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I understand the Amtrak connection to the Grand Canyon has gone thru some changes! if coming westbound, what are my options? Thanx!

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There is a dedicated Arizona Shuttle bus that meets the train at Flagstaff and it will take you to the Holiday Inn Exoress in Williams, not Grand Canyon Railway hotel. They are only a few blocks apart. The fare with the shuttle is now higher than it was than the train to the Williams Junction stop and then the short shuttle to GC Rwy Hotel. Do not blame Amtrak for this- I understand GC Rwy Hotel wanted out of the arrangement. Personally, I would get off in Flagstaff and rent a car if going to Grand Canyon Natl Park.

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OK. you will need to stay overnight in WILLIAMS if taking the GCRR train the next day. Alternatively, you could stay overnight in Flagstaff and take Arizona Shuttle to Grand Canyon. I used to be a tour bus driver there and recommend the Desert View tour, but you cannot do that on a one day trip from WILLIAMS.

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Whatever you do, *avoid* staying inside the park, if you can, unless you are traveling as a "couple" or a family. I had one of my worst travel experiences, staying at the El Tovar Hotel, inside the park. The problem? I was a solitary traveler. I was assigned the lousiest choice of room (a really small eve room on the side opposite the canyon view), and I could never get a table with a canyon view at any of the restaurants. First, the only tables with a canyon view were tables for four. A solitary guest would never be seated there. I was always seated near the "serving island" or a huge pole or near the kitchen door. This, all because they feel that a solitary person doesn't earn therm enough $$$ per cover than a couple or a family member. They did that to me twice in the El-Tovar dining room. I came down the first night, and they put me at the single table near the serving island. I inquired about it to the Matre-D who told me to make a reservation and request the "canyon view" table at the earliest possible time; (5:30p). I did so. The following day, I show up at 5:30p to an empty restaurant. The Rest. Mgr. meets me at the door and says, "Sorry I can't honor your request" and proceeds to seat me right back at the serving island table.When I inquire, he gets indignant and says, "i don't have time to argue with you... .I'll seat you here." I replied to him... "No you won't...." and I walked back to the Matre-D and cancelled the reservation for that night and the next two nights. Unfortunately, I had similar problems at other restaurants outside the hotel but inside the park. It was as if all of them feel that the $$$ of couples and families are much greener... Oh well.

 

I should have stayed at the Comfort in just outside the park entrance. Would have been much cheaper and I'd have gotten better treatment.

Edited by AutoTrDvr

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I inquired about it to the Matre-D who told me to make a reservation and request the "canyon view" table at the earliest possible time; (5:30p). I did so. The following day, I show up at 5:30p to an empty restaurant. The Rest. Mgr. meets me at the door and says, "Sorry I can't honor your request" and proceeds to seat me right back at the serving island table.When I inquire, he gets indignant and say, "i don't have time to argue with you... .I'll seat you here." I replied to him... "No you won't...." and I walked back to the Matre-D and cancelled the reservation for that night and the next two nights. Unfortunately, I had similar problems at other restaurants outside the hotel but inside the park. It was as if all of them feel that the $$$ of couples and families are much greener... Oh well.

 

I should have stayed at the Comfort in just outside the park entrance. Would have been much cheaper and I'd have gotten better treatment.

Jesus. I would have been absolutely livid at that point. You should have told that guy's manager about that. :unsure:

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I should have stayed at the Comfort in just outside the park entrance. Would have been much cheaper and I'd have gotten better treatment.

If I stayed there how would I get in & out of the park?

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There is no Comfort Inn in Tusayan, the village outside the park entrance. There are six hotels there, and there is shuttle bus Service in the summer months from Tusayan to Grand Canyon, which will operate until Nov 30. I am sorry that our other poster had some disagreeable experiences, but I would not let that stop you from staying in the village. My friend and I had an excellent dinner at El Tovar last Christmas. I myself would not stay in Tusayan without a car.

