The situation: A family of four driving across the country with two small dogs. Not a lot of time to linger at each stop.
Visiting the Grand Canyon is an indescribable, life-altering experience. All the photos in the world do not do it justice. You must go.
That said, navigating the GC and figuring out an itinerary that meets your needs is a highly individual experience. Because we were stopping there as part of a longer trip, because we had the dogs, we opted for the Grand Hotel in Tusayan.
I am very happy with that choice. There are so many options and programs for visiting. It's quite confusing on paper. For example, Williams, Arizona bills itself as "Gateway to the Grand Canyon", but in fact it's pretty far from the GC, and it's kind of a depressing, deserted town.
Tusayan isn't much of a town either, but the businesses there are contemporary, and it IS very close to the Grand Canyon. We found the location and the amenities of the Grand Hotel to be exactly what we needed. i wouldn't actually call it a "Grand" hotel....but it's clean and well run and it worked for us.
Most importantly, the hotel is CLOSE to the entry to the Grand Canyon National Park. That means you don't have to strategize quite so much to beat traffic when you visit during peak season.
The hotel is clean, and in our case, we were able to get connecting rooms. That made the experience just so great for us, with the kids in their own space. The hotel is pet friendly, and that is everything to us. We knew our dogs would be safe and comfortable during the short periods when we stepped out.
The price of the hotel is commensurate with the area and the attractions. I found it to be reasonable. I don't think you can put a price on the opportunity to be comfortable and see one of the wonders of the world, while also including pets. i'm sure there are cheaper ways to do it, even camping, but none of those would fit our profile at this time.
The staff at the hotel were all very friendly and competent. The rooms and lobby were clean, and they have a restaurant on site. Parking was easy. Check-in was quick. All of the staff were literate and knowledgable about how to go about visiting the Grand Canyon.
There is a concierge desk that specifically sets up any kind of tours, mule tour, heli tour, any kind of tour you can imagine. We did not want to do any set tour. i think they gave us a little bit of a sales pitch on that one, but nothing too aggressive.
After having spent so much time in the car, it was nice to be able to walk to a restaurant...Sophies was our pick, and only about 800 meters down the road.
The proximity to the Grand Canyon National park was so convenient, that my husband and I were able to get up early for a jog and witness the sunrise there, while the kids slept in...an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.
Sure, there are cheaper ways to see the Grand Canyon, but staying at the Grand Hotel removed all elements of stress from that aspect of your trip, and our memories of visiting the GC are 100% positive.