Where a Stay in the Grand Canyon

Stay right at the rim of the Grand Canyon at the historic El Tovar Hotel
Stay right at the rim of the Grand Canyon at the historic El Tovar Hotel | Courtesy of El Tovar Inside the Park / Expedia
Lynn Houghton

The Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, hosts more than 5m visitors annually – a stat that may convince you to book your hotel sooner rather than later. From a pet-friendly getaway to a rustic luxury retreat, here are the best places to stay in the Grand Canyon.

The endless blue skies and vast landscapes of the American Southwest are rarely better captured than at the majestic Grand Canyon in Arizona. It’s the most dramatic natural wonder in the United States, after all. The canyon descends 5,000ft (1,500m) to the river below in a region delineated by red rock and piñon pine forests. This is Navajo territory, so prepare to be mesmerized by turquoise jewelry, Kachina dolls and carved fetishes produced by local artists.

1. Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile

Budget Hotel, Motel

King room with wood floors, barn door to bathroom and dog on a pull-out dog bed at Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile
Courtesy of Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile / Expedia

In Kanab, Utah, the Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile puts your furry friends first. Whether you’re staying in a standard room, king suite or two-level suite, comfort and consideration of your pets is foremost. There are sleeping nooks and comfy beds for them (right next to you, of course), a self-service washing facility with complimentary cleansing products, a pet-walking service, and a fenced pet-park area with a water feature for a cooling shower.

2. Under Canvas Grand Canyon

Resort, Lodge

Chic lounge in luxury tent with leather chairs, rugs over wood floors and large windows at Under Canvas Grand Canyon Hotel
Courtesy of Under Canvas Grand Canyon / Expedia

There’s nothing like sleeping under the stars, which is what the people at Under Canvas realized when they were designing their unique Stargazer tent. There is a viewing window just above the king bed for a magnificent gander at the Milky Way. All the amenities you could want in a glamping experience are also provided, including an en-suite bathroom, wood-burning stove and private deck, all in 160 acres (65ha) of secluded juniper and piñon forest.

3. Grand Canyon Railway Hotel

Luxury

An indoor pool area at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel with a stone deck, pumpkin-colored walls and double-height windows
Courtesy of Grand Canyon Railway Hotel / Expedia

To wander through historic Williams is to take a stroll through America’s past. The equally historic Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, another nod to days gone by, is located next door to the train depot. The newly refurbished property has 298 luxurious rooms, a stunning lobby with an antique fireplace and the latest amenities. You can hop on the train just as 19th-century tourists did and arrive in two hours at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

4. Trapper’s Rendezvous

Luxury, Bed and Breakfast

The rustic wood gate and red buildings of Trapper’s Rendezvous Bed and Breakfast near the Grand Canyon
Courtesy of Trapper’s Rendezvous / Booking.com

The 5-acre (2ha) Trapper’s Rendezvous is conveniently located off historic Route 66, in the town of Williams and within shouting distance of the Grand Canyon Railway. The property offers spectacular mountain views as well as strong coffee and hot cakes to start the day. The Squash Blossom – one of six rustic cabins available – honors the iconic Native American symbol used in Northern Arizona jewelry.

5. El Tovar Inside the Park

Hotel

Guest room with double bed, craftsman-style wood furnishings and dark carpet at El Tovar Inside the Park, Grand Canyon
Courtesy of El Tovar Inside the Park / Expedia

Fancy staying inside the Grand Canyon National Park? Then El Tovar is the perfect place to stay in the Grand Canyon. Built in 1905 by Charles Whittlesey – chief architect for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railway – the hotel was designated a historic monument in 1987. It’s constructed of local limestone and Oregon pine, with an elegant Swiss and Continental design that recalls a more elegant time. Book accommodation well in advance to enjoy a unique experience.

6. Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon

Lodge, Hotel

Lobby with Western-themed decor, stone fireplace with moosehead and armchairs at the Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon
Courtesy of Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon / Expedia

The raison d’etre here is rustic luxury. That consists of a heated indoor swimming pool, as well as a spa and fitness center, which are open to all guests. The rustic part is the Western decor but also the Canyonstar Restaurant serving delicious steaks surrounded by an authentic cowboy vibe. It’s just 1mi (1.6km) from the South Rim, so you can wake early to see the glorious sunrise over the Grand Canyon.

7. The Williams AZ Hostel

Budget Hotel, Hostel

The modest A-frame exterior of Williams AZ Hostel with tan picket fence and large pine tree, near the Grand Canyon
Courtesy of Williams AZ Hostel / Booking.com

This bijou accommodation is only an 80-minute drive from the South Rim and features six single beds in a large dorm and four semi-private rooms with locking doors. On arrival, get your bearings with a Cowboy Carriage Tour of historic Williams before trying one of the nearby eateries, such as Goldie’s Route 66 Diner and the Branding Iron Restaurant, each just steps away. Alternatively, have a barbecue just like at home.

8. Residence Inn by Marriott, Flagstaff

Luxury, Chain Hotel

Spacious and bright king room with purple accent wall, patterned tan carpet and desk at Residence Inn by Marriott Flagstaff
Courtesy of Residence Inn by Marriott Flagstaff / Expedia

The beauty of long-stay accommodation is the convenience of a home away from home. Each Residence Inn studio has a fully kitted kitchen, as well as spacious work and sleeping zones. The downtown Flagstaff location is a sophisticated stopover not only for tourists but also those on business, featuring top class restaurants, breweries and shopping. And it’s only an hour and 20 minutes to the South Rim.

9. Little America, Flagstaff

Resort, Hotel

Rustic-chic lobby with wood beams, plush seating, stone art and Native American-style rug at Little America Hotel, Flagstaff
Courtesy of Little America Hotel, Flagstaff / Expedia
The Little America in Flagstaff, nestled within 500 acres (200ha) of ponderosa pine forest, is a short distance from the natural wonders of northern Arizona. If that alone wasn’t tempting enough, this 247-room property has a welcome from staff pretty much unmatched anywhere. Each room has floor-to-ceiling windows from which to enjoy the arboreal views; there’s also imported marble and spacious bathrooms. You even get separate dressing areas.

10. Canyons Boutique Hotel, A Canyons Collections Property

Luxury, Boutique Hotel

The fenced outdoor pool area next to the log-built Canyons Boutique Hotel near the Grand Canyon
Courtesy of Canyons Boutique Hotel / Expedia

The Canyons Boutique Hotel in Kanab may have a boutique, bijou size, but has large hotel amenities there, including a pool and complimentary cruiser bikes. The supreme queen and king suites offer in-room hot tubs with custom-made toiletries. A hot breakfast is served every day in the dining room. With pet-friendly rooms available, this is one of the best places to stay near the Grand Canyon if you also want to explore southern Utah with Fido.

11. Elden Trails Bed and Breakfast

Bed and Breakfast, Inn

Enclosed outdoor wood deck with picnic table of the Elden Trails Bed and Breakfast near the Grand Canyon
Courtesy of Elden Trails Bed and Breakfast / Expedia

A separate two-room studio is the perfect proposition for those seeking a quiet, sustainable and eco-friendly B&B. Located in the foothills of Mount Elden, there are hiking trails for active guests and the hotel is just 5mi (8km) east of historic Flagstaff – just far enough from the hustle and bustle. Public transportation takes guests to shopping and restaurants. However, if you want something more local, the owners grow their own food, as well as native plants, in a four-seasons greenhouse.

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