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I inquired about it to the Matre-D who told me to make a reservation and request the "canyon view" table at the earliest possible time; (5:30p). I did so. The following day, I show up at 5:30p to an empty restaurant. The Rest. Mgr. meets me at the door and says, "Sorry I can't honor your request" and proceeds to seat me right back at the serving island table.When I inquire, he gets indignant and say, "i don't have time to argue with you... .I'll seat you here." I replied to him... "No you won't...." and I walked back to the Matre-D and cancelled the reservation for that night and the next two nights. Unfortunately, I had similar problems at other restaurants outside the hotel but inside the park. It was as if all of them feel that the $$$ of couples and families are much greener... Oh well.

 

I should have stayed at the Comfort in just outside the park entrance. Would have been much cheaper and I'd have gotten better treatment.

Jesus. I would have been absolutely livid at that point. You should have told that guy's manager about that. :unsure:

 

 

 

The problem being, it was probably "his manager" that ordered him to do that... TBH, it's truly a pervasive attitude throughout all of the "hospitality industry..." an inherent bias against a solitary traveler and, especially, a solitary male traveler. They always seem to get the lousiest accommodations (hotel rooms, restaurant seats, etc.). This has happened at other locations and, especially, places where the establishment deals a lot with tourists and is very tourist savvy. They can afford to "discriminate." At places that are having a hard time getting full bookings, they bend over backwards to be "accommodating."

 

I've even experienced something like this when flying in BC/FC. The Flight attendants, knowing that there are a limited supply of entrees to feed the BC/FC people will, often, not take meal selections in order (ie.front to back), but will skip around and take the orders from the higher frequent fliers. By the time they get to me (almost always last), my selection is sold out, unless I want the main offering (usually the steak). Had they picked people in proper sequence (airline policy is to go front to back of the canyon - which is why I was always in row 2), I might have had my true selection available.

 

Anyway, I don't travel much anymore by common carrier, unless I have to.

Edited by AutoTrDvr

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There is no Comfort Inn in Tusayan, the village outside the park entrance. There are six hotels there, and there is shuttle bus Service in the summer months from Tusayan to Grand Canyon, which will operate until Nov 30. I am sorry that our other poster had some disagreeable experiences, but I would not let that stop you from staying in the village. My friend and I had an excellent dinner at El Tovar last Christmas. I myself would not stay in Tusayan without a car.

 

Perhaps not now, but this was 12 years ago, and there was definitely something on the order of a Quality/Comfort Inn category hotel within a couple of miles of the actual South Rim entrance. I saw it there as I was waiting in line to enter the park. I wondered why I hadn't stayed there. Anyway, again, if you are traveling as a couple, or family, or group, there shouldn't be a problem. It's only the solitary traveler that faces these issues.

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I was working there 12 years ago and there was a Quality Inn, which is now under a different name. For good dining, I recommend the Coronado Room at the Best Western in Tusayan.

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Rather like the Taj Mahal, folk are a bit blase about these "must see" tourist destinations, but the Grand Canyon is just that... Grand! You can now take a bus from Flagstaff and stay in Williams, and ride up to the canyon by a tourist train, or visit direct from Flagstaff by bus. You can visit in one day if all you require is to see the canyon, pretty wonderfull in itself. I also recommend the Taj Mahal but it is not available via Amtrak. :D

 

Ed.

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The Taj is available via the Shatabdi or Gatimaan Expresses to Agra Cantt. though, for a day excursion out of New Delhi (Hazrat Nizamuddin in case of the Gatimaan). On the Gatimaan you also get to ride the fastest train in India at 100mph

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I miss the connection in Williams to the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. It was quite convenient for a railfan such as myself and im glad I used it while I could.

 

I would still recommend staying at the railway hotel, it's very nice. You can ride the train there and back, or use the train and stay in the village.

 

I enjoyed the food at the hotel restaurant (not sure which one) I dined in at the canyon. I was by myself and didn't feel like I was treated any different. Not something I really worry about.

Edited by crescent-zephyr

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I miss the connection in Williams to the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. It was quite convenient for a railfan such as myself and im glad I used it while I could.

 

I would still recommend staying at the railway hotel, it's very nice. You can ride the train there and back, or use the train and stay in the village.

 

I enjoyed the food at the hotel restaurant (not sure which one) I dined in at the canyon. I was by myself and didn't feel like I was treated any different. Not something I really worry about.

