Complete Guide to the El Tovar Hotel in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona including how to make reservations, room photo and video, history, nearby attractions and things to do, and so much more.
El Tovar Hotel
The El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon opened on January 14, 1905, four years after construction started. It was named El Tovar in honor of Spanish explorer Pedro de Tobar, who had led the first expedition to Hopi Indian country in 1540. The Sante Fe Railroad reaching the Grand Canyon was the catalyst to building this great National park lodge.
Nothing was spared in making El Tovar one of the great hotels of its era. The building was completely equipped with electric lights powered by its own steam generator. Railroad tank cars brought fresh water for the hotel from Del Rio, 120 miles away.
Fresh fruit and vegetables were grown in greenhouses on the premises. The hotel even had its own dairy. The most important single consideration, however, was to extend genuine hospitality and the utmost courtesy to the new Hotel’s guest. Xanterra Parks & Resorts purchased the Fred Harvey Company in 1968
The El Tovar Hotel opened its doors in 1905 as a former Harvey House. The hotel was constructed of native stone and Oregon pine. The hotel has hosted amazing dignitaries and celebrities including President Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, and President Bill Clinton.
Reservations can be made online
There are 78 rooms at the El Tovar Hotel including 12 suites. Each of the historic rooms in the hotel is unique and offers its own charm.
Standard rooms come with one double bed, one queen bed, two queen beds, or one king bed.
Deluxe Rooms come with one queen bed, one king bed, or two queen beds.
Suites have a bedroom with either one king bed or two queens, and a sitting room. Some of the suites have a porch or balcony. Not all suites can be reserved online. To make a reservation, please call toll-free (7a-7p MT) at 888-297-2757.
ADA Compliant Rooms are available.
Room Tour/Review El Tovar Hotel - King Room
Our king room in the El Tovar Hotel at the Grand Canyon was located on the 1st floor near the rim of the Grand Canyon. Our room had a comfortable king-size bed, writing desk, television with a wide range of channels, two comfortable chairs and table along with the on-suite bathroom with a bathtub/shower, sink, and toilet.
The bathroom has Xanterra El Tovar bath products including soap, lotion, shampoo, and conditioner that are nicely scented.
The room also has a Keurig with two coffee cups and a variety of coffees available. There are also a few tea bags in case you are not a fan of coffee.
We really enjoyed our king room at the El Tovar. Our room was located on the first floor right near the canyon rim doorway.
We could see the Grand Canyon if we looked out the window and turned our heads a bit. It was not a straight-on view but it was still absolutely amazing.
The bed was really comfortable and there are a ton of pillows on it. Our favorite part was having the Keurig in the room and being able to enjoy a hot cup of coffee while relaxing in the two chairs near the window. This was such a relaxing way to start the day and plan where we wanted to go and what we planned to do.
El Tovar Hotel Amenities
Hotel Concierge and Bell Service
In-room amenities include satellite TV, in-room Keurig coffee maker, safe, telephone, hairdryer, full bath, and air conditioning. There were two robes in the closet along with an iron and ironing board.
The parking lot is shared with the Hopi House and the Verkamp's visitor center. You may have to circle a few times to get a parking spot. There is a space to pull up in front of the El Tovar and drop your luggage so one person can stay with the luggage while the other person parks.
This made it a lot easier to get our luggage into the hotel and not have to drag it through the parking lot. There is also parking along the road but you will need to walk uphill to get to the hotel.
Room service is available for breakfast and dinner only. The current menu can be found in the visitor services binder in the room.
Wi-Fi is available in the room but may be spotty. Due to the remote location, the wi-fi may only support one device per room. We were able to connect to the internet but it was not fast. Definitely, don't plan to download any large files or even upload a ton of photos. We could get emails to load and check Facebook but it took a bit.
We did have service with T-Mobile on our phones. The signal was not super strong but enough for emails to come through and to post an update on social media.
There is only a couple of easily accessible electrical plug-ins in the room. We had to unplug a lamp and the Keurig to charge our camera batteries and phones. You may want to pack an electrical bar or we use this electrical extension to have USB Plug-Ins.
