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“Bring your swimsuit and have some fun.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ramada Tropics Resort / Conference Center Des Moines

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Ramada Tropics Resort / Conference Center Des Moines
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   5000 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines, IA 50322 (Formerly Holiday Inn Merle Hay)   |  
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Ranked #16 of 46 Hotels in Des Moines
Top Contributor
127 reviews 127 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 56 cities Reviews in 56 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Bring your swimsuit and have some fun.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2012

We had a groupon deal and glad i bought it otherwise i would have never stayed there. Sorry the Ramada name for me in past hasn't been the best but we were impressed with this location. The rooms had 2 entrances, fridge, microwave, flat screen tv, bathroom was brand new and nice, hair dyer, closet space and lots of floor space. Pool area had the appearance of only 10 and under but it entertained my 10 and 12 year old and myself for hours. There was plenty of towels and chairs along with leather furniture to lounge in. I would suggest bring a play ball and googles. We ate on property and staff was nice and friendly. We shopped in the gift shop and played a few arcade games.

Room Tip: We stayed in a double bed room on the second floor. No problems with noises. Pool closed from 10pm t...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JOHNNYXED, General Manager at Ramada Tropics Resort / Conference Center Des Moines, responded to this review, May 14, 2012
Appreciate your comments. We completely renovated our hotel in 2009 and are very excited with the results. Pleased you were impressed with our facility and look forward to serving you in the future...
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1,219 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
council bluffs, IA
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2012

Stayed for two night last summer after purchasing a living social escape. The 4 year old loved it! Had two full days of fun at the water park. The room was nice and staff was helpful. Hbo wasn't working when I first tried to watch (true blood). And the staff had it resolved by the time of the second showing. Restaurant wasn't the best, but decent. We would come back again during the week to avoid the crowds again.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
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JOHNNYXED, General Manager at Ramada Tropics Resort / Conference Center Des Moines, responded to this review, May 14, 2012
Our Living Social deals were very popular and will be offering them again in a few weeks. Thank you for you kind words and we are looking forward to serving you again..
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Des Moines, IA
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2012

We spent one night there with our five and three-year-old kids. They had a blast in the pools. The Pirate Ship pool was just right for the three-year old. She loved the slides and spraying water. It's great for even smaller kids, with a zero entry and water that never gets over a foot deep. The five-year-old hopped between some of the other pools, and also enjoyed the water slides once we convinced her to go down once. So the pools were definitely the focus of our visit. On Sunday night, it seemed busy without being crowded. We never waited for the water slides, and there were always tables and chairs available. The staff also made sure there were always dry towels waiting. I bet their washing machines never stop. By Monday at 10:30AM, we pretty much had the Pirate Pool completely to ourselves, which was almost too quiet.

Rooms are nicely updated. Our room had a shower only. Apparently there are some rooms that still have bath tubs, but ours wasn't one. That really wasn't a problem for us. Our room was poolside, which was convenient, but we did have to live with some noise thanks to our early bedtimes being before the pool closed. The beds were pretty average, and on the hard side. One other side-effect of being poolside is that our room was very warm, even without the heat being on. I had to actually get up in the night and turn the air conditioning on to get to what I consider a comfortable sleeping temperature. Our room also included a fridge and microwave. The TV was new and large, with regular cable service and limited on-demand choices. There was also ubiquitous free WiFi service, which was great. All in all, we had no complaints.

We also had pizza for dinner and the breakfast buffet from the hotel's restaurant. The pizza was average, which is served us well. Breakfast was also pretty standard buffet fare, and there was something on the buffet for everybody in the family. Not sure about the value here, as both meals were part of our package, so I can't say how having to pay for these separately would change my view.

Overall, we very much enjoyed our stay. For families with smaller kids, it would be hard to beat as a place to beat the winter blahs.

