El Tovar Hotel

Historic Happiness and Old World Charm in the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon visitors come for the great view, but many of them stay for the history. Throughout Grand Canyon Village, on the South Rim in Arizona, buildings reflect the visions of those who designed them more than 100 years ago.


One of the most prominent structures is the El Tovar Hotel. In 1901, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway laid a 65-mile railroad spur to the Grand Canyon South Rim and built a luxury hotel close to the terminal. El Tovar cost $250,000 to build and opened in 1905 with 95 rooms.

Its opening preceded Arizona’s statehood by seven years. Its presence is credited with helping increase visitation and international awareness of the remote Grand Canyon region and the American West.

Famous Guests

U.S. presidents who have stayed at El Tovar include Theodore Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, Herbert Hoover, George H. W. Bush, Dwight Eisenhower, Calvin Coolidge and Bill Clinton. Other famous guests include Albert Einstein, Liz Taylor and Paul McCartney.

The Hotel is also featured in the 1983 Chevy Chase film, National Lampoon’s Vacation.


The eclectic character of the El Tovar’s exterior is magnified on the interior, where the rustic Western-Swiss theme collides with elements of the Mission style, accented with Arts and Crafts Movement furnishings and southwestern Indian accents and motifs. The El Tovar construction site is a dizzying perch just 20 feet from the edge of the Grand Canyon. The primary building materials were large timbers and rubble masonry. The rock is all local, helping the Hotel to blend with the landscape. The logs were Douglas firs, shipped by rail from Oregon.

First Class Dining
El Tovar has a reputation for elegant meals. The hotel has a private herd of cows, with a milking barn, to provide fresh milk, cream and butter. The hotel’s poultry farm provides a steady supply of eggs. El Tovar also had its own bakery and butcher shop. Enormous cold storage rooms held the necessary imported cheeses, Pacific salmon, California fruit and Kansas beef. Visitors enjoy dinner, breakfast or cocktails at El Tovar such as the famous Prickly Pear Margarita during their stay.

Stellar Views

There are just a few rooms in all of the Grand Canyon hotels that face the Canyon. These are the Fred Harvey Suite, the Mary Colter Suite and the El Tovar Suite at the El Tovar hotel. None of the other rooms overlook the Canyon, and none of the other hotels have rooms like that either. These suites have several rooms and an amazing balcony. The balcony is immense and private. You get stellar views on the veranda. Of course, you have to reserve the suites well in advance.
It is a special experience to stay at the rim in the Grand Canyon. Add to that, the history of the El Tovar hotel and the grand log structure…it is for sure an unbeatable experience.

Room Rates:

$200 – $500

Please note: These prices are rack rates and only meant as guidance for pricing. Please call hotel for exact rate.

1 Main Street
Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023