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“Our visit wasn't exactly ordinary.”

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Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Utica
Annawan, Illinois, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Our visit wasn't exactly ordinary.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2013

We had a reservation for the $350/night combo suite and were upgraded to a luxury cabin at no extra charge. Therefore, we had a 3 floor, 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom cabin at the price of a hotel room. There were 2 jacuzzi tubs, 3 fireplaces, a full kitchen including dishwasher, and a laundry room. The cabin was clean and had plenty of towels and linens. The beds were ok. Not terrible but not exceptional either. The carpet was torn in many spots and we had problems with our toes catching on them. The jacuzzi tubs were over sized and able to fit my 6'5" 300lb husband. The water park is great for kids age 1-13 (our kids age range.) The cabins and villas are a bit of a drive from the rest of the resort and it is a confusing drive at that. They gave me a map and highlighted my path and I still had trouble. I did not personally visit the amusement park but my husband and son said it was more for smaller kids. The front desk personnel were helpful and friendly. We did have one lady try to get us to go to a time share meeting but we declined and were not pressured to partake. We did not visit the restaurants or shops at the resort but loved the town of Utica. Overall it was an excellent trip and we will return.

Room Tip: When staying in the cabins, remember all food items are your own responsibility. That includes coffe...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mrs_whitney_peck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Sales Coordinator at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, September 5, 2013
Thank you so much for your kind words and taking the time to write about a great experience! I am very glad to hear that you enjoyed Grizzly Jack's Resort and the surrounding area and look forward to future visits with your family. The carpet issue will be addressed with maintenance promptly and there will be continuous upgrades and improvements at the property during the foreseeable future.

Thanks again and have a grand day!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,760 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (323)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Normal, Illinois, United States
Level Contributor
41 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 1, 2013 via mobile

We stayed in one of the villas (2bedroom, 2 bath) which was perfect for 4 adults & 1 child. The villa was spotless & equipped with everything we could possibly need. We only stayed one night so we didn't use a lot. The pots & pans looked new. Plenty of dishes, silverware, etc. The Enchanted Forest is pretty loud since there's not much in there to deaden the sound. The noise didn't seem to slow down the adults & kids playing the games. A few of the games were not working & not all of those had signs on them telling you that so we wasted a few tokens finding out. One of the children's rides was not working but it did have a sign on it. The arcade in the main lodge is more user friendly for younger children. The water park was PLENTY warm enough. The only negative we experienced was that the deck is quite slippery.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank Jacks590
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Sales Coordinator at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, September 3, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to post this review. The information is both helpful and most appreciated. Hearing that the water temperature was just right is grand news and any slick flooring will be addressed promptly. Thanks again and we look forward to your safe return.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pekin, Illinois, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 28, 2013

Fun place to stay! They have both an amusement park side & an indoor waterpark side. Fun for both kids & adults! We stayed in the hotel itself & that was nice to just walk down the hall to our room. I have also stayed in one of the cabins outside & those are really nice too! The only thing that would help is if the cost was a little cheaper.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Bonnie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Sales Coordinator at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, September 3, 2013
Wow, that's fantastic news! Grizzly Jack's is proud to hear what a grand time was experienced. Please like our Facebook page for discounts and specials.
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1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 27, 2013

Overall fun weekend getaway and would recommend to our friends and family we would stay there again. Now this not good really 200 character. I have said all I want to say this is very upsetting it not letting me finish without more.this is not a good thing here .very upsetting this is one reason why I did not want to do a survey.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank caleband
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Sales Coordinator at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, September 3, 2013
Thanks! Glad to hear the stay was most enjoyable and certainly Grizzly Jack's appreciates the time taken to write this review as we strive to meet and exceed guest expectations. Come again!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2013