Room Tip: Poolside rooms are convenient, but be aware that pool noise is hard to avoid while the pool is open.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JOHNNYXED, General Manager at Ramada Tropics Resort / Conference Center Des Moines, responded to this review, May 14, 2012
Thank you for sharing your comments about our facility. Happy to hear your young ones enjoyed our pools. Please consider us again in the future and we will continue to strive to make our place the hotel of choice for some family fun...
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Hartford
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2012

Stayed here with my wife on a last minute Valentine get away. I knew this place would be packed with kids; it was the last time we were here too. I used reward points to book a free room. When we checked in, I noticed our room did not have a tub, only a shower. I asked if we could get a room with a tub and the girl at the desk did find us one. Many thanks to her!

Now the drawbacks; Keep in mind the outside temperature in Des Moines was around 2 degrees that night. We walked into our room to find it VERY COLD! The staff, knowing that this place sells out every Friday and Saturday night, failed to turn on the heat. We had the setting on high all night. The room never did warm up until the next morning. We discovered part of the problem with the room temp; In the bathroom, there is a vent which I assumed was an exhaust fan. There was no switch for the fan. But, there was extremely cold air actually blowing into the bathroom. This was not "conditioned" air, but had to be air from the outside. We stuffed wash rags into the vent to slow down some of the air. This seemed to help only a little.

We ordered a pizza at 10:00 pm. Room service delivered 20 minutes later as promised. Very Good Pizza too!!!

Overall rooms are very nice and modern. If you are staying as a couple looking for a quiet night out, this may not be your place. But, if you have kids that want to enjoy a fabulous water park in the middle of an Iowa winter, go for it!

Room Tip: If you need more sleep and less noise, request a room as far away from the water park as possible.
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JOHNNYXED, General Manager at Ramada Tropics Resort / Conference Center Des Moines, responded to this review, May 14, 2012
Thanks for taking time to share your comments. Looking forward to serving you in the future. Backside rooms are certainly quieter and we do have some rooms that are completely away from the water park..
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Des Moines
Top Contributor
77 reviews 77 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2012

If you are looking for a great little overnight stop or a nice staycation in central Iowa this comes highly rated for those with little ones. We've stayed there three times with mixed results. This is not a good hotel for a honeymoon or lovers weekend, this is purely a "I want to run my kids out of energy" before a long car ride stop. The pool is simply amazing, suitable for young kids and big slides and water sport for bigger kids, u will be able to keep kids entertained for hours and hours. They also have a decent if not expensive game room, and most of the games worked in our first two trips, but almost all the games were broken on our third trip. So ur mileage may vary.

A couple of notes, I highly recommend the suite upgrade with w/2 rooms. We did this the first two trips and not the third, it made a huge difference, they didn't sleep hardly at all when they were in one big room together. Also the food at the restaurant is good, but the service is truly awful, each time we stayed we got worse service. And the restaurant is right off the door, so it was really cold. I'd recommend eating somewhere else, there's lots of restaurants close by. The food quality was good, but almost 40 minutes for a pizza and fries, come on.

One list item, the bar area is nice and gives grown UPS something to do while watching kids swim or play, but my wife was quite cold once she got out of the water. If u won't be swimming the whole time, bring a shawl, cover up, or large towel (they provide smaller towels that don't cover much).

Overall a good hotel, we will go back, we just know now what to do and not do

  • Stayed December 2011
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JOHNNYXED, General Manager at Ramada Tropics Resort / Conference Center Des Moines, responded to this review, May 14, 2012
Appreciate your comments. We have made some changes in our restaurant and I am confident you will find the level of service is improving and will continue to do so.

Looking forward to serving you in the future...
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Des Moines, Iowa
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2012

our room was nice. the only draw back is you only get 4 wristbands for the pool area per room. and the other thing that was disappointing is the Nascar simulator has been taken out of the Ramada Inn on Merle Hay Rd. in des Moines, Ia. We didnt find this out until we checked inn. that waas one of the only reasons we booked a room here for my sons birthday. Other than that we had a good time during our stay.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JOHNNYXED, General Manager at Ramada Tropics Resort / Conference Center Des Moines, responded to this review, May 14, 2012
I also certainly enjoyed our Nascar simulators that we had on property. I found it necessary to "test" them frequently. Unfortunately, financially they were not working out. I thought about putting one in my basement but my wife quickly nixed that also...

