20 August 2015

USA Road Trip | Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge

Of the 4.5 million visitors that visit the Grand Canyon every year only 10% of them go to the North Rim. This is largely understandable considering a huge majority of the amenities are based at the South Rim and aside from one developed camping ground, the North Rim boasts only one lodging option - the Grand Canyon Lodge.

Can we just put the Grand Cayon to one side for a second to appreciate the lodge? The check-in area has an almost Harry Potter feel. The high ceilings with heavy wooden beams make this lodge feel grand yet cosy and I loved all the painted details.

The restaurant serves food of an extremely high standard and we enjoyed a breakfast, lunch and a dinner there. The menu is not expansive and bland as you might expect from America, but creative with reasonable portions (most of the time anyway, below was a rather ott portion).
If you don't fancy the restaurant or can't justify the prices, your options are a little more limited. There is the cookout which is $36.95 per person including traditional all american food, entertainment and a ride on a train taking you from the lodge to the campsite where the evening is held in the big green tent.

I was a little disappointed that this 'evening' was over so quickly - perhaps only taking an hour and a bit.  That said the food was really good and there was plenty to go around, plus seconds. The music was fun and light-hearted and great for people of all ages.
If you're staying for a few night I would go to the campout just for a bit of variety. If you're only stopping for a night or two, then I'd invest in a eating in the restaurant as it isn't too much more expensive and the food is pretty darn good! Still the cookout would be fun if you have children. You pay in advance, but don't forget a tip to give those serving you.

The other eating options are the Saloon, which serves coffees and pastries for a quick breakfast, and the Deli in the Pines. The deli serves pizza, sandwiches and salads and though admittedly it is not somewhere you're going to love spending time, it is functional.

Petrol and food can be purchased from the shop at the North Rim Campsite though the prices are inflated. There are some nice souvenirs and it is the only place you'll find wifi on the North Rim, but don't expect to FaceTime as this wifi is clearly overloaded!

This leads me nicely on to my next point. Accommodation may seem like much of a muchness when it comes to rooms at the lodge. You'll notice that you have two main options - a cabin or a motel room - and only $10 difference in price. We actually stayed one night in both, because that was all we could secure (even months ahead) so here's my views on which to go for.

The cabins are quaint and if you're desperate to stay in one do go ahead. They have a desk, a light and a clean bathroom and we did really enjoyed our stay... But. The walls are like paper, so much so we could hear the people staying the other side cough! Some cabins are large enough for families and so you don't have to share a wall with other people, perhaps eradicating this issue. The cabins are also closer to the main lodge, but I feel the motel rooms are worth the few minutes walk.

The motel room was very spacious, had air con and a fridge. The motel rooms are about a 4 min walk from the main lodge. You can park in the car park opposite, so even if you're loading your car don't park on the road just outside... Unlike the cabins there isn't 15 minute parking just outside to unload the car (but the car park really is only a few steps further). The park ranger seemed to have a bee in his bonnet so don't test him on this!
The major benefit of the motel room is the fridge which would allow you to bring food with you, to make a much more delicious (and cheaper) lunch and breakfast to go than the options available.

It seems I've gone on too long so the Canyon itself will have to wait, but in the meantime here is the view from the lodge...

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