Because your hotel selection within Yosemite is limited (most people tend to stay in tents or RVs) what you are paying for when you stay at the Ahwahnee, besides the history, and the unique decor and architecture, is convenience. Yosemite can get quite crowded, especially during peak season and parking can be a problem. The Ahwahnee’s free valet parking, which is also available directly prior or after your stay, can be a major benefit.
As you might expect of a luxury hotel with little competition, the prices are high and the service is good, but not great. The college-age staff is the bright spot, while service from the older staff can be lackluster. However remember when you are staying at the Ahwahnee you are there for the beauty of Yosemite, and the ease of access that the hotel gives you.