If you're going to spend one night at the Grand Canyon as we did a couple of days ago, you really should try to stay at El Tovar. The location, right on the Canyon rim, is spectacular and the lodge itself has great historic charm, is well maintained and very comfortable. a major bonus are the elk that move in early in the morning to graze on the grass on the grounds and hang around until about 8:00 in the morning. The look on the faces of kids when they first spot the elk is worth the price of admission. The rooms are small by today's standards but are very well maintained. the king bed we had was very comfortable and the retro baths are spotless. The lounge is cozy with outdoor seating. The only disappointment and its a significant one was our dinner experience. The restaurant is very attractive and being able to sit down to dinner while gazing out on one of the wonders of world is truly an experience. Unfortunatley, the prices are high and the quality is mediocre. Interestingly,the presentation was nice but the food was either overcooked, over frozen before it was cooked or both, giving it a steam table taste and texture.
Others have commented that the food is better at Bright Angel lodge. We had breakfast there and if that was any indication, breakfast was very good. Bright Angel is more casual and the menu is posted in the lobby in El Tovar. another option would be to have appetizers in the lounge. The restaurant experience notwithstanding I loved the El Tovar and give it an enthusiatic two thumbs up!
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