We/I have stayed at Grand Cascades four times and at Minerals once. We have always had a good time, but service often seemed a bit lacking given the price you pay. This was unfortunately the case this past weekend. My family and I (me, my husband and our 2 children) had a one-bedroom suite with a fireplace deck for Fri, Sat and Sunday nights over Easter weekend. We arrived early Friday and the place was packed. We waiting a long time at reception, and our room was not ready. That was fine -- we were there early and check-in is not until 4. It was about 4:30 when we finally checked in. The room had been hastily cleaned, which was evident. I dusted things off myself and we were all making the best of it. My husband went out to the fireplace deck. We were on the ground floor, and the table was filthy (I cleaned it), there was a dirty towel on the ground (odd...) and it was overall a bit grubby. Still, we wanted to have a nice weekend so we tidied up and opened a bottle of wine. The kids then told us that the TV was not working. We called maintenance and they replaced the remote. The outdoor fireplace door kept banging and would neither stay open or closed. We did not call maintenance again -- it just did not seem worth it. The next morning, the toilet was clogged. We called maintenance and they snaked it. Maintenance was responsive, but should there really be so many problems when you are paying well over $300 a night in Northwest New Jersey?
We headed off to the pool. There were no chairs because the place was crowded. This is understandable. A very nice young man scrambled about and brought us some chairs. He really was doing his best! In fact, overall, we thought the young people were working hard but seemed very short staffed. There was an older woman who had "saved" no less than 13 chairs. Thirteen!!! It actually became a source of entertainment as people looked for places to sit and she shooed them away for 3 HOURS! It seemed none of the staff felt brave enough to tell her this was not really fair. She was quite the pitbull. The pool that flows to the outside was filthy. There were a lot of people there, so I am sure it is difficult to keep it clean. Maybe the facility was not really designed for full occupancy. They certainly were not staffed for full occupancy - there was a 20 minute wait to buy a $7 ice cream. Needless to say, we did not purchase any more food at the pool snack bar. They lost some money by being understaffed.
We had reservations for egg decorating. We had called the concierge to confirm and were told we could go between 12 and 4. At 2, my husband and kids went to the Napa Room. A very harried woman said that they were late, she saved a few eggs (that were not hard boiled - very weird) and gave them some supplies for egg decorating. She brushed them off. They brought everything back to the room and did the eggs there. Since they were not hard boiled, I threw them out the next morning. Weird.
We went to dinner at the Crystal Tavern. We have eaten there many times. The food was good, but the service was lacking. Our waiter was rushed, had too many tables, inattentive and not very amiable. We could not get our glasses of water refilled. Again, high prices and good food, but the service was shoddy.
The Easter Brunch in the ballroom was nice. No complaints there.
I guess I can sum it all up by saying that Grand Cascades tries to be something it is not. It is pretty, but a bit rundown or perhaps just poorly maintained. They are understaffed which shortchanges the guests when it comes to service. I don't really mind paying the price, but expect far more solicitous and attentive service. If they want to be 4 star, then staff up to that level and maintain things better. If they want to be a budget retreat, then lower the prices so you get what you pay for. We won't go back. (One other thing - the Tempurpedic bed killed my back. But, that's not their fault. Just thought I'd mention it in case others also dislike Tempurpedic mattresses.)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.