We just arrived home from a 2 night stay at Great Wolf Lodge. We arrived at 2pm on Wednesday. Other reviews about check-in are correct, there are some issues - but I believe the real problem lies with the housekeeping processes and management. It seems beyond haphazard (more on that below.) - We arrived at 2pm and after waiting in line for over a half hour I was told our room wasn't ready and to try again at 4pm. They wouldn't even take my information, they just gave us wrist bands for the pool. This would be understandable, except that everyone else in the line was getting straight into their rooms. I was the only one in that half-hour wait that I saw get turned away.
Two hours later, at 4pm, we were able to check-in. By then, the line was much shorter (presumably because everyone else in the hotel had been given their room already.)
The room was as advertised, and met my expectations. I was surprised that we had a balcony. The kids loved their "Wolf Den" - the bathroom is small, but we didn't spend much time in the room so it was fine (save for the sopping wet carpet which I finally determined was most likely from the air conditioning unit that must have been leaking.)
The tips you read on other reviews about bringing food are wise. We brought our own food so that we could eat breakfast, lunch, and snacks in the room. It worked great. This meant we bought one meal per day at the lodge in a restaurant which, for us, worked out very well. The reviews I had read all said food prices were high but I did not find them out of line at all. $8 for a gourmet burger and fries just doesn't seem unreasonable to me. We ate at the bar and grill and avoided the buffet as I generally avoid buffets no matter where I am. The kids loved the menu at the bar and grille and I thought their kid offerings were superior to most sit-down restaurants. We never had a wait, got seated right away and were served with reasonable timing (a bit slow and rather surly on the first visit - much better the second day.)
Activities are expensive. They nail you for $10 each for the kid/teen "Gr8 Space" game room (if you want to use it) and another $25ea ($15 for the wand and $10 for the game) for the MagicQuest interactive game. I was surprised by the cost because nearly everyone seemed to have the wands and be playing the game - they are really raking in the money on that attraction.
The water park was great fun. We all had a terrific time. The wave pool was a favorite for both of my kids (ages 10 and 6) - I liked the Alberta Falls slides. The Tornado was broken on one of the two days we were there. We went on it the second day - it was surely a "thill" but I don't know if I think it was worth the huge wait in line. I think Great Wolf is having staffing problems because i noticed that on the day they Tornado working, they only operated one of the Alberta Falls slides. I think they didn't have enough staff for all of them. I also overheard a staff person talking to another staff person about understaffing and long hours (he said he'd been working 17 hour shifts for 2 weeks straight) - that might be fine for the snack bar crew, but I hardly think I want the lifeguard staff working those kind of hours.
Speaking of the lifeguards - I found them all very attentive, well trained, and sticking to their guns about rules. This was very impressive and they all did a great job. They were, without exception, all really good at their jobs.
Housekeeping needs some serious help. I noticed on our first morning that the housekeeping crew and carts were already outside our door when we left the room around 9:00. Nothing wrong with that......except that they were still there, and still in a flurry of uncoordinated, chaotic room flitting up and down the same hallway at 5pm. Something is really really wrong with the way they oversee the logistics of cleaning the rooms - which probably explains the delays at checkin for so many people. I saw at least 6 people (including one woman with a clipboard who was supposedly "in charge" but looked more like she was just walking back and forth between carts with a very harried look on her face.) I hope the general management looks into their procedures because there is clearly some room for better efficiency there.
Overall, we had a good time - spent about $800 for 2 nights and 4 people (2 adults, 2 kids) - Pricey enough that we won't be back anytime soon. If they charged less for the rooms - or included some of the other activities - it would seem like a better value overall. Now that we've "been there, done that" - I'm not sure when or if we'll go back - but I'm glad we did it.
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- Also Known As:
- Great Wolf Hotel Centralia
- Great Wolf Resort
- Great Wolf Lodge Centralia, Washington