El Tovar Hotel

Xanterra South Rim LLC, the operators of the hotels at the Grand Canyon, calls the El Tovar Hotel its premier lodging facility at the South Rim. With its unmatched historical significance, impressive guest list and stunning views, it is easy to see why.

El Tovar first opened its doors to guests flocking to the Grand Canyon aboard the Santa Fe Railroad in 1905.  At that time of its establishment, the El Tovar served as the pinnacle of luxury hotels, generating tourism at the helm of the Canyon. Many say the El Tovar had a direct impact on solidifying the Grand Canyon as a national monument in 1908 and a national park 11 years later. It has had its share of VIP visitors such as Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein and famous western author Zane Grey, to name a few. Today, the El Tovar is officially a Registered National Historic Landmark.


Designed by Charles Whittlesey, the El Tovar is comprised of 78 guest rooms.  Its outward appearance mirrors a Swiss chalet sitting just 20 feet from edge of the Canyon. Its tallest wooden turret marks its grand distinction among the majesty of the Canyon, creating an ideal atmosphere for visitors.

An upscale eatery, the Restaurant at El Tovar, is on premises and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Delicious chops and seafood aside, it’s the views in the dining room that provide the most tantalizing aspect of the restaurant.  Be sure you slow down to sip and savor the décor and views of the Canyon.

A variety of room styles are available from a standard double, all the way to a suite. The suites have a bedroom with either two queens or one king bed and a sitting room. Some suites even come with a porch or balcony to really allow you to soak up the views. Pricing depends on room size and of the Grand Canyon hotels, it is not the cheapest. But if staying in style while you explore is your thing, you’ve come to the right place.


  • Dining room on premises
  • Free, self parking
  • Curio shop with newsstand
  • Lounge
  • Cable television in every room
  • Air conditioning
  • Full bath
  • Triple sheeting on the beds
  • Room service
  • Nightly turndown service

The Scoop

The El Tovar was last renovated in 2005 and provides an authentic viewpoint of the Canyon’s modern history. The renovation brought about many of the modern conveniences today’s tourists crave such as pedestal sinks and beveled mirrors.

Ambiance aside, the convenience of the El Tovar can’t be beat as it literally sits on the edge of the Grand Canyon. With tours departing from the South Rim every day, this is extremely convenient option for those wishing to stay right on the South Rim and be a part of the action.

The guests who book the rooms with porches or balconies are treated to stunning views and optimum stargazing opportunities on clear evenings. Be aware, however, not all rooms at El Tovar have canyon views, so you will want to know what you are booking.  While this is a better park hotel, it is not the 5-star luxury of the Ritz. Rooms are on the small side and the feel is more cabin than Plaza.

Who is it good for?

El Tovar is positioned as the premier lodging at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim for a reason – it is convenient, charming and offers the amenities one expects from a decent hotel. Single travelers, couples and families alike will all benefit from a stay at the El Tovar, especially since there are a variety of choices in room size and views.

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