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El Tovar Hotel
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Reviews (3,152)
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All reviewsel tovarthird floordining roompresidential suitegrand canyonhunting lodgesouth rimfred harveyin advancehopi housecocktail loungerooms are smallhistoric lodgesitting areaonce in a lifetimeparking lotnational park
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1,656 - 1,661 of 3,152 reviews
Reviewed 14 August 2013

As others have mentioned, key benefit is location, location, location. Our room was clean and quite modest, possibly the smallest in the hotel with a great view of the parking lot. Loved the period bathroom. A.C. was kinda sticky to operate and we needed to open windows to cool off at night. Meals were outstanding and service great.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jeff A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2013

We loved our stay at El Tovar. It is well maintained for an old facility, still retains lots of its original charm and is in the perfect location for viewing and touring the Canyon. The beautiful dining room has a delicious, varied menu. My only complaint was that the only room we could get had one double bed. Book early!

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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Thank sobemom319
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2013

My wife and I booked the El Tovar hotel from August 5-8th. After leaving a wedding in San Diego we made the quick flight into Phoenix, grabbed our rental car, and made the very nice 4 hour drive to the Grand Canyon and the El Tovar hotel. From all the previous reviews I read I knew parking was going to be at a premium so I wasn't expecting to find parking anywhere close to the hotel. We arrived just after sunset, and to my surprise we were able to find a parking space in the first row. Pure luck I am sure, but I wasn't going to tempt fate...I told my wife that we were either walking or taking the shuttle anywhere else we went during our stay.
As we walked to the hotel we saw an Elk eating his dinner directly in front of the hotel. We took a picture 20 feet from it. Upon walking into the hotel, I felt that we were taking a step back in history. The decor, and feel just takes you back....check in was a breeze, and management was helpful, nice, and professional. Our room was located on the second floor. ***This is a historic hotel so there are no elevators, so you have to carry your luggage.*** This was not a big deal to us, and it was a short trip to our room. The room was on the small size for a modern day hotel room, however, as I previously stated, this is a historic hotel, so its to be expected. To be honest, we did not spend much time in the room except to sleep and shower, so we were quite comfortable. The room was clean, smelled fresh, the bed was comfortable, and the air conditioner cooled the room down quickly. While the bathroom is clean, there is a lack of counter space. No big deal to us at all, but worth mentioning for a review.
My wife and I do not like being tied to a schedule while on vacation so we never made a reservation for the dining room in El Tovar. The first night we were there we walked down to the Arizona Room which is located in the Bright Angel Lodge. The Arizona Room has a small, but friendly bar when you first enter, and the dining room is first come first serve. While waiting for our table we met Ray, the bartender. What an awesome individual he was. Professional, knowledgeable, and overall friendly. Over the course of our three day trip, we visiting Ray everyday either in the bar or the restaurant. On the first and third night we enjoyed dinner in the Arizona Room. The food was great, atmosphere excellent, and I left knowing that I just enjoyed a great meal. On the last night, Ray was our waiter, and wouldn't you know it, he remembered exactly what we were drinking and brought us our drinks without ever having to ask. I would highly recommend the Arizona Room.
The next morning we decided to try to El Tovar dining room for a late breakfast. Our waiter was excellent, I wish I remembered his name. He was professional, friendly, and provided us with a unique history lesson on the property. ***Note to reviewers if you eat breakfast here...you can request half portions, which are cheaper and MORE than enough to fill you up.*** We ate breakfast here all three mornings, all ordering half portions. The food was excellent. We have never had such a delicious breakfast, anywhere.....
We ended up spending both days there hiking, I would suggest the Bright Angel Trail and the South Kaibab trail. Remember it's a lot easier going down then up! Bring plenty of water, and sunscreen. Another suggestion that I wish I would have known, but not one review I read stated it....bring bug spray. For whatever reason the bugs, which I describe as biting nats, were in full force on the South Kaibab trail. I spoke with a park ranger and she told me that the bugs are never this bad, so maybe it was a freak thing....regardless I wanted to mention it....
Okay...our only true disappointment of the trip was our second dinner. Located in the Bright Angel Lodge, but not the same as the Arizona Room, was the Bright Angel Restaurant. I would relate this restaurant to a Denny's quality type. While ordering an appetizer, I asked the waiter if I could have a caesar salad with dinner instead of the house salad. The waiter actually argued with me over why I wanted a caesar salad. Then it became clear he had no idea what a caesar salad was. I order the trout, which itself was good. However, it came with sides of rice and vegetables. They left much to be desired. The fact that I say they tasted bland is a compliment. And, if I haven't said it enough yet, the waiter left much to be desired. Not professional, acted like he did not care, and was not knowledge about the basic restaurant items.
I will say that during the course of our last dinner in the Arizona room we spoke with the manager who actually manages both restaurants. He was very polite and professional and really listened to what we had to say.
Even though this review is about El Tovar I wanted to list everything we did so that if you are thinking about coming to the Grand Canyon you could get a feel for whats around.
We woke up every morning at 515 for the sunrise, only on the last morning did we actually see it. The previous two mornings it was overcast. However, every morning you can see many Elk eating breakfast right outside the hotel.
So in summary....reviews are right, parking is terrible, however, I was a lucky one! Remember there are no elevators.
If you are looking for a modern day hotel with all the bells and whistles this place is NOT for you. But if you want to experience history, beauty, nature this place is for you. We will without a doubt go back to this place. We loved it!
Also, highly recommend taking a shuttle anywhere in the Grand Canyon National park. They are fast, efficient, and abundant.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank James A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2013

