There's a Very Good Reason It's Named The View Hotel!

Earlier this year, when I took a much-needed two-week vacation to America's beautiful Southwest, one of the sights I really wanted to see during my wanderings was Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah border. A frequent filming location for television commercials and movies (particularly back in the time when the western genre was in its heyday), the area's towering sandstone buttes are as iconic a symbol of the American West as one can get.
 

Not a valley in the conventional sense of the word, Monument Valley is a wide, flat, and sometimes desolate landscape interspersed with crumbling sandstone formations that rise hundreds of feet into the air, the last remnants of the sandstone layers that once covered the entire region.


One of the grandest landmarks in the United States, Monument Valley (Tse’Bii’Ndzisgaii meaning 'Valley of Rocks') is located within the Navajo Nation - a land base of 27,000 square miles which extends into Arizona, New Mexico, & Utah. Home to the Navajo people, Naabeehó Bináhásdzo, is the largest land area retained by an indigenous tribe in the United States and one of only a few indigenous nations whose reservation lands overlap its traditional homelands. The Nation is home to an array of more than a dozen national monuments, historical sites and tribal parks including Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Standing at 5,564 feet above sea level and covering close to 92,000 acres, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is one of the Navajo Nation's centerpieces of beauty as well as one of the world's most recognized landscapes. Though the park entrance is in Utah, the more familiar rock formations are located in Arizona. The state line passes through the most famous landmarks which are concentrated near the small settlement of Goulding which is named for Colorado native Harry Goulding - the man responsible for persuading Hollywood director John Ford to film so many movies there. With a history dating back to 1925 when Goulding bought 460 acres of land and set up a trading post, the settlement is home to Goulding's Lodge which includes a 73-room hotel, campground, gift shops, a museum in the old trading post, a restaurant and a small cinema that shows John Wayne films in the evenings. 


Though lots of folks choose to stay at Goulding's, knowing ahead of time that Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park was still closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, for my trip I wanted to get as close to the scenery of this unique land as possible which meant a stay at The View Hotel which is owned and operated by Armanda Ortega of the Kiy`anníí (Towering House) Clan. Adjoining the Tribal Park Visitors Center which has been on the site for over 40 years, The View Hotel was designed with respect to be in harmony with the sacred setting in which it is located.


Constructed by a workforce that was made up of 90% local Native Americans, The View Hotel opened in December 2008 as the first and currently only hotel located inside Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. A simple three-story structure built atop a plateau, the building blends nicely into its environment with an exterior color that exudes the same color of the red earth that surround its. The chosen hue and design ensures that the building becomes one with the earth as it blends in with the natural rock formations and the contours of the land. 


Inside, the lobby of the hotel is centered around a beautiful circular stone fireplace which dominates the room and is adorned with handmade kachina dolls crafted by local Native Americans.


Decorated with Southwestern artwork, paintings and several spiny cactus residing in beautiful handcrafted Native American pottery, the lobby boasts huge picture windows offering phenomenal views that guests can enjoy while relaxing in lots of comfortable seating. It might look like the perfect place to sit and sip a glass of wine or cocktail but it should be noted that the hotel does not sell or serve alcohol which is formally banned on the Navajo reservation. There is no rule, however, that you can't bring your own and drink it in your room, just be polite and take your empties with you when you leave. 

   

Above is a view of the Mittens and Merrick butte from the lobby. The road that runs through the middle of the photo is part of the 17-mile scenic drive through Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. To drive on the scenic road, there's a nominal fee of $20 per vehicle with up to 4 passengers, passengers are $5 per person. Though the drive covers a lot of ground taking approximately 2-3 hours, tours offered by local Navajo guides take guests deeper into the park for sites that can't be seen from the scenic loop. I was pretty bummed that it wasn't open when I was there in late April but as Covid-19 had hit the Navajo Nation very hard, I fully understood why it wasn't. As of this writing, it's hoped that the park will re-open to visitors in mid-July. 


As the scenery is the number one reason that visitors stay at The View, there's also a great view of the valley from the elevator if you're heading up to the second or third floors! 


This beautiful handcrafted bench was in the hallway just outside of the elevator on the third floor. 


We stayed in Room 305 which is listed as a 'Starview Room' as the private balcony has a cut-back roof so that you can also look up at the stars from the comfort of your room. Each of the 95 rooms at The View has a flat screen cable television, mini-refrigerator, and a coffee maker equipped with organic coffee. Taking the scenic aesthetics from the outside and bringing them inside, the room had a a small Navajo rug and other Southwestern artwork adorning the walls as well as bed linens that have themes taken from ancient saddle blanket designs. 


The large bathroom features thick, organic towels which compliment the organic soaps, bath gels and shampoos. There was a beautiful Native-made sandpainting on the wall and in keeping with their efforts to preserve and protect the environment, the bathrooms feature low-flow showers and toilets.


Almost all of The View's guestrooms (with the exception of the Full-Driver rooms) have floor-to-ceiling windows offering a view facing the red rock formations of the East and West Mittens and Merrick butte.  Our room had a slightly obstructed view of the valley due to the location of the hotel's outdoor patio to the left but honestly, unless you want to spend another $40 for a completely unobstructed view, this view was pretty darned good! You might actually say that it was a real butte!


You can't quite see it but the photo on our keycard looked very much like the photo outside of our room!


The view from our room with the hotel's outside terrace to the left. 


The view to the right from our room with the building included above and not included below.


Below are more photos taken from our room during our stay. Our stay coincided with April's full moon so it didn't get as dark as it normally would during the nighttime. That said, I am horrible at night photography even though I gave it a try from the balcony. Sunrise was a lot easier for me to capture and was well worth getting up way too darned early for! 

monumentvalleysunrise

Unfortunately after the sun came out, it immediately disappeared into the clouds for the rest of the day but it was still glorious to watch it rise even for a short while. It was definitely one of the highlights of my trip and well worth the stop even though so many things weren't able to be seen because of the Covid restrictions. 


Before checking out, I walked around the property a little bit to take it all in and I have to say that the view at The View certainly didn't disappoint! Unfortunately the trading post with its wide selection of Native Indian Art was closed, as was the on-site restaurant, but we were given a bagged breakfast and coffee along with bottled water before we set out for the day.

In addition to the hotel rooms, The View also offers fully-furnished valley rim premium cabins decorated in an Old West motif complete with a modern-day microwave, refrigerator and full bathroom with shower. Each cabin has its own private porch overlooking Monument Valley with what some say is an even better view than the one you get at the hotel. There's also a campground with a full restroom and shower facilities offering both wilderness and dry RV (no hook-ups) sites, each with their own unique view of "The World's Greatest Outdoor Museum." 

The View Hotel is located approximately 300 miles from Phoenix a short drive off of SR 163 on Indian Route 42. Reservations can be made online here or by calling 435-727-5555 in the US or 00-1-435-727-5555 internationally.

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