THE BACKGROUND: A quiet and convenient low-rise top-end 100-room Best Western hotel which is a good affordable base when the few Yosemite hotels are full, as they invariably are for much of the year. Also an ideal stop-off on a tour which is linking San Francisco, Sacramento or the Napa Valley with Lake Tahoe.
WHERE IS IT? OA couple of miles from downtown Sonora, at the junctions of three highways (49, 109 and 120) in the heart of Gold Country and within the Columbia Historic Park area of the Sierra Foothills. Local attractions include the Sierra Railroad, Columbia State Park, Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park, which is 43 miles away. Winter guests are also near Dodge Ridge Ski Area, Leland Snow Park and Black Oak Casino. The hotel is also close to the delightful Gold Rush era town of Jamestown with its collection of wooden buildings and a handful of good restaurants.
THE HOTEL: Very efficient and friendly check-in with restaurant vouchers for breakfast and dinner, a room map, keys, timings and general instructions all smilingly handed over.
THE ROOM: One of two queen executive rooms with two Queen beds and a small balcony overlooking a garden. Amenities include a work table with dataports, large cable satellite TV, big fridge, microwave, iron/board, coffee-making machine with drinkable Wolfgang Puck coffee. Usefully the room has three luggage storage racks. The bathroom has bath and shower as well as a basin and toilet with a dressing table/mirror just outside.
THE RESTAURANT: Immediately adjacent but separate from the hotel is the Pine Tree Restaurant & Lounge, open all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s an archetypal American low-cost restaurant with breakfast specials from $5.99 (May 2011) however, the Best Western Plus Sonora Oaks room rate includes a complimentary continental breakfast. A separate lounge serves drinks.
THE FACILITIES: Free high-speed internet access, an outdoor swimming pool which is seasonally heated, a spa, free parking, and 24-hour ‘Seattle’s Best Coffee and Tea in the lobby.
THE RATES: From $129.99 to $149.99 depending on weekday or weekend in high season (May-September). Shoulder rates are $119.99/$139.99 and low (winter) season ranges from $99/$119.99.
THE DETAILS: Best Western Plus Sonora Oaks, 19551 Hess Avenue, Sonora, California 95370-9720; Tel: 001 209 533 4400; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If accommodation in Yosemite is fully booked (as it frequently is) or too expensive, the Best Western Plus Sonora Oaks is a good, friendly base about an hour from the park.
Managing editor, Selling Long Haul