Accessible Rooms at the El Tovar Hotel
El Tovar does offer accessible rooms. To see available ADA-compliant rooms check the “ADA/Accessible Rooms” box in the online reservations application or call Central Reservations (7 am - 7 pm MT) at (888) 297-2757.
History of the El Tovar Hotel
El Tovar Hotel is located inside Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and is the oldest hotel located within the park that is still operating today. El Tovar sits directly on the rim of the canyon.
Even before the Grand Canyon was designated as a National Park in 1919, the site was visited by many hikers, nature lovers, and the curious.
At that time visitors arrived by wagon or stagecoach and stayed in their own tents. This all changed in 1901 when the Santa Fe Railway completed a spur line that was able to take travelers almost directly to the Grand Canyon.
Railway passengers at this time were comprised of mostly the wealthy. These visitors expected to travel in style and stay in style.
In 1902, the Santa Fe Railway, as many other railways had done and would do in the future, commissioned the construction of an elaborate hotel at the park.
In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt made his famed trip to the Grand Canyon and garnered even more interest in the area after his satisfaction became public. He stated of the canyon:
“Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children, and for all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”
This new hotel was to be as magnificent and as close to the canyon rim as possible. Chicago architect Charles Whittlesey was hired for the design and the end product had nearly 100 rooms and cost $250,000 to build.
It was considered the most luxurious hotel west of the Mississippi River. Whittlesey’s design was categorized as a combination of Swiss Chalet and Mission-Revival style, constructed using native boulders and Oregon pine.
The Fred Harvey Company had been chosen to run the hotel when it was completed. Fred Harvey had become quite synonymous with luxury in America as his food chains and hotels were quite famous with travelers.
When the doors opened on January 14, 1905, the hotel was officially called the El Tovar Hotel, thanks to the suggestion of Fred Harvey himself.
The name was a nod to Pedro de Tovar, an explorer who was credited as being the first white man to meet the Hopi Indians in the southwest in the 1500s.
The Hopi tribe can trace their history back to nearly 2,000 years in Arizona. They are one of 11 tribes that can tie their roots directly back to inhabiting the Grand Canyon area.
Along with its grand stature overlooking the rim of the canyon, the inside also impressed all who entered. Decorated with hunting trophies, Native American crafts, and copper chandeliers, the rustic nature of the area tied in with some elaborate additions as well.
Guest rooms were complete with sleigh beds, showers and baths were hot as railroad cars brought freshwater from Del Rio, 120 miles away, and fresh fruits and vegetables were grown in greenhouses on the property.
The property also contained a chicken house with fresh eggs and a dairy to supply fresh milk. The hotel offered a billiard room, music room, and barbershop.
Harvey housed a collection of Navajo blankets on the second floor of the hotel. Architect Mary Colter was commissioned by Harvey in 1904 to build what is now called the Hopi House.
The building was modeled after centuries old Hopi dwellings and was an authentic experience for visitors to the hotel and the area. In the late 1920s, the Fred Harvey Company began allowing Hopi people to secure jobs and responsibilities in the business.
To keep up their reputation as one of the oldest yet most popular in the park service, the hotel was updated regularly.
More guest rooms were added, some with their own bathrooms as when the hotel was built, it was not seen for there to be more than one bathroom on each floor of a hotel. The El Tovar was one of the few spots in the Grand Canyon, and around the country for that matter, that remained open during World War II.
The renovations, updates, and changes seen at El Tovar over the years offered an obvious glimpse into history as popular building styles in America went from Victorian lodges to more rustic Western lodges.
By the 1920s, this style would become well-known to almost every lodge in the park service and is still very prevalent today.
El Tovar was recognized as a National Historic Landmark on May 28, 1987, and has been a member of the Historic Hotels of America since 2012.
Other famous visitors to the hotel include Gerald Ford, Herbert Hoover, Albert Einstein, Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney, and many others.
In 1913, Teddy Roosevelt insisted on another visit to the Grand Canyon area and again commented on the importance of preserving the immense beauty seen there.
