My husband and three children (ages 10, 5 and 3) all went to Minerals for the Sunday night of Labor Day Weekend. We were able to check in about an hour early but our first assigned room was very far away from the pools and was on the ground floor next to a gravel driveway used by maintenance vehicles. The front desk was very accommodating about moving us and we were quickly checked into a guestroom on the 4th floor with a great balcony overlooking the pools. The room was spacious although I misunderstood the kitchenette to be more of a kitchen than it was. It is really just a microwave, little fridge and tiny sink. There are no dishes, glasses or utensils so if you were planning on eating in the room, it really isn't possible. We had hoped to just order takeout rather than go out to dinner with three tired kids but we didn't want to deal with the lack of dining supplies, so we had to go to a restaurant instead.
Since we were there for just one night, our only activity was going to the pools. There are several pools onsite but only the heated outdoor and indoor pools were open as well as the diving pool. The non-heated outdoor swimming areas were closed but since it was chilly out, this wasn't a problem. One of the pool areas was used as the location for the "walking on water" activity in which kids (adults too I guess!) can get into a giant ball inflated with air and walk around the pool. My two older kids tried it ($10 each so not cheap) and enjoyed it but it's not easy!
The outdoor heated pool is very, very warm. This was great because it meant there was no problem getting into the pool even though the outside temperature was barely above 70 degrees. The indoor heated pool is also pretty warm but it actually feels cold when you're coming in from the outdoor pool. The indoor swimming area also has two hot tubs but kids under 12 aren't allowed. I think a lot of people ignored that rule but given that all three of our kids are under 12, we thought we'd be pushing it to bring them in the hot tub.
On Sunday afternoon the hotel had a reptile show where a local reptile expert brought in several animals and showed them to the kids. My kids liked the show well enough and it was a good break from the pool action for a little while. During the afternoon on Sunday, the resort was very very crowded and we were not able to get chairs anywhere near the pool. After 5:00 though, the area totally cleared out and we got some breathing room before calling it a day and returning to our room.
My husband and I had brought wine for us and some snacks for the kids to have before dinner but with no glasses or corkscrew we had to call the front desk for both. Staff said they would send someone up but after 25 minutes no one came. My husband called the front desk and was put through to voice mail which obviously didn't help much. Ultimately, he just walked to the front desk to get the items. No big deal but a little frustrating.
We went to a local place, The Irish Cottage, for dinner and it was fine. We initially planned to go to the family marshmallow roast at 8:30 p.m. but found out it was at the other resort, Grand Cascades. Apparently people at Grand Cascades can come to Minerals but people at Minerals can't go to Grand Cascades. I had actually known this in advance (due to reading it here on Trip Advisor) but I could have sworn that the marshmallow roast was listed on the activity page for Minerals for the Labor Day weekend. Furthermore, since Minerals promotes itself as the more family oriented resort, it makes no sense for them to have the family marshmallow roast at the other hotel. When we first asked about it at the front desk, we were told we could go anyway as no one actually checks to make sure you're staying at Grand Cascades. A few minutes later, though, when I again approached the front desk to inquire about the start time, I was then told that no, we were not allowed to go. However, if I hadn't come back to ask about the time, no one would have told me we couldn't go and then we would have disappointed our children by showing up to an event and not being allowed in. Again, not a huge deal but frustrating. We ended up coming back to Minerals after dinner and going swimming again, which was fun for the kids.
After swimming we turned in for the night and all was well until about 2:45 a.m. when we were awakened by very loud voices and laughing from one of the other rooms. When I went outside to check where the noise was coming from, I saw some people out on a balcony beneath us and three people coming back from the pools soaking wet and laughing hysterically. I think the pools close at 10:30 and I know there is a noise rule as well but it doesn't seem like these things are enforced. There was a wedding that afternoon and I don't know if these people were continuing the party or if they were a separate group, but they were very loud and obnoxious. It makes me feel old to complain about this because once upon a time I too was up partying until all hours but now that I'm a mom of three, I'm just annoyed by that stuff. Finally, about an hour later, the noise quieted down and we all slept again.
We checked out the next morning but went to the pool again for a little while before heading home. One nice aspect of Minerals is that you can use the pools before and after check in and they have a big locker room to change and even shower if you choose so you don't have to try to change in a bathroom or go home in wet clothes. Despite it being Labor Day, the pool was really uncrowded and we were able to enjoy it for a while. My oldest made numerous jumps from the cliff diving area and the youngest two just stayed in the heated outdoor pool. Since there wasn't really anything else to do that day, we left at about 1:00.
All in all, I thought Minerals was pretty nice with regard to the rooms and the pool areas. I thought customer service could use some improvements and I was annoyed by the rules and the misinformation regarding the marshmallow roast. Also, I wish they had a child swimming area as well. They do have an area with sprayers that come out of the ground but there is no designated "kiddie" pool and if you do bring your kids into the big pool, they can only have arm "swimmies' or a coast guard approved swim vest. My three year has a Dora the Explorer inner tube floatie that she really kind of needs to swim around the pool but it wasn't allowed there and there was no pool where she could stand up on her own.
Finally, if you are booking here, look at the prices on Expedia before booking directly through the hotel. We paid considerably less on Expedia and although the hotel said that their cancellation policy was better than Expedia, I'm not sure that's true because Expedia now lets you cancel in advance as long as it's in accordance with the hotel's policy (which for Minerals is a 72 hour cancellation period). I'm not positive about that but either way, we paid a lot less for the same accommodations.
One last thing - my husband and I stayed at Grand Cascades last year and had a somewhat similar experience. The accommodations there were nice - nicer than Minerals- but there were serious customer service issues, much more significant than the ones we had at Minerals. We really didn't think we would ever go to Grand Cascades again or try Minerals since they're affiliated, but we wanted a last minute affordable getaway and this hotel ended up being available. Last year when we had trouble at Grand Cascades, we complained to the front desk and I wrote a letter outlining my concerns afterward but never received any acknowledgement. Here at Minerals my issues were relatively minor and I didn't bring them to anyone's attention because what were they going to do, move the whole marshmallow roast to Minerals because I complained about it? But, between the serious issues Grand Cascades and the minor problems at Minerals, it seems that these hotels don't quite have their act all together. Based upon some of the other reviews, it appearss I'm not the only person who feels that way.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy a recreation-rich getaway in New Jersey at Minerals Hotel. Nestled between Grand Cascades Lodge and Mountain Creek Ski Resort, Bike Park and Action Park, Minerals Hotel offers 175 rooms surrounded by 4-season recreation in one convenient location. All accommodations have mountain, pool or golf course views & include access to a spectacular 6,000 sq. ft. multi-million dollar sports complex which includes 80+ weekly fitness classes, sauna, steam room, indoor sports courts, running track, basketball, racquetball and tennis courts. Minerals Hotel is AAA Rating - 3 Diamond "These establishments appeal to the traveler with comprehensive needs. Properties are multifaceted with a distinguished style, including marked upgrades in the quality of physical attributes, amenities, and level of comfort provided." Additional amenities and features include: 7 indoor/outdoor year-round heated nature pools, full service Elements Spa, casual family-friendly Kites Restaurant, complimentary shuttle service throughout the Resort, meeting and conference rooms, resort-planned activities, Minerals Family Golf Center, game room, gift shop and more! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Minerals Resort And Spa
- Minerals Hotel Vernon
- Minerals Resort Vernon
- Minerals Resort Spa