This Arizona gem offers guests breathtaking views, short hikes to the Grand Canyon Village and The Grand Canyon Railway, that has sheltered many travelers. Hotel El Tovar sits upon the south rim of the Grand Canyon with original limestone/pine architecture in tact with a touch of modern. Designed by Charles Whittlesey, Chief architect for Tepeka, Santa Fe, Atchison Railway or best known for pioneering reinforced concrete. 

Grand Canyon Nationall Park Historic District: South Rim. The El Tovar Hotel was once described as “the most expensively constructed and appointed log house in America.” The Santa Fe Railroad commissioned its construction in 1902. Charles Whittlesey, a Chicago architect, styled it as a cross between a Swiss chalet and a Norway villa. It is built on concrete and rubble masonry with a wood frame structure hewn of Oregon pine. The first floor has log slabbed siding with corners carefully notched to give it the appearance of solid logs. The interior is supported by a peeled log framework topped with decorative corbels throughout the mezzanine. Originally it was to be named “Bright Angel Tavern.” By the time it was completed on January 14, 1905 it had been renamed El Tovar in honor of Pedro de Tovar, of the Coronado Expedition. The El Tovar cost $250,000 to construct and was considered by many to be the most elegant hotel west of the Mississippi. Electric lights were powered by the hotel’s own coal-fired generator. It had its own greenhouse for fresh fruits and vegetables. A chicken house supplied fresh eggs for hotel guests. Even fresh milk was supplied by its own dairy herd. Inside the El Tovar was a barbershop, solarium, amusement room, club room, large dining room, art, and music rooms. The dining room had large picture windows overlooking the canyon. The porch on the north side probably dates back to the 1950’s when the dining room was enlarged and the cocktail lounge was added. NPS Photo by Michael Quinn. To plan a visit to Grand Canyon National Park: http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm

Starting as a Harvey House, Hotel El Tovar has earned the name historic for being considered the most elegant hotel west of the Mississippi for more than a century and in 1987 being designated as a National Historic Landmark. Opening its doors in 1905 along the South rim of the canyon, the El Tovar was considered the epitome of opulence which targeted the elites within that time. Attracting people for over 100 years, the all star guest list includes Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Clinton, just to name a few, it was and continues to be one of the finest places to stay when visiting the Grand Canyon. 

With its one of a kind architecture and design, every room throughout the hotel are completely different and were never made to be the same. It gave every guest a sense of exclusivity and importance, with each room offering a unique view of the Grand Canyon. Filled with its rich, timeless decor and an identity of its own, this hotel will definitely make you feel like you are experiencing a part of history.