Sequoia Lodge Review

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Disney’s Sequoia Lodge is a hotel at Disneyland Paris, with an aesthetic inspired by America’s National Park lodges with a modern twist. (Imagine if Frank Lloyd Wright designed Yosemite’s Ahwahnee.) Disneyland Paris doesn’t tier its hotels the same way that Walt Disney World does, but Sequoia Lodge would occupy about the same position as Wilderness Lodge, on the cheaper side of the Deluxes. Price-wise, it’s in the mid-range of Disneyland Paris hotels.

Actually, Sequoia Lodge has a lot in common with Wilderness Lodge. Thematically, it’s quite similar, although Sequoia Lodge feels more modern and Wilderness Lodge feels more rustic. Both offer a similar caliber of amenities, and both are across the lake from their castle park. (Although in the case of Sequoia Lodge, that park is only a 12 minute walk away.)

The short walking distance to the parks is an obvious pro, but the con is the lack of a grand and cavernous lobby. This lobby, to us, is a defining characteristic of Wilderness Lodge. Mind you, not every National Park lodge has a grand lobby like this, but it’s certainly a great characteristic that Sequoia Lodge is lacking. This is especially true at Christmas-time, when the beautiful Christmas tree makes a great centerpiece to the Wilderness Lodge lobby.

Otherwise, Sequoia Lodge is pretty much neck and neck with Wilderness Lodge. The details in Sequoia were great, with lots of nice finishing touches, murals, and art you might expect to find in a National Park lodge. Of course, this was all on the rustic side. This rustic look and feel is fine by me and perfectly on-theme, but if you’re primarily interested in luxury, the theme is inherently limiting in that department.

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This is why we felt the modern choice of architecture was a wise one. It balanced out the rustic theme a bit and made the hotel border on trendy (to be sure, it’s not). From the clean exterior lines to certain light fixtures and fireplaces, it feels like a modern take on a National Park lodge. This is one case where two contrasting styles compliment one another, rather than clashing. There’s no identity struggle, it just works.

The thematic highlight of Sequoia Lodge is definitely Redwood Bar & Lounge. We stopped by here a couple of times, and it captured the essence of the lodge wonderfully. The furniture was large and luxurious, the lights were low with the table we were at being mostly lit by white strands of Christmas lights in a window that looked through to the lobby. In the center of Redwood Bar is a beautiful pass-through fireplace that is stunning. We literally could have sat by this fireplace for hours. At its best, Disney transports you to a different time and place. This fireplace definitely did that, and sitting in the lounge watching it was a really enjoyable experience. Relaxing next to it after a long day in Disneyland Paris felt more like unwinding after a long day of winter hiking in a National Park lodge. It may “just” be a fireplace, but as always, it’s the Disney details that make the difference.

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Restaurants at Disney’s Sequoia Lodge include the aforementioned Redwood Bar & Lounge, plus Hunter’s Grill (table-side carved meats–the more expensive of the two restaurants) and Beaver Creek Tavern (buffet featuring barbecue). We dined at Hunter’s Grill and Beaver Creek Tavern for breakfasts (included with the hotel stay) and while these meals were fine and the restaurants had nice ambiance, these included breakfasts were not a sufficient basis for us to judge the restaurants. Redwood Bar & Lounge was exceptional, and we highly recommend even non-drinkers visit it. As for breakfast, we recommend booking it early–2 hours before park opening. We booked breakfast one morning at 8 am, and we waited in line 45 minutes. The mornings we did 7 am breakfast, there was never a wait.

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As for Sequoia Lodge’s rooms, we can’t quite heap on the praise. It’s my understanding that the rooms had been refurbished shortly before our stay, but they still left a lot to be desired. I think this is a fairly common complaint with this style hotel, and even Wilderness Lodge and the Grand Californian Hotel aren’t immune to it. The theme makes it difficult to convey the sense of luxury that the price suggests.

