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“Location, Location, Location”
Review of Thunderbird Lodge

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Thunderbird Lodge
Reviewed August 23, 2013

That says it all. This hotel is terrific. It was amazing to wake up in the a.m. and walked to the rim. Hotel was clean and updated. Beds are super comfy! Elk out on the front lawn every evening. We had 4 in our room (2 teens and 2 adults) and had a wonderful time.Never had a problem with noise or temperature.
Only minor complaint...like everyone else is the parking. Find a spot and don't leave.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank mobay67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 23, 2013

I really didn't know what to expect when making my reservation. My only a requirement at the time was a/c. I heard that not every hotel in the park had a/c. I had also made a reservation for the mule ride (separate review) and the operator suggested the Thunderbird. I was lucky that there was a vacancy. Most of these rooms book up a year in advance. This hotel is one of the "Rim Lodges". It is located in between the Bright Angel Lodge and the El Tovar. At first site the outside of this hotel looks very dated. Honestly not a huge concern for me. I was happy that it was located feet from the rim so the decor really didn't bother me. The interior was much nicer than expected. Everything looked new. I had a king room facing the canyon (I think that it was $10 a day extra). These rooms don't have balconies so I don't know if paying the extra was worth it. I looked out a couple of times. Not really much to see from inside the room. I did however enjoy watching the elk that came to eat outside the window each night. The location is great. The rooms are somewhat small but adequate. The bathroom has shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hand soap and lotion. Theres also a keurig coffee maker and fridge in the room. A safe is also provided. Pros for me were being on the rim, close to the other two hotels, near restaurants, near the Kolb Studio and lookout, near trails. I enjoyed evening strolls along the rim trail, browsing through the various shops including Hopi House, viewing the elks that came each evening to graze on the grass and watching the Grand Canyon railroad come in. It was also nice after a long days hike to get a drink and sit on the porch of the El Tovar. Check in and out is done at the Bright Angel Lodge. Just a short walk. The cons are parking and no laundry facilities. Once you get a spot stay in it. There is no designated parking spots for the hotel guest. I think for what your paying to stay there there should be designated spots for guest. I think it would also be nice if there were a laundry room. The majority of our meals we ate at the Bright Angel Lodge restaurant. The food was excellent and the prices were reasonable. The staff was amazing. We also ate at the Arizona room and one of the cafeterias. All good. I like that they're are many organic healthy options.

I would highly recommend this hotel. I would return. I would like to try he El Tovar next time just to change it up but I would stay not be disappointed to stay at Thunderbird again.

Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
3  Thank Raspberrygang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
XanterraCorporate, Director of Sales at Thunderbird Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded September 9, 2013

Glad to hear that youi enjoyed your stay at Thunderbird Lodge. The location is great, and the rooms have been recently renovated which is why they look new! We are proud of the way they came out and guests appreciate the many upgrades.

Thank you for sharing your experience.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2013

We didn't particularly expect great value in the accommodation as places as well positioned in an iconic place don't usually provide great value. We left feeling very pleased we had booked this venue. The room was older but clean and nice.

The food in the restaurant in Bright Angel was very good and the staff at the whole facility were good. The check in staff were friendly and helpful.

I would recommend paying a little extra and staying in the park rather than looking at cheaper alternatives outside the park.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank meatymeaty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2013

The Thunderbird Lodge was much nicer than we anticipated! Clean new carpets, nice bathroom and an excellent view of the Canyon. Small refrigerator and k-cup coffee maker were nice touches. Would stay agin as being on the Canyon was worth the slightly high price for this property. Worth it for the experience.

Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
1  Thank rvjrg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2013

