"...El Tovar, the luxurious Harvey hotel...
Rooms without bath cost from $4.00 to $6.00 a
day, each person... breakfast and luncheon,
$1.00 each; dinner, $1.50. Every modern
convenience is provided, including electric
light and baths."
Santa Fe Railroad promotion, 1914-15
The Santa Fe Railroad reached Grand Canyon in
1901 and tourism suddenly and dramatically
increased. The Fred Harvey Company, which ran
hotels along Santa Fe lines, commissioned Charles
F. Whittlesey to design a 100-room hotel with the
look of a Norwegian or Swiss chalet. Named for
Spanish explorer Don Pedro de Tovar, the hotel
opened in January 1905. It cost $250,000 to build.
The new hotel offered art and music rooms, a ladies'
lounge, solarium, roof gardens, freshest foods arrived
daily aboard the Santa Fe, or came from El Tovar's
own cows, chickens, and greenhouse. The owners
boasted that their hotel was, in itself, worth a visit to
the Grand Canyon.
With early guests including U.S. Presidents Theodore
Roosevelt and William howard Taft, El Tovar was
successful fromt he start. The Fred Harvey Company
still operates El Tovar.
El Tovar shortly after its 1905 completion
The hotel offered sightseeing
options that included rim tours by
coach and trail rides into the canyon.
A postcard view of El Tovar's lobby,
circa 1905. The lobby remains much
the same today.