Destination: Grand Lodge
When: December 28th - 29th 2005
Travelers: Mom (Me, Shelli, 35), Dad (Ross, 31), Riley (7), and Sydney (5)
We took the kids, ages 5 and 7, to stay at the Grand Lodge on December 28, 2006 for one night. My parents and brother also went, sharing a room with my brother's two kids, ages 5 and 9. The hotel was completely booked and I was told when I called that morning that check in wouldn't be until at least 4pm, so we didn't bother trying to arrive early. The water park passes that come with the room are not valid until 4pm of the day you check in, so there really wasn't a need to arrive any earlier than 4pm. I walked into the lobby at 3:45pm. There was a line of about 4 people waiting to check in, but the lobby, although gorgeous, was really busy and hectic, filled with luggage carts, kids, suitcases and coolers. Check in was quick and efficient and we were assigned room 520, a king premier room with king bed and a set of twin bunk beds, plus a double pull-out sofa bed. The room also had a nice sized coffee table and another kitchen-type table with chairs and worked well for the kids to eat at. There was a large TV, Nintendo controller, microwave, refrigerator, large vanity area and closets and a storage cupboard. I was impressed with the room. It was spacious and clean and the bed was very comfortable!
The water park was fun. It was plenty warm, both the water and the room air temperature. I am usually cold, but sat in shorts and t-shirt very comfortably. The kiddie area was great and had several small slides and things to climb on. My only complaint about the water park area was lack of inner tubes. We couldn't float on the lazy river because there were no tubes available anywhere. I asked a lifeguard where to find one and was told to just watch for someone to drop one. Impossible! Those who had one knew better than to let it go.
I saw families having snacks and drinks at their table within the water park, which is convenient and much cheaper than the food service at the hotel. I did buy a small container of mixed fruit for $5.99. We also stopped for drinks at the Grille. We ordered two white zins, a rum/coke and a beer. Our total came to $19. Next time I'll know to pack a small cooler with snacks and drinks for the kids to enjoy poolside.
Check out was easy. A receipt was slid under our room door first thing in the morning. Actually getting out of the hotel was another story! We waited for about 15 minutes at the elevators to get down with our stuff (1 rubbermaid box for food/stuff, 1 small cooler and 1 small suitcase.) Every elevator that opened was packed full with other guests, their stuff and luggage carts. We finally decided to split up, hoping it would be easier to fit two people at a time instead of all four of us. Also, we decided that we would try to go UP and then back down, which helped us get on a less full elevator. Eventually, we all made it down.
Overall, this property and water park were great and I'd definitely go back again. I liked it better than the Holiday Inn/Serentegi Water Park in Owatonna, Minnesota, which severely lacks table and chair sitting areas and doesn't provide much of a play area for the little kids. I liked the Grand Lodge.