The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s seven wonders, which has made it a hot vacation spot for about a bajillion people since the site became a national park in 1919. (Thanks, Teddy Roosevelt!) It’s hard to go wrong visiting the American Southwest’s most popular natural attraction—as long as you bring a camera and drink lots of water. However, the trick to a perfect Grand Canyon vacation? Your dwellings. Based on our research, these are the best lodges to stay at in canyon country.
The Best Lodges to Stay at Around the Grand Canyon
Best for: Active walkers and hikers visiting the South Rim.
Thunderbird Lodge is one of the Grand Canyon’s official lodges, which basically means it’s situated inside the park directly on the canyon rim. In fact, some of the rooms in Thunderbird have clear canyon views, which is a pretty hard sight to beat. The Rim Trail, gift shops and Historic Village streets are within walking distance. While the venue isn’t a brand-new luxury hotel (picture ’90s kitschy, striped carpeting), the rooms are definitely modern and clean (complete with mini fridges, flat-screens and full bathrooms). You’re not there to lounge in the room anyways.
The Grand Hotel At The Grand Canyon
Best for: Large groups or couples getting away from it all.
Where to start? The Grand Hotel not only houses one of the only indoor heated pools anywhere near the Grand Canyon, but it’s also AAA’s highest-rated hotel in the region. Nestled a mile outside the South Rim, the Grand Hotel boasts a fitness center, hot tubs (not a bad idea after a day of hiking) and nightly live music. Plus, all rooms were updated with cushy new luxury mattresses in 2015, before being remodeled entirely in 2016. On a romantic getaway? Book the Grand Suite with an in-room ice maker and wine cooler. On a girls’ trip? Book the same suite (it sleeps six).
Little America Hotel Flagstaff
Best for: Luxury travel and family reunions.
For a luxurious, woodsy experience, book a stay at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff. Though it’s about a one-hour drive from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, it’s a gorgeous site with tons of amenities. First, there are literally hundreds of acres of Ponderosa pine trees surrounding the hotel (hello, Instagram). Second, it offers room service, year-round outdoor hot tubs, a full gym, a playground for kids and enormous suites for groups of all sizes (some of which even have fireplaces). Not to mention the soft, wool carpeting in each room or the down pillows on every bed. What’s that? It gets cold at night? Then be sure to book a sauna suite so you can relax in private after a long day of sightseeing.
Grand Canyon Lodge
Best for: Minimalist, outdoorsy folks.
Get ready for a rustic take on Grand Canyon luxury. The Grand Canyon Lodge is the only place to stay on the North Rim, which makes this spot on our list extra special. Travelers can choose to stay in one of the many cabins available, or in the motel (we have to recommend the cabins, as they earned a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor in 2017, and the motel did not). The Pioneer Cabins sleep six people comfortably in two bedrooms with a small bathroom; the Western Cabins are a little more spacious, with full bathrooms and front porches. There isn’t a full kitchen option available, but all cabins have mini fridges and coffee makers. Plus, a main lodge dining room and deli are just a short walk away. Again, this is a rustic but spectacular way to see the Grand Canyon’s North Rim.
Sonesta Es Suites Flagstaff
Best for: Families or groups eager to see the Grand Canyon and so much more.
If you’re planning on seeing more of Arizona than just the Grand Canyon, consider the Sonesta ES Suites in Flagstaff. The apartments and studios available at this hotel offer full kitchens, separate living spaces and fireplaces, depending on what you need. The newly updated decor is colorful and modern—almost like walking through an Ikea. WiFi, pool and gym? Check, check and check. Pets are also welcome here (for an additional fee), which makes traveling for a longer period of time much easier on you and your pup. Sure, the Sonesta offers free breakfast, but why not stroll through Flagstaff for a taste of local cuisine before hitting up the Continental Country Club for a round of golf?
Yavapai Lodge East
Best for: Active travelers on a budget.
Yavapai Lodge East is another option for adventurers seeking an up-close-and-personal Grand Canyon experience, without actually camping alongside the Colorado River. Canyon-view rooms are available in each of the six buildings that make up the Eastern lodge (there’s a Yavapai Lodge West, but it doesn’t have air conditioning). Don’t let the tired, green exterior fool you! As the newest rooms available at Yavapai, the Eastern suites have cozy, contemporary decor and are equipped with mini refrigerators, full private bathrooms and coffee makers. Traveling with kiddos? Book the family suite (it’s got bunk beds!).
Best for: Anyone who considers themselves a rancher at heart.
Yes, the South Rim is a popular spot to visit the Grand Canyon. But have you ever heard of Grand Canyon West? Buckle up, because this gets wild. Staying at Hualapai Ranch in cabins along the West Rim is perfect for ogling gorgeous sunsets from rocking chairs on porches. It’s also perfect for pet lovers (pets welcome for a fee) and anyone who fancies live country music, mechanical bull-riding or learning to lasso. Did we mention Sky Walk?! Sky Walk is a giant glass walkway that extends 70 feet out over the canyon, offering views from 4,000 feet high. For those afraid of heights, there are indigenous tribal dwellings to see, gift shops to browse and a comfy queen-sized bed to get back to. With the traditional southwestern decor and expansive desert sky, staying here really feels like you’re in Westworld, without all the creepy host stuff.