A Walk in the Park: Grand Canyon Village is Easy and Convenient Base for Exploring the Park with Choice of Accommodations, Restaurants and Activities
GRAND CANYON, Ariz., Feb. 26, 2015 – With five hotels an easy walk from the rim of one of the world’s most famous destinations, visitors to Grand Canyon National Park find that parking the car and hoofing it around the village is the best way to travel.
“Our ‘walkability score’ has always been high here in Grand Canyon Village,” said Bruce Brossman, regional director of sales and marketing for Grand Canyon Lodges. “The ability to see and do so many things in a central location has been a true key to the area becoming a must-see attraction.”
The Grand Canyon Village Historic District began to take shape more than 100 years ago when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway ran a railway spur some 62 miles from Williams, Ariz. to Grand Canyon. The railway teamed up with famed hotelier Fred Harvey Company to open El Tovar Hotel and Hopi House gift store in January 1905. For the next 60 years or so, various structures were added with Grand Canyon Village looking much it like it does today by the mid-1960s.
Lodge, restaurant and activity concessioner Grand Canyon Lodges encourages travelers to take the time to stop at both the geology-focused NPS Visitor Center as well as the Bright Angel History Room, in Grand Canyon Village Historic District to gain a complete picture of Grand Canyon’s natural as well as human history.
The Village features four hotels on the rim and a fifth approximately ¼ mile away. Restaurants include food court, casual, steakhouse and fine dining choices. Motorcoach tours, mule rides and historical walking tours are available.
Here is a closer look at Grand Canyon Village.
When the railway decided to build a hotel on the rim in 1901, Charles Whittlesey, a native of Alton, Ill. and an architect with 25 years of experience in the Chicago area, was assigned the job. Whittlesey mainly used local stone and Oregon pine shipped in from Oregon. Described as a cross between a Swiss chalet and Norwegian villa, El Tovar cost $250,000 to build and opened Jan. 14, 1905. The hotel originally had 95 rooms, but a later renovation reduced that number to 78 to allow for private bathrooms in all guest rooms.
El Tovar’s dining room features upscale offerings and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Fred Harvey Company, now Xanterra Parks & Resorts and the parent company of Grand Canyon Lodges, has managed El Tovar from the start. The opening of El Tovar preceded Arizona’s statehood by seven years and Grand Canyon’s designation as a national monument in 1908 and a national park in 1919. A member of Historic Hotels of America, the hotel’s presence is credited with helping to increase visitation and international awareness of the remote Grand Canyon region and the American West.
The Bright Angel Lodge was designed by famed architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter. Built in 1935, the Bright Angel Lodge was created for the new – at the time – purpose of providing affordable lodging for tourists. The lodge features 39 guest rooms and 50 cabins plus a gift shop, restaurant and lounge as well as the Bright Angel History Room where Harvey Girl uniforms, early El Tovar china, historic photos and other artifacts are on display. Also in the history room is a fireplace that Colter designed representing the strata of the canyon. The top of the fireplace is constructed of Kaibab limestone found on the rim of the canyon while the bottom layer is made of smooth river rock hauled from the floor of the canyon. The rock in between was hauled by mule out of the canyon and carefully placed in the same order of the Canyon’s layers.
The Arizona Room steakhouse is located in Bright Angel Lodge with access just steps from the rim.
Thunderbird and Kachina Lodges
Located on the rim and bookended by El Tovar and Bright Angel Lodge, Kachina and Thunderbird Lodges are properties of similar design with the same room types. The lodges feature a total of 104 rooms and are located directly on the rim of the canyon where guests are just steps from the rim trail.
Both lodges feature rooms with either two queen beds or one king bed.
Maswik Lodge is located a short, easy walk to the rim of Grand Canyon and the rim trail which meanders along the edge of the canyon for miles in two directions. The lodge is also very close to the Grand Canyon Village Historic District. The lodge includes a food court that serves an array of freshly prepared, healthy cuisine as well as a Pizza Pub and gift shop. There is also a shuttle stop for free transportation throughout the park provided by the National Park Service.
There are also a variety of tours and activities in Grand Canyon Village. For example, visitors to Grand Canyon can take a self-guided walking tour of the historic district of Grand Canyon Village. Brochures providing interesting information about each of the stops are available at no charge from the front desk of each lodging facility. Interesting and historic sites within walking distance of Grand Canyon Village are the Bright Angel History Room, Hopi House, Kolb Studio and Lookout Studio.
Visitors can book their rooms online by visiting www.grandcanyonlodges.com or by calling toll-free 1-888-297-2757 or 1-303-297-2757 from outside the United States. More information about Grand Canyon National Park can be obtained at www.nps.gov/grca or 1-928-638-7888