Unknown if return trip is in the future. The fact of the matter is that my 4 and 5 year old truly loved the resort. The resort was perfectly simple just like the mind of a 4 and 5 year old (easy to please). The animated Grizzly Jack and the Grand Bear at the main entrance were great. They loved the water park and amusement area with rides.
I understand it’s the end of the busy season, but it should not matter what time of the year it is to make an impression on children or adults. First impressions last a lifetime.
1. After arriving, both my daughters wanted to exit the car and walk to the pond near the main entrance to the lodge. My 5 year old immediately brought to my attention the trash in and around the pond. Pretty bad! This could have been the reason the Bear was struggling to squirt water out of his mouth. The pond and area around it seemed very run down and could be an easy fix to make a huge first impression for anybodies arrival. Simply put: (Poor management resulting in poor maintenance.)
2. In the amusement area, three children rides were inoperable (bumper car ride, airplane ride, and the spinning pirate ride next to ferris wheel). I understand things break, but not one employee was able to explain when and if they would be working for our stay. Neither of the three worked our entire stay. Both children upset and greatly reduced the amount of children rides.
3. For adults, the hot tub jets were not working and it was a warm tub at best. Making matters worse, two different families informed me that the jets were not working last time they were here. Ironic and pretty bad!
4. Out of the three nights my family stayed, I observed on two of the days wet towels lying on the floor of the shower stalls in the male locker room outside the pool area.
5. My wife was informed by an employee that the gift shop was closed because not enough guests were staying in the resort. Unbelievable!
6. Lastly, the complimentary coffee at the front desk was terrible (very watered down everyday and cold on one of the days). I understand it’s free, but truly a terrible thing to give out when it is served in that manner. Once again, it does more harm than good on impressions.
7. If possible, the Grizzly Jack and the Grand Bear could move more throughout the day and maybe have a second story time during the day for children. My children went to see them everyday they woke up to find them just standing there.
8. The south door of resort was left open during night hours and seemed to have a difficult time closing when I first noticed it. Unknown if it was a purposeful act or simply a non functioning door. This is a security breach as our key card was not even needed for entry.
9. I ordered a pizza from Jack’s Place on the room phone and asked if it could be delivered. After informing the employee on the other end of the phone of what I wanted it seemed as if they did not want to deliver the pizza. I did not pursue the request and walked across the lot to get it myself. It was good pizza.
What I saw was a run down facility that needs drastic attention.
Was it all due to it being the end of the season?
Was it because not enough guests were staying there?
Was staffing and payroll reduced?
I do not know the answer, but simply put it is inexcusable. There seems to be a lack of cohesiveness among all the areas of the entire resort. It seems that poor upper management is prevalent and something that needs to be addressed because it is hurting the image and feel of Grizzly Jack and Grand Bear Resort. You may say I’m being picky, but it is the way we felt as guests of your facility and are just being honest.

Room Tip: Children loved the bunk beds.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank TomH20132013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Sales Coordinator at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, September 3, 2013
Grizzly Jack's would like to take this moment to show appreciation for the thoughtfulness of the review. I agree our pizza is delightful, chili-cheese-dog pizza is a staff favorite and there is a grand variety. Any issues will be addressed and solved promptly. Thanks again, we look forward to having you back soon for an even better experience.
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Travelers are raving about these Utica hotels

Highland, Illinois
Level Contributor
36 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2013

We took our 2 & 4 yr old boys to this resort. It was OK, but not as wonderful as the website showed. Some of the small rides in the game/arcade area were out of service. The food at the Jack's restaurant was okay, but there are a few places within a 10 minute drive that were a lot better. I.e Nonnie's bakery and Garzanelli's Supper Club. The over-all room was okay, except when they "cleaned" the room they did not take the trash out of the room nor did they vacuum. I know this because beds were made and towels replaced, but the carpet between the beds had white powder donut crumbs my son dropped on accident. I asked a housekeeper if they would vacuum and she was very nice and did. She did inform me they do not take out trash or vacuum until you leave from your stay. What? We also had friends staying and they had the same issues... they also have small children.
Waterpark is nice for the little ones and the kids enjoyed it. As far as changing or taking a shower in the bath house... no way. It looks like they really need to be cleaned. My husband also stated maintenance was obviously not maintained well in waterpark... could have been years since they had done anything as another person stated previously. Overall, it was a nice little stay for the little ones. We would not go back.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jami M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Sales Coordinator at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, September 3, 2013
Thank you for the review. Many of the problems mentioned have been addressed and improved! Utica, IL and the surrounding Illinois Valley definitely has superb local eateries! Bring the family back sometime to enjoy the area and check out all of the improvements.
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chicago
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 24, 2013

We came here from Chicago. Utica, IL is a small town with a population of 1000 people. Very nice to get away from the very pretentious people in my neighborhood in Chicago.

