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“3rd visit also not a charm” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Great Wolf Lodge

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Great Wolf Lodge
3.0 of 5 Resort   |   20500 Old Highway 99, SW, Centralia, WA 98531   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 10 hotels in Centralia
Seattle, Washington, United States
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“3rd visit also not a charm”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

First, I must start off by stating I was blown away by my previous two stays at GWL. I was impressed by their efficiency, cleanliness, staff, food options, etc. Even though this is obviously a trip for the kids, GWL did everything to keep the parents stress free/happy. My most recent 3rd trip was NOT the same experience:
-Water was VERY cold. Look GWL, most parents don't find it enjoyable to spend hours on end in a kid filled pool. Previous trips the water temperature was quite pleasant. It was unbearable this past weekend. Kids don't care, the parents who are footing the tab, they do!
-I didn't bring towels as GWL claims to provide them. Towels were NOT available. I mean nowhere to be found. And when they did finally wheel out 1 bin of towels, parents swarmed, grabbed more than needed, as who knew when the next batch would show up? I heard a customer politely ask an attendant where to find a towel for her shivering child, and she wasn't even nice about - you'll just have to wait.
-On the info I received at check-in, restaurants are advertised to be open until 11 pm on Saturdays. I tried eating at the Bar and Grill at 8 pm, and we were shooed away along with three other families. Closed? We were told they don't have hours?
-Ventured upstairs for pizza, this is no longer a Pizza Hut. Sadly, I would have welcomed a Pizza Hut. GWL Pizza place was completely out of Caesar salads. Ordered a cheese pizza for my famished family. 15 minutes later, my pizza was ready, albeit completely burnt. We ate it, as it was either burnt pizza or an overpriced buffet.
-Hot tub broken? OK, maybe it just broke that day, I gave GWL the benefit of the doubt. Surely maintenance would have it up and running by morning. What I later found out from a staff member is the hot tub has been shut down for weeks. What?!
-Wave pool was open, but basically no waves. Just a big, icy cold pool, with a gentle sway in the water. Huge disappointment as the kids love this thing. Also found out from same staff member that the wave pool hasn't been producing waves for weeks and no one can figure out why?!
-Island Snack Shop doesn't have Dippin Dots. After waiting in line for 15 minutes, the one staff worker seemed annoyed we weren't immediately ready to order after finding out the advertised menu item we waited for wasn't even available. How hard would it be to put up a sign?
-One elevator broken the entire trip, always a line to go up and down. Also, during prime check out time, staff members were taking up elevator space with large green bins. We literally had to wait 15 minutes for an elevator with space to get our bags to the car.
-Not properly staffed. Tube water slide had one attendant for both water slides; employee had to jump between the two slides. Island snack shop had one cashier, line was always long. Restaurants closing early. No one washing towels. One person in the Kid Store didn't seem like enough for the demand.
-Breakfast Buffet was cold. I am not a big buffet person to begin with, but breakfast is kind of hard to screw up. I don't mean lukewarm or not hot. I mean they were serving cold scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, waffles... Apparently they weren't utilizing food warmers? And since when is coffee not included in a buffet? Also, customers should not have to flag down a waitress for a warm up or refill.
-One of the Quest games was also not functioning. This didn't impact me, but I heard some other parents asking about it and getting a refund. Staff member claimed power surges from the rain were interfering with the game.

I am not clear if this was a fluke or if GWL has recently gone through some budget cuts and are cutting corners? I will definitely be reading recent reviews prior to considering booking another trip at GWL Grand Mound, WA. It is expensive, and I think some basic expectations were not met, along with a whole slew of other issues. Having two water attractions down for weeks on end and apparent staffing issues is troubling. It appears they may be having difficulties funding basic operations.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (182)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Surrey, Canada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2013

This was our fourth trip to GWL; a girls weekend for me and my two daughters, ages 12 and 9.
A trip to GWL is all about the kids, it is not a relaxing time for parents, so just keep that in mind! Be prepared for kids running wild throughout the hotel and waterpark. It's all part of the fun.
There have been some changes since our last visit. Some good, some not so good...
- A new MagiQuest game has been added: Shadow Quest. It's a bit more difficult than the regular game, so it's good for older players.
- the Teen area 'gr8space' is gone.
- Cubclub is in the lobby
- A glow-in-the-dark mini golf game has been added in the old CubClub space. $6 per person
- A 'Forest Challenge' game has been added in the old Gr8space area. $10 per person
- The wave pool is now a pathetic 'slightly wavy' pool.
- There are two main restaurants, but only one was open during out stay.

The kids had fun, but I was very disappointed in the water park during our stay. The water was so cold, apparently due to a broken heater. The hot tubs were not open at all, for the same reason.
The most disappointing though, was the wave pool. On previous trips, the wave pool was my kids' favorite part of the whole water park. The waves were huge; over a meter high, and it was great fun to bob around in them. During this stay, the waves were tiny...maybe 20 cm high. It was terrible! I hope this isn't a permanent change, or we probably won't return.
Our room was good, and housekeeping was super efficient.
I recommend asking for a room on the ground floor with a patio. You can go right out the sliding door to your car. Very convenient.
I would only make reservations here for a standard family suite if the price was around $130/night. Of course, I don't visit during peak times because it is insanely busy. Try to visit during the week, and sign up for their emails so you can get a good deal.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Spokane Valley, WA.
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2013 via mobile

This trip was all about the kids. Wanted them to have a good time and just have fun being kids...and to that end, Great Wolf Lodge made it happen!

