occupied in between. Mountain access passes were included in our package but we chose to sled in the morning. We had brought sleds with us but rentals are available at the ski shop. The sledding hill is fairly small and overlooks the frozen lake. A popular choice is to go cross-country skiing while the staff handles the kids. The following day, the kids went snowshoeing. Later we took the kids to explore the mountain a little bit, built a snowman, and did more sledding before walking back to main lodge for lunch. Hung out around the deck area in the afternoon along with the kids, enjoyed the beautiful view for a while. It was hard to believe it was already time to leave. Overall, we rate this as the most relaxing experience we have ever had at a vacation with the kids. The kids were occupied for most of the daytime and the fact that we didn’t have to worry about food choices for our picky kids was the crowning glory!

Summer weekly camps are another popular family option in this resort. General rates are fairly steep although it is all-inclusive (activities, food, and board) - $3295 for a family of four per week for a cabin. There are discounts for the first few weeks and the last two weeks - the rates for the discounted weeks are 7% or 14% of the general rates depending on the week. Overall, even considering our frugal mindset, these are good deals as most everything is taken cared off for around $120 per person per day and discounts can further lower that cost.

Last Updated: 01/2015.




No comments :

Labels

401k ( 15 ) Abad Turtle Beach ( 1 ) Abrams Capital Management ( 5 ) Acoustic Electric Guitars ( 1 ) Acoustic Guitars ( 1 ) ACT ( 1 ) Activist ( 4 ) Address Change ( 2 ) Advanced Placement ( 4 ) air asia ( 2 ) airlines ( 2 ) Akre Capital Management ( 18 ) Alex Roepers ( 5 ) AP ( 4 ) apartments ( 2 ) Appaloosa ( 15 ) ARIUS ( 1 ) Arlington Value Capital ( 3 ) Atlantic Investment Management ( 5 ) Ayemenem ( 1 ) Bangalore ( 3 ) Bangkok ( 2 ) Bannerghatta National Park ( 1 ) barbuda ( 2 ) Battery Park ( 1 ) Baupost ( 2 ) Baupost Group ( 17 ) bay area ( 2 ) BDCs ( 3 ) Benjamin Graham ( 2 ) Benjamin Graham Model ( 2 ) Berijam Lake ( 2 ) Berkshire Hathaway ( 30 ) best sites ( 9 ) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ( 14 ) Bill Ackman ( 19 ) Bill Gates ( 15 ) Blue Ridge Capital ( 14 ) Blum Capital Partners ( 12 ) books ( 4 ) Boone Pickens ( 2 ) BP Capital Management ( 2 ) Brave Warrior ( 3 ) Brave Warrior Advisors ( 12 ) british honduras ( 2 ) Bruce Berkowitz ( 19 ) Bruce Fund ( 13 ) Camcorders ( 3 ) canada ( 4 ) cancun ( 3 ) CANROYs ( 7 ) Cantillon ( 12 ) carl icahn ( 9 ) Carl Ichan ( 8 ) casino ( 3 ) Casio ( 2 ) CBRE ( 2 ) CEF ( 2 ) Charles Akre ( 15 ) Charlie Munger ( 14 ) Chase Coleman ( 14 ) Chou