The Grand Canyon - Where to stay
There is no denying that the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, is a sight not to be missed. The same, sadly, cannot be said of the accommodation options in the vicinity, which offer a comparatively low quality at extortionate prices. If you want to spend more than a day at the Grand Canyon, however, you are a captive market and so just need to accept it and focus on the views.
The main accommodation choice you need to make is whether to stay in the Grand Canyon National Park, or outside. The advantage of being in, is that you are in walking distance of some amazing views, which makes sunrise and sunset viewing easier. There is also the added romance of staying in the park. However, park accommodation sells out months in advance and is very expensive for what it is. Also, none of the accommodation in the park has a pool, which is a consideration if you are travelling with children. Of the park accommodation, Maswik Lodge North is a reasonable, if rustic option, set in ponderosa pine forest, rooms are fairly out-dated, but have the advantage of a small balcony area overlooking the forest. Thunderbird & kachina Lodges offer small motel rooms with a rim view which are ideal for early risers wanting to beat the crowds for early morning views. The premium option within the park is El Tovar, which offers olde world style decor and is the most elegant option in the park.
Outside of the park, in the south, the main gateway town is Tusayan, which is a 10 minute drive from the park. It is a fairly soulless place, but has the usual chains of hotels and motels on offer (Best Western, Holiday Inn Express etc) Whilst these don’t offer particularly characterful accommodation options, for a night or two they are perfectly fine and have the added benefits of having leisure facilities – nearly everywhere has a pool and the Best Western even has a bowling alley.
Further south, is the charming town of Flagstaff, but at 1 ½ hours drive from the park, this is a less convenient option.