The Canyon Plaza Resort is a budget property without the budget-friendly prices. It's in a great location just outside Grand Canyon National Park and has nice features such as an outdoor pool, bright atrium lounge, and free (seasonal) shuttle to the park, but the rooms might underwhelm for the price and spotty Wi-Fi is standard. Those visiting in the off-season will also find some things shut down, including the bar in the atrium, though the indoor hot tub and Wagon Wheel Saloon stay open year-round. It's a viable alternative to staying inside the park itself, especially for travelers with pets, but the Best Western Premier right down the road is a better deal.
The hotel's two main common spaces, the lobby and the atrium, are both inviting and filled with natural light. In the lobby, plants and Southwest-themed art adorn stepped shelves and ledges that surround seating areas, including one with a fireplace. The central atrium in the main building is lined with the interior balconies from three floors of rooms rising to a wood ceiling set with a vaulted glass skylight. It's filled with trees soaking in the sunlight, set between lounge chairs and table seating.
Right off Highway 180, close to the Grand Canyon National Park entrance
Canyon Plaza Resort sits right off Highway 180 in a a quiet area close to fast-food restaurants, cafes, and gas stations. There's also a National Geographic Visitor’s Center and IMAX theater right next door, and everything in town is a short walk. Packed with visitors from March to October, Tusayan is a town that exists primarily for Grand Canyon tourism. The National Park Service operates a free (seasonal) shuttle that makes stops at all the hotels every 20 minutes from May to September, which is more convenient than navigating the heavy traffic. The entrance to Grand Canyon National Park is less than two miles north, up Highway 180. Flagstaff is about an 80-minute drive to the south.
Most of the rooms are large and relatively clean, and updates made since our visit, such as fresh (solid) carpeting, padded headboards, and plasma TVs, are welcome renovations. A Southwestern palette of desert sand prevails, and there are dark red and turquoise accents. Some rooms have dual entry, with a door on one end to the interior, and another door to a motel-style exterior entry. Ground-floor rooms open to a patio, and some of the upper rooms have private balconies. All rooms have two sink and vanity areas (one outside the bathroom) with basic shower/tub combos. Coffeemakers are standard, but only suites have mini-fridges and microwaves.
Indoor hot tub, outdoor pool, buffet restaurant, cocktail lounge
There's an outdoor sun deck with a small pool and hot tub open seasonally, with an indoor hot tub that stays open all year within the atrium. The Wintergarten Lounge in the atrium has a cocktail bar, also open seasonally. The hotel's year-round restaurant is buffet style, serving American standards, with some a la carte menu options. A cocktail lounge that also operates year-round,The Wagon Wheel Saloon, was after our visit. This is one of the few hotels in the area that allows pets, and accepts up to two pets for a fee.
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