GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - The El Tovar Hotel will not close for renovations after the National Park Service voiced concerns that the historic building would not be available for people visiting from January to April.
"Being that this is the crown jewel of the Canyon, the Park Service didn't want to exclude visitors from staying here for an extended period of time," said Jon Streit, Xanterra South Rim general manager.
Streit said to keep the hotel open while exterior renovations are taking place, Xanterra will close its south side terrace level rooms and some of the rooms directly above the construction. He said closing those rooms should have little effect on visitors. When roof construction begins, rooms will be closed to accommodate workers as needed.
Xanterra had originally planned to close the El Tovar from January until April 2014 to complete room, structural and roof renovation. But now, the project will take until at least 2015. The south side stabilization work will take about eight weeks, and the roof will be finished in April. Xanterra has postponed the El Tovar's lobby, mezzanine and room renovation until 2015, and will keep the hotel open to the public during that time.
"It'll be nice for the guests to be able to experience the hotel," Streit said. "That's the good news, it will give guests the opportunity to book within a short window and get some great rooms that they wouldn't normally be able to get."
This summer, crews completed a fresh coat of paint on the exterior of the 108-year-old building.
Xanterra is responsible for the cost of the entire renovation, the amount of which is currently uncertain. The El Tovar's last renovation was in 2005 for the building's centennial. Grand Canyon hotels are on a renovation cycle of seven or eight years, and Xanterra schedules them between January or April when visitation is low.
More information is available from www.grandcanyonlodges.com.