Associates ( 19 ) Christmas gifts ( 7 ) Christopher H. Browne ( 7 ) Chuck Akre ( 13 ) Cisco ( 2 ) Class Action Settlements ( 2 ) CLEP ( 1 ) Coatue Management ( 14 ) Cochin ( 2 ) coin collecting ( 266 ) collectibles ( 266 ) Consumer Product Reviews ( 29 ) cook islands ( 2 ) coonoor ( 2 ) Covered Calls ( 2 ) credai ( 4 ) Daily Journal ( 14 ) Dalal Street ( 8 ) Dan Loeb ( 10 ) DAT ( 1 ) David Abrams ( 5 ) David Einhorn ( 22 ) David Swensen ( 17 ) David Tepper ( 15 ) David Winters ( 15 ) DCF ( 2 ) Digital Piano ( 3 ) Dinakar Singh ( 14 ) Donald Yacktman ( 10 ) dry bulk shipping ( 2 ) Duquesne ( 19 ) Education ( 37 ) Edward Lampert ( 15 ) Egerton Capital ( 14 ) Egypt ( 3 ) Elementary Education ( 10 ) Elementary School Textbooks ( 5 ) eReaders ( 2 ) Eric Mindich ( 13 ) ESL Investments ( 10 ) ESPP ( 6 ) ETF ( 2 ) ETN ( 2 ) Eton Park ( 13 ) Everyday Musings ( 58 ) Exam Prep ( 7 ) Exiting the rat race - how to? ( 19 ) EXPLORE ( 1 ) Fair Value Estimates ( 4 ) Fairfax Financial ( 4 ) Fairfax Financial Holdings ( 14 ) Fairholme ( 19 ) Fairpointe ( 14 ) Family Office ( 5 ) FD Laddering ( 1 ) Financial Independence ( 93 ) Fisher Asset Management ( 10 ) Flash Camcorders ( 3 ) flat ( 4 ) flats ( 2 ) Flip ( 3 ) Francis Chou ( 19 ) free ( 17 ) frugal ( 3 ) Frugal Living ( 34 ) Fund Holdings ( 775 ) futures ( 2 ) FVE ( 2 ) gambling ( 3 ) garmin ( 2 ) Genting ( 2 ) george soros ( 21 ) giveaway ( 15 ) Glenn Greenberg ( 16 ) Glenview Capital ( 10 ) GMAT ( 1 ) Google ( 2 ) Gotham Asset Management ( 7 ) gps ( 5 ) GRE ( 1 ) Greenlight Capital ( 22 ) Guitars ( 3 ) Half Marathon ( 2 ) Hawaii ( 2 ) Hedge Funds ( 794 ) HELOC ( 1 ) High School Education ( 7 ) High School Textbooks ( 6 ) HOA ( 3 ) hobby ( 17 ) holiday shopping ( 7 ) Holidays ( 3 ) Holyland ( 11 ) Home Improvement ( 2 ) home ownership ( 5 ) Homes ( 18 ) Homeschool ( 18 ) Houses ( 2 ) Housing ( 3 ) Hykon ( 2 ) Ian Cumming ( 15 ) Icahn Enterprises ( 6 ) india real estate ( 5 ) Infinuvo ( 6 ) Insurance ( 2 ) invesco ( 17 ) investing strategies ( 2 ) Investment Portfolio ( 94 ) Investment Research ( 10 ) Investments ( 7 ) iRobot ( 5 ) Irving Kahn ( 10 ) israel ( 5 ) Jason Maynard ( 10 ) Jefferies ( 2 ) Jeffrey Bruce ( 14 ) Jeffrey Ubben ( 12 ) Jerusalem ( 2 ) Jim Chanos ( 14 ) Joel Greenblatt ( 7 ) John Armitage ( 14 ) John Griffin ( 14 ) John Paulson ( 17 ) Joho Capital ( 15 ) Jordan ( 3 ) Joseph Steinberg ( 9 ) Julian Robertson ( 4 ) Kahn Brothers ( 10 ) Kakkanad ( 4 ) Kanyakumari ( 2 ) Kawai ( 2 ) Ken Fisher ( 10 ) kerala real estate ( 5 ) Kids ( 49 ) Kids Yamaha ( 3 ) Kindle ( 2 ) kochi ( 8 ) Kodaikanal ( 2 ) Korg ( 2 ) Kraft ( 2 ) Kuala Lumpur ( 2 ) KWA ( 2 ) Kynikos ( 14 ) laptop ( 5 ) Larry Robbins ( 10 ) Las Vegas ( 2 ) Leon Cooperman ( 15 ) Leucadia ( 2 ) Leucadia National ( 13 ) Lone Pine Capital ( 9 ) long ( 6 ) long call ( 2 ) long puts ( 3 ) Lou Simpson ( 15 ) LSAT ( 1 ) Mahabalipuram ( 2 ) Malaysia ( 3 ) Marathon ( 2 ) Mark McGoldrick ( 10 ) Markel ( 14 ) Mason Hawkins ( 4 ) MCAT ( 1 ) Melinda Gates ( 8 ) memorabilia ( 266 ) MFP Investors ( 14 ) Michael Dell ( 16 ) Michael Price ( 14 ) Middle School Education ( 4 ) Middle School Textbooks ( 3 ) Mini Notebook ( 3 ) MODUS ( 1 ) Mohnish Pabrai ( 21 ) mortgage ( 2 ) Mount Kellett ( 10 ) MSD Capital ( 16 ) Music ( 6 ) Mutual Funds ( 5 ) mysore ( 2 ) Nelson Peltz ( 9 ) Netbook ( 4 ) Notebook ( 3 ) numismatics ( 266 ) O-Duster ( 1 ) Oahu ( 2 ) offers ( 2 ) Ole Andreas Halvorsen ( 10 ) Omega Advisors ( 15 ) online tax ( 4 ) ooty ( 2 ) Options ( 4 ) Pabrai Fund ( 17 ) passive income ( 7 ) pattaya ( 2 ) Paulson & Company ( 7 ) Paulson and Company ( 9 ) PEG ( 2 ) Pershing Square ( 19 ) Phil Fisher ( 5 ) philately ( 283 ) Philippe Laffont ( 14 ) Piano ( 9 ) PLAN Test ( 1 ) portfolio ( 4 ) Prem Watsa ( 17 ) product reviews ( 13 ) Property Taxes ( 2 ) PSAT ( 1 ) R2I ( 24 ) R2I Finances ( 3 ) R2I Housing ( 5 ) Raising Kids ( 41 ) Rat Race ( 15 ) RBS Partners ( 13 ) reading ( 5 ) real estate ( 6 ) Reducing Expenses ( 2 ) REIT ( 3 ) Retirement Portfolio ( 9 ) Reviews ( 81 ) Richard C. Blum ( 12 ) Robert Bruce ( 14 ) Robert Karr ( 15 ) Robotic Vacuum ( 4 ) Roland ( 2 ) Roomba ( 10 ) schooling ( 2 ) Sears ( 10 ) seeking alpha ( 2 ) Services - Reviews ( 33 ) Seth Klarman ( 19 ) Shipping ( 5 ) Shopping ( 3 ) short ( 5 ) short calls ( 2 ) short put ( 2 ) short puts ( 2 ) short selling ( 8 ) Ski ( 5 ) Sled ( 4 ) Solar Stocks ( 13 ) Soros Fund Management ( 14 ) Southeastern Asset Management ( 4 ) Southwest ( 2 ) spin-offs ( 2 ) SQ Advisors ( 15 ) stamp collecting ( 283 ) Stanley Druckenmiller ( 19 ) Statue of Liberty ( 2 ) Stephen Mandel ( 9 ) Stock Analysis ( 84 ) Stock Investments ( 4 ) Stock Portfolio Updates ( 6 ) stocks ( 3 ) summer ( 2 ) tax ( 6 ) TaxAct ( 3 ) TaxCut ( 1 ) Teacher's Editions ( 5 ) Technology ( 4 ) Test Prep ( 11 ) Thailand ( 3 ) Thekkady ( 2 ) theme park ( 2 ) Third Point ( 10 ) Thomas Gayner ( 14 ) Thyra Zerhusen ( 14 ) Tiger Cub ( 31 ) Tiger Global ( 15 ) Tiger Management ( 12 ) Time Square ( 2 ) TOEFL ( 1 ) TPG-Axon ( 14 ) Travel ( 278 ) Travel Reviews ( 82 ) Trian Fund Holdings ( 9 ) trip report ( 21 ) TurboTax ( 3 ) Tweedy Browne ( 10 ) Vacations ( 28 ) value investing ( 12 ) ValueAct ( 5 ) ValueAct Holdings ( 6 ) Vancouver ( 2 ) Video ( 3 ) Viking Global ( 10 ) Wallace Weitz ( 10 ) Warren Buffett ( 30 ) Wayanad ( 4 ) Weitz Investment Management ( 9 ) wilbur ross ( 17 ) William Von Mueffling ( 12 ) Wintergreen Advisors ( 15 ) Yacktman Asset Management ( 10 ) Yale Endowment ( 17 ) Yale University ( 7 ) Yamaha ( 7 ) YDP ( 1 ) YPG ( 1 )