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“Gateway to the fabulous Canyon de Chelly”
Review of Thunderbird Lodge

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Thunderbird Lodge
Reviewed March 15, 2013

The accommodation is pretty standard; typical american motel style rooms although slightly larger than most. The staff were not particularly helpful or pleasant, tending to be rather surly and curt in their replies. However, the great plus of this place is its location; the nearest decent place to the canyon. Go on the truck tour but go for the full day; it's wonderful. it's a magical place. Talks at the ranger station are well worth going to being only a walk of a few hundred yards. We didn't find the hotel inexpensive

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank RonObvious
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mattie B, Admin at Thunderbird Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2017

Thank you for the rating and review of your stay at Thunderbird Lodge/Sacred Lodge in Canyon De Chelly.

Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprise took over management of the Lodge in January 2016. Since then many improvements and upgrades have been made to the guest rooms as well as the property and surroundings. All guest rooms now are equipped with a Keurig coffee/tea maker, flat screen television, hair dryer, microwave and mini-fridge. All the rooms have new carpet, mattresses, linens and towels. The wifi has been updated, but still may not be as fast as what some people are used to given the remote area. We are so proud of all the changes and improvements we have made. We also are offering All-Day and 4-Hour tours of the Canyon in our 10 passenger Pinzgauer army-troop carrier vehicles. It is the best way to really experience Canyon De Chelly.

Should your journey bring you back to Canyon De Chelly, we hope to welcome you back to Thunderbird Lodge.

All our best,
Thunderbird Lodge Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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377 - 383 of 737 reviews

Reviewed March 4, 2013

The company that owns The View Hotel in Monument Valley has taken over the concession for lodging, food and merchandise at Canyon de Chelly. Changes are already underway, with alterations to the gift shop to consolidate it with the motel check-in office in the front of the lodge. The rooms have new towels. I enjoyed breakfast and dinner in the cafeteria. I don't know if they've made major changes there yet, but the employees had to look up prices on a price-list as we were checking out, so there must have been some changes. We were there on a Thursday evening, off-season, and the cafeteria was very busy with local, multi-generation families. That has to be a good sign. The Lodge was very comfortable, nothing fancy, and I can only imagine that things will continue to improve with the new management.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank CincyDan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mattie B, Admin at Thunderbird Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2017

Thank you for the rating and review of your stay at Thunderbird Lodge/Sacred Lodge in Canyon De Chelly.

Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprise took over management of the Lodge in January 2016. Since then many improvements and upgrades have been made to the guest rooms as well as the property and surroundings. All guest rooms now are equipped with a Keurig coffee/tea maker, flat screen television, hair dryer, microwave and mini-fridge. All the rooms have new carpet, mattresses, linens and towels. The wifi has been updated, but still may not be as fast as what some people are used to given the remote area. We are so proud of all the changes and improvements we have made. We also are offering All-Day and 4-Hour tours of the Canyon in our 10 passenger Pinzgauer army-troop carrier vehicles. It is the best way to really experience Canyon De Chelly.

Should your journey bring you back to Canyon De Chelly, we hope to welcome you back to Thunderbird Lodge.

All our best,
Thunderbird Lodge Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

The Thunderbird Lodge was clean and comfortable and simple. It is not fancy. The cafe next door served decent food. If you are planning a trip to the Navajo Nation to see the marvelous sights this is a good place at a very inexpensive price. No extras, but I did ask if they had a hair drier to loan since there wasn't one in our room and the main desk did have one. We did a tour of the canyon with Percy from Canyon de Chelly Tours, the one owned by Leon Skyhorse Thomas. Percy was excellent and apparently like many of the guides has family that has lived in the canyon. One thing to be aware of at least at this time of year, February 16-17. The Junction Restaurant by the Best Western, closes very early by anglo standards. We went there for dinner at about 7:15pm never dreaming it would close at 7 on a Friday night. But it did. Then headed there on Saturday night at 6:05. It closed at 6! So the Dine/ Navajo culture is different. When my husband and I were driving into town at dusk, I kept wondering why there were no lights on in the houses. It was dinner time, after all. I expected that families would be at home eating, watching tv, reading. Very few had lights on that I could see. After talking to Percy, the ranger at the visitor's center and doing some reading i believe the Dine culture must rise with the sun and go to bed with sunset. Percy didn't have electricity and even though most of the groups of houses at a street light outside, I'm guessing few had electricity inside. We did go to the restaurant at the Holiday Inn, Garcia's. They were serving dinner later. We arrived about 6:15 and there was one native family eating. Slowly but surely more customers arrived, most of whom were white retirees like us! We had a decent meal there, too. The cafe at the Thunderbird Lodge was open until 7:30 or 8 I think. Be sure to check times. One other thing: Percy could not take us to the famous Spider Rock because it wasn't accessible. Too wet, i'm guessing. There had been snow a few days earlier. So realize you may not get to see all you want to.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank DenverDebby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mattie B, Admin at Thunderbird Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2017