The location of this hotel is undoubtedly its strength. It was lovely to see the Grand Canyon before the rush of tourists arrived for the day and after they had gone. The rooms are old and traditional and because of that are small in size. We upgraded to a deluxe room, which was very comfortable but certainly not large. Wile we were there the restaurant was packed every evening and I found it very cold as the air con was turned up so much. The food was good, although not exceptional. Service was also good but not very personal (We were staying for our 20th wedding anniversary and I had told the hotel and requested a 'romantic' table in the restaurant that evening - they did give us quite a good table but no one even acknowledged that it was a special evening for us, this would have cost them nothing but meant a lot to us.
Worth staying for the experience of this old hotel so close to the rim but don't expect luxury!

Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Diana014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2013

It is well worth staying at the El Tovar if you go into it realizing you are paying for four things primarily: location, location, location and a sense of history. The only single draw-back---if there is one-- to the location is that the hotel in itself is a tourist attraction, so it can be swarming with tourists in the lobby and sitting on the porches, as it was on the afternoon of our arrival (also making it difficult to find parking nearby). However, by 5 p.m. or so, most of the day-trippers had left, leaving the hotel guests a rocking chair and an uncrowded viewing spot to watch the sunset in quiet with a glass of wine. The typical rooms in this historic park lodge are by modern standards on the small side, but that is to be expected. We opted for a "terrace level" room as it was a good bit less than a room with a view, figuring we would be in there very little except to sleep. Our room was in the back of the hotel, ground level, right by the service entrance with laundry vans, garbage trucks etc. There was no terrace to be seen, but I guess somebody has to get those rooms! Obviously it would be great to have an upper level suite with huge terrace (as someone wrote they lucked into) so if you can afford it, go for that!The hotel itself has a great deal of turn-of-the-last-century old charm with it's huge wooden beams, animal heads, deep sofas and high ceilings. You can well imagine Teddy (Roosevelt) striding through on his way for a pint in the bar, or perhaps a large dinner of beefsteak and mashed potatoes in the dining room. The bar---great views, friendly and lovely outdoor terrace to enjoy a wet one. Speaking of the dining room, the views are grand if you can get near the windows, the service was fine, but the food at best average (especially for the $25-$30 for our entrees---salmon pretty good, but quail a big disappointment). The grandest thing is indeed the location, and I'm so glad that for our 2day/2 night visit to GCNP we were able to immerse ourselves in the park as much as we could by staying right there on the rim with the spectacular views. It would have felt a lot different to have to truck in from outside the park, staying in a grim motel or driving an hour from Williams, and waiting in a long line to get through the gate (as we witnessed when we left). Instead, I was able to make a cup of coffee in my room at 5a.m., throw on a jacket and in a moment's time be outside watching first a family of elk grazing on the front lawn, and then, with only a handful of other folks around (all of whom "got it" about being quietly respectful and letting everyone experience the moment!) watch a magnificent sunrise over the Grand Canyon. Those are a couple of mornings I will never forget. Another great thing about the El Tovar and its location was the proximity to Bright Angel Trail and Rim Trail, which you could be on within minutes, allowing for a pre-breakfast or early evening hike or stroll without having to travel there. Also, we found eating at the Bright Angel Lodge just down the hill a good option for breakfasts, a tasty lunch with good options, or a casual dinner---the service there was wonderful, and though it doesn't have quite the ambience of the Dining Room at El Tovar, was a perfectly pleasant alternative (with reasonable prices)---and especially so if travelling with children. Overall, very glad we stayed at the El Tovar, as I may not be back to the Grand Canyon in this lifetime .....(maybe we should have splurged on that Presidential Suite)!

Room Tip: If you're getting a "terrace" level room, request the north side of the building.
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank laura714
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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