Glad you had a good time though during your stay...
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Granger
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 12, 2012

We decided at the last minute to head to this hotel/waterpark for our daghter's 6th birthday. We stayed on Thursday so, our rate was $149 for a 2-room suite which I feel is pretty normal for a suite. Check-in was fast and easy, we were ablet o stay parked in the front of the hotel and enter through the lobby. Our room was on the 2nd level overlooking the waterpark. Room was nicely upated, clean and modern. Surprisingly quiet for being right next to the water. Waterpark was busy, but not over-crowded. The "lifeguards" did a great job of keeping teens out of the little kid area. Water was perfectly warm until closer to close and first thing in the morning when it seemed like the shut the heat down/took a minute for it to heat up, but not an issue. Big slides were fun! We were allowed to take out 6 and 2 year old down on our laps. We were only a family of 4, but our room slept 6 so we were given 6 wristbands. I think this is great, but we had no one to invite to go with us so, I felt like we "wasted" to wristbands...wish we would have known this up front adn would have invited 2 cousins to come along for just some swimming and then sent them home. No food or drink allowed in pool area, but we were allowed to order Castaways Restaurant from the tiki bar and allowed to sit in our bathing suits just outside the pool area. This was nice as we didn't think we could get the kids dried and dressed just to go eat! One female bar staff was a bit sub par -- seemingly ignoring me as I stood at the bar outside the pool area with my two year old. Once I gave her to dad and came up to bar from pool area I was recognized by another tender and service was good after that. I used a $25 restaurant certificate and our bill was still about $25 for a family of 4 with gratuity added in. Children orderered off of adult menu as we weren't given a kids menu, but I didn't bother asking either after it took so long to get attention. Food is a bit pricey, but very tasty! Fried pickles were to die for and the bar staff was kind enough to keep refreshing our sodas free of charge when we asked. No wait staff service since we technically were not in the restaurant proper. Breakfast is not free, but a large buffet of hot and cold choices is offered in Castaways. Adult was $9, children, $6, and under 5 free. We had a coupon so we only ended up paying for the adults. Kind of a steep price for what many other hotels are now offering free, but not that big of a deal if you know what you are getting into up front. Little arcade open until 9pm...fun for a bit before bedtime, but many machines were broken/took money/didn't put out tickets. There were signs all over saying they were not responsible for broken games and would not give refunds. I felt this was their way of saying, "We know our games are sucky...too bad!". Not that big of a deal to us, but I am sure some people would hate it. Each child got a little trinket with their tickets and they sweet lady at the counter let them pick one more little thing even though they were 3 tickets shorts. Nice little snack shop in arcade with "regular" prices, not marked up. Would have liked to see snack machines in the hotel for after the time the shop closed.Check out is noon so, plenty of time for swimming again in the morning before leaving. I would definitely try this hotel again as my kiddos had a blast! Wonder if the prices are ever cheaper? We have driven past on weeknights and seen hardly any cars in the lot and, out of curiosity, went home and checked the rate and it was still pretty high. Maybe if they dropped the rate for last-minute guests tehy would get a few more. I know I might be convinced to take a sick day tomorrow if I could get the room for 1/2 price at the spur of the moment, last minute! :)

Room Tip: If you choose a suite, you will open up and have a big window out to the pool.
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JOHNNYXED, General Manager at Ramada Tropics Resort / Conference Center Des Moines, responded to this review, May 14, 2012
Thank you for your kind words. A "sick day" to go the water park? I like it.

Looking forward to serving your family in the future...
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Additional Information about Ramada Tropics Resort / Conference Center Des Moines

Address: 5000 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines, IA 50322 (Formerly Holiday Inn Merle Hay)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Iowa > Des Moines
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Business Hotel in Des Moines
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Ramada Tropics Resort / Conference Center Des Moines 3*
Number of rooms: 166
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Also Known As:
Ramada Tropics Hotel Des Moines
Ramada Hotel Des Moines
Des Moines Ramada
Ramada Des Moines
Ramada Tropics Resort / Conference Center Des Moines Iowa

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