He complimented the hotel and the surrounding site the area. After nearly 117 years, visitors to the Grand Canyon and to the historic El Tovar Hotel appreciate the area and its rich beauty and history just as much as President Roosevelt did.
Some of the famous people who have stayed at hotels include Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Western author Zane Grey, President Bill Clinton, Sir Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey, and countless others.
El Tovar Dining Room
A majority of El Tovar's menu ingredients are locally sourced, sustainable, or organic. We enjoyed an amazing dinner at the El Tovar Dining Room after checking into our room.
The food was beyond delicious and the atmosphere was truly breathtaking. How can you go wrong when you can watch the sunset changing the colors of the Grand Canyon from your dinner table.
Dinner reservations are highly recommended. The fine dining room on the edge of the Grand Canyon is spectacular.
The service is on par with a 5-star restaurant. I enjoyed the 10 oz. bone-in pork chop that had a jalapeno cream sauce along with carrots and sweet potatoes. I am normally not a huge pork chop fan but this may have been the best one I have ever had.
Make sure and save room for the apple pie! The cinnamon strudel topping was the perfect pairing to the apples. I had it with vanilla ice cream and could have easily skipped the ice cream and just enjoyed the pie. My wife had a cranberry orange crème brulee that was delicious.
Our meal with tip cost $145 which included 2 beers, a prickly pear margarita, cheese and charcuterie platter, bone-in pork chop, and pasta along with 2 desserts. The restaurant asks that you do not wear sneakers or flip-flops and dress for a nice dinner. Jackets are not required but a button-down shirt will not stand out as too dressy.
El Tovar Dinner Menu highlights not to miss
Prickly Pear Margarita $9.90
A Cool Southwestern Twist to an Old Favorite with Hornitos Tequila, Patron Citronge, Sweet n’ Sour, Lime & Prickly Pear Syrup
Served in a Tortilla Lady Fried Tortilla Bowl 8.25
Chicken El Tovar - Inspired by an item appearing on El Tovar’s 1947 Dinner Menu
Two Antibiotic Free Boneless Chicken Breasts, Angel Hair Pasta, Mushroom Sherry Sauce, Wilted Fresh Spinach, Chef’s choice fresh Vegetables 25.05
El Tovar Breakfast
We enjoyed our breakfast so much at the El Tovar that we went back a second time. The view over the Grand Canyon from the El Tovar is honestly unbelievable. Please be prepared that there are only 4 maybe 8 tables that are right next to the window. Don't worry even if you are seated back a few rows the view is still unbelievable.
We heard multiple people complaining that they wanted to sit up front and the staff tried their best to get everyone a close seat but there are only so many tables near the window. You can ask at the hostess stand and let them know you are willing to wait if sitting right next to the window is something you have to do.
Make sure and order the cinnamon roll and ask for it to be warmed up. Oh my goodness they are so delicious. The pastry horn filled with fresh cream and fresh fruit is also amazing. Honestly, everything we tried was absolutely delicious.
I tried the poached eggs benedict and the El Tovar Signature Prime Rib Hash and they were both amazing. I am not sure which one I enjoyed the most. The oatmeal was also great served with fresh fruit.
My wife fell in love with the Sonoran Style Eggs served in a tortilla bowl.
One of the best things about eating at the El Tovar is they are willing to work with your dietary restrictions and don't blink an eye when you ask. My wife has been a vegetarian for over twenty years and was able to easily adapt the menu to fit her tastes. The restaurant can also adapt to gluten-free and vegan diets.
El Tovar Breakfast Menu Highlights not to miss!
