I want to tell you about the good, bad, and ugly of our recent stay. I am not normally one to go to the extent of writing negative review, however our experience warrants every word typed here.
Let me give you a little background on our family travel and my business travel scenario. I travel about 2-4 days per week with my job, and have chosen Marriott as my preferred hotel, so I will look for any affiliate or Marriott company to lodge unless otherwise impossible due to other requirements.
Regarding personal family travel, we have 3 young kids (3,6, and 8), and we take 1-2 big vacations per year, and usually 2 or 3 small weekend trips over that same time period. We personally love the JW Marriott Resort in San Antonio, and go every chance that we get, and when we think about DFW area (where all our family lives, we live in Houston), we normally will go to the Great Wolf Lodge for obvious reasons related to our kids experience.
My wife and I have always talked about trying the Gaylord Texan, however the setting was never quite right/kid activities always trumped Gaylord. This seemingly has changed since the inception of your water park area in Paradise Springs. So, my wife was searching for somewhere for the family to vacation in DFW, additionally I had business to conduct in DFW, so this trip was to be joint personal/business.
Our interaction started with my wife finding a promotion that Gaylord has in the “birthday package” where you basically extend one night stay with a full price night stay. Since my birthday was June 5th (our check-in date), this seemed to be the way to go. My company requires me to reserve business on a internal business travel site, thus could not specifically choose this specific package although the room rate was the same ($299.99), so what I did was call your in house reservations group to inquire that the package was valid, and what my options would be regarding getting the package given the way that I am required to book business travel.
The reservations rep advised that the reservation had to be booked with an agent, and I advised that I could not stay at your hotel if I was unable to book via internal travel site and then call in to change. They advised that it wasn’t possible.. I asked a couple times if it was possible to book the reservation and then immediately call to convert to the package since the room rate was the same (299.99). After being placed on hold, rep came back and said that was fine.
Everything good to this point, moving on to check in. Your front drive staff was very cordial and attentive, as well bell staff was very nice and attentive. Front desk agent was fine, but I didn’t get a great feeling from him. I asked him “how are you doing”, he said “I’m doing great, I get off work in 30 minutes”
Not huge deal, but I worked in guest services in college for Westin Hotels for 3 years, and that seemed to be no-no for us regarding customer greeting.
Moving on to the pool/Paradise Springs issue. I did not mention before, however this was the main driver for our stay with Gaylord this time. We were excited to try out all of your pool areas and specifically Paradise Springs. During reservations conversation, I inquired about the hours of Paradise Springs, and was told close time during the week was 10pm (this was on Tuesday evening that I called to inquire)
While preparing for trip to DFW, we were trying to plan our our travel around the hours of paradise springs because our kids were VERY excited about the water park and lazy river etc. Just to make sure I called before we left Houston to confirm paradise springs hours to make sure that we would have some time Wednesday evening to enjoy that area. Again someone on the phone confirmed a time of 10pm for Wednesday night, thus we planned our travel accordingly.
We arrived to Gaylord around 8pm to learn that paradise springs was closed because of some other area being reserved etc. Our kids were crying, it was a mess. Your staff advised that they could extend the indoor pool hours to 10pm which helped, and we were able to at least get in the water and have some fun! Not quite the same, but good enough for us.
Next morning, I went up to talk with a front desk supervisor about all of this, and she was very nice and very helpful (cannot remember her name, young, dark haired woman). She offered us a room upgrade for our final night stay which was very nice gesture of which we accepted. This certainly was a plus to our 5 person family and gave us a little room to stretch.
The following is the BIG issue that did not sit well with us, and will probably deter us from returning to Gaylord Texan.
Before checkout, we decided to go to Paradise Springs for the first time during our stay due to rain on the day before. Shuttle bus was great, wait was only a few minutes, and overall pleasant experience. We obtained our wristbands and proceeded to bus onward to paradise area. My wife had set our pool bag on the counter, and pretty much without warning the girl at the front gate counter advised that no outside food or beverage was allowed and proceeded to rummage thru our bag pulling out bottled water without asking permission.
This caught myself and my wife by total surprise, she did not ask and just started digging thru our bag. I understand your policy, however one of our sons has had issue with dehydration, so we wanted to ensure that we had adequate water on hand. She took the bottled water out and advised she could not give it back. We asked for supervisor, he came over and told us the same thing. We advised that we did not want to drink tap water, and he advised that it was policy and that there were six water stations set up all over the property to ensure adequate supply. He was jerky, as well counter person was extremely presumptuous and rude about the whole thing. My wife compared the experience to “getting frisked walking into a airport, concert, or entering a government building”.
In order to not ruin our kids/our family experience, we reluctantly entered swim area and proceeded to sit down only to find that all the water stations were completely empty. It was around 10am, however did not look like they had started putting water into the area as of yet. We had to ask twice to get water brought out to us.
I will tell you that I was more angry during this issue than I have been in public as long as I can remember. It certainly tainted our entire experience and gave us feeling of never wanting to return. We have stayed at resorts all over the Texas area, and all have some form of policy with regard to outside food and drink, however we spent about 700.00 at this hotel in total, and probably would have ordered lunch and drinks at paradise springs if our experience had not been as such.
I will also tell you that we have never been treated in that manner at any of these other resorts, and I recall talking with my wife about the short comings of the Great Wolf Resort related to the “adult” experience, but after this experience, It has made us think twice about how things aren’t so bad over there.
All in all, I am disappointed at our experience while staying at this hotel.
Thanks for reading,
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.