El Tovar Hotel, Grand Canyon National Park - NO CC

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Personal Picked Upload! This is a personal favourite of the creator!
Uploaded: 22nd Mar 2014 at 8:53 PM
Updated: 24th Mar 2014 at 8:36 PM - Roofing Accessibility Glitch
EDIT: It was pointed out to me that the third floor and a few important tiles on the second floor (toilets are pretty important, right? ) were inaccessible because of a frustrating glitch with the way the game handles roofs. Ugh. I'm still working on finding an elegant solution to this issue, but in the meantime, I don't want you guys to be stuck downloading a lot that doesn't work right, so I edited the file to include a workaround. (If you're curious, the square hipped roof over the center of the hotel was too high to cancel out pieces of lower roofs that stuck into the building, so it blocked a few areas.) I've included another roof below the dummy level that addressed this problem, so the lot SHOULD work fine now, even if the exterior doesn't have quite the right look this way. I certainly am still working on a solution that won't mess up the visual though, and any other glitches you guys notice, please let me know so I can correct them too! Thanks!

OK, here's my first foray into the realm of making copies of real-world buildings. (Some of my skyscrapers were inspired by real buildings, but that mostly means I copied the parts of the exterior that captured my interest, and then did whatever struck my fancy with the rest. On the other hand, this lot is, as near as I can make it, an exact copy of the El Tovar Hotel, both inside and out) If you want to see the real building (or make a reservation for your next visit to Grand Canyon National Park!) here's the hotel's website: http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/lodging/el-tovar/

This hotel is one of my favorite buildings in the world, so I know and want to share more about its history than many people might care to read. Plus, I worked as a Park Ranger for 4 summers, and the human history of the region in general was one of my favorite things to share with park visitors. That being said, if this section gets boring for you, just skip it. It's a fun story though, I promise!

Returning now to the world of the Sims, this lot differs from the actual hotel in a few notable ways, as you can see in some of the attached pictures I've included, with comparisons to the real hotel. The two wings that house the guest rooms are each only about 1/3 as long as they are in actuality, and due to the limitations of Sim architecture, they do not bend out towards the road at about a 20-degree angle like the wings of the actual hotel do. The real building is also on a somewhat steep hill, but to keep the edges of this lot level, I modified the southern (lefthand) wing, eliminating the basement and lower level of rooms. The dining hall is also considerably smaller than its real-world counterpart, due to the fact that the lot does not extend far enough to expand it to its full size and still have room for the kitchen and other employee areas.

The rooms themselves are also a notable deviation. As with many old hotels, the rooms of the real El Tovar are small by modern standards, and would not be big enough to include some of the necessities of the game (dressers, tables, and the like) so I expanded them considerably. I don't include CC with my lots, so they are also not as close a copy as other parts of the hotel, but they do capture the feel of the normal rooms. "But Z!" you might say, "These rooms are boring!" To that I say, "Yes. They are." Aside from the suites, which I have included in some fashion or another (even if they're even less accurate than the standard rooms), the rooms of the El Tovar hotel are pretty unremarkable, and they look much more like a normal hotel than the public areas of the lodge.

The public areas of the El Tovar are much larger than those found in many hotels, which allows them to be used by both hotel guests as well as visitors staying elsewhere who just happen to be passing by. (Hint- the restaurant and gift shops of this hotel are just as good for vacationing Sims staying elsewhere as they are for hotel guests). During the hot, busy summer months in northern Arizona, the cool shade and relaxing couches of the El Tovar Lobby (shown above) are a welcome sight to tired visitors, fresh from a long canyon hike, while in the winter, the blazing fire and strong hot coffee offer a much-needed respite from the cold snowy canyon. (Hint- put this hotel in a mountain vacation neighborhood that has all 4 seasons if you want to get the most realistic placement you can).

The El Tovar also appears on many lists of "Haunted Houses of the Southwest," as there is supposedly the ghost of a Harvey Girl who haunts the upper floors of the hotel and disturbs the sleep of some of the guests... If you feel like your Sims might enjoy this aspect of the building, just kill off a female Sim wearing the basegame maid's uniform, and move her grave to this lot. The ghost is said to be most active on the upper floors, so hiding the urn in one of the upper level public spaces is your best bet. I myself have never felt any kind of supernatural or otherworldly presence when I've been in the hotel, but to each their own... some people are adamant that they've been awakened from their hotel beds in the middle of the night by the ghost of one of the Harvey Girls who tended to the guests of this hotel in its early days.

As a destination hotel, the prices of these rooms are fairly high even for the basic rooms, and if your Sims choose to stay in some of the larger, more opulent suites, prices can soar to well above $2000 a night- not for the faint-hearted traveler!

Now to the technical aspects- this is a huge lot! 5x6 and more than $1M worth of building and furniture means that it will probably lag on some machines, so just be aware of that. The 5th and 7th floors are also dummy levels, which you may need to address if you choose to change the hotel too dramatically. At the rear of the lot are "employee spaces," which I've tried to design so that your visiting Sims won't have a reason to go there. If you're running into too many lag issues, you can empty out these spaces, or if you want to use them, it should be easy enough to transform them into a spa or rec area or something along those lines. The rotunda area at the front should obviously connect to the street, driveway-like, but the game is fond of erasing the tiles anywhere beyond the sidewalk, so you'll probably want to use moveobjects to put down asphalt connecting the road to the rotunda area. Also, please forgive me for photoshopping the thumbnail picture- I've spent a long time at this building, and it was bothering me not to see the canyon behind it in any of my shots! An unedited version is included with the rest of the screenshots for this lot.
I've playtested the lot a fair amount, and haven't run into any major issues, but if you see any in your downloads, please let me know and I'll do my best to address them- I love this building, and I want this lot to do it justice!


Lot Size: 5x6
Lot Price: $1,002,746

Additional Credits:
This is a real-world building, so while I made the TS2 version, I didn't design any of it! The building's exterior was designed by Charles Whittlesey, and the interior originally designed by Mary Jane Colter, both in the earliest years of the 20th Century. Thanks also to the Xanterra South Rim employees who allowed me to take reference photos of otherwise non-public parts of the building (even if I did get some odd looks taking pictures of the employee parking lot and the tile outside the bathrooms!).
Thanks also to the members of the MTS community who wrote the various tutorials on dummy levels and other tricks I used in making this lot as close to reality as possible.