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“Nice stay - about what we expected.”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of El Tovar Hotel

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El Tovar Hotel
Indianapolis, IN. USA
Level Contributor
87 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 233 helpful votes
“Nice stay - about what we expected.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 March 2012

It was worth the cost in several ways....the character, historic value, location, and breakfast. What fun to walk out the front door, turn left, and virtually be at the South Rim overlook. The colors at sunrise and sunset were spectacular. Our 'standard' room was quite large and easily held two queen-size beds. Everything was clean and good looking. Minor complaint was the (very) noisy HVAC unit - we had to turn the TV volume up and down quite a bit, every time the unit went on and off. The exhaust fan in the bathroom also droned on. These are small irritations but it would seem not that hard to improve them. The staff people were nice, especially in the dining room. What a breakfast! Tip: be sure to take the Desert View drive to Lipan Point overlook - it was the best of all we stopped at. Also the 'watch tower' at Desert View is fascinating.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank dangui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,836 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Palm Springs, California
Level Contributor
36 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 March 2012

I ate dinner twice at the El Tovar restaurant with friends who flew in from England and Washington, D.C. and we all agreed on the following review.

The food is good, but not outstanding or memorable.  I know that this is the best food in the park and the general Grand Canyon area (although the food is quite good at the nearby Best Western), but this doesn't mean that it should be "good enough" because there are few other fine dining options around.  Why couldn't they hire a well known chef and revamp the food at the park?  We found most of the options on the menu to be very heavy and old-fashioned.  There were no kid friendly options at all.  Nor did the waiter mention that kids could order a half portion instead.  The Elk steak was great and so was the lamb shank.  The Schnitzel was cold and greasy and I've had much much better elsewhere.  The Salmon served over the torillas was horribly over-cooked and the rice pilaf was greasy.  Someone in the kitchen is way too heavy handed with oil/butter.  The only way that I was able to eat the salmon was by cutting it into tiny pieces and mixing it into the rice and salad, as it was so tough.  The shrimp cocktail tasted borderline fresh and the shrimp were definitely not jumbo in size.  Cocktail sauce tasted straight out of a bottle.  The bloody mary mix tasted no different than a cheap bloody mary on an airplane.  The salads were over dressed and not special enough for a fine dining establishment.

The best dessert by far is the apple pie.  The flourless chocolate cake was not bad, but extremely dense.  It was served with a bright green sauce that looked straight out of a bottle with artificial colour, not classy.
The vegetable sides were the best part of the meal.  Excellent choice of using Broccoli rabe and surprisingly not over-cooked.  If the rest of the food was cooked in that way the food would be much better.

The bar needs updating even more than the restaurant.  You can't charge premium prices for your rooms and then have a bar that looks like it belongs at a cheap roadside motel.  What a surprise.  The bar food menu is all too fried.  If you wanted that kind of food and vibe you'd go elsewhere.  The entire experience of El Tovar should be world class.  You are at the most magnificent location in the world and yes you have a captive audience, because this is the best option at the park, but seriously do something to make the hotel reflect the grandeur of its location.  People come here from all over the world.  Based on the prices for rooms and food they can certainly afford to revamp the food and refresh the hotel.  The carpets in the hallways were stained and old.  We were awoken both days with early morning vacuuming, which was unnecessary since check in is only at 4pm.  I know that Xanterra has a monopoly on lodging and food at the park, but this is no excuse to offer second rate food and facilities.

We spent around $300 for 5 people (two of them kids) the first night for dinner and $250 on the second night, so be warned it's not inexpensive.  If you are coming from any urban place like New York, London, Los Angeles etc. and if you are used to fine dining then you will be bitterly disappointed.  The restaurant was filled with diners from all over the world, this should be a showpiece.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank interplanetary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Xanterra, Manager at El Tovar Hotel, responded to this review, 4 April 2012
I appreciate you taking the time to submit feedback on your dining and overnight accommodations at El Tovar. All feedback left on TripAdvisor is personally reviewed and ultimately used to assist us with improving the quality of our products and services.

We understand your comments related the the food at El Tovar. We are often challenged with finding the selection of quality food El Tovar has become synonymous, yet offer it at prices that nearly every Grand Canyon guest can afford. We want to make El Tovar accessible to as many guests as possible, and we do that through menu prices. We've hired well-known executive chefs in the past, and they have helped improve the menu over the many years of El Tovar's existence. The menu is also always under constant review and updated regularly by the executive chef. The choices you had on your menu will likely be completely different if you later decide to visit El Tovar again. We are always looking for was to improve. Your comments help.

As far as the decor and design of El Tovar, little can be done to modify the existing layout and construction of the hotel since it's now on the National Historic Register. We must now adhere to strict guidelines to ensure that El Tovar is preserved and remains on the register. Fortunately we have flexibility with the condition of the carpeting. The hallway carpet is scheduled for professional cleaning this year, the lobby/mezzanine is cleaned monthly, and the hallway carpet is scheduled for replacement in January of 2013.

Again, thank you for providing your feedback. I hope your recent experiences do not prevent you from returning to the South Rim and re-experiencing El Tovar, or any of our other in-park lodges.

Mike Harding
Rooms Director
Grand Canyon South Rim
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charleston, South Carolina
Level Contributor
152 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 March 2012

To wake up within 50 feet of the Grand Canyon is amazing and allows you to visit the rim at any hour of day. The GC is unbelievable in the day, of course, but don't miss the countless stars at night since there is virtually no light pollution around the canyon. The El Tovar feels like an 1800's European lodge; a fact that drew both Teddy R. and Taft to it. The hotel rooms are small but clean and, if you realize you are staying in a National Historic Landmark, the small rooms allow you to appreciate traveling conditions of the early 1900's. The hotel's restaurant, gift shops, and rooms are very reasonably priced. If you get tired of the El Tovar's menu it is a quick walk to other restaurants. The El Tovar sits more or less in the middle of the bus routes and walking routes so there is easy access to the South Rim.

Room Tip: Spring for the mid priced rooms as they are much bigger than the most inexpensive rooms. Few, if any...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank lowlander46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 March 2012

Great stay at EL Tovar. This is my 3rd time staying at El Tovar and I will be back. Room 6473 on the 3rd floor was small but the window gets a solid view of The Canyon which was a treat. At checkin, the front desk said only certain suites are guaranteed to have views but room 6473 was great.

  • Stayed March 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank wwwstudyofmakeupcom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Texas
Level Contributor
25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 March 2012

The El Tovar is located right on the rim of the canyon. You can't beat the location. However, the hotel itself is average at best. Floors were squeaky and not level. You are paying for location and that's it.

The main restaurant at the hotel is pretty good but make reservations well in advance.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SM-HTown
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

Property: El Tovar Hotel
Address: Apache Street and Center Road, South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, AZ 86023
Region: 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 (per night): ₹ 14,002 - ₹ 28,134
Hotel Class:2.5 star — El Tovar Hotel 2.5*
Number of rooms: 78
Reservation Options:
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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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