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“Charming, quaint hotel w gorgeous views” 4 of 5 stars
Review of El Tovar Hotel

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El Tovar Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Apache Street and Center Road, South Rim; PO Box 699 10 Albright Street, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ 86023   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Charming, quaint hotel w gorgeous views”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013 via mobile

I had the opportunity to visit this hotel with 3 girlfriends on a short visit to the Grand Canyon. This was the first hotel built on the South Rim. It has gorgeous views of the canyon with large clean rooms. The decor reminds me of my Grandma's Baptist church built in the early 1900's. I've heard this is by far the best hotel on the South Rim. It has a cozy family feel. The dining room, I'm told is "the place to dine" in the area, I found the food mediocre to good, however I live in Chicago (I'm constantly spoiled by amazing cuisine). Dinner the second night there was much better. We met the Sous Chef, he was amazing and made our dinner extra special for our friend's birthday. Definitely ask the wait staff for suggestions! They did a great job.
The room was very spacious and clean. I was impressed that there was an iPod dock connected to the TV.
Staff was friendly and helpful. Everyone encountered was kind and seemed to be happy to educate about the Grand Canyon.
The resort is somewhat difficult to find but let's me honest, you don't go to the Grand Canyon for the food, or the Hotel. It's one of the most breathtaking places I've ever visited.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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2,018 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (470)
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Cheshire
Level Contributor
30 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

Hotel is an historic one for the USA. I actually stayed in the Angel cabins myself but my guests stayed in the hotel. This was actually a work trip and we appreciated that the hotel might struggle a little with our group. Sadly the food is very average for the price and badly cooked, I have eaten in the restaurant twice and both were very poor. The assistant restaurant manger is not to be trusted as he will say anything to your face and then not provide what he agreed or what was signed for in the contract. Reception staff are definately not up to scratch, well least not the ones I met and really struggled with checking in a group, even with help!

However Renee from sales dept is great to work with and so friendly and helpful.

Room Tip: All rooms at hotel now have wifi, but no mobile cell coverage in the area.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Withernsea, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
42 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

If you are wanting a hotel on the edge of the canyon then this is perfect, if your expecting a nice room with a decent size bed then you will be disappointed as we could hardly swing a cat in our room and I am not convinced the bed was a double as so small we had in fact the worst 3 nights sleep of our whole month touring trip. Hotel lounging area is nice and lots of character and staff very nice. Just for us a big letdown with the room

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
102 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

To stay at El Tovar is a step back in time. A very rustic feel and one of the best or maybe the best view in the world just steps away from your room. The restaurant was great and the staff friendly. A perfect location and a treat if staying at the canyon. Take time to watch the ravens fly high.

Room Tip: The standard rooms can be a little tight. They have tried to fit to many modern amenities in a rust...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Arizona
Level Contributor
81 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

This is the premier place to stay at the south rim of the Grand Canyon and offers amazingly close access to some of the best views of the canyon. Be prepared for a rustic hunting lodge since it was designed at the turn of the 20th century in this fashion which was the style for all of the newly built National Park lodges. You will be struck when you enter the lobby that it's a relatively small place and dark throughout. Remember when it was built how accustomed even wealthy tourists were to dark interiors since electricity was expensive. There's also an abundance of dark woods and a shortage of windows. This darkness is either going to bother you or you are going to use it as an opportunity to reflect on the history of the place. The rooms reflect the era as well since they are smaller than those in new hotels, but they are comfortable and have charm. Few if any have views. Ours was of an employee parking lot and we had booked months in advance. But then who is going to stay in their room with one of the Wonders of the World just outside.

What counts is that you walk out the hotel and it takes you 20 seconds or less to be on the rim with great walking trails in both directions. Back at the hotel there are large porches with rocking chairs. Got to ask - are you so overstimulated and buzzed that you could not relish a few minutes in a rocking chair with one of the world's most stunning views in front of you? At night there is a quiet little bar for another kind of relaxation and then there's the dining room. We just reviewed it - in short, dine there.

Not all is wonderful at the hotel. There were maintenance issues and one wonders if the huge corporation running the place is nickel and dime-ing the lodge to ring maximum profits. The large public restroom in the basement - the only one beyond the private rooms - smelled of sewer backup. That's not a big enough issue to keep us away. Too much going for this historic place to stop us from returning.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange County CA
Level Contributor
81 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

Old landmark hotels are risky, and this one is. They make a big thing about conservation (water, linens, recycling, electricity etc.) but it took fully 15 minutes to get hot water out of the bathroom faucet. Each time we needed hot (or even warm) water we wasted gallons of good water! We called the desk and they sent a maintenance man right away. I told him the problem, he acknowledged that he knew that was true, and he just shrugged (as if to say there's nothing he could do about it). Apart from that, the accommodations are nice -- nice (if small) room, clean. A little pricey but that's to be expected in a remote location with the hotel operator having a monopoly. The restaurant is very nice; creative menu, good service, attractive room.

Room Tip: There is no elevator, so if steps are a problem for you try to get ground floor room.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cranston, Rhode Island
Level Contributor
36 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2013

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.

Room Tip: 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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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Tovar Hotel

Address: Apache Street and Center Road, South Rim; PO Box 699 10 Albright Street, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ 86023
Location: United States > Arizona > Grand Canyon National Park
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Grand Canyon National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — El Tovar Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 78
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Also Known As:
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon
El Tovar Grand Canyon
Hotel El Tovar
El Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon El Tovar
El Tovar Lodge

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