The Grand Canyon is always evolving, but on a much longer timeline than the average visitor can perceive. And the lodging options at Grand Canyon National Park reflect that sense of permanence. So, when it was time to build the park’s first new accommodations in more than half a century, it was important to get it right.
“There was lots of internal excitement about making sure it was done properly, but also celebrating the fact that we’re making an exciting new structure here,” says Samuel Langner, the community relations manager for Xanterra Travel Collection, which operates the South Rim’s hotels.
The new structure is the rebuilt Maswik Lodge South, which sits about a quarter-mile south of the Bright Angel Trailhead. The original version, named for a Hopi Katsina said to protect the Canyon, was constructed in the early 1970s, when visitation was booming and the lodges along the South Rim could no longer keep up with demand. The complex was intended as a temporary solution until a more permanent lodge could be built.
Yet Maswik South, with its small rooms and spartan accommodations, endured well into the 21st century. In 2014, a concept for a modern lodge won approval from the National Park Service. It was another five years before the original buildings were closed and torn down; then, COVID-19 led to construction delays before the new Maswik South opened in mid-2022.
The complex’s 120 rooms — 90 standard rooms, plus 30 with kitchenettes — are larger and feature one king or two queen beds, along with amenities not always available in older lodges, such as air conditioning, satellite TV and a private patio. The kitchenettes were a priority for accommodating families, Langner says, and they offer a refrigerator, a microwave and a two-burner cooktop, plus utensils and cookware. For guests in standard rooms, the food court at the main Maswik Lodge building is just to the north.
“The rooms themselves are modern and clean, but they still have the charm and aesthetics you expect from national park architecture,” Langner says, including brown and green hues intended to fade into the ponderosa pines that surround the hotel. And the complex is 40 percent more energy efficient per square foot than its predecessor.
Overall, the new Maswik South is intended as a comfortable, family-friendly alternative to the South Rim’s iconic lodges, and Langner says guests who’ve stayed in both iterations have found the new lodge “a clear upgrade.” But there’s also a nod to the evolution of this place: The complex’s four buildings are named for fossils found at the Canyon. And for a reminder of the more recent past, the original buildings at Maswik Lodge North are right next door.
Maswik Lodge South
Grand Canyon South Rim,