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“Nice Hotel, But Expensive For What You Get”

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Grand Canyon Railway Hotel
Ranked #4 of 30 Hotels in Williams
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed July 13, 2014

It's pretty much a package deal with the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. The reason you stay there is to take the train to the Grand Canyon. The Hotel is clean, nice, neat, well kept up. Nothing spectacular. The food (included in the package) is fair, not great. Buffet style, and you get breakfast & dinner. The staff is very friendly and helpful. You're just a block or so away from downtown Williams, an old "Route 66" town. It'd be a ghost town without the Grand Canyon Railway. But it's got a few nice shops and businesses and touristy type places. You really don't need to go anywhere else though, because everything is included in the price of the trip.

Room Tip: You don't have a choice where they put you. Don't go for an "upgraded room". The s...
  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Rich H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,134 - 1,140 of 1,960 reviews

Reviewed July 11, 2014

The perfect package for traveling with kids. Hotel, meals, train trip, entrance to Grand Canyon and night at Grand Canyon all included in one price that was very reasonable. The best part, they handled all of the luggage! Food was good and it was nice to go, eat, and enjoy, but not worry about paying at that moment, it was all included. Wild West entertainment (gunfight, train robbery) added to our enjoyment of the four day package. Everyone was very friendly and once again, it was so easy! Don't miss the zip line between Williams and the Grand Canyon Railroad Hotel. Even the youngest (9 yrs. old) in our group enjoyed it.
After we returned from the Grand Canyon, which was beautiful, we went to Bearzonia outside of Williams. We rode through the preserve for about 3 miles and saw some beautiful animals (bear, wolves, buffalo,my personal favorites, and mountain goats). Then we walked through another area where we saw a Bird Of Prey show and numerous baby animals. The bear cubs looked like any group of young kids playing in the water on a hot summer day.

Room Tip: If you need two rooms, try to get the connected rooms for large rooms great for 6 to 8.
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank RoxieGeorgia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2014

About 4.5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year, but only about 100,000 make the trek to one of the seven natural wonders of the world by train. Doing so adds bookends to one of the most powerful and inspiring landscapes on earth.

Perhaps what makes both the entrance and the departure so unique is that it contrasts the immense size of the Grand Canyon with an intimate level of customer service. There is an authentic throwback charm to it all, one that is almost impossible to forget.

Why the best entrance to the Grand Canyon is Williams, Arizona?

Williams, Arizona, has a history as colorful as any in America. Its downtown business district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. As such, and with a population of only about 3,000 people, it seems unlikely to change. Williams is timeless.

While there are other small inns and motels in the area too, most people taking the train include the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel as part of a bigger package. The hotel isn't historic but iconic. It was designed to resemble the century-old depot that housed the original Fray Marcos Hotel.

The rooms are well appointed, especially the 550-square-foot suites. For a modest upgrade, the plush couches (with pullout sleepers) and kitchenettes with an extra sink, microwave, and mini-refrigerator create a cozy, homelike atmosphere comfortable enough to consider an extended stay.

These suites are ideal for families. The only room larger is the Rail Baron Suite that was originally designed for former owners Max and Thelma Biegert. The 1,000-room suite features a living room, full kitchen, separate bedroom, and ensuite. It resembles a small short-term apartment with comfortable amenities such as leather furniture.

Many packages also include meals at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel a buffet-style restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The buffets are augmented by made-to-order stations: an omelet station in the morning and pasta station at night. Dinners also feature a carving station and live entertainment.

The offering is surprisingly complete, given downtown Williams is a short two-block walk away. There are plenty of shops to explore, carriage rides, and a handful of restaurants that pay homage to different eras that make the town historic, ranging from its early days as a railroad frontier town to the road cruise culture that made Route 66 famous.

While there are many packages, the Canyon Discovery Plus is the most complete with two nights at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and one night at the Maswik Lodge inside Grand Canyon National Park. The Maswik Lodge has a much more rustic, cabinesque vibe in comparison, but it is hardly noticeable given the surroundings. Most of the stay inside the park will be on the rim.

After checking into Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and picking up train tickets, a buffet dinner is included. After dinner, it is easy enough to walk to the small historic downtown area or retire to the signature bar in Spenser’s Pub. It dates back to 1887; handcrafted by George O. Spenser in England.

In the morning, guests are invited to leave their bags to be placed on the train before heading out for breakfast. Make it reasonably early because the railroad puts on a campy and comedic Western shootout before guests board the train. (The actors work the train too, so watch for them.)

The train provides a leisurely two-hour ride to the Grand Canyon, with attentive service and roaming entertainment. Some areas are remote enough for wildlife sightings.

After arriving at the Grand Canyon, many train patrons take prearranged bus tours along one of three expanses that make up the Grand Canyon. It's easy to pack light for the tour as guest bags will be waiting in in their hotel rooms when the tour is complete (and they will be picked up from the hotel room after checkout the next day). It's an experience unlike any other and the very best way to see the Grand Canyon unless you intend to stay longer than a day in the park itself. Brilliant ideal and absolutely great people.

