My first trip to Euro Disneyland (now Disneyland Paris) was in June 1993 and I stayed at the Sequoia Lodge. This resort is one of the three moderately priced hotels and sits on the shores of Lake Disney. Digital photography was still on the horizon so I had to be conscious of how many pictures I took since film and developing cost money.
The Sequoia Lodge was designed by French architect Antoine Grumbach and harkens back to a time when rustic inns were being built in the American National Parks.
After reading that description, thoughts of the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World might spring to mind, but if you expect the same experience, you’ll be disappointed. Although the basic theme is the same for both hotels, it was executed far better in Florida. The Sequoia Lodge lacks the grandeur found at the Wilderness Lodge. To begin with, the exterior of the Sequoia has very clean lines – something I don’t associate with the National Parks. And the interior lacks a grand lobby. Yes, you’ll find hewn logs and rock fireplaces within the Sequoia, but everything has a slightly modern feel about it.
Don’t get me wrong, the Sequoia Lodge is very nice and is worth your consideration. But you need to be forewarned, it’s not the Wilderness Lodge so set your expectations accordingly.
If I had to describe the interior of the Sequoia I’d say it’s a combination of Native American handiwork and the Arts & Crafts movement. Nature is represented but it’s mixed with early 20th century designs.
One of the two restaurants at the Sequoia Lodge is the Hunter’s Grill. This eatery was inspired by the Brazilian churrascaria. Here, waiters bring long skewers of beef, sausage, turkey, and pork to your table and carve off slices onto your plate. It’s similar to O’Hana at the Polynesian, only with a rustic flare. During my visit, the restaurant had set up tables in the resort’s courtyard so guests could eat al fresco. I don’t know if they still do this, but it was a nice touch.
The 1,011 rooms of the Sequoia Lodge are distributed between the main building, which sits on the shores of Lake Disney, and five “lodge” buildings nestled among hundreds of pine trees. A sixth lodge building houses an indoor swimming pool – a nice touch in the winter when it can get quite cold.
The same Native American/Arts & Crafts design can be found in the guest rooms. Once again, clean lines dominate the architecture and the dark stained furniture. Each room has either one king or two double beds and sleeps two to four. Next to the writing table you’ll find a standard chair and a rocking chair. A large window allows enough light into the room so the dark wood tones don’t dominate. As I mentioned earlier, I was using real film in those days so taking a picture of my room never occurred to me.
The Hotel New York is the most expensive of the three moderately priced resorts. It was designed by architect Michael Graves, the same gentleman who designed the Swan and Dolphin at Disney World. It’s sits on the shores of Lake Disney and it’s about a 10 to 15 minute walk from this resort to the theme parks.
As you might have guessed, this resort is all about the Big Apple. The exterior is a stylized skyline of Manhattan and the interior features familiar landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. Fans of Art Deco will be in paradise as this is the predominate design element used throughout the resort.
Just like the real Rockefeller Center, the fountain and plaza area of the Hotel New York is transformed into a skating rink when the weather turns cold. Since I was there in September, I only have a picture of the fountain.
The interior of the hotel is sophisticated but you’ll also find whimsy. This helps the resort, and the guest, not take things too seriously.
The hotel has two eateries, the Manhattan Restaurant and the Parkside Diner. The Manhattan Restaurant offers an upscale atmosphere and menu, the kind you’d find in any of the better New York hotels. I have not eaten here so I don’t have any pictures.
The Park Side Diner is decidedly more casual. Chrome and Formica tables, neon lights, and fanciful wall dÃ©cor set the mood here. Burgers, sandwiches, and salads are on tap at this entertaining local.
The New York City Bar is the place to wind down after a busy day in the parks. Chic and sophisticated, this dimly lit watering hole will transport you back to a bygone era.
Although I have not stayed at the Hotel New York, the pictures I’ve seen suggest that the guest rooms are warmer and more inviting than the somewhat austere Sequoia Lodge. Most rooms feature two double beds and sleep four, but some only have one king.
The Hotel New York also offers two swimming pools, one indoors and one out.
In my next blog I will discuss the Newport Bay Club.