Harvey House Breakfast - Appeared on El Tovar Breakfast Menu 1914
Two Cage-Free Eggs* any style with your choice of Thick Cut, Hormone and Antibiotic Free Bacon, Smoked Pit Ham Steak, House-made Sustainably Farmed Pork Sausage Patties or Turkey Sausage, Breakfast Potatoes or Fresh Fruit Salad and choice of Toast
El Tovar Signature Prime Rib Hash
Arizona Grown Prime Rib, Two Cage-Free Eggs* any style, Breakfast Potatoes, Fresh Bell Peppers, Roasted Tomato, Sweet Onions, Chipotle Hollandaise, Tortilla Lady Flour or Corn Tortillas
El Tovar Lunch Menu highlights not to miss
Shaved Prime Rib Melt - Inspired by El Tovar Lunch Item from 1957
Shaved Arizona Grown Prime Rib, Roasted Red Peppers, Bleu Cheese Spread, Provolone, Arugula, Grilled Locally Produced Sourdough Bread
Traditional Navajo Taco
Choice of Seasoned Arizona Grown Ground Beef with Pinto & Black Beans or Vegetarian Chili, Fresh Hand-made Fry Bread, Shredded Cheddar, Red Onion, Fresh Tomato, Chopped Lettuce
House-made Guacamole, Sour Cream, Fresh Salsa
Hours of Operation
- Breakfast – 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
- Lunch – 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- Dinner – 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Lounge – 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
El Tovar Cocktail Lounge
The cocktail lounge is located in the El Tovar lobby and offers great cocktails and wine along with small plates to snack on. You can enjoy your drinks on the patio with a view of the Grand Canyon that is hard to believe.
Check out all of the Grand Canyon South Rim Restaurants for ideas on where else to dine during your trip to the Grand Canyon.
El Tovar Dining Room Murals
The murals on the El Tovar dining room walls reflect the customs of four Indian tribes:
Hopi-Praying to Hahay ' mana, Mother of all Kachina: the Central figure is beseeching Ha-hai-mana for a good harvest; Kachina on the left will carry the message to the gods. A girl offers Piki bread to Kachina and the boy is holding a melon, which symbolizes good crops. Water jug holds holy water to bless the people.
Apache-Sun Rise Dance: The two young girls have just reached puberty and will dance all night. During this puberty dance, the four mountain spirit dancers on the right will put scars on the wrists of the girls, showing that they are now mature and ready for marriage. Two figures on the left are a drummer and a singer.
Mohave-Bird Dance or Harvest Dance: Bird dancer and singer are shown on the right. The two girls on the left are giving thanks for a good harvest, while the birds clean the fields to show the gods that there has been no waste.
Navajo-Feather Dance: The Navajo Kachina 'Yah-bits-hi, is depicted as an old man in a mask on the right. The singer in the center of the picture has strings attached to his drumsticks so the feathers dance in time to his drumming. The two kneeling figures are making the offering while a spectator, on the left, looks on.
(Information from the El Tovar Dining Room Menu)
Pool - There is no pool at the hotel
Fitness Center - There is not a fitness center at the hotel but there are miles of epic Grand Canyon Hikes right outside the door.
El Tovar Hotel Gift Shop
There are two gift shops in the main lobby of the El Tovar. The small gift shop has some snacks, a few books, newspapers, and a few souvenirs. Across the lobby, there is a larger gift shop that has Pendleton Products based on the Grand Canyon, jewelry, Grand Canyon Wine, the dishes used in the main dining room, and so much more!
Grand Canyon Railway - Hop aboard the Grand Canyon Railway for an unforgettable trip to the Grand Canyon. With either coach or first-class tickets, marvel at the scenic Arizona countryside as you delight in the retro interior and traveling minstrels along the way.
Helicopter Tour - Fly over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter and see the North and South Rim from above. Add a Hummer tour at sunrise or sunset and get a closer look at the Grand Canyon's landscape.
Discovery Flight - Enjoy scenic views of the Zuni Corridor, Imperial Point, Confluence of the Colorado & Little Colorado Rivers, Kaibab National Forest & Kaibab Plateau.
Off Road Sunset Safari - Bypass long lines and venture off-road down historic stagecoach trails through the Kaibab Forest. Visit viewpoints along the Canyon’s edge and enjoy sunset views on this guided skip-the-gate tour.
IMAX Movie - Head below the rim of the Grand Canyon on an IMAX adventure you will never forget. In only 34 minutes, experience 4,000 years of human history and enhance your visit to The Grand Canyon.
Check out all of the tours available!
Where is the El Tovar
The El Tovar Lodge is located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The hotel offers great views of the canyon, is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is must visit!