While vacationing in Sedona in July 2013, we took a day-trip up to the Grand Canyon--being so close, we didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to see this site---and it was sooo worth the 2 hour drive!! Because of other reviews on trip advisor, I knew sunrise/sunset were the more breath-taking times to see the canyon, so I booked an overnight stay at Thunderbird Lodge. It alleviated the "rush" of trying to see the canyon and getting "home" again in the same day. The lodge is one of four located on the South Rim--all directly next to each other so you can walk back and forth between them right along the rim. The signage is not the best from the road--watch for a small sign directing you to the Bright Angel Lodge, as that is where you need to check in. Parking is limited in front of the hotel--we were able to find a spot fairly easily--and honestly didn't need to move the car until we left the next day (we walked and used the shuttle buses to our other activities). The Thunderbird Lodge is a two story hotel and has "partial views" of the canyon from the room--which is okay because you just walk out the door and you are right on the walkway along the rim with the entire view taking your breath away! Our room itself was a basic hotel room on the second floor with a canyon view-- and it worked well for my husband and I and our two teenage daughters--two queen beds, desk area, tv, keurig coffee maker (with supplies), small fridge, a/c and bathroom with supplies. The beds were comfortable, and the room and bathroom were clean. The whole park, including the hotels, are environmentally conscious--no plastic straws in the restaurants, natural shampoo/conditioner/lotions in the bathrooms, reminders to shut the water off while brushing your teeth, natural gas shuttle buses, etc--which I found refreshing and in keeping with preserving such a natural wonder. Two of the hotels offered restaurants--I think about 4 restaurant choices. The El Tovar providing a "fancier", little more expensive option--but you can still go in dressed casually. We enjoyed a fantastic breakfast there the next morning before driving "home" (including our first taste of prickly pear cactus syrup!) The Bright Angel Lodge provided a more casual atmosphere family restaurant and we enjoyed our two meals there as well. On our way back to the room after dinner, we encountered an Elk family--Male, Female and two babies--eating the grass in front of our hotel right along the rim! Nature in all it's glory!!
While there we enjoyed a guided bicycle ride along the rim through Bright Angel Bike Tours and thoroughly enjoyed it! It was the best way to enjoy the outdoors, learn about the Park, and enjoy the view from different points along the rim. Highly recommended!!!!
When we left the canyon, we drove the 25 miles along the rim and pulled over at different lookout points to take pictures of the canyon--and continued to be awestruck!
The Thunderbird Lodge was a great base and provided us with a great, clean, comfortable place to stop, relax and really enjoy the view--and let's face it--that is why we were there! We could walk and enjoy Lookout Point, walk along the rim, or walk a short distance to hop on a bus to enjoy other aspects of the Park.
Definitely recommend this Lodge and highly recommend a visit to the Grand Canyon at least once in your lifetime--pictures do not do it justice!!

Room Tip: Ask for second floor with canyon view!
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank majjc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2013

From the pictures online I did no expect such an amazing hotel. The room we stayed it was beautiful. It was clean, new carpets, tile bath and a partial view of the Canyon. The Village is all in walking distance and the shuttle stop is right outside the hotel.

There was 4 of us in a room with 2 queen beds and we were very comfortable. The hotel is 2 stories and the only elevator is locked. This is only a pain when taking your bags up and down the stairs. Parking is limited. Once you find a space stay there. You will not need your car again until you leave.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Steph20132013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2013

We stayed for 2 nights at the Thunderbird Lodge that is run by the National Parks. It shares the same management as the Bright Angel and Yavapai Lodges (both next door).

The Lodge itself is very basic - a 2 level motel like structure with rooms flanking a long corridor inside, with standard and deluxe rooms. We chose the deluxe as we are a family of 4. The room offered 2 queen beds, a small fridge and microwave, a flatscreen TV, WiFi for 2 devices, a satisfactory bathroom, and satisfactory parking spaces next to each Lodge. All the park lodges are bloody expensive - its outright daylight robbery - but the view and the facilities/service within the park helps smooth things over.

Here's what we liked -
1. The 2 huge windows that offered a great canyon view - esp during sunrise and sunset. Make sure you ask for one with a canyon view. For those who would like to rest during the day (couples with children and the elderly), staying within the park is totally worth it. This allows one to sit with a hot cup of coffee/cocoa and drink in the canyon view. If not, you can always stroll down for some coffee at the dining room next door.
2. The convenience of the Bright Angel dining room next door, where we had breakfast (not included but affordably priced at approx. $10 per person).
3. The excellently managed roads and walkways in the park - mind you, some of the pathways abutted the canyon rim...we appreciated this all the more because we arrived during a snowstorm! Although we read that some 68 people fall off the rim every year, nobody did during our stay. Just the fact that everyone stayed safe at the trickiest time of the year (December) says something about the fine efforts of the park management/rangers/maintenance during the sunshine/rain/snow.
4. The existence of a grocery store, café, and shoe/sock store within the park. This is a necessity because no matter how prepared one is for the weather with rugged shoes, etc, accidents happen.
5. And for the piece de resistance - the canyon, the view, the magnificence, the majesty, the awesomeness...!!! If you have not seen this natural wonder of the world, start planning a trip right away. It is a spiritual awakening to just gaze upon this sight (well, one hopes!).

We did not:
1. Take the airplane tour
2. Take the shuttle
3. Hike down to the bottom (cancelled due to the snowstorm)
4. Take the train (we rented a car from Phoenix to the South Rim)

Still, there was plenty of walking to do:
1. Along the rim
2. To and fro all the historical spots (the Kolb Studio, El Tovar, Verkamp Visitor Center, Grand Canyon Train Depot, etc)
3. We drove to the Market Plaza and the Yavapai Museum

If the weather's great, you can either hike or take a shuttle (very nominal fee) to the lookout points (Hermit Watchtower, etc). Do stay for more than 2 nights if you have children because you know how it is with kids - you have to take it slower. The Thunderbird Lodge is totally worth it!

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a canyon view. Preferably on the upper level.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Amina_Ahmed
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 - $411 (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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