Staying at the Grand Canyon was one of the things we really wanted to do as part of our trip to the American Southwest. When I went to book a stay at the Grand Canyon, I wasn’t able to get a room at our first choice of hotels, the El Tovar. Luckily, when I checked for a reservation I was able to piece together our stay between two different rooms. The first two nights were spent in the Thunderbird Lodge. While the location was great, the rooms were rather uninspiring. The last night I was able to snag a cabin at Bright Angel Lodge. What a difference that made!
Bright Angel Lodge
9 North Village Loop Drive
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
The Bright Angel Lodge opened in 1935 but some of the buildings, such as the Red Horse Ranch, date back to 1890. There are 90 total units at Bright Angel Lodge ranging from historic units with shared baths, historic cabins and you can even stay in the Buckey O’Neill Cabin (one of the original cabins at the Grand Canyon whose owner died while serving with Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders).
I was able to book a Historic Cabin with Queen bed for $129 ($149.66 after tax). Since you need to prepay for one night of your stay, when I made the reservation I paid for the one night with my Citi Prestige card and earned 3 Thank You Points per dollar.
Check in for any of the Bright Angel Lodge rooms is at the main building. This is the same front desk we used to check into the Thunderbird Lodge two days before.
The day before we were to change rooms, I went to the front desk and asked about the process of changing rooms and if bell services could hold our bags. The staff were very nice and informed me than since I was a “transfer,” everything would be taken care of for me. They put a note on my reservation and said all we had to do was leave our bags by the front of the room and they would be picked up and delivered to our new room. Another perk of being a transfer was that we were put on the top of the list to get a room., right behind the guests who might be checking in after riding a donkey up from Phantom Ranch (The cabin on the bottom of the canyon). I felt that was a very good way to deal with guests.
We had our room packed up by 10 AM so we left our bags in the room and headed to the front desk. We were swiftly taken care of and informed that our cabin was ready to check in (normal check in time is 4 PM). We were provided keys for the cabin, number 6184, and a map of how to get to the room. This was the same map we received for the Thunderbird Lodge.
While not a rim cabin (those were closed for renovations), this was one of the most quaint buildings I’ve every stayed in. Our cabin had two rooms (the window to the right belongs to the bedroom of the adjacent room)
The cabin is one large room with a desk (and Keurig coffeemaker) and chair, an additional chair and an entertainment center with an non-flat screen TV.
The queen size bed was very comfortable and we both had two pillows and a nightstand (a very important thing when I am judging a hotel room). There was also a refrigerator and ice bucket.
One of the best features of the cabin was the high ceiling. It made the cabin feel much bigger than it actually was.
The cabin had plenty of windows that let in a bunch of natural light. I enjoyed looking out the windows. Sharon, however, wasn’t as thrilled about the view out of some of the windows.
The bathroom of the cabin was significantly smaller than the one at the Thunderbird Lodge (if that’s even possible) and we only had a shower stall and no tub.
The one drawback of the cabins is that they’re located right off the road that goes around the area. Given that the only people driving on this road in the evening are the people staying in the cabins, other guests to the park drive around during the day looking for a parking spot.
There was a path from our cabin that led right to the Kolb Studio and amazing views of the Grand Canyon.
This was less than a 5 minute walk from the cabin.
The one problem with having plenty of windows is that you have plenty of window shades to close before going to bed. We didn’t bring enough chip clips for this.
The Cabin at Bright Angel Lodge was fantastic. Sure, the floors creaked a bit. Sure, the water took a while to get hot and the water pressure wasn’t great. Sure, we could hear the people sharing the building with us and heard the buses and cars driving by outside. All of that taken into account, how often can you stay in a cabin that was built in the 1930’s at the rim of the Grand Canyon. The most amazing thing to me is that this cabin was priced at about half of the cost of the room we had at the Thunderbird Lodge. If you have a choice, stay at a cabin. Trust me. Well, unless you need a bathtub.
The biggest inconvenience of all was that the WiFi never worked in the room and our cell phones only got an intermittent signal. To write and upload a blog post (work on YMMV never stops), I had to go to the lobby of the Bright Angel Lodge to get a signal. After walking the 5 minutes and setting up a work space, this was the view I had as I sipped my coffee and wrote my article. Didn’t suck.
I know, I’m feeling really bad for myself right now, as well. I wish I could look at that every morning while working on my computer. If you’re interested, here’s links to the other posts about our trip through the southwest:
No, My Carry On Bag Is NOT Too Big To Fit In The Overhead
Hotel Review: MOXY Phoenix Tempe/ASU Area, Tempe, AZ
Our Visit to Mystery Castle (a.k.a. “The House A Man Built By Himself”)
Hotel Review: Hyatt Residence Club Sedona, Piñon Pointe, Sedona, AZ
Our Visit to Bedrock City in Williams, AZ
Hotel Review: Thunderbird Lodge, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Our Visit to Grand Canyon Caverns (Warning! They Might Be Haunted!)
What To Do When Your Uber Charge Is Higher Than Expected
Hotel Review: W Hollywood, Hollywood, California
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