Arizona

Exploring the Grand Canyon: 5 Great Hotels Near the South Rim​

It is hard to describe the beauty of the Grand Canyon, you simply must visit to experience the best of this magical place.

Hiking the Bright Angel Trail down into the Grand Canyon is a mesmerizing weekend getaway in Arizona. As you descend the from the lip of the South Rim, the walls of rock rise up around you on one side; while the view on the other is straight down to the Colorado River thousands of feet below.

It is not possible to hike to the river and back on a day trip, and most people only hike a few miles along this iconic trail, which can be grueling enough considering the heat and steep terrain. After my long day hike, I couldn’t wait to shower and grab some dinner. Good thing, I was staying in the park’s grand dame lodge, El Tovar, which is just a short shuttle ride from the Bright Angel Trailhead.

The Grand Canyon is split into a North Rim and South Rim (and to drive between the two takes around five hours) but most tourists head to the South Rim. Here, you’ll find the Grand Canyon Village as well as many nearby hotels and amenities. Here are five of our favorite properties near the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.

1. Old World Elegance With Extraordinary Views

Sitting right at the edge of the Grand Canyon, El Tovar is the national park’s grand dame property. From there you can walk out to the rim to catch one of the most stunning sunsets of your life before grabbing a cocktail inside its cozy yesteryear lounge. Dating back to 1905, the rambling wood and rock lodge is a National Historic Landmark. It features 78 rooms and suites that are slightly outdated decor wise, but clean and comfortable.

It is the public spaces where El Tovar really shines. Grab a meal in the impressive restaurant, which has huge picture windows and wood log and stone walls. Breakfast and lunch are casual affairs, but dinner is fine dining formal and guests need to dress appropriately. At dinner, the hand-cut filet mignon is a house favorite using Arizona-raised beef and served with roasted jalapeño chimichurri, fingerling potatoes, and seasonal vegetables.

El Tovar Hotel

Grand Canyon Village
7.9 Good (556 reviews)

2. Pet-Friendly Hotel Within Walking Distance to the South Rim

Another hotel option inside the park near the Grand Canyon’s South Rim entrance is Yavipai Lodge. Located adjacent to the Canyon Village Market Plaza and just about a half mile from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, it is very centrally located. There is nothing fancy about this property but it’s perfectly adequate if your reason for visiting is to experience the natural beauty of the national park.

Split into two complexes, the lodge consists of multiple buildings surrounded by woods. The Market Plaza, which is where you’ll find the lobby, a casual restaurant serving Southwestern style food, a lively bar, and a gift shop, separates the two portions of the lodge.

If you’re traveling with a dog or just in search of Americana nostalgia, then book the rooms on the west side of the lodge. These are the original motel rooms built during the Route 66 motoring heyday. They don’t have air-conditioning, but they are the only pet-friendly options here. The east side rooms are more modern and have air-conditioning. They also have family room options and cribs available with advance notice.

Yavapai Lodge

Grand Canyon Village
8.0 Very good (5280 reviews)

3. A Place for Railway Travel Fans

Fans of railway travel can experience the Grand Canyon and a historic train ride by staying at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in nearby Williams and taking the Grand Canyon Railway from the hotel directly to the South Rim. The vintage train features rail cars from the 1930s to 1950s, including luxury dome cars and an open platform observation car. Trains depart daily at 9:30 a.m. and return at 5:45 p.m. leaving you with 2.5-hours at the South Rim.

Back in Williams, the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel draws its inspiration from a period train station. Grab a drink in the pub, which has an original bar from 1887. There is also a buffet restaurant onsite, but more dining choices await in Williams itself. The town sits right on historic Route 66 and has a charming Main Street filled with shops and restaurants just two blocks from the hotel.

The Pine Country Restaurant is one such choice. An old fashioned diner, it serves up American comfort fare and is best known for its homemade pies. There are usually around 50 different choices made in-house daily.

Hotel Grand Canyon Railway

Williams
8.3 Very good (1667 reviews)

4. Luxe and Charm Just Outside the South Rim Park Entrance

Just one mile from the Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim entrance, the Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon in the village of Tusayan is a three-Diamond property with a laid back luxury vibe. Designed to look like a three-story chalet, the sprawling property offers rustic contemporary design throughout, making good use of wood, stone and brick. The rooms and suites are nicely decorated with hand-crafted bed frames, plush mattresses, and faux flowers in colorful vases.

If you spent the day hiking in the canyon and your legs are feeling sore, you can relax before dinner under the hot tub jets. The hotel also has a heated indoor swimming pool and fitness center. Grab dinner at the Canyon Star Steakhouse, where the menu focuses on hand-cut steaks and barbecue dishes, but also has vegetarian options.

After dinner, head to the adjacent Canyon Star Saloon, where you’ll feel transported back in time taking a seat the bar. Some of the stools are still made from the original saddles that mule runners used a century ago. There are 12 draft beers and a full line up of cocktails. There is also often live nightly entertainment from cowboy singers to bands.

The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon

Tusayan
7.8 Good (4868 reviews)

Family-Friendly Ambiance Near The Grand Canyon

If you’re looking for affordable, family-friendly lodging near the Grand Canyon, then the Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn is a solid choice. Located just 6 miles from the South Rim entrance to the park, it features kid-focused amenities like a bowling alley and game room. After a day exploring the park, unwind at one of several on-site restaurants and bars, including The Canyon Room, serving American and Southwestern classics, or the Squire Pub, which has a range of cocktails.

Rooms here are nothing fancy, but they are clean and comfortable. The Southwestern-style decor is a plus, as is the Grand Canyon artwork on the walls. For families, the suites provide more room and feature kitchenettes should you wish to do some cooking.

Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn

Tusayan
8.0 Very good (13670 reviews)