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Xanterra South Rim Provides Accommodations, Restaurants and Activities in Grand Canyon National Park

April 10, 2014 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

The Grand Canyon has been one of the world’s premier tourist destinations for more than a century.

While the canyon is certainly a geologic wonder that truly must be seen to be appreciated, it is at its best when visitors take time to walk its trails, ride a mule and understand its native peoples.

Lodges, retail shops, restaurants and other concessions such as mule rides and motorcoach tours at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park are operated by Xanterra South Rim, LLC.

The company manages seven distinctly different hotel properties, the only lodging in the park, 11 restaurants and 11 retail shops. Many structures have become recognized for their historic significance and are famous in their own right.

In addition to in-park operations, Xanterra operates Grand Canyon Railway, with round-trip train transportation from Williams, Ariz. to the park, and The Grand Hotel in the gateway community of Tusayan, Ariz.

Grand Canyon National Park Lodges’ history dates back to the 1880s when renowned restaurateur Fred Harvey partnered with Santa Fe Railroad to build a rail line from Williams, Ariz. to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Harvey later convinced the Santa Fe to build the El Tovar hotel and was a major influence on civilizing the West. 

In 1968, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, then called Amfac Parks & Resorts, purchased the Fred Harvey Company.

To reserve rooms, go to www.grandcanyonlodges.com or call toll-free 1-888-297-2757 or 1-303-297-2757 from outside the United States

What’s New, and what’s old

Two historic structures are turning 100 this year – Hermit’s Rest and Lookout Studio. In addition, the 109-year-old El Tovar Hotel completed a major renovation Xanterra also introduced a popular new mule ride last year.

Hermits Rest 100th anniversary

A National Historic Landmark, Hermit’s Rest is located eight miles to the West of Grand Canyon Village. Designed by Fred Harvey Company architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, the structure houses a gift shop and a small quick-service food outlet.

Lookout Studio 100th anniversary

Another Colter-designed building, Lookout Studio was built out of native stone and situated right in Grand Canyon Village just to the west of Bright Angel Lodge, another Colter-designed building, Colter found her inspiration from the natural landscape. Lookout Studio is still used today as a gift shop that sells photography and books related to the Grand Canyon, rock and fossil specimens collected from outside the park and traditional souvenirs.

Canyon Vistas Mule Ride

Introduced last year, this three-hour, four-mile mule ride travels along a newly developed trail along the Canyon’s East Rim. Along the way, wranglers offer interpretive information about the history of mules in the Grand Canyon, canyon’s geology and human history.

Lodges

El Tovar. Long considered the crown jewel of the Grand Canyon hotels, El Tovar features 78 rooms fashioned after European hunting lodges. A member of Historic Hotels of America, El Tovar was constructed in 1905 by the Santa Fe Railroad using native stone and Oregon pine. It offers a gift shop, dining room, lounge and sightseeing tours. Guests at Kachina Lodge check in at El Tovar. 

Bright Angel Lodge & Cabins. Overlooking the rim of the Canyon, the lodge features 37 rooms and 50 cabins. Bright Angel was designed in 1935 and constructed of log and native stone. The lobby displays a dramatic wooden thunderbird the architects called the “bright angel of the sky.” A member of Historic Hotels of America, the lodge offers two restaurants, gift shop and lounge. Mule rides depart from the lodge. Guests at Thunderbird Lodge check in at Bright Angel Lodge.

Maswik Lodge. A 278-room facility located a short walk from the South Rim at the southwest end of Grand Canyon Village. Named for a Hopi Kachina who is said to guard the Grand Canyon, Maswik features a gift shop, cafeteria, lounge, rooms with private baths and sightseeing tours.

Yavapai Lodge. The largest lodging complex in Grand Canyon National Park. Nestled amid a piñon and juniper forest near the Canyon, Yavapai features 358 rooms. Yavapai is within walking distance of the Canyon View Information Plaza visitor center. 

Phantom Ranch. Dormitories and cabins located on the floor of the Canyon and accessible only by mule, foot or river raft. The only lodging located in the inner gorge.

Tours and Activities

Xanterra and its predecessor, the Fred Harvey Company, have been providing mule trips in the Grand Canyon for more than 100 years. Today these long-eared taxis take riders to Phantom Ranch for overnight trips and along the rim for shorter day trips.

Guests enjoy comfortable, narrated motorcoach tours to various parts of the park. Among the highlights are stops at historic buildings and spectacular overlooks with scenic views. Sunrise and Sunset Tours complement the Hermit’s Rest, Desert View and Combination Tours.

Grand Canyon Railway

This family-friendly train trip from Williams to Grand Canyon National Park takes approximately two hours and 15 minutes and runs 65 miles through ponderosa pine forests and scenic desert landscapes. The train offers a variety of classes of service and is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. For information visit www.thetrain.com or call 1-800-THE-TRAIN (1-800-843-8724). 

Grand Canyon Grand Hotel

This 121-room hotel located in Tusayan just outside the entrance to the park was built in 1998 and features an indoor pool, hot tub, fitness center, gift shop, coffee shop, restaurant and lounge featuring nightly entertainment. Room reservations for the Grand Hotel may be made online at www.grandcanyongrandhotel.com or by calling 1-928-638-3333.

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