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“Cleanliness is NOT a priority”
Review of Great Wolf Lodge

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Great Wolf Lodge
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Centralia
Reviewed 10 August 2014

Even though we knew our son would love every minute of this place, I was dreading it. Booked only one night due to the high cost.

What was good: Lots to do, 3 hours of sliding is fine at a stretch. It was noisy but not unbearable. Lines were not too bad (Tuesday/Wednesday), particularly the first hour they are opened, or the dinner hour. Free wolf ears at check-in is a nice touch. Son loved Magiquest, however it took us at LEAST an hour, and several trips to the shop to figure out how to play. It wasn't explained well, and we were overthinking it, making it way more complicated then necessary. The first quest that said to go to the end of the hall, had as walking to the literal END of the hall (not what they meant).

Pleasantly surprised by not hearing too many screaming kids running up and down the halls, and no sounds from adjacent rooms. Floor 2, and we were about half way down the hall.

Pizza was great, even a little large for the three of us for dinner at only $20.

What was NOT SO GOOD: Cleaning. I am not a germo-phobe, nor to I go out of my way to look for gross issues. Even a random hair doesn't wig me out, but this room was gross. Firstly, noticed a dried on booger on the complimentary shampoo. Next, the shower curtain was tattered and ripped. For $350/night, surely a shower curtain can be easily replaced??? This was long past its best before date!
Then the grossest. Tucking my son into his bunk bed in the Wolf Den suite....they don't use a fitted twin sheet over the mattress and mattress cover, just a folded over double or ??? So he pulls the sheet and reveals a blood stained mattress cover, and a used candy wrapper. Couldn't really tuck him in all that well with the fact they couldn't use proper twin sheets and that was totally YUCK.

Wave pool AND basketball pool closed for hours due to 'stupid parents' toddlers pooping. No toddler/baby should be allowed in these areas.

People saving seats with towels - WTH? Nothing there but a towel, so you didn't know if they were even around. Probably a strip of lockers with a wrist key to access all day long would be helpful. Top of large tube rides was quite slimy in the puddles up there. A good general powerwashing of the pool deck at a minimum overnight would be nice.

Outside our room, someone either barfed or spilled yogurt and that sat like that for a whole day, as well as a bit further down, what looked like a large bratwurst or something just left on the floor with a napkin thrown over top.

Not sure we will come back - unless I see some consistent reviews about improved cleanliness.

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank kcdragonfly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GWL_Management, Guest Relations Manager at Great Wolf Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 18 August 2014

Thank you for staying at Great Wolf Lodge – Grand Mound and sharing your experience with us! I am deeply saddened to learn of the issues you had with your Wolf Den Suite and I want you to know that what you observed is not customary for us. I have shared your commentary with our Management team at the resort to review.

We look forward to seeing your family again soon!

Jason
Great Wolf Guest Relations

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,763 - 2,769 of 3,508 reviews

