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“Needed Relief, Old Hotel”
Review of El Tovar Hotel

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El Tovar Hotel
Reviewed October 18, 2013

Some of my review is colored by the fact that when my wife and I arrived at El Tovar, we had been rafting/camping down the river for the last week, and had just hiked out of the canyon (7.5 miles, obviously up hill). Soft sheets, clean bed, hot shower...

After my initial shock at being back in civilization had worn off, I was pleasantly reminded of what a nice hotel looks like. It is an elegant old hotel. Perfectly comfortable, but older. The floors and doors a little creaky, and you can hear people in the hallway. But that's what 100 years of hotel can look like, right?

The rooms are well-appointed, clean, and very comfortable. I melted into the bed and slept for about a day-and-a-half.

The views are absolutely insane, and it was breathtaking to look down on the canyon we'd just hiked out of.

We ate at the restaurant for dinner. I had the duck--kind of over-cooked, sides were OK. Wine menu had a lot of OK wines at somewhat premium prices. My wife had the steak, and it was tasty. I thought the dinner service was pretty expensive for what you received. Fine dining experience that didn't quite deliver.

We ate breakfast the next morning, too. Sonoran Style eggs with chorizo was more than I could even think about eating and absolutely delicious. The people seated next to us were raving about the strawberry cream cheese stuffed French toast. The breakfast was superb, and I think a much better value than the dinner.

Great experience overall.

Room Tip: I'd ask to have a room at the very end of a hall so that you miss the noise of everyone walking...
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank FlyerCG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
XanterraCorporate, Director of Sales at El Tovar Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded October 23, 2013

Thank you for your comments on our El Tovar Hotel. I think it is doing well for over 100 years old! While dinner is the most sought after meal, I enjoy breakfast as yoiu did. No better way to start the day. We wioll close the hotel in January 2014 and reopen in April after a major renovation. So yoiu will have to come back and see the improvements.

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1,434 - 1,440 of 2,986 reviews

Reviewed October 17, 2013

Yes, the view from immediately outside the hotel is indescribably breathtaking but the hotel leaves a lot to be desired. I accept this is a lodge but it charges big hotel prices. Or room just about managed to fit a 4'6" bed with space to move around it. Although described as a 'terrace' room, our view was to the staff car park. We booked dinner for 7:30 and when we arrived at the restaurant we were told they were running about 20 mins late. No apology, just go away and we will call you when we are ready. 20 minutes turned into 35 minutes and when we were eventually seated, it was another 15 minutes before anyone came to take our order. Breakfast order was wrongly served - poached eggs served in place of fried ordered. This hotel trades on its position. It's not as good as it thinks it is.

Room Tip: Book more than a year in advance
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank PatMoz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2013

Years ago when I was a kid when myself and my parents were traveling to Grand Canyon we ended up as a family staying in this Hotel and we had a wonderful time here. We enjoyed the food as well as everything else this Hotel had to offer and they were also not to far from the Grand Canyon it is just pretty much a hop skip, and a jump from a nice view of the canyon. So like I said we all had a wonderful time and really enjoyed what the Hotel as well as the Grand Canyon had to offer. So if you want to stay in a nice place while visiting Grand Canyon, The El Tovar Hotel is for you. it is a bit pricey but if you can afford it, Go for it. Thank you for reading this review. God bless.

Room Tip: The rooms on the south side I believe have a nice view of the Grand canyon
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Jeff B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
XanterraCorporate, Director of Sales at El Tovar Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded October 23, 2013

Thank you for your positive comments on our El Tovar Hotel. I am glad you enjoyed your stay. We will close for renovation in January 2014 and reopen in April. I hope you can return to check out all the improvements. But don't worry, the hotel will retain its rustic charm!

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Reviewed October 16, 2013

My husband and I stayed at El Tovar for two nights in March 2013. (Forgive my posting delay!) The hotel is kind of in its own category, because, you know, there aren’t really any other options. We were on the ground floor and didn’t have much of a view, but could definitely see the canyon edge and path from our room. We could easily step out onto the side porch to see sunset and stars, and drink a beer procured at the Market Plaza. (Or get drink at the little bar, and carry them off anywhere you’d like.) In the morning, it was amazing to have a few blissful hours all to ourselves. Staying at Tovar and starting early we were actually alone at many of the best views. (Plus, it was March.)

The room was tiny, but very clean, and the hotel is bustling so expect some noise in the halls. Staff was friendly, and there are lovely, if somewhat crowded, classic old sitting rooms in the lobby and upstairs. (One imagines they are just the spot for drinking scotch after shooting a bear.) Overall it seemed much more atmospheric than the nearby Thunderbird & Bright Angel. The El Tovar Dining Room is gorgeously old fashioned and rustic/elegant, and also a huge step above the other lodge dining rooms. We ate there both nights and enjoyed it immensely (Particularly the quail!). (Make reservations when you make your booking. It’s your best (and only) nice option.) We also ordered a pancake breakfast room service our last morning – which was very affordable, delicious and highly recommended. Nearby parking is available but fills quickly, so be prepared to circle as you try to unload your suitcases. Visit the lobby concierge who is loaded down with maps, guidebooks, and lecture opportunities. If you aren’t a Grand Canyon veteran, if you go out the front and turn right past the Hopi House (nice jewelry) you are about 100ft from the Verkamps Curios shop, which is actually a good information center.

