One of the nation's most beloved national parks is getting a new hotel – its first in 50 years.
As reported by KOLD, the Maswik South Lodge just opened on the South Rim as a $35 million reconstruction on top of an old hotel site. It was built by Xanterra Travel Collection and is contemporary in style although it contains two stone pillars that are all that remain of the original 'Motor Lodge' built in 1927 by the Santa Fe Railroad and the Fred Harvey Company. There have been several iterations of the hotel on the site over the decades.
The name Maswik was chosen to honor a Hopi kachina said to guard the Grand Canyon. The hotel is a 280-room lodging complex surrounded by acres of Ponderosa pine. Just a quick quarter-mile walk or bus ride brings you to the canyon's edge, putting truth to the motto of the Grand Canyon National Park Lodges that "You're not just close, you're there."
There is a main lodge building with registration, a gift shop, a food court and a pizza pub. There are also four two-story buildings known as Mawik South, each with 90 guest rooms and 30 kitchenette rooms with expanded cooking options, like an apartment-sized fridge rather than the other standard room's mini-fridge. Each room has its own outdoors patio, and elevators serve the second story. Each room is accessed by a central hallway. At Maswik North, there are 12 two-story buildings, accessed by outdoors stairways and walkways; the second story is not wheelchair accessible. Both North and South do offer a full selection of wheelchair accessible rooms, including some with roll-in showers.
Judging by the photos, the room have a 1970s throwback vibe with orange pillows and partial wood paneling. But it's not what's inside that matters. It's the views you get of the forest off those patios, and the access to the area of the park far more popular than the North Rim and the West Rim with lots more activities, dining, lodging and services. Moreover, the South Rim is open year-round whereas the North Rim closes mid-October through mid-May.
All South Rim parking lots are open to visitors; there is no dedicated parking for the Maswik. All rooms are non-smoking. Currently, all the Grand Canyon lodges are open for business with limited dining options, so if you don't get a reservation at the Maswik, you have plenty of other choices.
Maybe wait until cooler weather, though: today's National Park advisory says it is a stunning 114 degrees in the Grand Canyon and people are not advised to hike into it this week.