Yes, loved the whole experience when we did it a few years ago from Los Angeles. We did it in January, and the GCRY hotel put us in a room (no extra charge) when we arrived in the early morning hours - "early check-in"! The GCRY shuttle was good, both arriving and departing and was no charge. We spent three nights at the rim in a Bright Angel Lodge Cabin. Sadly, the WMJ connection is no longer available.

 

6784743919_ff71605f90_b.jpgIMG_5703 by John, on Flickr

 

6784106341_690a90feb2_b.jpgIMG_3947 by John, on Flickr

Edited by FrensicPic

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Whatever you do, *avoid* staying inside the park, if you can, unless you are traveling as a "couple" or a family. I had one of my worst travel experiences, staying at the El Tovar Hotel, inside the park. The problem? I was a solitary traveler. I was assigned the lousiest choice of room (a really small eve room on the side opposite the canyon view), and I could never get a table with a canyon view at any of the restaurants. First, the only tables with a canyon view were tables for four. A solitary guest would never be seated there. I was always seated near the "serving island" or a huge pole or near the kitchen door. This, all because they feel that a solitary person doesn't earn therm enough $$$ per cover than a couple or a family member. They did that to me twice in the El-Tovar dining room. I came down the first night, and they put me at the single table near the serving island. I inquired about it to the Matre-D who told me to make a reservation and request the "canyon view" table at the earliest possible time; (5:30p). I did so. The following day, I show up at 5:30p to an empty restaurant. The Rest. Mgr. meets me at the door and says, "Sorry I can't honor your request" and proceeds to seat me right back at the serving island table.When I inquire, he gets indignant and says, "i don't have time to argue with you... .I'll seat you here." I replied to him... "No you won't...." and I walked back to the Matre-D and cancelled the reservation for that night and the next two nights. Unfortunately, I had similar problems at other restaurants outside the hotel but inside the park. It was as if all of them feel that the $$$ of couples and families are much greener... Oh well.

 

I should have stayed at the Comfort in just outside the park entrance. Would have been much cheaper and I'd have gotten better treatment.

It's often tough being a single, in a "couple's world".....I agree.... :(

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Can anyone comment on the Holiday Inn attitude toward pax. using thier lobby as a " Amtrak waiting room. "

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Can anyone comment on the Holiday Inn attitude toward pax. using thier lobby as a " Amtrak waiting room. "

I can't speak about the Holiday Inn but....

 

On my last visit to the Grand Canyon (Which was for the amazing Pete Lerro Photo charter, February 2017) there were quite a few people using the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel Lobby as a waiting room. That was in February, I'm sure it was worse in the peak travel times. It sounds like this was one of the main reasons Grand Canyon Railway wanted to stop the arrangement they had.

 

It's a shame the town of Williams can't provide a small waiting room somewhere, and then the Grand Canyon Hotel could drop hotel guests off at the hotel, and everyone else at the waiting room. Seems like that could have solved the problem.

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For history -

Santa Fe used to serve Williams AZ (The Williams AZ station is now used by the Grand Canyon Railway).

When Santa Fe built the Transcon, they opened a second station called "Williams Junction." Both stations closed in 1969 when Santa Fe Passenger trains stopped serving the line.

 

The amtrak stop at Williams started in 1999.

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I'm planning a trip next summer to the Grand Canyon. Is there anyway to rent a car in Flagstaff and pick it up at the station? I've done this before when I rode Amtrak to Creston, Iowa. The local rental agency left the keys at the station with the agent. The problem is the train gets into Flagstaff around 8:30 PM (if it's on time). Has anybody found a local rental car place that will do this at Flagstaff? Thanks!!!

 

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I don't have specific experience with Flagstaff, but in general local Hertz locations are pretty good about working with Amtrak travelers. I'd suggest that you call their local office and ask about what arrangements they can make. Enterprise is another good one for local pickup and arrangements.

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I did a one way a couple of years ago from Chandler (Phoenix) to Flagstaff, and the local Enterprise office was very helpful, since the drop off was out of hours...Not sure how they would handle pickups.

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