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This is not to say that anything was wrong with the room. It was spacious with large beds (albeit on the hard side), and a nice bathroom. As compared to Wilderness Lodge and (especially) the Grand Californian, I think the details and little touches in the room were a bit sparse. In fairness, Sequoia Lodge is less expensive than both Wilderness Lodge and (especially) Grand Californian. In any case, we still thought the rooms at Sequoia Lodge were fine, and we don’t mind the rustic theming.

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Recently, Sequoia Lodge opened a new booking class called the Golden Forest Club. This is similar to the Castle Club in Disneyland Hotel (which offers views of Paris’ castle!) and the Empire State Club at Disney’s Hotel New York. In this case, the rooms are on the top floors of the main building and offer access to the Golden Forest Club Lounge. This lounge features a giant tree with golden lanterns hanging from its branches, and serves breakfast with Disney characters and free drinks and snacks in the afternoon. Of course, rooms in this class cost significantly more per night. We haven’t stayed at the Golden Forest Club level, and probably won’t given that we feel it offers poor value. If our budget allowed, we’d probably rather put that money towards splurging on a night in the Disneyland Hotel.

Speaking of which, although we’ve only stayed in Disney’s Sequoia Lodge, we have toured each of the hotels at Disneyland Paris, and Sequoia Lodge is our top pick for the best mix of value and quality, based upon what we saw. Disneyland Hotel is the nicest overall, but with prices over double the cost of Sequoia Lodge during our visit, it was out of the question. If money were no issue, we’d stay there. Sequoia Lodge would be our #2 pick if we had an infinite budget, which would put it ahead of the more expensive Hotel New York and Newport Bay Club.

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Overall, Disney’s Sequoia Lodge is a great compromise of theme and value if you want an on-site Disneyland Paris hotel. The theme is enjoyable, especially around Christmas and the hotel is a short walk to the parks. There are other strong selling points, such as the great Redwood Bar & Lounge, but ultimately it’s the cross of a great theme and a price point that isn’t too overwhelming (for a Disney hotel–Val d’Europe has hotels that are quite nice for less money) that makes Sequoia Lodge a standout for us.

If this Disney’s Sequoia Lodge Review has piqued your curiosity about visiting Disneyland Paris, make sure to check out the official Disneyland Paris website for 50% off packages and other discounts! Depending upon your circumstances, visiting Disneyland Paris can be as inexpensive as visiting Walt Disney World! Why not try a new Disney park?!

For the basics of planning a visit to Disneyland Paris, check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Planning Guide. Want to see more photos or read about Disneyland Paris in agonizing detail? Check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Report!

Your Thoughts…

Have you ever stayed at Disney’s Sequoia Lodge? What did you think of it? Planning a stay? Your comments are half the fun, so please share any questions or feedback about Sequoia Lodge at Disneyland Paris that you have in the comments!

 

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17 Responses to “Sequoia Lodge Review”

  1. Aaron in DC says:

    Alright, I’m going to come out and say it. Disney builds the most engaging and beautiful theme parks the world has ever known. They build spectacular, stunning resort hotels. The build on richly developed themes and back stories, and their rooms command substantially higher rates than their local market traditionally sustains. And it’s all so wonderful until you get to your room. WDI really needs to rethink their interior design when it comes to hotel rooms. Is it just me, or do they all seem to be a bit Holly Hobby? The border wallpaper, the dated comforters…doesn’t it just take you back to the late-80′s?

    Don’t get me wrong – I love Disney and where the room design disappoints they certainly make up for in every other category. But don’t the rooms seem to be very similar across the categories? New Rule: No more border wallpaper and some goose-down duvets, please!

    • Lauren Boxx says:

      I have thought this exact same thing so many times. I don’t understand what happens in the rooms! Wallpaper boarder, really?

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I think the rooms as-is are fine for moderate resorts and below, but they’re a letdown (with some exceptions) at the Deluxe level. I think part of the reason you don’t see things like goose-down duvets is the types of guests Disney attracts. A Park Hyatt in a major city might cost the same as a Disney hotel, but it’s attracting primarily business travelers or mature adults. By contrast, that pricey Disney hotel is attracting families (many of whom probably don’t normally stay at luxury hotels) with kids…who are much more likely to trash those luxuries. Since the Disney guests also may not be accustomed to luxury hotels, they don’t know what they’re missing, and give Disney a pass on these things being lacking.

