A little history...
In all of our Grand Canyon visits
prior to this one, we actually stayed in motels away from the
Canyon. The exception to this, besides this year, was last
year, but more about that in a minute.
The goal in choosing the lodging has
always been to position ourselves for a reasonable drive back to
wherever we were flying out of for our trip home as our Canyon visit
always came at the end of the week. This meant that we mostly
stayed in Flagstaff, itself a college town (Northern Arizona
University is there), and it was a good choice with three brewpubs,
among other things, to choose from for dining and other things.
One year we stayed in Winslow because
we needed to be in Albuquerque, rather than Phoenix, for our return
flight, and Albuquerque is quite a bit farther away from the Canyon
than Phoenix is. But that worked fine as well.
One thing that this staying away from
the Canyon meant, though, was that, after a day of hiking, when we
were probably a bit less than rosy smelling, and tired, we still had
to get back in the van for the 1.5 hour drive back to Flagstaff or
the about three hour drive to Winslow.
Last year, because we hiked at the
beginning of the week instead of at the end, and because we were
thus driving in only from Phoenix instead of Las Cruces, we chose a
hotel right outside the park. That turned out to be a very
good idea as the next morning we had only a few minute drive to the
park and the day's activities, rather than a 1.5 hour drive from
Flagstaff. We didn't stay in the same motel after hiking,
though, because we needed to be getting on toward Las Cruces, so we
drove all the way to Show Low, Arizona, a good five-hour drive,
after hiking. Not the best of situations, but you do what you
have to do.
But one thing staying at the park
showed us was how nice it was to actually be AT the park for our
lodging. We DIDN'T have the drive afterwards, and people could
head back to their rooms at their own pace depending on how quickly
they finished whatever hike they were on.
So this year, because we had a full
day to make the drive from Las Cruces, we decided to go for it and
stay at a lodge in the park if we could get a reservation at a
reasonable rate. That did turn out to be possible, and we
stayed for two nights at the