GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, March 2, 1998 – Long considered one of the most elegant lodges in the national park system, the 78-room El Tovar Hotel will reopen after an extensive renovation program that improved 66 guest rooms, two suites, the kitchen and dining room. The hotel closed early in January and will reopen March 6.
The $1 million renovation was spearheaded by Denver-based architects Aiello Associates. As the hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the architects were careful to preserve original design elements throughout the process.
Room renovations included new draperies, bedspreads and furniture such as armoires, headboards, tables and chairs. Additionally, the rooms were recarpeted and repainted, and the bathrooms were retiled. Two suites, including the hotel’s exclusive Coronado Suite, also were extensively enhanced.
The hotel’s renowned El Tovar Dining Room was refurbished with new carpet,
chairs and fireplace upgrades. The kitchen was completely remodeled with
the addition of propane stoves replacing electric stoves to allow the chefs
increased energy efficiency and ease of cooking. A new mechanical
system was added to meet modern-day exhaust needs along with a walk-in
cooler, stainless steel fixtures and equipment and new slip-proof floor.
Along with its new look, the restaurant will be unveiling a new menu featuring items such as a Trio of Buttermilk, Blue Cornmeal and Buckwheat Pancakes with Honey Pistachio Butter for breakfast; Shaved Tenderloin with Roaster Peppers, Bacon, and Muenster Cheese on Sourdough for lunch; and Fresh Atlantic Salmon with Red Bell Pepper Marmalade for dinner.
“The El Tovar has often been described as the architectural crown jewel
of the Grand Canyon, and with this renovation that status has been preserved
for years to come,” said Bill Johnston, general manager of Grand Canyon
National Park Lodges. “This is the first time in many years that
the El Tovar has closed its doors. When guests see the dramatic results,
however, they’ll agree that this brief interruption in service was well
Situated on the South Rim of the Canyon, the hotel was built in 1905 – 14 years before the Grand Canyon was designated a national park -- at a cost of $250,000. Working with the Santa Fe Railroad, the Fred Harvey Company hired architect Charles Whittlesey to design the Swiss Chalet-style structure. The hotel offered a barbershop, solarium, amusement room, club room and music room and was considered to be one of the most elegant hotels west of the Mississippi. Its fine restaurant was staffed by “Harvey Girls,” tidy and adventurous young women recruited to provide impeccable service and refinement at the then-remote hotel.
The El Tovar Hotel is operated by Amfac Parks & Resorts, the largest park and resort management company in the country. Other Amfac-operated lodges at the Grand Canyon include: Bright Angel Lodge & Cabins, Maswik Lodge, Kachina & Thunderbird Lodges, Yavapai Lodge, Phantom Ranch on the floor of the Canyon, Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim, and Moqui Lodge located just outside the park’s southern boundary. In addition to managing lodges and restaurants throughout the park, Amfac provides guided motorcoach tours; one-, two- and three-day mule rides to the bottom of the Canyon; the award-winning Hopi House, a gift shop patterned after a Hopi Pueblo; Hermit’s Rest Gift Shop, contained in a cliff house of native Kaibab limestone; and the 70-foot Desert View Watchtower, designed as a re-creation of Anasazi towers found in the Four Corners region.
Amfac also operates lodges, restaurants and other concessions at Yellowstone National Park, Death Valley National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Petrified Forest National Park, Everglades National Park, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial; and at resorts in Napa, Calif.; Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; Nebraska City, Neb.; Ohio State Parks and Georgia State Parks. For reservations at national park lodges except Yellowstone, call 303-29-PARKS between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. MST/MDT or visit Amfac’s web site at http://www.amfac.com. Reservations at Yellowstone National Park Lodges can be made by calling 307-344-7311.