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“All Around Crowd Pleaser” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Chula Vista Resort

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Chula Vista Resort
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   2501 River Road, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #42 of 80 Hotels in Wisconsin Dells
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“All Around Crowd Pleaser”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2010

This first time to Chula Vista will not be our last. We've stayed at every other waterpark resort in the Dells and decided to give Chula a try.

Because of our large group of 14, we stayed in a 3-bedroom condo for 2 nights on a weekday (Mon-Wed). A 3-bed condo is really a 2-bedroom condo connected to a Double Room. There are 3 bathrooms when all connected and a nice family room, jacuzzi, master bedroom with king bed, a guest bedroom with 2 queen beds, and a full kitchen with fridge, freezer, oven, dishes, dishwasher, etc. in the 2-bedroom condo section. There are plenty of pics on their website for you to get the idea.

Our room was very clean, beds were great, and service was speedy and pleasant. No complaints at all with the staff, cleanliness of our condo, and the resort as a whole.

We ate at the Market Fresh's all-you-can-eat crab-leg buffet. The food could appeal to all appetites. It lacked some things but we were all satisfied (even the "picky eaters"). You had your choice of fried foods and pizzas next to the crablegs and fried shrimp and french fries (notice lots of fried foods, not much fresh). The waitstaff was terrific though. The crab legs and meats were also very good. It reminded me of an average seafood buffet in Vegas. Bottom line - anyone can "nit-pick" any restaurant but this one served it's function and pleased us. If looking for a decent buffet in this neck of the woods, we would eat there again.

The prices were in-line with an all-you-can-eat crableg buffet at $21 per adult. We paid $36 per adult in Vegas for quality that was on par with Chula, except in Vegas we had fresh sushi and more selections of seafood (and non-fried foods) and desserts galore to choose from.

Now, on to the waterparks and resort activities. The waterparks both outdoor and indoor were super-crowded. We thought we'd escape the crowds staying here on weekdays but were were wrong. We realized this as soon as we got to the resort and could not find any parking spots in the huge lot. They had to be close to sold-out. Had we known it would have been this crowded we would have opted for a Door County resort instead.

The one thing this resort sorely lacks is a large outdoor pool with perhaps a lap pool. They should take note and copy one of the larger Milwaukee County Parks pools.

The front outdoor waterpark has a dozen waterslides for older kids and adults and a large kiddie-complex with shooting water and smaller slides but no pool to wade in. There are 2 smaller pools (an activity pool and a kiddie lazy river with a small slide) also outside in front. There is a small wave pool that is nicely shaded (if you wanted to escape the sun for a little bit) in the back of the resort that overlooked the beautiful Wisconsin River bluffs that made this area famous, but that pool was insanely crowded all the time. The front waterpark area had a small pool but it easily maxed out it's capacity with 20 people in it and this small pool was were 3 waterslides dumped its passengers. A huge outdoor pool would make this resort 10 times better. We actually though about going over to another resort just for this amenity.

All-in-all this resort is a crowd pleaser. We were pleased and enjoyed our stay. We will likely return . . . and sooner if a large outdoor pool opens up.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1,478 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
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English first
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2010

We stayed in a 2BR condo 8/2-8/5. We actually had reserved a golf villa that was supposed to sleep 8 and they gave us the wrong one and upgraded us for free to the condo. The condo was nice/spacious and I was VERY glad we ended up there as the villa would have been pretty cramped for 7 people (2 adults; 4 college-age kids; 1 6 year-old).

The waterparks were ok but nothing to write home about. The indoor park especially felt really cramped, was very hot and humid, and almost impossible to get 2-person tubes for the rides. We did not spend much time in the parks as we went to Noah's Ark one day so it was okay for what we were doing, but if we had gone in the winter or just to do the parks and hang out at the resort the entire time I think we would have been disappointed.

We only ate breakfast at the restaurant and did everything else either in our condo or outside the resort. The breakfast buffet was also "just ok". The omelet station was good but most of the other food was lukewarm at best and nothing was great.

The condo, although nice, was a little worn/dirty. Carpet was very dirty with lots of stains. They provided very cheap towels and only 3 in each bathroom, which was not enough.

Next time we will probably just stay in the Dells somewhere on the strip, or if going to a waterpark resort we will go back to Kalahari.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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New Orleans
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2010

Very nice location and good looking place. To bad that's all it has going for it. I was really surprised at the buffet. The restaurant smelled like dead fish and the food was the worst on our entire week stay in the dells. The salsa roasted chicken looked very good but was cooked with the skin on under the salsa..?.. It was also cold to the touch and looked to be under cooked. The kids were able to choke down enough to get them through the water park and the bill for 2 adults and 2 kids at the buffet was $40. We made the staff aware of the issues and they gave a hearty laugh and our bill.