Address - 1 El Tovar Road, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
Phone Number - (928) 638-2631
GPS Coordinates - 36.0574° N, 112.1377° W
How to reach the Lodge/Transportation
Driving directions to Grand Canyon National Park. Simply follow the park's signs from there to reach El Tovar.
- Take Interstate 40 West to Williams.
- Turn North at the Arizona Highway 64 junction.
- Proceed to the South entrance of Grand Canyon National Park.
Driving time is approximately 1 hour, 40 minutes (89 miles)
Parking - The parking lot is shared with the Hopi House and the Verkamp's Visitor Center/ Store! Be prepared and give yourself time to have to loop around the parking lot a few times to find a spot. There is parking along the road but you will need to walk up the hill to get to the El Tovar.
Fun things to do near the El Tovar
South Rim Restaurants - Check out all of the great restaurants on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Bright Angel Lodge - Check out this fun lodge built in 1935 by famed architect Mary E.J. Colter. The lodge is the check-in point for the world-famous Grand Canyon mule rides.
Season - Year Round
Check-in Time - 4 pm
Check-out time - 11 am
Pet Friendly? - Pets are not allowed in the El Tovar
Smoking - All rooms are non-smoking
Are you ready to book an epic stay at the El Tovar click here
Things to know before your visit to Grand Canyon National Park
To help navigate the park make sure to read more about the Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus. Many areas of the park are only accessible on the bus.
7-day single-vehicle park pass - $35
7-day individual park pass - $20
7-day motorcycle park pass - $30
Annual Park Pass - $70
Valid for one year through the month of purchase. Admits one private, non-commercial vehicle or its pass holder.
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per-vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
MST - Mountain Standard Time
Also, remember Arizona does not participate in daylight savings time, so calculate your travel time accordingly.
Electric Vehicle Charging
There are six EV charging stations are available for visitors to use at Maswik North, Canyon Village Market, and Yavapai Lodge.
Things to do Grand Canyon - The top things to do in Grand Canyon that you don't want to miss during your trip!
Grand Canyon Restaurants - South Rim - Check out all the delicious places to enjoy a meal during your trip.
Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus - Find out what you need to know to plan your trip.
Grand Canyon Winter - If you are heading to the park in the winter make sure to plan ahead.
Arizona National Park - Check out all of the amazing National Parks in Arizona you can visit. So many are close to the Grand Canyon!
National Park Lodges - The El Tovar is just one of the amazing National Park Lodges in the United States.
Check out all of our Grand Canyon National Park articles for additional information and great tips on planning an epic vacation to this beautiful Arizona National Park!
Additional Lodging near Grand Canyon National Park
For the South Rim, the closest lodging can be found in Tusayan, Arizona.
Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel - Take advantage of a terrace, a garden, and a bar at Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel. For some rest and relaxation, visit the hot tub. Be sure to enjoy a meal at JJKs, the onsite family restaurant. Free in-room Wi-Fi and a 24-hour business center are available to all guests.
Red Feather Lodge - Take advantage of laundry facilities, a bar, and a gym at Red Feather Lodge. Be sure to enjoy a meal at Plaza Bonita, the onsite restaurant. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Grand Canyon - Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Grand Canyon, an IHG Hotel provides amenities like free to-go breakfast and a business center. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi.
The Grand Hotel - At The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon, you can look forward to shopping on-site, a fireplace in the lobby, and a bar. For some rest and relaxation, visit the hot tub. The onsite restaurant, Canyon Star Steakhouse, features American cuisine and happy hour. Stay connected with free in-room Wi-Fi, and guests can find other amenities such as a 24-hour business center.
Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn - Consider a stay at Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn and take advantage of a coffee shop/café, a garden, and an arcade/game room. For some rest and relaxation, visit the 2 hot tubs. Enjoy a meal at the two onsite restaurants. Free in-room Wi-Fi, with speed of 25+ Mbps, is available to all guests, along with laundry facilities and a fireplace in the lobby.
Click on the map below to see additional hotels and vacation rentals near the Grand Canyon.
Parks near National Park
Navajo National Monument
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Check out this list of US National Parks to count how many you have visited!