Sunday, July 27

24 Days Of Vacation

Day 7: El Tovar Hotel, AZ

Today is Sunday, so why don't we go have a nice late lunch? I've chosen a place with a surrealistic view of both space and time: the
El Tovar Hotel.

At the turn of the 20th century, America was still discovering its natural wonders, but hadn't quite grasped the unique identity of them. So we imitated the lodges and hotels of Europe, finishing them with a western personality. The El Tovar is an example of the robust architecture prevalent in the early national park system. A broad porch allows for ample seating, providing welcome shade from the Arizona sun. A large entryway leads you to the lobby, a cavernous space of log rafters, chandeliers of geometric stained glass, mission style furniture, and obligatory mounted animal heads. Besides the lobby seating and fireplace, there are two gift shops, a small cocktail lounge, some interesting history on the
Fred Harvey Company, and the dining room.

In keeping with its Victorian style roots, this is a fine dining establishment. Not quite the Waldorf-Astoria, but fancier than you might expect for a place frequented by tourists and hikers. The main dining hall is beautiful, constructed of native stone and the same sturdy dark woods of the lobby. The decor is rustic upscale; subtle artwork pays tribute to the desert landscape and Hopi culture. I had been here several times before I realized there was a second dining area behind the first. Although it is smaller and less elegant, I prefer it.

For here large windows reveal an incomparable panorama. I doubt any other restaurant table in the world has such a jaw-dropping view. Order a glass of wine, an appetizer, and the superb trout. Enjoy a tantalizing dessert. Sit quietly with your companion and marvel over the coral and peach and rust expanses of the
Grand Canyon. Reflect on the billion year history revealed in the canyon walls. Marvel at the power of a river to create it all. This is more than a pleasant meal. This is a revelatory repast. Savor.

Teasers on this trip: mule, kachina, condor, awe

2 comments:

Merelyme said...

that is one amazing view...i am so envious. i have yet to see it in person.

tiff said...

Everyone ought to see the Grand Canyon at least once in their life. It's amazing.