Once into the park we headed inside to the indoor portion. This is where we found the guards blowing whistles at our children who were playing gently with each other while the savages ran around the river the wrong way harassing everyone they could. I call this TCB as it is expected of such "people". What is not expected is for staff to allow it to continue. I had to let one know exactly what I thought should be done to it, this stopped it from further monkeyshines from what I could tell. I would not wish this place on anyone for any reason. A tent and a trip to Noah's Ark would be much preferred.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2010

Stayed for an extended weekend (Friday-Sunday) in the "Condo" unit. Had 4 kids and 2 adults. Condo unit consisted of one bedroom with 2 queen sized beds, another bedroom that had a king sized bed and attached bathroom with shower. Main bathroom off the living room area had bathtub and shower. Sleeper sofa in living room also. Kitchen was spacious. Hot tub/whirlpool in the living room was odd. No walls for privacy. We were also on the ground floor (an important detail not mentioned when we were booking the condo 3 months prior to our stay-so this wasn't a last minute thing. Despite the claim to be able to move to another room if the one provided wasn't adequate as the signage noted - this is not possible when they are "completely booked") It was peak season so I was very concerned about the noise level on the main level both in the hallways and on the walkway outside. Amazingly it was quiet at night. Either very heavy wall insulation or we were very lucky. Had to request extra towels, washcloths (both days!) and pillows - it doesn't appear they take the number of guests into consideration when making reservations, other than to make sure they charge you for the waterpark wristbands. The necessities were appropriate for maybe a party of three - not a party of six. Beds were comfortable (a plus after a bruising day on the water slides) but pillows are the super soft kind-bring your own if you need a firm pillow.
The waterpark is nice for the age of the kids we had with us (6,7,10 & 11). However it was necessary to say something to some of the older kids/teenagers running around-they didn't care if they were trampling on my smaller kids even when I was standing right there next to them in line for a slide. The lifeguards were quick to say something IF they saw anything going on - its just not possible for them to see everything. They do get an A for effort though.
The food is obnoxiously overpriced and bland. The waitstaff at Howler's would obviously prefer to be someplace other than their jobs if you go there in the evening and want a table. The number of tables available is strategically limited so you are almost forced to go to the other side and just do the buffet (which looks like unappetizing congealed leftovers by 9 pm AND costs $21.95 for adults - because they advertise it as all you can eat crab legs - a smarmy gimmick to justify charging more). We opted to wait for a table and endure the rude service. It's disappointing when a resort takes advantage of its customers when it comes to food. It's a fact most people spend the majority of their time in the water park, then depending upon the hour it may no longer be convenient to get any kids cleaned up and changed and drive someplace to get a meal. If a resort is going to overcharge for food, then at least make decent food and employ people who want to have jobs. Or at the very least offer some type of room service - not "carry-out service" which consists of the buffet food..... "carried-out". (seriously)
If you go during peak season, expect a line in order to check in if you arrive at your scheduled check in time. I suspect eventually they will find a way to offer express check in, but then charge extra for it. You can express check out from your room which was a plus (no added charge for that convenience, thankfully).
If you are a fitness person, the fitness center is a room off the registration area for the condo guests. There is no door, no privacy, anyone can take a "wrong turn" and end up in there, including kids looking to mess around with free-weights. There is one treadmill and a few other cardio pieces. It almost appeared to be an after thought the resort added on. A mapped running trail around the resort grounds would be an added bonus. I get that a lot of people may not want to exercise after being in a waterpark because just being in a water park could be considered exercise. Its just that all guests can't be cookie cutter copies. What works for one may not work for someone else. Put a little thought into the design.
The all inclusive deal is convenient (room + water park wrist bands). It works for a larger group. Lessons learned about the food and room ammenities. The kids overall had a great time which was the goal of the trip.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Chicago, NW burbs
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2010

We've been going to the Dells for more years than I'm willing to admit, and for the last 10 or so, have stayed at Chula Vista, at least that many times. In the early years, before their huge expansion, it was one of the least expensive places in the Dells - let's face-it, they're not exactly in the middle of the action. As they grew, so did their prices, but you could always find a deal. This last time, the deals are still out there, but the services, and their extra fees, don't make this the same value that it was, even just a year or two ago.
A few years back, they added these covered areas around the outdoor water park - of course, these cost.
Last winter, they added a sandy area (for sun bathers) - of course, it costs to use this area.
They even added a "green" fee (I assume for being environmentally friendly), but it simply means that the don't make your beds, change your linens, or bring fresh towels.
Even my kids were upset - they used to have a large game room right outside the indoor waterpark. That has now shrunk, having been replaced with a gift shop, that you have to walk-through when you leave the waterpark.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 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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Malvern, Iowa
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2010