      As for the basic room design…I have no explanation for that. Nor am I excusing the lack of standard amenities, just explaining why the rooms may be a letdown.

  2. Chad says:

    How would you compare this to the Grand Californian in Disneyland?

  3. Zavandor says:

    I agree with all your comments. I don’t believe the price difference for the Newport and New York hotels are justified.

    However in Disneyland Paris classification of hotels, Sequoia Lodge is a moderate. And that reflects to the room amenities and details.

    If I stay onsite, my favorite is the Cheyenne. It has a very nice theme (Old West town) being one of the two cheapest. And the walking distance for some of the rooms is almost the same as the Sequoia.

    If someone is looking for a very cheap offsite stay, I would suggest to look at Bussy Saint George. It’s just 5 minutes away with the RER (Paris train) and since the train stop is just at the entrance of the park, it takes almost as much to get to park as taking the free shuttle from the onsite hotels (but of course you are not in walking distance).

  4. Kirstine says:

    I stayed here last month, I’ve been to DLP quite a few times and always stayed in on site hotels and this is defiantly my favourite! I remember you saying in your DLP trip report about the trees having their christmas lights ‘thrown’ over them. This christmas there were no lights at all on the trees out the front! Still it’s such a lovely cosy hotel.

  5. Spirit of 74 says:

    A few notes, Tom, as I am traveling in Europe and just returned from a week in Paris that included a stay at the Sequioa Lodge (and in the Golden Forest Club). First, the resort was intended to be a moderate resort in the DLP lineup. It also was the only resort designed by a French architect, so the take on an American NP lodge is a bit different.

    While it may ‘feel’ similar to the vibes at the WL at WDW or the GC at DLR, it doesn’t come close to the caliber of those.

    Bluntly, it’s also the only resort at DLP that I’d stay at right now. The others are …how to put this nicely … Expensive dumps in various states of decay. SL is the only resort that has had a top to bottom renovation, although Santa Fe is nearing completion, but still looks bleak due to the theme, design choices and French climate. It’s also way too basic for my tastes.

    A correction on Hunter’s Grill. It once featured meats on skewers (think BBQ ‘Ohana), but the place now is a buffet as part of DLP’s dumbing down of dining. That said, we had a wonderful dinner there that was second only to Boma in my ratings of Disney buffets.

    The GFC was definitely worth what we paid for it with a more civil breakfast experience that included visits by two major characters every day, free sodas, coffees and teas until 10:30 p.m. And afternoon cakes, donuts and other sweets.

    With all that said, I still would advise most visitors to stay in Paris and take the RER in. We got a 40% discount by using the French website (English/UK was 30%) off of what was basically a value season rate. By comparison we stayed in Paris at a 4-star hotel with Priceline.com for $85 (not Euros) per night.

    • Tom Bricker says:

      I once read a very interesting article in some newspaper or magazine (the New Yorker, maybe?) reviewing the architecture of the hotels at Disneyland Paris just after they opened, and they were pretty much universally panned, EXCEPT for Sequoia Lodge. The difference in architects was noted in the article and there was some criticism for not letting more French architects work on the hotels, instead of using Eisner’s personal favorites.

      When I saw Santa Fe, it looked awful–like the worst resort there. My understanding is that only the rooms are being redone (to Cars?), so that won’t change the hideous exteriors.

      Thanks for the info on the restaurants. A bit of an aside, but as for buffets, have you tried Tusker House? I’d put it right up there with Boma.

      You and I differ on hotel proximity, but I’m curious as to why you’d recommend staying in Paris (proper) and taking the RER? That’s a pretty significant train ride, especially with kids, and especially if you’re visiting during a busy season. We got a great, inexpensive room in Val d’Europe (1 stop on the RER). If I were going to stay off-site, that’s definitely where I’d stay–and I understand they’re building more hotels there!

      Hope the European holiday is treating you well!

  6. Spirit of 74 says:

    Just a few other comments that I forgot before I get to your note, TB (I like the TB sounds like an important person’s nickname to me!)