Reviewed 9 August 2014

This is our second trip. We also went last year. I can honestly say I think things have slipped a bit since our last visit. Check in line was very long. When I had a question, I approached the front desk and waited forever, but nobody ever came to help me, so I got in the same line I did for the check in procedure. Our room was on the second floor, which was fine since we were on the same floor as the water park. We had the wolf den suite which was great except for the dirty shower. The housekeepers were the friendliest staff in the whole hotel besides the sit down restaurant waiter so I let that go. Some of the lifeguards were obviously grouchy about having to work. While in the wave pool, my husband and I noticed that the decorative figures up where the waves start were very dusty. The pool had to be closed twice for 'potty' issues which really made me want to get back in! People with babies or non-potty trained kids should really just have access to the kiddy pool. Some reviewers compared Great Wolf to Disneyland, which is laughable. If you drop a piece of garbage in Disneyland, it is picked up within seconds. If a piece of garbage is dropped at Great Wolf, it will probably be there next year. I saw things on the stairs to the slides, on the floor and even the windows had all sorts of things like hair bands and garbage that was still there the next day. You know from the dust levels alone in the windows it is now a permanent part of the place. Whomever manages the pool area needs some training in proper cleaning, especially since there are numerous comments about it. I knew from last year the shower/locker room area was going to be disgusting, and at least I was not surprised. We brought in a ton of towels because I hated the unclean feeling I had last year when we changed. The floor was covered in other peoples towels and I had to leave ours on the floor because the return towel bin was so full it was spilling over. I felt that hard water has started to take a toll on the slides. A common problem here in the Pacific Northwest. I even did a Google search to see if there are any plans for updating the park. Everything gets old and worn. A good park cleaning is definitely in order. I am never shocked at the price of food when you are in a hotel/motel. You know that they in a sense 'have you' so that should be expected. I think the sit down restaurant is a way better deal than the buffet. At least it is reasonable for a family of four. We bring our own breakfast and stop at Dairy Queen next door on the way home. The big question is do we return next year? My kids and husband say yes, and we probably will as we did have fun. In the pit of my stomach I can't help feeling a little grossed out by some of the things that really should not be so hard to keep clean. I might be a little nit picky but in the end it's all about great customer service and attention to details that bring guests back wanting more. Hopefully we will see an improvement next year.

Room Tip: We liked the second floor because it was on the same level as the water park. It's also the sam...
  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank MelG3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GWL_Management, Guest Relations Manager at Great Wolf Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 18 August 2014

Thank you for returning to Great Wolf Lodge – Grand Mound and sharing your experience with us! We understand your concerns about the overall cleanliness of the waterpark, which is why we have scheduled maintenance in September. The refurbishment will focus on deep cleaning the public areas of the resort, guest rooms as well as the waterpark.

For more details on our scheduled closure, please visit us online and chat with a live Great Wolf Representative from 8am to 10pm CST.

We hope to see your family again soon!

Jason
Great Wolf Guest Relations

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2014

Food at restaurant was good. The Quest was a big hit. Mini golf fun and unique. Water Park was fun for children but adults need to be mindful of what they leave behind in their chairs as one does not know which chairs are occupied and which are not. Perhaps towels could be returned to bins? Hot humid environment as one would expect. The room was spacious and clean. Only one night stay recommended as pace and ambiance could be rather trying for the adults!!

Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
Thank Janine Z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2014 via mobile

I took my nieces for a night. The place is huge. .very cool. It's quite expensive they charge extra for every thing with the exception of the water park. The girls got a wand and did the magi quest game, the outdoor obstacle course and played in the arcade and of course swum the wave pool was a big hit but we were only able to use it once most of the time it was closed. Fun but expensive!

Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
Thank Shelly G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GWL_Management, Guest Relations Manager at Great Wolf Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 21 August 2014

Shelly,

I am thrilled to hear your nieces had a great time playing in the waterpark, climbing on Howler’s Peak & playing through MagiQuest!

I apologize for any inconvenience the wave pool closing may have caused your family. Pool areas are only closed when it becomes a matter of safety for our guests, in which case we will follow all necessary protocols to ensure we are able to maintain the safest environment possible. Once we are cleared, we will then re-open that area to guests.

We hope to see your family again soon!

Jason
Great Wolf Guest Relations

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2014

Our family stayed for three nights at Great Wolf Lodge—this was our first time on the property. At a cost of $350 a night, for what we experienced, it will likely be several years before we return. There were definitely a few nice touches. The kids enjoyed the free wolf ears given out at check-in and the kid cabin inside of our room was a hit with both the teenager and the kindergartener. The arcade was full of fun, working games and gave us several hours of family fun.

When we arrived, the benefit of online check-in was unclear because we still had to stand in a long line like everyone else. The only possible benefit is that I noted online that we’d be coming in at 1:00pm and when we arrived our room was ready. We’d heard many others say they waited until 4 or later for their room.