Overall everything in context, you know. One thing I can assure you is that there is no ritzier option that you are going to stumble on...you aren't going to uncover some out-of-the way Rosewood boutique hotel in the park. Once you recognize that and roll with it, you have to admit its really quite charming.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank EastCoaster36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2013 via mobile

We bit the bullet and booked a suite at El Tovar for our stay. We had the best time. The lodge is dark but a nice respite from the sun. We knew it was an older place and adjusted our expectations accordingly. Overall, the experience was great. Staff we're very nice and happily carried our bags up and down the steps. Our suite was comfortable and pretty dark but who cares? Our balcony could easily accommodate 30 people for a cocktail party and overlooked The Village and the sun setting over the Canyon in the West. Fabulous!

We are at several of the restaurants and found most of the food good not great. Liked The Arizona Room a lot. Ate in the El Tovar Dining Room one night. A little heavy on the sauces but a great, friendly and tasty evening.

After 4 nights, seeing wonderful elk, mesmerized by the ever changing Canyon views, a few gift shop purchases, and a hike 3 miles into the Canyon - we couldn't have been happier and HIGHLy recommend every one visit El Tovar to see this wonderful place.

  • Stayed: September 2013
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1  Thank AdvGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
XanterraCorporate, Director of Sales at El Tovar Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded October 23, 2013

Thank you for your positive comments on your atsy at El Tovar. We are prouid of the history and strive to live up to the Fred Harvey tradition of fine food, clean comfortable rooms and great hospitality. And you were able to stay four nights in a suite. What a special trip. I am especially glad to hear that our staff was accommodaing and helped make your stay pleasant.

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Reviewed October 16, 2013

The decor is rustic and quaint but frankly unless you get one of the 4 suites that face the south rim of the canyon , better of going to another hotel that offers a view
We had dinner there too, nice ambience and although the food is nice it is not fantastic although compared to what is offered in most American hotels, it is very good.
Wines and drinks are a tad pricey , however it was an enjoyable evening

My advice stay at a nearby lodge and if you want a nice meal with ambience book the el tovar restaurant - BUT book earlier

Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank john a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2013

We reserved the Mary Jane Colter Suite--an AMAZING two and a half room suite with a full bathroom--a full year in advance. It has one of only 4 balconies directly over-looking the south rim in the entire park and is worth every single penny we paid. Those pennies equalled more than we've ever paid for any type of luxury accommodation anywhere in the world we've traveled, and we were SO glad that we splurged.

We spent copious amounts of time on the ginormous balcony, enjoying sunrises, sunsets, drinks, snacks and conversations with some of the most awe inspiring views ever. Judging from the other reviews, I'm guessing that our balcony was larger than most rooms.

Our room was equipped with a Keurig coffee machine and ample complimentary pods of regular and decaf coffee as well as tea. Also nice was the free coffee each morning just down the hall.

Our room consisted of a very large living room area with a full sofa, side chairs and a dining area. The bedroom area had two beds, a desk and a few chairs. Both rooms had TV's but we didn't watch them. There was a small room in-between these two rooms that had a large closet, the coffee bar area and a refrigerator.

The bathroom was large, well equipped and had amazing finishes.

On the down side: the carpeting was notably and terribly stained throughout to the extent that we didn't feel comfortable walking around without something on our feet. This really is unacceptable for a room of this caliber and cost. At this point, the damage appears to be beyond a need to be cleaned and instead needs to be replaced. It was honestly nasty, but given the opulence of everything else, did not diminish our stay.

The second thing is that the washroom had a full window in the shower. When we were outside after dark, it was very easy to see others with the same set up while showering. They seriously need to upgrade the curtains to allow for more privacy while showering.

The room above ours was set back, and its balcony was directly over our living room area. During our stay, the guests in that room dragged their abundant patio furniture all around during all hours of the night. Despite closing the doors between the sleeping area and the living room, the noise they made was both very audible and kept us awake. I was very close to going upstairs and knocking on their door. It was ridiculous.

Lastly, the parking situation is really a nightmare. You can pretty much count on parking a LONG way away from the hotel and walking to and from your car. That was a bummer, but given the magnificent views on the walk, not such a terrible thing.

As to the criticisms of other reviewers: the lodge felt like a lodge to us. We didn't think it was too dark at all. We also had wonderful experiences with the staff, who were all outgoing, helpful and very nice.

We ate in the restaurant once. The service was exceptional, the food good and the prices high. Not surprising. We enjoyed both of the gift shops in the lobby area, as well as all three common porches, some with rocking chairs.

Were we to travel to the south rim again, I'd stay here and would definitely recommend planning ahead and splurging on a suite to others.

El Tovar was definitely a highlight on our trip.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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Thank BusinessTraveler04
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: 1 El Tovar Road, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ 86023
Location: United States > Arizona > Grand Canyon National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Grand Canyon National Park
Price Range: $213 - $436 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — El Tovar Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 78
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Due to pending renovations to guest rooms, public spaces, and the dining room, El Tovar is not available from January 25, 2018 through September 30, 2018. ... more   less 
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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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