The pros: Great, kid-friendly room. Clean too! Lots of extras for the kids to do within the resort - a magic quest game, an arcade, character show, storytime, golf, forest game, and of course, the waterpark. I was very impressed with the lifeguards. They were diligent in there observations of the kids and I felt very comfortable even though my children were not in my line of sight at all times.

The cons: Food was very expensive and not really that good. The employee at the arcade was not very patient with the kids while they where trying to make there decisions about prizes. The hot tub was down and water was a bit cold in the waterpark.

All in all, we had a good time and are very pleased we chose Great Wolf Lodge for our vacation.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2013

3rd time here and unfortunately, too many things went wrong to say it was a good visit.

Evidently, due to a broken water pipe or heater or something, the water was absolutely freezing. Hot tub was inoperable the 2 days we were there. My kids were literally blue-lipped and shivering. Towels were nowhere to be had for several hours on Saturday. My daughter waited 20 minutes in line at the snackbar downstairs in the water park for Dippin' Dots ice cream because they were displayed on the menu, only to find out they don't sell them there, but upstairs. A second time in that line, we were 4th in line and waited another 20 minutes. Ketchup was gone and food wasn't good.

The only apology for the above things that were unsatisfactory came from the guy at the snack bar who offered mustard in place of the ketchup.

Upon redeeming tickets for prizes at the arcade counter, the employee was visibly annoyed and impatient and rude with my 10 year-old daughter, although she was his only customer at the time.

My 2 other visits to GWL were better, but as a result of this visit, you'll have bribe me to ever go again. On that note, my son thinks this place maxes out at 13-14 years old.

Given the steep cost....I think its ok once, maybe twice if you have younger kids, but don't go on a weekend if you can avoid it, and know going in that they will try to take you for every cent you have. An out-dated, over-priced "resort fee" of $15 adds insult to injury.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2013

Overall, Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound was a great experience. The staff are helpful and friendly. We felt welcome from the time we checked in until we left. We arrived at 2 pm and our room was ready even though check-in is officially 4 pm. Room was great. Kids loved the "log cabin" bunk room. Only negative was the mini-fridge did not have a small freezer space as advertised. Other wise the room was very nice (although we barely spent any time in it).

The Good: the water park is a blast. The staff are awesome and the lifeguards never stop prowling along the edge of the wave pool. Everything feels very safe. Howling Tornado and River Run are lots of fun. Lines are minimal - maybe 10 to 15 minutes at most. We had pizza right at the pool and that was great. Its worth paying a little extra to stay right in the resort environment. Part of what I liked most about GWL is watching my kids (and all the kids) really enjoying themselves. GWL is pretty much about kids having fun.
The OK: The breakfast buffet was decent. I was surprised that coffee isn't included in the $13 price. MagiQuest - at times Magiquest can be fun but its also very tiring. Alot of running around to the same areas over and over. I would recommend it for kids over 10 unless you plan on accompanying them.
The Bad: Sleep or lack of it. There is a decent amount of late night noise. Some of it came from a fairly rambunctious room next to ours. Bring your own pillow unless you enjoy the typical overstuffed neck-kinking hotel pillow. Mattresses are very firm and not as comfortable as I would have expected. The day bed was nearly masochistic.
Recommendations: If you have never gone to GWL, spend a little time on their website and learn as much as you can about the scheduled events (story time), eating options, and activities. It can be a little overwhelming at first.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Seattle, WA
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

The adult portion of the review: They serve beer and wine. Hallelujah! There's even a bar overlooking the water park, and plastic cups for you to take near the pool. At 84 degrees, you'll need a cold beverage to keep hydrated. It will also help numb some of the shrieking.

The rooms are a good size. The pizza isn't bad. There's a Starbucks in the lobby to get your caffeine fix in the morning. The staff is super friendly and helpful.

There is a pretty intensive scavenger hunt that will keep your kids running around for hours.

The kids had a good time. It was pricey, but it made for a good birthday overnighter.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
seattle
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2013

Spent our second visit to GWL for my son's 13th birthday and an entire room full of boys. They loved the kid cabin although it was smaller than we anticipated. The staff were very friendly and helpful. The boys LOVED the MagiQuest although it is ridiculously expensive since you are already spending a chunk just to be there. However, my son had a blast in the water and outside the water park. We did not eat in the hotel because there are plenty of options down the street and we enjoyed birthday burgers at Claim Burger next door. The amazing thing about GWL is that with all the kids running amok, it is superbly clean and you feel like you can actually touch things in the room without being grossed out, like some hotels.

The staff are young people who are energetic, friendly, and fun.

The only downer of this entire trip was the absolutely horrific pull out sofa bed! I was amazed at the poor quality and felt sorry for any kiddo that gets put on that thing as the extra guest. It was like sleeping on a box spring (guess who slept there?) and the mattress "might" have been an inch thick. I slept with a big spring in the center of my back and even my 9 year old who sat on it made a comment. With the money families spend to celebrate and visit this place, I would hope that GWL would consider this feedback and replace/upgrade the sofa beds. it truly was the worse bed ever and I should have slept on the floor.

So that being said, my boys would be thrilled if we returned again but they will have to be saving their spare change :)

Room Tip: The kid cabin is fun but cramped if your kids are older. The pull out sofa bed in 2015 is not so go...
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Great Wolf Lodge

Address: 20500 Old Highway 99, SW, Centralia, WA 98531
Location: United States > Washington > Centralia
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 10 hotels in Centralia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Great Wolf Lodge 3*
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Great Wolf Hotel Centralia
Great Wolf Resort
Great Wolf Lodge Washington/Centralia

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