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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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2,042 - 2,047 of 3,152 reviews
Reviewed 30 April 2012

My husband and I stayed there by chance a year ago on our anniversary. First of all, we were headed to Phoenix and decided to make a side trip through the Grand Canyon and came upon the El Tovar Hotel. We just knew we would never be able to get a room there at the last minute but viola, they were able to accommodate us and we had an absolutely darling room. The desk clerk couldn't have been nicer and the price was totally reasonable, especially for last minute accommodations! The Hotel is beautiful, our room was beautiful and the restaurant in the hotel was amazing!!! 1st class all the way. I can't wait to go back

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Gail w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 April 2012

No wonder you have to book months in advance to have a room in this hotel. Not only is it directly on the rim of the Grand Canyon, Xanterra management insures that every employee is trained to treat every customer like a king. While the rooms are expensive, they are clean and well kept. Ours had a view - it wasn't a view room, but we had some view.

From check in to check out, we were treated with respect and warmth. The meals in the El Tovar restaurant were excellent. The service was friendly and unobtrusive, and flawless. We had two dinners and a breakfast in the restaurant, we liked it so much.

Book ahead. Make your reservation early also for the restaurant - you can book up to six months in advance.

Room Tip: There aren't a lot of rooms at El Tovar - nowhere near enough to meet the demand. Reserve as early as you can, and if you want a view room, you need to book up to 13 months in advance. Get there mid-morning to mid-afternoon and just keep circling until you get a place in the parking lot, then leave your car and take the shuttles, otherwise you will be hauling gear from far away parking lots. Try October, November, April and May for fewer people, even those months are crowded. Three stories, no elevator. Pack lightly!
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Intlxpatr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2012

My wife and I stayed for 1 night on our honeymoon last week and I must say we were both thouroughly disappointed. My wife and I have stayed at many older hotels have frequented many historical Fairmont hotels so we know what to expect from an older historic hotel (smaller rooms, old antique feel etc). The one thing we weren't expecting is the smell of the El Tovar. Upon waliking in we were overwhelmed with terrible smell in the lobby and hallways, it smelt like a salughter house. We've never had that experience before in old historic hotels and it is very unappealing. The one good thing was that the room did not have the same smell so we did have somewhat of a refuge from the stink. The interior of the hotel needs updating if at the very least to elimninate the stink. You can still update the hotel interior while maintaining historic feel...like I said, fairmont hotels are old but at least they are appealing.

We arrived about 5pm and could not find parking prior to check in so we pulled up our car to the front so we could check in and find out if there was other parking. Once we checked in we asked about parking and were told that it was up to us to find parking. The front desk told us the parking lot we circled through 4 times already was the best choice and that there was a sort of hidden parking spaces behind the gallery adjacent to the parking lot. When I asked if she could explain where this parking was in better detail she seemed annoyed and said its just behind the XXXXX building (can't remember the name) but her description was not helpful at all especially since the access to these hidden spots is 'hidden'. They didn't offer with help for our bags which was a pain because the room was up 3 flights of stairs. We were ok because of our age but I cannot imagine anyone with impaired mobility staying in the 3rd level suites let alone carrying their bags up those steps. After we checked in I got back into the car to find parking and after circling the lot another 5 or 6 times I had to drive throughout the village and found parking about a 5-6 minute walk away.

With it being our honeymoon I felt it was worth it to splurge a bit...upon booking the hotel I paid for a suite with a roof top patio for $450/night in the garden suite. The quite was smallish but adequate and had been updated nicely (the only nice part of our stay in the hotel). The patio was bare with just some patio furniture, certainly nothing special, not even a potted plant to be seen. We didn't eat in the restaurant because it was full the night we arrived but we did get room service once and they screwed up our order. We didn't bother complaining because by this time we were fed up with the hotel.

We ate at the Arizona room in the Bright Angel Lodge and it was so so. The Arizona room looked like it hadn't been updated since 1980 and the food was ok, certainly not worth the money but we somewhat expected that eating in a restaurant at the Grand Canyon. Our server was very friendly and was the lone brigh spot in our dinner.

With our hotel experience and the Arizona room dinner it certainly feels like Xanterra has a captive audience and really doesn't care about their service or ammenities in their facilities. We do expect some detriments staying at historic hotels but for $450/night, you expect to be able to park your car, have friendly/helpful staff, or help with your bags and at least a pleasant atomsphere. We were most excited about this hotel during our trip and it was by far the biggest let down. They charge 5 star prices but provide 2 star service and ammenitieswhich is even a stretch in this case. Save your money and pay for the 2 star inn in at the Canyon, the El Tovar hotel is not worth it...especially the suites! I will never stay at a Xanterra managed property again.

Room Tip: Stay somewhere else for cheeper. Certainly don't pay for the garden quite.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank leamico
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Xanterra, Manager at El Tovar Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 1 May 2012

Thank you for taking the time to submit TripAdvisor feedback on your recent stay at El Tovar.

I was disappointed to read about your overall experience at El Tovar. I am unable to explain the slaughterhouse smell you were referring to in your comment. However, I can assure you, this is not the usual smell found at El Tovar.

Unfortunately, parking at the Grand Canyon is very limited. Indeed you can find parking behind Verkamp's Visitor Center, but the driveway is somewhat hidden. Its location could have probably been more clearly described to you.

We have a round-the-clock bellman at El Tovar whose job it is to assist with baggage. I apologize if this wasn't communicated to you upon check in. I will remind my staff to mention our bellman service to every guest.

As far as your comments about the food are concerned, I will notify our Food & Beverage department so they can addresses these issues personally. Until then, please accept my sincere apologies for all of the issues you encountered. We take pride in our ability to offer world-class service at El Tovar. I'm just disappointed that we failed to deliver on this promise during such an important time of you and your wife's lives.

I hope your recent experience doesn't prevent you from returning to the South Rim and staying at Maswik Lodge or our other in-park lodges. If you return, please let me know and I will guarantee your complete satisfaction.

Mike Harding
Rooms Director
Grand Canyon South Rim

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 April 2012

El Tovar was on my Bucket List of places to stay.. My wife and I enjoy traveling to the National Parks and staying in the lodges. El Tovar was on the top of the list. Yes it is expensive. Probably not suitable for everyone. But, for it's elegance, history, and location we had to do it. Highlight was seeing elk and deer grazing right outside our room. I am glad we stayed here. Truly a memorable experience.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank lawdawg1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 April 2012

Built in 1905, this is an impressive looking hotel. Inside there is much wood and stone, and it is well maintained, with gift stores, a restaurant and bar lounge. There are no elevators, many stairs, narrow corridors, few bathrooms and no handicapped accessible entrances except one. The staff are attentive and helpful, thankfully, since we were traveling with an elderly relative. They have wheelchairs and allowed us to take one with us in our car while we went to see the sites with her. The room itself was adequate, the bed comfortable and the bathroom quite large. They brought us a rollaway bed that fit in the room while allowing us access to the armoire and bathroom. The armoire was not big enough for all our clothing and although had an ironing board and iron, we didn't use them. The dressers beside the beds were good for small items. We had more than enough towels and toiletries, and water was hot every day in the shower. I would probably stay elsewhere in the future since the hotel was expensive to stay in for several days.

Room Tip: Our room was in full sun and therefore hotter during the day. Ask for a room away from the midday sun.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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1  Thank Monica H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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