Mile after mile of beautiful vistas translate into idyllic intimate settings
No other restaurant on earth matches the setting of the El Tovar Dining Room — perfect for celebrating a special occasion with your special someone.Grand Canyon is as iconic a destination as there is. It’s not unusual for visitors to burst into tears when they first behold its endless majesty. This sense of awe is part of the Grand Canyon experience, accompanying guests as they explore vista points, raft the Colorado, or descend beneath the rim on winding trails. It’s also what can make the canyon a powerfully romantic destination, offering opportunities that are steeped in beauty and laced with amour.If you had a couple’s vacation planned for this year that got put on hold, here are the sights, seasons, and special moments that can help turn Grand Canyon into a romantic getaway in 2021.
Nothing quite says “romance” the way a roaring fire does. So when you’re at Grand Canyon, settle into the natural warmth of a toasty, crackling fireplace. Not only do the Bucky O’Neill and Red Horse Cabin suites of Bright Angel Lodge have fireplaces, they also come with one of the world’s most spectacular front yards: the Grand Canyon itself. There’s no better place for a cuddle.
Morning Has Broken
Most romantics tend to think of evening as the best time to share a special moment with their loved one. But at Grand Canyon, early risers are rewarded with one of nature’s most amazing spectacles: the light of daybreak filling the canyon as the sun rises over the rim.“There is nothing quite like the first light of a new day at Grand Canyon,” says Bruce Brossman, marketing director for the Grand Canyon Park Lodges and Grand Canyon Railway. “Some of the best spots are at Mather Point near the Visitor Center and anywhere along Hermit Road. And when you’re up before daybreak, chances are you’ll enjoy the unique experience of having the entire canyon to yourself.”While Hermit Road is open to cars December through February, in other months it’s simply a matter of walking along the Rim Trail where you can find places of solitude to behold the dawn’s early light — just the two of you.
Rooms with a View
Combining history and romance, the South Rim’s El Tovar Hotel has been a favorite of guests since 1905. In the wintertime, relax in the lobby beside a roaring fireplace; in warmer months the shaded north porch offers a pleasing view of the canyon. Rangers and other canyon residents know of a “secret spot” that’s a favorite for watching the sunset. Just head upstairs where a quiet deck opens to some of the canyon’s most spectacular views.
The Secret Season
Grand Canyon has plenty of elbowroom any time of the year, but arrive in the more lightly traveled “secret season” (usually November through February) and you’ll find a whole lot more. With fewer guests, you may feel as if Grand Canyon was created especially for you and your sweetheart. And since winter days are shorter, when the sun sets in late afternoon it’s natural to retreat to your warm and cozy room, relax in a lounge, or settle in beside a lobby fireplace.
No other restaurant on earth matches the setting of the El Tovar Dining Room — perfect for celebrating a special occasion with your special someone. With a classic look that captures the essence of America’s national parks, it features wonderful paintings of various Native American tribes and a menu that includes dishes like stuffed roasted quail, hand-cut grilled Arizona-grown filet mignon, and sustainable salmon tostada on organic greens. To add a dash of romance, request a cozy table for two either overlooking the South Rim or near one of the dining room’s two fireplaces.
Looking for a memorable keepsake or gift to mark your romantic interlude? Look no farther than Grand Canyon shops and boutiques with their unique merchandise. Arguably the finest items are found in the El Tovar Gift Shop, which features high-end items including exquisite handmade silver and turquoise jewelry — rings, earrings, brooches, pins, and pendants among them — as well as books, photographs, paintings, ceramics, and assorted souvenirs. Across the way in the Mary Jane Colter-designed Hopi House, a range of Native American-crafted products — pottery, rugs, paintings, apparel, jewelry, and the like — make this one of the finest shops in the American Southwest. Just the place for that perfect memento of your time together.
Where There’s a Williams…
Without question, a journey aboard the historic Grand Canyon Railway is one of the nation’s most unforgettable experiences. The railway is the locomotive link that connects the national park to the wonderful retro community of Williams (which happens to be the last Route 66 town bypassed by America’s interstate system). Today the town remains centered on historic Route 66, just a block away from the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. For a special occasion, reserve the elegant Rail Baron Suite and board the Grand Canyon Railway in Williams for an epic journey in the Luxury Parlor Class to Grand Canyon. Add an evening at the El Tovar or Bright Angel Lodge to round out your days together.
One of the simplest pleasures in all of America’s national parks is walking along Grand Canyon’s Rim Trail, losing yourself in ever-changing views as you travel the Trail of Time to the Yavapai Geology Museum. Cap off your walk at the museum’s large bay window where the panoramic views are unrivaled by any in the world — making this one of the most romantic spots in the entire park.
How to Explore
Grand Canyon National Park Lodges provides the premier in-park lodging, managing six distinctly different lodges. From El Tovar Hotel, long considered the crown jewel of national park hotels, to Phantom Ranch, the only lodging on the floor of the canyon, you’ll find accommodations to help you get the most out of your visit to the Grand Canyon. You can also book rafting, railway, and motorcoach tours. For more information and reservations, visit grandcanyonlodges.com or call 888-297-2757.For more bucket list travel experiences available from the Xanterra Travel Collection®, visit xanterra.com/bucketlist.