We booked the Grizzly Suite for our son's 15th birthday celebration with his brother and their friends on MLK Day weekend. We received an e-mail a few days before our arrival informing us that we had been selected for GWL's new free VIP Concierge Curbside Check-In Service, as we are repeat customers. (I think this was our 8th visit to a GWL in 9 years.) We were invited to call a specific phone number where we gave our ETA, our vehicle model and color, and other info. They asked us to call the VIP number about 15 minutes before arrival, and they would have our roomkeys/waterpark pass bracelets ready for us at curbside, so we could completely skip the check-in line in the lobby and go straight to our room.
As we drove up on the very busy MLK Saturday around 3:30 pm, the driveway was flooded with arrivals and a multitude of minivans. A bellcap spotted our vehicle and called out to me by name and waved us up and made a spot for us right by the entry door. They confirmed that we were the right party and handed us a sleeve with our roomkeys/bracelets. Before we could blink, a bellcap had whisked our luggage out of the trunk and promised to meet us at our room. He even spotted a single empty parking space near the entrance to our hotel room and pointed it out to my husband. WOW! I was happy not to have to corral my group of 6 teens/pre-teens in the lobby while waiting to check-in. We have had a long wait at times and short ones on others. This time it was nice to skip it all together. Sometimes a bellcap was not to be found, so having one help us without a moment's wait was nice too, especially since we had luggage for 8 people plus a birthday cake and a cooler full of snacks, breakfast foods, and drinks to keep so many hungry kids satiated, without further breaking the bank.
The Grizzly Suite was perfect for our group. It had a master with a king bed and an en suite bathroom with tub. It also had a second separate bedroom with two queens and a second main bathroom with shower. The living area had a pull-out couch and a small table and chairs. A microwave, small fridge, and sink complete the area.
On check-out day, we requested an extra hour and were granted it as repeat guests. I've never seen GWL work so hard to recognize repeat guests before and hear it mentioned by so many staff. We liked the appreciation. A half hour before our delayed check-out time, we received a call from a bellcap to see if we wanted help. This was crazy good spoiling--we've at times requested help and finally given up as none were available. To have someone call and offer was amazing!
HOW COULD IT BE IMPROVED? The only "Disney-esque" factor that was missing in the concierge service was the lack of recognition of my son's birthday. Despite that fact that in our pre-arrival call a few days in advance the staff asked if we were celebrating an event, no special efforts were made on behalf of my son's birthday. If GWL really wants to have the full Disney level of special effects, it would be nice if there were a card or balloon or cookie or something appropriate for a teen left in the room congratulating him on his birthday. We did spend big bucks bringing a group of 8 and a card really costs almost nothing. He definitely did not want a birthday "package" with a cheesy poster on the door that's perfect for a young kid, but a nice birthday greeting from the concierge staff at arrival and something in the room would be super special, especially since they took the time to ask about a celebration and asked me to spell my son's name who was celebrating his birthday.
We brought cereals, milk, fruit, and donuts from home and ate breakfast in the room. Quick, healthy, cheap!
We ordered pizza from Hungry as a Wolf next to the Water Park for dinner. It was $24 for a meal deal of one large one topping pizza (very poor quality) with breadsticks (not so great), a large mixed green salad (fabulous--really high quality), and a 2 liter (usually $4 per 2 liter if not in the pkg), the second pizza was $8 extra (if you want more than 2, the price goes back up to $13 per pizza), They give you plates, cups, and napkins. The Grill in the pool area was nice enough to give me a pitcher of ice for the drinks when I asked. She did kindly offer to refill the pitcher with ice when I brought it back--BUT DIPPED THE PITCHER STRAIGHT INTO THE ICE HOPPER THAT EVERYONE'S DRINKS ARE FILLED FROM--THIS SAME PITCHEER THAT MY TEENS HAD AT THE TABLE FOR AN HOUR--I AM SURE THEY TOUCHED THE OUTSIDE OF IT WHEN THEY POURED IT. YUCK! Ice was kind and should be included, but ice should be refilled with a scooper or put into a fresh pitcher.
We had lunch at the nearby Mexican restaurant Cinco de Mayo's. They have a daily lunch buffet that is $10 per person, ages 10 and up. It was good but not great. It had vegetarian and kid friendly options, which worked for our diverse group of kids. There are lots of fast food places within a mile or two.
Meal packages in the pool grill are about $10. Kid ones are about a buck less.
Towels are plentiful and provided at the pool for free. The ice cream vending machine from last year was no longer there. It was very cool, but I'm happy to have saved the $7 per kid I would have spent! The room and pool area seemed very clean and in good condition. We could definitely see that an improved effort was made in keeping everything top notch!
The arcade is fun. My kids spend about $20 in an hour or so. The bowling (half length lane) is also very fun and is $5 a person. You just wear your usual shoes.
The life guards and staff were helpful, polite, and on task. SUPER JOB!
The mattress in our room was much improved and very comfy. The pillows are not Marriott quality but are no longer the horrible rocks we had in the past. BIG IMPROVEMENT!
SUGGESTION: Allow an option to book Spa treatments (specific times and services) on-line before arrival. Last visit we got there and couldn't find a time available when we wanted to use it. This would be a simple thing to fix! Or send an e-mail a few days ahead with the direct line to call and book services.
My sons' friends had not experienced GWL before and loved it. They will be great salespersons because they go back to school and talk about it. My kids had renewed fun because they could enjoy the park with their friends. It was a fun, memorable and perfect birthday celebration! THANKS for making such special memories for our family!
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- Also Known As:
- Great Wolf Hotel Concord