The MagiQuest stations placed throughout the hotel were fun, but could also be frustrating. Imagine a few hundred unsupervised kids shoving themselves onto elevators and running past you down stairwells. We purchased the Master Magi package at $50 each for two kids. This included a wand with a basic topper (we were able to upgrade the topper) and all three games (MagiQuest, ShadowQuest, and CompassQuest). After trying all three games, we’d recommend MagiQuest alone for most families. The quest itself takes many hours to complete. It took three of our four days to finish everything, then we rushed through some of the other two games simply because we’d already paid for them. Neither of our kids were very impressed with CompassQuest. Between wands, toppers, and game time be prepared to spend between $40 and $75 per child for the game. And know that you’ll be running up and down stairs all day.

The water park was small, but enjoyable. Our five-year-old was tall enough to ride a couple of the medium-sized water slides. I can’t speak highly enough of the lifeguards who helped him stand up at the end of the slide every time. They were also very attentive in the wave pool, which was our favorite. Relaxing and fun, with waves that jostled everyone, but weren’t overwhelming. There were also four large slides, and a lengthy wait time for each (15 minutes on a weekday), a 1,000-gallon dumping bucket, a water basketball area, and a toddler sprayground. Wednesday was surprisingly crowded, with a huge group of teens arriving that morning.

The only water issue we encountered was that each of the three days we swam, an infant pooped in the water, forcing the wave pool to close for at least an hour. We understood the safety reason, but didn’t understand why infants would be allowed into the wave pool if sanitation is a daily problem. I’ve read many reviews with the same issue. There are plenty of vacation destinations that restrict kids in diapers from entering swimming areas (like cruises). Kids can splash in the toddler pool and keep the main pool clean and open for everyone else. With the wave pool closed, every other area became overly crowded—each time we simply left the water park. This will have a big impact our decision to come here again. Why come to a water park in which 30% of the park is inaccessible for part of each day? A lazy river would have been a fun addition to the water rides.

We tried both the dinner and breakfast buffets. At $20 and $15 per person respectively, they were well on the high side of price per person and the food was of varying quality. Smiley face fries and french toast sticks were clearly bagged and frozen, while the bolognese and ragu sauces were fresh and flavorful. During dinner, a section of the buffet was closed and there were just a couple of dessert options. Thinking of the options at a buffet like Tulalip (also $20 per person), this spread was pretty sparse.

We also tried the on-site pizzeria. The salads were large and had lots of extras on top (hot peppers, deli meats, artichoke hearts). The pizza was better than expected with a thin and buttery crust. We really enjoyed the garlic bread which was hot and cheesy. A pleasant surprise to find on-site food that wasn’t just an afterthought. But the bakery was also hit and miss. The first bites of a hamburger-shaped cupcake tasted old and stale, but other items were better. The adults in our party appreciated having a Starbucks on property. We had coffee all four days. There were also two gift shops offering a variety of items.

Glow Golf was a cool, dark treat after doing laps on the stairs all morning for MagiQuest, but it was a short nine holes for $6 per person. Over far too quickly for the price and visibly worn, even in the dark. We enjoyed the Great Forest Challenge—four rooms with virtual tasks for everyone in the family to complete together: fish to stomp, lasers to dodge, and balls to throw. Again, our main complaint was the price. At $10/person, our 20-minute game cost $40. At two dollars a minute, that’s an expensive activity!

The main category where the lodge needs improvement is cleaning. Many areas and activities are dingy and dusty, like the interior of the cabin in our room and the interactive furry animals scattered around the hotel. We also saw very little cleaning going on in the common areas. The same abandoned candy piece sat in front of the first floor elevator doors all week. And there was something nasty (chew or something out of a diaper) in the third floor stairwell from when we arrived until we left. Not to mention the carpeted hallways were never vacuumed. They were littered with the same candy wrapper bits and Made in China stickers from the wolf headbands for all of our stay.

