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“My Dream Trip”
Review of Thunderbird Lodge

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Thunderbird Lodge
Reviewed February 23, 2013

"Grand Canyon" a place I'd always dreamed of but never thought I'd see! As I stood with tears streaming I had no words that would even begin to describe the feeling of my first view. Magnificent, awesome, HEAVENLY only begin.
We stayed at the Thunderbird Lodge in July of 2012. It wasn't actually my first choice but was the one available when we needed it. It turned out to be PERFECT! I was glad the 1st choice wasn't available. Our room was on the end closest to the smaller more reasonable restaurant, the gift shop, and the studio lookout. The room looked recently renovated and was very nice! Bathroom was small but very modern with Tile floor and walls. Tub/Shower combo had the circular rod that makes seem larger. Beds were wonderfully comfortable. We had a partial rim view in that we were on the bottom floor. You could see into the rim across the Canyon but not down into it. However it was only a few feet to the edge so that you could see all you wanted. Again the view was BREATHTAKING no matter from where you viewed.
The icing on the cake was the ELK who grazed on the lawn nightly and most days right outside our room!! I was also up early one morning on the rim right outside our room and saw a California Condor. I was very glad we stayed at the Thunderbird after I got there.
We took the VERY EARLY shuttle to South Kaibab Trail with Flaslights and hiked down to OOH AAH Point for the most BEAUTIFUL Sunrise I've ever seen. Well worth the lack of sleep!
We also went around to the North Rim. It was Awesome too. Higher and very different from the South Rim. Our travelers were My husband, myself, and our 23 year old daughter. My husband and daughter loved it too! They even took each others pictures standing in front of an ELK!

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank randpqualls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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526 - 532 of 760 reviews

Reviewed February 18, 2013

The rooms matched my expections from the previous reviews - a fairly rustic room, but had all the necessary amenities. Very clean. The view of the canyon from the 2nd floor room made it worth the price. The only complaint would be the TV reception was poor - but if you go there to watch TV then you are wasting your money (and your life..). Would definitely stay there again.

Room Tip: Spring for the canyon view from the 2nd floor.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank vfsDan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2013

Considering that it is far from a major city, the hotel was very clean. We went in the winter and got a partial view, which didn't make a difference since it was snowing and cloudly so we couldn't see much from our bedroom anyway. The heater was set at 66F, which for us was cold, as we live in Florida, but I think they purposely have it set at maximum of 66F to save on heating. It was small but clean and the beds were confortable. If was okay for one night, more than that and it would have been too much.

Room Tip: Don't go in the winter. I would plan on going either the spring or fall.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Lidia O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

First stayed at this hotel a few years ago ... mom wanted her birthday dinner at the El Tovar. And following a business meeting in Phoenix, this was the perfect way to start a few days off. The rooms are quite ordinary. But you don't come to the Grand Canyon for the room.

It's very relaxing along the South Rim. Don't sit in your room unless that's all you're able to do. Get out and enjoy the sights.

Room Tip: Pay the extra $10 for a "partial view" room. The view is spectacular.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Doug_Doodle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2013

In researching our lodging choices at the Grand Canyon we were told that the Thunderbird Lodge was "more rustic and dated" than the other places to stay at the South Rim, but we all found it to be perfect for our family gathering. The beds were comfortable, the rooms were very clean, the partial view magnificent, and the adjoining rooms allowed us to open a door and visit back and forth. We wondered if it would be worth it to stay at the rim itself, but we all agreed that we wouldn't have wanted it any other way. In staying at the Rim (rather than Flagstaff about an hour away) we were able to wake up early and walk outside the door to view the sunrise lighting up the canyon walls, to hike from point to point until sunset, and then watch the descending sun cast another light show. Since it was zero degrees at night, some of our folks stayed inside to watch the sunrise in their pajamas in the warm rooms.

Don't despair if you didn't make your reservations a year and a half earlier as recommended. We made our reservations just a few weeks ahead of time and when we arrived we heard the hotel employees telling other hopeful guests that there had been cancellations and there were rooms available.
The restaurant at the Blue Angel was not as spendy as we would have expected and the service was quick and friendly, especially Niki, our waitress. The food was good and offered healthy choices. Dinner at the El Tovar was more spendy, but definitely a memory!
We Oregonians appreciated all the conservation methods being used in our National Parks.

Room Tip: The El Tovar is more luxurious and they offer free coffee and table space in the common room upstair...
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank flyingmomoregon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2013

Thunderbird Lodge offers decent motel rooms that you'd be happy to pay $100 for anywhere else. You pay twice as much as that here but that's the price of sleeping 50 feet from the edge of the Grand Canyon. IMO, you might as well shell out the extra $10 for the partial canyon view if you can because that is going to be trivial expense compared to the rest of your visit. Partial view means looking towards the canyon; you can make out the top edge of the far side. This is actually quite enough to remind you of the natural wonder that is waiting out there for when you finally get your shoes on and go take a proper look. Other than that, Thunderbird is clean, neat, and cosy, and front desk service, provided by Bright Angel next door, was OK.

The biggest downside other than cost was a wifi service that didn't function most of the time. The lodge staff didn't seem bothered by this, claiming it was "the weather" (we were there in winter) and part of the problems associated with a remote site. I call BS on that one, since every other amenity know to tourist man was available, like cable TV and their ability to process my credit card. Internet access was important for us to complete ongoing arrangements. Other issues include thin walls (but no-one comes to party at the GC) and a lack of dining options (Xanterra has you captive.) Parking was also tight, with maybe 20 spots outside and some more on the street and at the lodges on either side of Thunderbird. In December it wasn't hard to get a spot but in summer I wonder what competition with day trippers would be like. The free shuttle buses are a great resource, obviously, but they were often packed out.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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8  Thank kingfisher_73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2013

Had stayed here once before. The views are magnificent. Hotel is clean and comfortable. We could have stayed cheaper and traveled 25 miles away, but if your just going for one night. I'd spend the extra money and see the canyon at sunset and sunrise. Its magnificent.

Room Tip: I wouldnt pay the extra money for canyon view. Its right outside the hotel and your just steps away.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank yarnel2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Thunderbird Lodge

Address: Canyon Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ 86023
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Arizona > Grand Canyon National Park
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Grand Canyon National Park
Price Range: $224 - $424 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Thunderbird Lodge 2*
Number of rooms: 55
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Also Known As:
Thunderbird Hotel Grand Canyon National Park

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