Page 45 - Pastry & Baking Magazine

The Ahwahnee
is one of America’s great hotels and executive
pastry chef Paul John R. Padua’s breathtaking creations rival those
of Mother Nature’s found in the surrounding national park.
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Chocolate Gelee
By David Martell
Yosemite’s
Real Beauty
T
he Ahwahnee shines as Yosemite National Park’s
distinctive AAA® Four-Diamond hotel.  Known for its
magnificent façade, and architecture, The Ahwahnee
was specifically designed to highlight its natural surroundings,
featuring Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point.  The
destination of queens and presidents alike, this distinctive
Yosemite hotel offers a perfect balance of history, hospitality
and elegance.
In the early 1920’s, Stephen Mather, the National
Park Service Director, realized that the Park needed
accommodations to suit the affluent and influential traveler.
The concept of a hotel such as The Ahwahnee® became the
impetus to draw such a visitor.
The site for The Ahwahnee, once a village of the native
Miwoks, was chosen because of its exposure to the sun and
stunning views of Yosemite’s icons – Half Dome, Yosemite
Falls and Glacier Point.
In July 1925, Gilbert Stanley Underwood was selected
as the architect for Yosemite’s new luxury hotel. Due to its
remote location, the construction of The Ahwahnee was the
most complex trucking endeavor of its day. Over 5,000 tons
of stone, 1,000 tons of steel, and 30,000 feet of timber were
hauled over the challenging mountain roads. To protect The
Ahwahnee from fire, a fate of many of the Park’s earlier hotels,
its wood-like facade is actually concrete, poured into rough-
hewn wooden forms and stained to look like redwood.