We had the basic hotel room....two queen beds and a pull-out couch. The room itself was clean and comfortable. The water park was nice. The gounds of the hotel are nice. Our 3 year old enjoyed the "baby" lazy river. Our 7 year old enjoyed everything. The HUGEST problem was the noise above us. There were three young men staying in the room directly above us. I called down to the front desk to inquire about quiet time at the hotel. I was told it typically starts at 11:00 p.m. At 11:30 p.m. my 7 year old and 3 year old were trying to sleep as the men upstairs were yelling from their outside balcony to the people below. Then they were in their room doing what sounded like wrestling. I called the front desk and they said they would send security up to their room to have them be quiet. The noise continued to be worse. I called at 12:00 am. The lady at the front desk said she would send security over immediately. Obviously security went to their room because the noise got even worse and piece of the popcorn ceiling fell onto us. Very disappointing!!! The only upside was the next morning I spoke to a manager not thinking we would be compensated in anyway and he offered to cut our bill in half. That was a nice surprise!! The manager clearly wanted our stay to be better.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tustin, California
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2010

The CV: from afar, it appears to be inviting. Grounds are extensive and well-kept, the buildings appear to be newer and maintained. Check-in though and one begins to see the flaws.
Like the prior reviewer, we were at the CV Resort for the same large volleyball tournament during the last week of July 2010. Given the number of players and families staying there, one would have expected a discounted rate to the resort. Not so! Paid full price, plus some. Rooms were pricey (mid-high $200s) for a junior suite *2 queen beds & a pullout couch. On top of that, expect taxes and resort fees.
From what I've read, the hotels around the Dells can charge these exorbitant rates because of the water parks. For the amount that we paid, one would expect some basic amenities and services. I heard that the water park towels were teeny and of poor quality. Be warned, the hotel room towels are not better! The paper towels that I use at home are thicker and more absorbent than their towels. Plus, my paper towels don't have frayed edges and loose threads. Expecting to shower? Bring your own conditioner as the wall mounted shower dispensers only dispense shampoo and gel.
As for "hospitality" - indifference of service seems to be the norm not only at the CV but throughout the Dells. One example at the hotel: upon checking into our room, I turned down the bedspread so I could stretch out. There were stains on the blanket (not the bedspread). I immediately called the front desk, explained that I just checked in and needed a new blanket because the one on the bed had stains. A fresh blanket was promptly delivered to my room. I had to sign for the blanket and when I requested that the be remade, I was told "No, housekeeping only comes to service the room after the 3rd night."
Another example: the venue for the practices and volleyball games was at the on-site Wisconsin Dells Center (WDC) which is about a 2/3 mile from the rooms. The CV shuttle was only made available to the kids only on the day it rained. When I asked how often the shuttle ran, I was told that all we needed to do was call for it. The 2nd day that we were there, we called for a shuttle since we didn't want to pay the daily $10 parking fee at the WDC only to be told that "the shuttle is not running today." FYI: Daily charges: $10 to park at the WDC and $9 pp to watch the games. For my husband & I, that was another $150 just for parking and admission. On the plus side, that's less than one night's cost at the CV!
My son was there for 10 nights as he had training camp then competition. He stayed in the golf villas and was on the "inclusive" food plan. He said the food was mainly inedible (except for breakfast). He did say that if he paid an extra $10 he could purchase decent food at the waterparks. I attended the Opening Ceremonies and got to sample some of their fare. They had a tailgate party which cost $15 pp. Brats swimming in oily water, dry chicken, questionable macaroni salad and coleslaw, passable hamburgers, potato chips, and corn on the cob. Best thing on the menu was the potato chips and corn. My son told me that the food they served at the tailgate party was similar to their everyday fare. Sorry kid!
Had we known, we would not have stayed at the CV Resort since we hadn't planned to use any of the waterparks. However, because there was such a large contingency in attendance and because it was summer, there were no room s to be had anywhere in the Dells. I sure hope this tournament will not be held in the Dells next summer!
Another thing...there is free WiFi, but what good is it if it takes 10 minutes to load up a page?

  • Stayed July 2010
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Chula Vista Resort

Address: 2501 River Road, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
Location: United States > Wisconsin > Wisconsin Dells
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#13 Top resorts Hotel in Wisconsin Dells
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Chula Vista Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 620
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Chula Vista Resort and Waterpark is a complete resort experience in Wisconsin Dells with over 200,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor waterparks. Luxury comes standard in all of our guest rooms, suites and condominiums. Bring your clubs and challenge yourself on our 18-hole golf course. At Chula Vista, we invite you to laugh harder, splash bigger, stay longer and vacation better at Wisconsin Dells' most complete family resort! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Chula Vista Hotel Wisconsin Dells
Chula Vista Theme Hotel
Chula Vista Wisconsin Dells
Hotel Chula Vista Theme

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