a VirtualTourist member from New Jersey
Have been to the South Rim a few times. Going again and staying overnight. Where would you recommend staying? Have seen mixed reviews about both El Tovar & Bright Angel.
Any other tips on the GC would be appreciated. Just starting my research. Will be going with a 4 yr old. Haven't decided what time of year yet (I realize that accommodations inside the park need to be booked months in advance.)
Both those lodges are nice. El Tovar, I think, is the nicer of the two. The rooms at the Grand Canyon are simple, but clean and relatively comfortable. They're historic, charming and blend well into the flow of the park itself. Don't expect 4-star luxury. If you can get a room at a lodge on the rim (there are several), then book it. The alternatives are not worth it.
Agree with Colin: El Tovar is the most upscale but also the most expensive. We stayed in a rim cabin at Bright Angel and enjoyed it very much: you can't sleep closer to the edge than that! Yes, they are old (historic) and not big on fancy but clean and comfortable. Interestingly enough, ours had a TV; rare for National Park accommodations. The rim cabins are more expensive than lodge rooms but well worth it, I think.
One caveat: I'm seeing mentions here and there that the maximum occupancy of the cabins is 2 - adults OR children - but the Xanterra website doesn't include any info about that. Practically all of the cabins/rooms only have one bed (and many of those are only a double) so you probably need to call for details.
That TV? I didn't think we'd even turn it on but our first of three days at the canyon was 9/11/2001.....
El Tovar, Kachina and Bright Angle are right on the rim. El Tovar is "historic", Bright Angel was in the midst of a major remodel when I was there three years ago. We stayed at Kachina three years ago. I booked a room with a view, and the view was spectacular. The room was comfortable - kind of 1970's Holiday Inn in layout. It was not luxory, but it was clean and comfortable with a breathtaking view. If not for the view, I'd probably stay outside of the park.
From what I've been seeing they don't guarantee that you'll get a room with a view even if you book it that way.
There really is no room with a view at the Grand Canyon. The rim is buffered by a walking trail and all the lodges are set back from it. I've heard the high-end/penthouse type room at El Tovar has somewhat of a view, but I think even that is somewhat obstructed.
Actually, we did have a room with a view at Bright Angel; we could see part of the canyon very well from our window. Whether trees in front now block that view, or whether you'd stand a chance of getting the same one is a crapshoot at best but, well, once upon a time, there was at least one "rim cabin" (as they called that long block of rooms) with a view!
You're right, Donna, they don't guarantee what you'll be looking at out your window.