El Tovar Grand Canyon – Hotel Review
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A stay at Arizona’s historic El Tovar hotel just might make you feel like you’ve found yourself at the edge of the world. Nestled mere footsteps from the rim of the majestic Grand Canyon, this 78-room chalet-meets-villa essentially gives you VIP, all-day access to this world wonder. That means you can take your sweet time lapping up views of its great expanse, which is a notable bonus come sunrise and sunset.
That’s exactly what guests have been doing since this legendary hotel, a registered National Historic Landmark, was erected in 1905. Since its inception, it’s housed countless park visitors, including some very noteworthy names like Teddy Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Paul McCartney, and Oprah Winfrey.
Having been in Arizona for the last decade, I’ve made the four-hour trek from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon on numerous occasions. It’s basically a rite of passage for all those who come visit me, and a personal excuse to get another glimpse of this geological wonder. I’ve been there mid-summer (a cool reprieve from the blazing desert heat), in the height of autumn surrounded by falling leaves, and even mid-blizzard (a total accident, but worth seeing the ridges covered in a snowy blanket).
I can tell you firsthand that while there’s technically an “off season” for visiting the Grand Canyon — December through March — there’s really not a moment throughout the year when you won’t find yourself appreciative of the views. In fact, staying here off-peak, when the crowds are thinner, is appropriate amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to fewer people staying during the low season, you can enjoy lower rates. In fact, the cost difference per night can result in substantial savings. For example, during January the price of a standard room ranges between $189 and $278, whereas in the summer prices usually hover in the low to mid $400s.
I recently stayed in an entry-level room in late November and was impressed with the stunning location and thorough new COVID-19 protocols. While I’ve visited the Grand Canyon numerous times, this was my first time staying overnight, and I would highly recommend El Tovar and its historic charms to future visitors.