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.)
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- Also Known As:
- Great Wolf Hotel Centralia
- Great Wolf Resort
- Great Wolf Lodge Washington/Centralia