Room housekeeping also left a lot to be desired. After a full day of activities and swimming, we returned at 3:00 each day to find our room untouched. Inevitably, when we were all settled down to have a few minutes of rest, our housekeeper would knock. Every day, we had to drag exhausted kids back out for an hour in order to have our room cleaned. One of the days, we took a few minutes to put on swimsuits after telling housekeeping we’d leave in a minute. When we walked out of the room, she snapped at us, “I suppose you want your room cleaned now?” Wow.

The cleaning standards at GWL were far below acceptable. Our first few minutes in the room, we found long black hairs in the tub from either the last guest or the housekeeper. The same piece of string sat on our bathroom floor during the entire week; the floor was never swept or mopped. We used a towel to clean up a soda spill and returned to find a tidied room with the wet and sticky towel still sitting on the table. On the final day, I grabbed for a fresh hanging washcloth, only to notice a three-inch stain of some red substance that hadn’t come out in the laundry. Housekeeping gladly took our cash tips, but provided terrible service. I expect at least the basics of cleanliness at any price point.

Overall, our family had a fun getaway; however, any of our future return visits to Great Wolf Lodge will be short 1-2 day trips. Honestly, if I’m going to pay $350 per night plus pricey extras, I’m going to take my money down to Disneyland and get attention to detail in return.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on floor six or above to avoid the MagiQuest noise.
  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
3  Thank taragl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GWL_Management, Guest Relations Manager at Great Wolf Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 18 August 2014

Tara,

Thank you for the detailed feedback from your recent stay at Great Wolf Lodge – Grand Mound! I am saddened to read about your observations on our Housekeeping team and I want you to know this is not customary for us. It also does not meet with the expectations we have in place for our Housekeeping Pack members and I have shared your review with the Management team at the resort to review and address.

We understand that price can be a point of concern for our guests which is why you will receive exclusive repeat guest discounts directly to your inbox. Hopefully this will allow you to return and stay with us again soon!

Jason
Great Wolf Guest Relations

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2014

We stayed 2 nights here with our 3, 12, 14 & 16 years old. It was nice being able to rest as needed & our older children were able to come & go when we needed to rest with our little one. Additionally, my daughter & I have Celiac disease & their restaurants have delicious gluten free options. We only had one issue with a staff member & that was quickly resolved in a more than fair manner. Other then that one issue, the staff was more than accommodating to our needs. Similar to any resort, pricing is increased accordingly. Regardless, we had a blast & plan to return again!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank hzong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2014

My family and I just spent two nights at the Great Wolf Lodge. My daughters are 7 and 8 and they and a blast. I think the ideal ages for going here are 8-12 years to fully take advantage of all the great activities they have to offer. The water park was really fun, although the wave pool was shut down for a while because of a poop accident and my eyes and respiratory tract were irritated from the chlorine. But safety was a top priority in a very busy place which makes any parent feel a little bit better amid the chaos. The MagicQuest game was awesome and I maxed out my FitBit 2 days in a row trying to keep up with my girls. The new Howlers rope course was also great but not for the faint of heart for anyone with a fear of heights. The room was spacious and well equipped with a fridge and microwave. And bunk beds for our girls. I would strongly suggest bringing your own snacks and beverages for the room. Food was pretty mediocre and our last dinner was almost inedible by all of us. The best bets by far with the pizzas and salads. Lastly, we experienced fantastic service by all the staff members we encountered during our stay. We will return at least once while our children are in the "golden" age for GWL. Recommended, for sure.

Room Tip: Floor 6-8 for quieter floors and ground floor for no elevator waits.
  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank PortMoodygirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Great Wolf Lodge

Address: 20500 Old Highway 99 SW, Centralia, WA 98531-9708
Region: United States > Washington > Centralia
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Centralia
Price Range: £179 - £304 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Great Wolf Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 398
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Great Wolf Hotel Centralia
Great Wolf Resort
Great Wolf Lodge Centralia, Washington

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