Room Tip: The modest upgrade price for the 550-square-foot suites are worth it! Don't hesitate. And if you...
  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank RichardBecker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2014

First of all, I loved that the hotel was within walking distance of downtown Williams. We had fun walking along Route 66 and checking out the nightlife. The hotel was clean and the pool and hot tub were nice. The food in the cafeteria was pretty good. We had a package that included food and the train, the staff there went out of their way to accommodate our party of 10 people. I would definitely recommend the package of the hotel and train to anyone thinking of traveling to the Grand Canyon.

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank Lauren R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2014

We stayed as a tour group for one night and were very pleased with the hotel and facilities. There is a good bar and restaurant and the porterage was excellent. The bar snacks and breakfast were very good and the staff were helpful and friendly. The location is great for the GC Railway and for the centre of the town. There is a "shootout" staged outside the hotel in the morning and evening which is good fun.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with friends
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank denis89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2014 via mobile

I had business in town and brought my family along for the trip. We chose this location because of the walking distance to restaurants and playgrounds for the kids.

Here is why we won't choose this place again....they don't cater to their customers. Seems like they're used to the fact that people will book their because of the train and that they have no reason to maintain their service to get return visitors.

Front desk staff was not very friendly. At one point I stopped there to ask a question and there were two people on duty. One was helping a customer and the other told me that she couldn't help me because she needed to step away. This same lady did this again to my husband on our last day--mind you that he had his arms full of kids. First time, I only had a quick question--would have taken her a second. In my husbands case, he needed his key card reset (they gave us a later checkout and he was in middle of taking luggage to our car when the key stopped working. Our car was unlocked out front). Again something that would have only taken her a second had she asked what we needed. If we said we were checking in, then do ask us to wait for the other lady--i understand that takes some time. But---good customer service would assisted us for just our small instances before going back into the office.

On the topic of check out. We traveled all week for my business travel and every hotel was able to give us a 2pm late checkout so my husband had somewhere to hang out with the kids while I worked. Best this place could do was an extra hour to noon. Again, another situation where they don't cater to customers with occasional extenuating circumstances.

Our 3 year old daughter had an accident in middle of night. We called desk for a chance of sheets and the girl on duty said "um you'll have to give me awhile. I don't even know where to find sheets". For a "family friendly" hotel, you would think they know where extra bedding is in case there's ever an accident in middle of the night.

Their internet wasn't working work my work computer likely to security issues (though every other hotel I've stayed in works) and when I called front desk to see if they had reports of Internet not working for anyone else, the lady was short and rude. Good customer service would have acknowledged my situation and suggested a local Internet cafe like Starbucks or mcdonalds after telling me they didn't have a business center that guests could use.

We had dinner at a nearby restaurant but when I microburst storm came through, we had them pack up our food to go so we could walk the kids back before the storm got worse. We came back to the hotel obviously stressed (restaurant took over an hour to get us our food and it was way past dinner and bedtime for our young kids). We figured we couldn't bring outside food into their pub but also didn't want to take our food to the room which would stink it up. We asked if they had any other table areas on their property and the manager let us sit in their meeting room. Finally a step in the right direction for making the customer happy and comfortable while away from home. Unfortunately it felt like we were inconveniencing and upsetting her and the Spencer's staff where we needed to get a high chair, utensils and drinks.

Overall the rooms are clean. The lady that works breakfast shift at spencers pub is very friendly! You can't beat the location for walking to downtown. Grand Canyon railway hotel just fall very short catering to customers, supporting business travelers, etc. No concern with helping to make their customers feel comfortable and like they "are home"

  • Stayed: June 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Arizona_1518
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2014

I was on a tour with 2 grandchildren. We had 2 comfortable beds to share and a nice clean room and bathroom. Accommodations were nice but not outstanding. Nice indoor pool for the kids. I wouldn't recommend the restaurant. You have to walk out the hotel and into another building across the street. It is a very ordinary buffet style restaurant. It is close to the railway and the town of Williams. We didn't have a car but the walk to town was an easy one.

Room Tip: Good that it is close to Route 66 especially if you don't have a car. It's a big, spread out...
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Dudee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Canyon Railway Hotel

Address: 233 N Grand Canyon Blvd, Williams, AZ 86046-2563
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Arizona > Williams
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Green Hotel in Williams
#4 Business Hotel in Williams
#5 Family Hotel in Williams
#5 Romantic Hotel in Williams
Price Range: $133 - $268 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Canyon Railway Hotel 3.5*
Number of rooms: 298
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Experience the luxury of a bygone era at Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Designed to resemble the century-old train depot that housed the original Fray Marcos Hotel, our hotel is a relaxing retreat in a picturesque Western setting. The 298-room hotel is just a block away from downtown Williams and historic Route 66. Combined with a variety of amenities such as complimentary wi-fi, an indoor pool and hot tub, delicious dining options at Grand Depot Cafe and Spenser's Pub, The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is the perfect place to stay before embarking on your grandest of journeys! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Canyon Railway Williams
Fray Marcos Hotel
Hotel Grand Canyon Railway

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