Thank you for the rating and review of your stay at Thunderbird Lodge/Sacred Lodge in Canyon De Chelly.

Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprise took over management of the Lodge in January 2016. Since then many improvements and upgrades have been made to the guest rooms as well as the property and surroundings. All guest rooms now are equipped with a Keurig coffee/tea maker, flat screen television, hair dryer, microwave and mini-fridge. All the rooms have new carpet, mattresses, linens and towels. The wifi has been updated, but still may not be as fast as what some people are used to given the remote area. We are so proud of all the changes and improvements we have made. We also are offering All-Day and 4-Hour tours of the Canyon in our 10 passenger Pinzgauer army-troop carrier vehicles. It is the best way to really experience Canyon De Chelly.

Should your journey bring you back to Canyon De Chelly, we hope to welcome you back to Thunderbird Lodge.

All our best,
Thunderbird Lodge Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2013

We made spur of the moment arrangements and knew we wouldn't be arriving until late. So we had to make a phone call once I got there around 12:30. But a gentleman arrived in about five minutes to check us in. The room was fine, not fancy but with everything you needed except I guess a wireless connection if you wanted that. We only stayed that one night and it was in the off season. If we are back in the area, I'd probably stay there again. The Best Western and Holiday Inn Express in Chinle are probably better places, and may include breakfast (I don't know for sure--we paid $17 for breakfast for two at the on-site cafeteria) but it is run by the Navajo tribe and if you're visiting their land there is probably something to be said for directly supporting them.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Tom D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mattie B, Admin at Thunderbird Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2017

Thank you for the rating and review of your stay at Thunderbird Lodge/Sacred Lodge in Canyon De Chelly.

Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprise took over management of the Lodge in January 2016. Since then many improvements and upgrades have been made to the guest rooms as well as the property and surroundings. All guest rooms now are equipped with a Keurig coffee/tea maker, flat screen television, hair dryer, microwave and mini-fridge. All the rooms have new carpet, mattresses, linens and towels. The wifi has been updated, but still may not be as fast as what some people are used to given the remote area. We are so proud of all the changes and improvements we have made. We also are offering All-Day and 4-Hour tours of the Canyon in our 10 passenger Pinzgauer army-troop carrier vehicles. It is the best way to really experience Canyon De Chelly.

Should your journey bring you back to Canyon De Chelly, we hope to welcome you back to Thunderbird Lodge.

All our best,
Thunderbird Lodge Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2013

The Thunderbird Lodge is in the Canyon de Chelly National Monument, but the whole park is on Navajo land. The Lodge is run by the Navajo, who also conduct the guided tours through the canyon -- where some of them still live and farm -- and those tours are really the only way to get up close and personal with the canyon floor. I found the Lodge accommodations to be clean roomy, attractive, and quiet. They're basic and a little dated, but comfortable and pleasant. If you're looking for a gourmet meal, the cafeteria is not for you. Otherwise, it's as good as anything in town for what it offers, which -- by the way, is more than just fast food. The tiny gift shop in the old trading post section of the cafeteria complex, has real American Indian goods at better prices than you find many places as well as tourist trinkets and necessities. But the greatest attraction of staying at the Lodge is the opportunity it gives you to interact with Navajo families and broaden your understanding of their way of life. Given that they are allowing hordes of total strangers to treat their homeland as nothing more than a photo op, I found them to be gracious and friendly. I was only able to spend one night here because that was the only availability, but I would definitely stay again and plan far enough in advance to be sure I get to stay several days.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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6  Thank MrsPincheon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mattie B, Admin at Thunderbird Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2017

Thank you for the rating and review of your stay at Thunderbird Lodge/Sacred Lodge in Canyon De Chelly.

Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprise took over management of the Lodge in January 2016. Since then many improvements and upgrades have been made to the guest rooms as well as the property and surroundings. All guest rooms now are equipped with a Keurig coffee/tea maker, flat screen television, hair dryer, microwave and mini-fridge. All the rooms have new carpet, mattresses, linens and towels. The wifi has been updated, but still may not be as fast as what some people are used to given the remote area. We are so proud of all the changes and improvements we have made. We also are offering All-Day and 4-Hour tours of the Canyon in our 10 passenger Pinzgauer army-troop carrier vehicles. It is the best way to really experience Canyon De Chelly.

Should your journey bring you back to Canyon De Chelly, we hope to welcome you back to Thunderbird Lodge.

All our best,
Thunderbird Lodge Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2012

Sadly, we got used to the idea that hotels in National Parks are often, for some reason, a bit depressing. Where is that great American welcome, with the staff making you feel they're genuinely pleased you've decided to come and stay? Not here. Reception offhand, cafeteria positively forbidding, with nothing you would be enticed to eat, room dark and depressing. Fortunately, the area is wonderful, but surely the hotel does not have to be as grim as this?

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank happywanderer063
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mattie B, Admin at Thunderbird Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2017

Thank you for the rating and review of your stay at Thunderbird Lodge/Sacred Lodge in Canyon De Chelly.

Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprise took over management of the Lodge in January 2016. Since then many improvements and upgrades have been made to the guest rooms as well as the property and surroundings. All guest rooms now are equipped with a Keurig coffee/tea maker, flat screen television, hair dryer, microwave and mini-fridge. All the rooms have new carpet, mattresses, linens and towels. The wifi has been updated, but still may not be as fast as what some people are used to given the remote area. We are so proud of all the changes and improvements we have made. We also are offering All-Day and 4-Hour tours of the Canyon in our 10 passenger Pinzgauer army-troop carrier vehicles. It is the best way to really experience Canyon De Chelly.

Should your journey bring you back to Canyon De Chelly, we hope to welcome you back to Thunderbird Lodge.

All our best,
Thunderbird Lodge Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2012

I stayed here one night in December on the spur of the moment (it was too cold to camp), and it was just fine. The rooms are quite large and comfortable, and very quiet. I found the cafeteria to be pretty basic and a missed opportunity. Instead of burgers and fries, they could showcase the food of the Dine, such as squash, corn, mutton. Instead it is the standard Indian taco (totally inauthentic), and blue corn pancakes, which were pretty good. Location cannot be beat since it is in the monument. People here were very friendly and helpful.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled solo
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3  Thank TCTraveler_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mattie B, Admin at Thunderbird Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2017

Thank you for the rating and review of your stay at Thunderbird Lodge/Sacred Lodge in Canyon De Chelly.

Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprise took over management of the Lodge in January 2016. Since then many improvements and upgrades have been made to the guest rooms as well as the property and surroundings. All guest rooms now are equipped with a Keurig coffee/tea maker, flat screen television, hair dryer, microwave and mini-fridge. All the rooms have new carpet, mattresses, linens and towels. The wifi has been updated, but still may not be as fast as what some people are used to given the remote area. We are so proud of all the changes and improvements we have made. We also are offering All-Day and 4-Hour tours of the Canyon in our 10 passenger Pinzgauer army-troop carrier vehicles. It is the best way to really experience Canyon De Chelly.

Should your journey bring you back to Canyon De Chelly, we hope to welcome you back to Thunderbird Lodge.

All our best,
Thunderbird Lodge Management

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Thunderbird Lodge

Address: Rural Route 7, Chinle, AZ 86503 (Formerly Sacred Canyon Lodge)
Location: United States > Arizona > Chinle
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Chinle
Price Range: $78 - $124 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Thunderbird Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 69
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The only accommodations inside Canyon de Chelly National Monument. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Thunderbird Hotel Chinle
Thunderbird Lodge Grand Canyon

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