El Tovar Hotel
- Be the first to Review
Top Pick for:
Xanterra South Rim, L.L.C., PO Box 699
Grand Canyon, Arizona 86023
The historic El Tovar is one of six lodging facilities on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Built by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad at a cost of $250,000, the hotel opened in 1905 as one of the most elegant lodging facilities west of the Mississippi River. During the early years of its operation, fresh fruit and vegetables were grown in greenhouses on the(+) More
The historic El Tovar is one of six lodging facilities on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Built by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad at a cost of $250,000, the hotel opened in 1905 as one of the most elegant lodging facilities west of the Mississippi River. During the early years of its operation, fresh fruit and vegetables were grown in greenhouses on the premises, while a dairy herd supplied fresh milk. The four-story wood-and-stone structure sits very near the canyon rim so that guests need walk only a few steps to view what many consider to be one of the world's most outstanding vistas.
The hotel offers 78 guestrooms, all of which were extensively renovated in 2005. The rooms are priced in five categories according to size and bedding. The least expensive rooms are quite small with one double bed. The larger, more expensive rooms have either a king bed or two queen beds. Twelve suites are each decorated according to a specific theme. Although the hotel is next to the rim, few guestrooms offer a view of the Grand Canyon.
As with many historic hotels, it is the public spaces rather than the guestrooms that make the El Tovar an interesting place to stay. The relatively small lobby with sofas, chairs, and a large fireplace has the feel of a comfortable hunting lodge. A mezzanine with tables, chairs, a television, and a piano overlooks the lobby and is reserved for hotel guests. Complimentary coffee and tea are available here each morning. Several verandas and a large covered front porch have chairs for relaxing in the morning, after dinner, or following an evening stroll along the rim. The elegant dining room, with windows providing views toward the Grand Canyon, is the hotel's outstanding public space.
The El Tovar is convenient to activities and other facilities along the rim. A paved walkway beside the hotel winds along the rim and offers outstanding views of the Grand Canyon. The walkway leads to other lodging facilities and two additional restaurants, including the Arizona Room. All these facilities are a relatively short walk from the El Tovar. A free shuttle operates throughout Grand Canyon Village, and a convenient passenger stop is down a hill from the hotel. The historic Santa Fe train station for the Grand Canyon Railway is also near the hotel.
Other South Rim lodging facilities including Kachina, Thunderbird, and Bright Angel lodges are also near the canyon edge, but El Tovar is the premier place to stay here. One word of caution: Grand Canyon Lodge is on the North Rim, 214 driving miles from the South Rim. First-time park visitors have been known to make a reservation for this North Rim lodging facility, only to show up at the South Rim.(-) Close
Expert Review of El Tovar Hotel
Parks and Outdoors Review of El Tovar Hotel
Romance Review of El Tovar Hotel
- El Tovar's dining room provides wonderful views of the canyon for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a menu angled toward southwestern cuisine. Reservations are strongly advised if you want to avoid very early or very late seating options.
- A pianist tickles the ivories on Friday and Saturday evenings on the upper balcony area.
Active and Adventure Review of El Tovar Hotel
- To enjoy dining in the elegant restaurant, consider coming for breakfast or lunch when prices are lower and no reservations are needed. If you're having lunch, try to arrive early because day-tripping railway passengers often come in at noon. Dinner reservations are necessary, and well in advance to get seating near a window and at your choice of times.
- Hopi House, just east of El Tovar, is worth a visit to admire the traditional Hopi architecture features as well as the high-quality Native American work on display. Some of the best work is upstairs.
- Although few rooms have canyon views, you are right on the canyon rim. The Rim Trail offers easy strolls to the views and galleries of Grand Canyon Village and longer walks that can extend west all the way to Hermits Rest and east to Pipe Creek Vista.