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“They GET it” 5 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 #3 of 10 hotels in Centralia
Redmond, Washington
1 review
“They GET it”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2013

Here's the thing: this is more expensive than staying at the Hampton Inn. But here you'll come back with all kinds of lasting memories, and the whole family will have gotten a good dose of wholesome and healthy fun. That's because the people setting the agenda here have good taste. For example:
- The major activities (water park and MagiQuest) involve real exercise without making any of it seem like work: lots of walking, stairs, swimming, getting up and down, etc.
- There are plenty of activities that can be done as a team as well as a lot that can be done by oneself.
- It's kid-focused, but there are pleasant havens for parents when they're free too.
- Everything is priced higher than in the normal world, but it isn't an outrageous markup--maybe 15-20% in most cases. The thing is, though, that what they sell, like food or treats, is actually good. They don't make you pay sort-of high prices but then make you feel ripped off because you could only find junk. For instance, the menus at the restaurants are well thought-out with a lot of good choices. The staff even voluntarily staved off my nephew from wasting $13 on a new MagiQuest game when he only had 30 minutes to do it--instead they reactivated his old game so he could fill out his small remaining time. Bravo on that one!
- Kids doing MagiQuest can guide themselves all over the hotel unassisted without getting lost.
- They don't blare Muzak everywhere. You could imagine a lot of similar places feeling the need to litter the waterpark with speakers playing loud music that nobody's even listening to.
- The woodsy fur-trader/camping theme is a healthy and semi-educational thing for everyone. Contrast that with a place that offers free HBO and a cocktail lounge.
- The hands-on staff like the kids that run the water area are always trying to bring good cheer to the kids and the adults. But even the less-visible staff like housekeeping consistently say Hi and seem to want to bring the same. It works!
- The gift store has lots of good stuff, like clothes you'd actually want to wear but also happen to have a wolf paw on them or something.
- There are clever touches everywhere, in the decorations, the water park gizmos, and the activities.
- There are plenty of free activities in addition to the paid ones, so you can tailor what you spend to what you can afford, and everyone comes home having done a good number of fun and out-of-the-ordinary things.
Bottom line: my daughter is right now busy fawning over her new Violet the Wolf doll, long after we returned home. She's not going to be doing that with her Hampton Inn doll any time soon, that's for sure.

(BTW just noticed a comment about the dim lights in the rooms. So true! What is with the obsession with CFLs? They just make you...sad. I hope they get the good-taste people to review that one soon.)

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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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 (191)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
pdx
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2013

After booking a room for 250 a night , the online chat gal talked me into a splash package for another hundred, even telling me how wonderful the towels where. I wanted to wait until I actually saw the items before purchasing but was told it may not be avail if I wait. When we got to the room the stuff was already placed in their and as feared it was a bag of cheap junk.

We attempted to eat at the poolside cafe, I would explore you don't do the same. We ordered the chicken strip combo meals, and after almost 20 minutes we got all but one French fry. One of the chicken meals was so hard and dry it was not edible, we never did received the last French fry. When I took the un-edible strips back to the counter, the gal did nothing about it. As much as I wanted to vent I decided to blow it off and just enjoy the day, we could eat elsewhere later. I was not going to waste anymore time for more poor food.

My wife was injured on one of the slides, it's still a bit of a mystery what happened, best we can tell she rubbed the bottom of the slide and hit a dry spot that caused a nice gash and hurt her back in the process. We went to the first aid station where all they did was file a report.!!!!! that's it, no care to the gash on her , no offer of assistance, no cleansing/antibacterial ointment...ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!.. On to the report, it had to be filled out three times !!!! The date was backwards , the time was marked am not pm and so on... It was later explained that the person filling out the form was dyslexic !!! The staff is very young and incompetent as far as this writer is concerned . Why have a first aid station if your not going to administer first aid..? They will gladly hand you a flyer to the nearest hospital tho....

I can think of a hell of a lot better ways to spend 500 in 24 hours than going to this money hungry environment.

We did however have a great meal at the lucky eagle casino not far from there, the buffet is awesome and very reasonably priced.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Sunnyside, WA.
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2013

Just spent a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge with my wife and two kids (12-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son), and while we had an overall good time, the cost of everything was just too much for what we really got. Sure, the indoor waterpark was fun for everyone, but I just can't see people really spending THAT much time in there to make it even close to worth it. There are definitely plenty of fun games and activities offered for the young ones, but again, everything (well, most things) comes with a price tag, and after paying $300+ per night, the cost of everything else really adds up to over-the-top amounts.

The rooms are fine, although they could use some brighter lighting in them. The wait time for the elevators was pretty rough most of the time, and dining options were high-priced too. There are, however, some other options down the street away from the hotel.

The kids will have fun if you go, and in turn, so will you. But, for the cost, I don't see us going back anytime soon.

  • Stayed October 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
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Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2013

We went out for 2 nights with our 3 kids plus another couple with 2 more kids. The water park was fun, not super large but perfect for our age kids (3-7). Much older I dont think would have been as much fun. The food in the hotel was expensive and not very good, kind of the expected fare. The salad bar was pretty bad though with very few choices. The room was nice and clean. They also had a very original idea with this magic quest thing kids can do, which is basically a scavenger hunt around hotel solving riddles. It was a lot of fun for our group of kids but at $22 for a wand $17 for a topper and $18 for the game it was not cheap.
over all we enjoyed out time (the kids had an absolute blast), but the costs were almost overwhelming.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, BC
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2013

The rooms were better than I was anticipating (wet kids running in and out of carpeted rooms, but you wouldn't have know it). The slides were fun for the kids (and parents too) and the food was ok. I was shocked at how much everything else was though. Everything was extra except story time. This was a kids night that we parents were invited to. I must say, I was impressed to have access to the slides all of our departure day and the bathing suit crank dryer contraption is BRILLIANT!!! Join the email list before booking...always a deal.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
British Columbia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2013

We were quite impressed by the quality of the rooms at this hotel. Everything looked new, and was of very good quality. The beds were very comfortable, and the rooms were extremely quiet. Lovely. We came for the water slides and pools, but we enjoyed the amenities of the room, and the extras offered in entertainment. There was story time at 8 pm each night, and after the pools close at 9 pm, there is a dance time for children and adults. There is also a "treasure hunt" style game using wands (need to be purchased) to point at appropriate items to complete your quest. It was very magical for our child. We did not use the arcade.
The water park is very good. There are many different things to do for people of all ages. It is open 9 am - 9 pm, and is included in your hotel stay. Unfortunately the hot tub was not operating when we were there. It is pricey to stay here, but we thought it was well worth it for the enjoyment we got.
We found the restaurants in the motel expensive for what we got. We opted to purchase food at the local Safeway and heat it in our microwave in the room. It was healthier and 1/4 the price.

Room Tip: Choose one far from the front desk. It is farther to walk to the pool, but you can get in and out o...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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, United States
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
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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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 #3 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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