Romance along the southern rim of the Grand Canyon.

By Travel & Leisure
September 05, 2012
Grand Canyon Sunset-Gazing
Credit: iStockphoto

The golden hour makes the Grand Canyon’s already spectacular landscapes even more so. Head to the south rim where you can explore the canyon by day and, in the evening, dine at a window looking out at the red sandstone and sleep only feet away. You’ll need to book well in advance, but last-minute cancellations do occur, meaning you just might be able to snag a spontaneous weekend away—the ultimate romantic gesture.

El Tovar Dining Room

The View: Soak in two billion years of geologic history—layered in slivers of deep orange, dusty violet, moss, and gray—from the dining room at the El Tovar Hotel, set about 50 yards from the edge of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. While a few windows look out over the canyon, the restaurant’s Canyon Room offers some of the most direct views; diners can look across the arid landscape to the North Rim.

The Food: Southwestern flavors are woven into the menu, from buffalo carpaccio on roasted poblano crostini to wild Alaskan salmon tostada with organic greens and tequila vinaigrette.

Tip: Table requests are accepted, but coveted tables go fast and are first-come, first-served. For easy access to the best tables, go to breakfast in the dining room, when reservations are not accepted or necessary, or drink in the views with cocktails on the hotel’s veranda.

El Tovar Hotel

Built in 1905 and fully renovated in 2005, the elegant hotel is one of the country’s most revered national park lodge treasures and has hosted the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and Albert Einstein.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts

Contact Xanterra, the in-park concessionaire, for information on mule rides and raft outfitters.

Grand Canyon Railway

Take the scenic evening train journey from Williams, AZ, north to the Grand Canyon on the vintage, 50s-era stainless-steel cars. Book seats in a Parlor Class car, which offers a private bar and open-air rear balcony.