PROS:
1. It only took about 1 hour 45 min to arrive
2. The resort is in very close in proximity to Starved Rock which has incredible views and the hiking was amazing.
3. The people at the resort that were on duty were friendly and helpful.
4. The buffet breakfast is good it cost around 5.00 for kids and 7.00 for adults.
It consist of sausage, ham, cheese eggs, biscuits (a little hard), fruit like watermelon, cantalope(sp?), honeydew, grapes, etc. hash browns (good but a little dry).
5. This is not a WATERPARK they use that term for marketing. It's a big room the size of a large grocery store with some water slides. It is good for young kids under age 10 not for teenagers they will be dissapointed.
6. The amusement park is mostly indoor and the rides that work are good for little kids 10 and younger. No comparison to Great America so don't expect that. It's like Odyssey fun world or Hollywood park.
7. Decent room we stayed in the actual lodge. It is comparable to perhaps Laquinta Inn or maybe a notch below.
8. The brownies on the main level at the cafe in the lodge were to DIE for delicious

CONS:
1. Our room was 111.00 per night. It included wrist bands for indoor Water room and Amusement park. However there were some rides that cost extra like lazer tag etc.
2. Our room in the lodge smelled like musty feet!
3. I imagine that the odor came from the carpet not being shampooed or the infamous blankets not ever being washed (no surprise there right?)
4. The shower water pressure was too weak!
5. We did have to call and request more towels however, they were sent to us immediately
6. The view left a lot to desire hence it was a yard fiiled with dirt. It would of been more pleasing if theywould of dropped some grass seeds down or layed down some sod, anyway.......
7. There is hardly anything to eat that is exciting after breakfast. So you have to drice out of town to like Peru, IL which is a short 6 mile drive. They have Olive Garden, Pizza Hut, Apple Bess etc.
8. Breakfast should be FREE or at least free for kids under 10.
9. Starved rock was great except for this really creepy couple with a man that kept staring at me like he was gonna AX murder Me! I really had trouble focusing on the beuty of the park with his creepy stares! EEEWWWWWWW
10. Our second day we forgot our wristbands and some dark haired heavy set (teenager/worker) wouldn't let my kid ride on a ride, and seriously there were only 4 other people in the whole small amusement park Really, but no problem I walked back to lodge front desk and got new ones it took 10 minutes. Geez dude why soooooo serious??????
11. The happy birthday cookie sold at the lodge cafe was disgusting and the icing smelled like a dog! Seriously whever that cookie was made I think a dog got a hold of the icing and licked it No Joke!
12. We should have received a credit for free breakfast or a discount for 20% of the rides not functioning.
13. C'Mon people can we add some Turkey meat for breakfast like sausage or bacon The pig fest was nice but some of us don't eat PIG!

Overall:

We enjoyed our stay, and if you go in with realistic expectations by reading these reviews you will have fun. The large townhouse/cabins outside of the lodge look gorgeous (from outside) and big for more than family at a time so go for it!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank charice30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Sales Coordinator at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, September 3, 2013
Thanks for the review- Grizzly Jack's would like to apologize for the persistence of problems during this stay. Chicago is a great distance for a quick, get-a-way from the city to enjoy a cozy, small town experience. Grizzly Jack's has recently worked and reworked our breakfast recipes to provide optimum satisfaction to our guests. Come back sometime and check out all of the improvements.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort

Property: Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort
Address: 2643 IL 178, Utica, IL 61373
Location: United States > Illinois > Utica
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Utica
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 272
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort offers skin-drenching fun all year long right in the beautiful setting of Starved Rock State Park. Located just 90 minutes from Chicago or the Quad Cities and an hour from Bloomington or Rockford, our 60 wooded acres offer all of nature's wonders. This includes Grand Bear Falls Indoor Waterpark, beautiful lodge accommodations, as well as our 1800 sq. ft. vacation villas and luxurious 2800 sq. ft. cabins. Enjoy a variety of dining options, including wraps, salads, hot sandwiches and made to order pizzas at Jack's Place. During the summer months guests can enjoy a view of nature at our Bear Island Pavilion & Curtis Canyon Deck. Next to Bear Island enjoy our “Castle in the Woods” playground area and test your skills at our 18 hole Canyon Creek Miniature Golf Course. All lodge rooms include a microwave, mini-fridge, hair dryer and wi-fi internet access. Our Vacation Villas are a 2-story townhome with a fully-applianced kitchen (basic pots and pans and place settings are provided), 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Our Log Cabins offer 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a fully-applianced kitchen (basic pots and pans and place settings are provided), 3 fireplace, s and an oversized Great Room. Other resort amenities include the Cave Arcade with over 60 games, the Wave Cafe Snack Shop, the Honey Pot Sweet Shop & Grizzly Bean Gourmet Coffee Shop and the Moose Crossing Convenience Store. Our Grand Bear Conference Center includes over 8000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including 6000 sq. ft. of Grand Ballroom space to accommodate your larger functions such as weddings, family reunions and corporate events. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grizzly Jack`s Grand Bear Hotel Utica
Grizzly Jacks Grand Bear Resort
Grizzly Jacks Grand Bear Hotel

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