Travel 105 miles west of where Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado converge, and you’ll run into the 91,000 acres of Monument Valley Park, a section of the Colorado Plateau controlled by the Navajo. Straddling the border of Arizona and Utah, the eternally flat landscape is suddenly interrupted by a series of towering buttes shooting up to heights of 1,000 feet that, against the otherwise horizontal terrain, seem much taller. Especially when you’re sitting on the balcony of a hotel room just beyond their shadows.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why they decided to name it The View Hotel. Each of the hotel’s 95 rooms features a balcony that faces directly out over the buttes of Monument Valley, providing a thrilling front-row seat for some of the most beautiful terrain in the world. Built into the earth with an exterior matching the valley’s red clay, The View blends in with the surrounding terrain; its presence is subtle, and it does not take away from the serenity and beauty of the landscape.
But it does put adventure at your doorstep. The Wildcat Trail, an easy 4-mile loop that winds its way in between the buttes, leaves right from the hotel and gets you up close and personal with the 1,000-foot towers. The View also puts you in prime position for day trips throughout Monument Valley. Natural Bridges National Monument sits about 70 miles due north, featuring the ancient ruins of the cliff-dwelling Anasazi Indians. Dark Sky Park is so named for its notable lack of light pollution and, thus, epic star gazing.
Whether it’s winter or summer, The View serves as a good home base for adventure, a comfortable place to return to when the temperature goes too far in either direction (lows in the winter hit the 20s, and summer sees highs in the 90s). And as much as you’ll want to explore outside, staying put in the room won’t make you feel bad. During sunrise and sunset, there is absolutely no better place to be than on your balcony, watching the colors change and the shadows move across the valley floor. (If you’re lucky, heavy clouds or a storm will roll in.) “StarView Rooms” on the top (third) floor have roofless balconies, providing expansive views of the buttes as well as the night sky.
The killer view and park access are reasons enough to visit, but the Navajo have done a good job infusing native culture into the hotel. You’ll see this in the décor, which focuses on Native American artwork, statues, and rugs with bold colors. In The View Restaurant, you’ll have the chance to try some Navajo specialties. Start with a basket of the deep-fried, donut-like fry bread with a side of honey, or if you’re really feeling like a sweet and juicy treat, order up the Navajo Fry Bread Burger that substitutes fry bread for the normal bun. Stews made with local meats and vegetables are also popular, such as the Green Chile Stew, Red Chile Pork Posole and the Sheep Camp Mutton Stew.
Know beforehand: there is no alcohol served on the Navajo Reservation. Which means that if you crave a cocktail, beer, or wine after a day of playing outside, you should bring your own. Each room has a refrigerator and a microwave, so if you’re really creative, you can even make a hot toddy to warm up on a chilly evening, perhaps as the sun sets and the stars come out. Otherwise, everything you could possibly need is squarely within your view.
$159+ per night