The Wuksachi Lodge is the culmination of a confusing and bitter fight between environmentalists, NPS personnel, historic preservationists, sentimentalists, scientists, and extremists on all sides. The original lodging in Sequoia NP was built right among the Giant Forest. Architectural visionary Gilbert Stanley Underwood redesigned a Giant Forest Village complex during the 1920s; it was these structures that were the focal point of the imbroglio. Scientists said they had to go, preservationists cried foul. The Giant Forest Village went through nearly fifty years of controversy before it was razed. Wuksachi Village was proposed to fill the void.
Because of the hue and cry over the demolition of Giant Forest Village, park planners wanted Wuksachi to come as close as possible to the model of an Ahwahnee or Old Faithful Inn. As new construction, it allowed for significant improvements in the in-room facilities. Where older lodges had modern baths and ventilation shoe-horned in, guest rooms at the Wuksachi have been full service and spacious right from the start.
Wuksachi claims to rival the grand lodges in other National Parks. It doesn't, but it is a high quality lodging experience.
Just as the guest rooms are a modern interpretation of what a room should be, the entire Wuksachi complex is a carefully contrived vision with room for expansion. Although the quality is light years beyond anything ever built in the old Giant Forest Village, the new complex has none of the mystique nor excitement. It feels like a Residence Inn with wood shingles...nice, but nothing more than a place to sleep and possibly to eat.
Upon approach, the roof dominates the structure. It's a modern, weather-resistant roof of highly engineered materials; perfect for a modern, highly-engineered motel...er, lodging facility.
Lurking in the lounge is nice, and it's easy to envision a day when the new wears off and the structure has a more inviting feeling. This would happen a lot faster if the price tags were removed from the lamps, and if the lounge stayed open past 9 p.m. The dining room -- billed as luxury -- has the feel of a hotel banquet room with middling fare and mission styling.