Located directly on the South Rim of the Canyon, El Tovar is an historic, rustic-looking - but pricey - hotel with a view - and what a view it is! The changing shadows and colors of the canyon will leave you breathless. We happened to arrive just as the sun was setting. Determined not to miss the splendor of the canyon glowing in setting sunlight, we gathered all our gear and made a beeline to the viewing point adjacent to the hotel. This was our very first glimpse of the Canyon, and we were simply blown away by the beauty and splendor of it all. As we visited in February, there was a coating of snow at the rim, adding to the dramatic effect - absolutely beautiful!
After getting our fill of the Canyon, we entered the hotel lobby to check in. On first impression, the room looked not like a hotel lobby, but more like a ski lodge, with natural wood, comfy chairs and sofa around a fireplace and even taxidermy displays on the walls above our heads. Simply stated, El Tovar blends in perfectly with its national park surroundings. The staff throughout the hotel was friendly and helpful.
We had booked a king room months in advance and were fortunate to score a room on the second floor with both a porch and a partial view of the Canyon. Our room itself was spacious, modern, very clean and comfortable. One downside to the hotel is the absence of an elevator to reach either the second or third floor. Normally, this is not an issue for us, but schlepping our large, heavy bag full of winter gear and camera equipment up the stairs was laboring in the high altitude and left us huffing and puffing all the way up.
On one night of our stay, we dined at El Tovar's restaurant and were lucky enough to get a table by the window with a canyon view. Normally, there would be a sunset to enjoy, but not that night - too much cloud cover. It was lovely just the same. As with the hotel, the menu is a bit pricey. Although the decor is rustic, the table settings were elegant and the food delicious and well presented. Due to both the popularity and reputation of the restaurant and hotel, reservations are required. We reserved our table weeks in advance, requested and received a table by the window overlooking the canyon.t
On the last night of our three-night stay, a major storm was predicted to dump upwards of a foot or more of snow, possibly affecting our drive to Sedona the next morning. Weather in the winter months here is very unpredictable - one of the risks of coming here from November through March. I am happy to say that although we had light snow falling most of the day, it did not hinder our escape the next morning and only added to the beauty of the park and Canyon.
Is El Tovar worth the high prices. Absolutely - for the location alone. Even if you are not lucky enough to land one of few the rooms overlooking the canyon (or do not wish to part with hard-earned bucks for a full-view suite, in just a few steps out the door, you're standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon.
Be aware there are no elevators in the hotel, so unless you have a room on the ground level, you wil...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.