    Also included when you stay at the Golden Forest Club is one free FP per person, per day. Now, it isn’t that big of a deal this time of year. Matter of fact, I forgot ours on our second day and left them in the luggage on our final day, so we only used them on half our days. But in busier periods I can see this adding some value, especially on BTMRR or ToT, which were the attractions we used our bonus FPs for.

    On the hotel renovation (rebuilding is a more accurate term as they have basically been left to decay since opening) front, Santa Fe is indeed complete and does have a Cars overlay (gotta love that WDW BRAND influence adding characters everywhere). It still is ugly, cold and incredibly basic with no AC in the rooms and no swimming pool.

    Newport Bay is finally starting its massive overhaul and 524 rooms are currently out of service and being stripped bare. This is in the wing with the pool facilities. I did notice that they had done some painting in the lobby and restaurants there, which was so needed as the hotel appeared as a faded version of the BC and YC combined. I would guess at the DLP pace that by mid-2015 that resort will be safe to book as well as SL.

    Supposedly, Hotel NY is then up, but no time table has been given and nothing has been scheduled for either Cheyenne or DLH, which actually commands the highest prices for standard rooms of ANY Disney resort hotel in the world on a regular basis.

    You understand correctly about the architects and the hubbub that went on when the resort was new regarding Disney’s decision to use Americans that were working on WDW projects at the same time largely like Robert Stern and Michael Graves. Can’t blame them. I’ve come to realise why I feel the resort area of DLP is so cold is because of the way the resorts were designed and placed by a man-made SQUARE lake that just feels off … and we had a lake-view room, so I had plenty of time to look at it! :-)

    Haven’t been to Tusker House since they buffeted it. I will likely go this year since it is one of the places that CMs now get 40% all the time. It used to have wonderful food when it was counter service and I imagine it still does.

    Speaking of food, I also read your review of Toad Hall. Didn’t go there this trip, but have had tasty chicken sandwiches and salads there in the past. The best surprise was the Cowboy Cookout BBQ, a place I had never even been into before. Beautiful rustic barn-like facility with incredible detailing and Christmas decorations AND even had a real bluegrass band playing live music during the week AFTER the Christmas season was officially over. Great REAL fire pit in the middle too. And the Angus burgers and salads were tasty (not great, but very good for theme park fare).

    Finally, Val ‘d Europe is a fine place to stay. Last visit, we stayed in a grand villa (blows away any DVC accommodations I have had) at the Marriott Village overlooking Golf Disney. I swear that I could live at that place. My point was more that DLP visitors and your followers here should absolutely not waste money, by and large, by staying at a Disney owned and operated resort unless it is SL and it comes with a substantial discount.

    I have had APs to DLP many times over the past decade and often just stay in the city and take the train out. Typical travel time from the Eiffel Tower is about 35-45 minutes … or about half as long as it would take you to use Disney Transport in Florida to go somewhere indirectly like say from ASMu to FW or from CS to Pop Century etc.

  7. Sandy says:

    We are visiting DLP after a Disney Magic Med cruise August 7 next year. We have older teens who will be sharing a bed and Queen sized beds are very important. We would like to stay at Sequoia Lodge but can’t find any info on bed size. If there are Double/Full sized beds we will stay at Hotel New York instead as we have been told that hotel gas queen beds. Can you tell me if Sequoia has queen beds?

    I am really enjoying reading your touring guide. Thanks so much!

  8. Tess says:

    We stayed at the Seqoia in 2011 and it was horrible! We had to ask 3 different days to have our room lock fixed (and it never was truly fixed). Our room was in terrible repair. We wanted to pay for an upgrade but they said our room was “one of the best”. It took away from our vacation and there was no Disney Magic on that trip.

  9. Rebecca S. says:

    We stayed at Sequoia Lodge in October ’13 & had an upgrade to the GFC. Having stayed at Hotel Cheyenne in Nov ’12, the GFC breakfast experience was well worth any extra price!! We’re early risers and we often had private character breakfasts or only “shared” the characters with one or two other families.

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