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“Changed for the worse!!” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort

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Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Utica
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Changed for the worse!!”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 9, 2014

This is our third times here...First and second time great this time not at all like it used to be. The water park only had one working slide. The Indoor amusement park no longer has any rides. It looks like a warehouse with a few arcade games and a blow up bouncy house. You shouldn't advertise an indoor amusement park because that it not what it is any longer. We will not be returning again.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Carrie994
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Social Media at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, July 22, 2014
Dear Valued Guest,
We appreciate your loyalty to us here at Grizzly Jack's! I do want to apologize for your disappointment with the new changes we have made. Our water park slide is now fixed, and as far as your concerns about the lack of rides we have in our amusement park and our advertising an indoor amusement park, I have contacted management about them for review. If you have any other concerns/questions/suggestions, feel free to contact me at socialmedia@grizzlyjacksresort.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 (320)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Urbana, Illinois, United States
Level Contributor
20 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2014

I saw a lot of poor reviews before we left for our trip. We all had a wonderful time. Our Villa was beautiful! The train/tram was always heading our way right when we wanted or called. The area was beautiful and well maintained grounds. The kids all enjoyed the water park area. We purposely wanted a smaller place as we were taking 6 children ages 7 months, 15 months, 3,4,8 and 12 years. The locker room could have been bigger and had changing areas. It was difficult with us having little ones and babies to get ready. Hang on to your toddlers when the wave pool cycles on because the waves hit all pools except for the tot pool. I loved that the one pool had a seat to sit on that went around the inside of the pool. The floor on the tot pool hurts as they have made it slip resistant (ouch). I was extremely disappointed that NO lifeguard EVER was at the tot pool. Yes I was sitting right with my children but...
I thought the price of the room was high but I did not feel the prices of the gift shop, convenient mart, or ice cream shop were high. For $9 you can get their resort cup that has free refills (they tell me forever).Staff were great! We will be going back.

Room Tip: We loved the Villas but if you want to have easier access stay in the lodge. I had no problem jumpin...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Amy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Social Media Director at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, July 22, 2014
Thank you so much for your and your family's stay here at our resort! Grizzly Jack's is so pleased that you had fun on your getaway! I'm glad you enjoyed the area and the tram was always there when you needed it. I have sent your concerns about no lifeguard near the tot pool and no changing areas in the locker rooms to management for review. We hope to see you again soon and if you have any more questions/concerns/suggestions feel free to contact me at socialmedia@grizzlyjacksresort.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boise, Idaho
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2014

Stayed with family over the 4th of July weekend, villa ok, water park not what was expected, very small. Had outdoor DJ, beer tent and fireworks on Saturday. DJ and firework display was fantastic. Beer tent girl selling light up trinkets was very busy and still kept smiling!!!! Beer tent grill cook and bartenders were very friendly. Then the rain came, no fault of the lodge of course but that sent us inside. Pizza and drinks were great but the servers were horrible. They all stood together over in the corner, I am guessing it was the waiter station, talking amongst themselves, messy tables, mess on the floor from a spill and they still just talked away, they let us know very obviously that we were a bother. So happy when the rain let up and we could go back outside. The kids did love the enchanted forest, was the highlight of the night for them. Not a lot of rides but the kids still loved it. Sorry Utica, you are a beautiful area but the Lodge leaves a lot to be desired.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Rhonda M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Social Media Director at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, July 22, 2014
Dear Valued Guest,
Thank you so much for staying with us here at Grizzly Jack's in the beginning of July! It was great to hear that you enjoyed the fireworks and beer tent and that your children enjoyed the Enchanted Forest! I do apologize for the treatment you received from our waiters that night. We are constantly reviewing, replacing, and reminding our staff of the true reason we are here. We are always making changes and I have sent the concern you had about them to corporate for review. I hope that the next time you are in town, you will consider staying with us again! If you have any further questions/concerns/suggestions, feel free to contact me at socialmedia@grizzlyjacksresort.com
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Travelers are raving about these Utica hotels

Chicago
Level Contributor
288 reviews
127 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 306 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 6, 2014

I really wish Tripadvisor had ratings by half-stars, because I really think this deserves 3 and 1/2 stars. So, by no means do I mean this as a negative - only that it's not quite in the category that I'd give 5 stars to (really, Four Seasons/Ritz Carlton caliber) or 4 (standard Westin/Sheraton/Hilton business-type hotels). Instead, it's more of a family-style fun place.

There is a ton of things to do -- there's an indoor waterpark with a lazy river ride, watersides, wave pool and jacuzzi. There's also an arcade right next to the watermark. Across the parking lot, there's an indoor amusement park -- we'd visited here several years ago where there were more carnival-type rides here. Now, it is more of an adventure funhouse with rock climbing, trampolines, ropes course, and laser tag. Waterpark and amusement park are all included in your room rate (which I have to say is not cheap). There's a pleasant little mini golf course - not included in the rate, but only $5/person so it's quite reasonable. There also seems to be some sort of entertainment offered on a regular basis - we didn't make it there, but there was a comedy magic show the night we stayed. There are also fireworks every Saturday night.

The room was fine - we had a balcony, no furniture on it unfortunately. The beds were OK. Furniture was made of logs (described by one in our party as very "Flintstone-like"). There was a microwave and refrigerator. The bathroom was small - with the mirror and hair-dryer (which didn't work) out in the hallway). Not luxury by any means, but very adequate.

Everyone was very friendly. We tried out the restaurant - it's inside the indoor amusement park, so the atmosphere is really not great -- very loud, dark, etc. But the food was actually really good (delicious fried cauliflower, awesome french fries).

We didn't have any children in our group, but this would be the perfect place for families.

Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank Sunny77777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Social Media Director at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, July 22, 2014
We just wanted to give you and your family a huge thank you for coming and visiting us here at Grizzly Jack's! We are so pleased you and your family enjoyed our new restaurant and all our amenities. As far as the furniture on the balcony, I have sent the suggestion to management for review. Hope to see you again soon! If you have any more questions/concerns/suggestions, feel free to contact me at socialmedia@grizzlyjacksresort.com
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tinley Park, Illinois
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2014

Looking to spend some time at Starved Rock and Mathieson State park, we decided Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Lodge would give us more to do than just hiking. We were right! The wave pool was really fun, and the tube slide was super fast. . . we loved it! The water temperature was very comfortable. Aside from that, the amusement park across the street was included, and offered many fun activities for the kids as well. (Ziplining, high ropes course, tall slide, rock climbing, jumping. . . ) The restaurant was better than expected as well. We had a fantastic time hiking, but Grizzly Jack's made it a truly fun family mini vacation!

Room Tip: We paid extra to have a balcony, and although the outdoor space was nice, the view was terrible and...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jeanette O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Social media director at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, July 22, 2014
Thank you all so much for your stay here at Grizzly Jack's! We are so pleased that you think our property was a perfect choice for a weekend near Matthiessen and Starved Rock State Parks! I do apologize for the view off of your balcony. We have sent suggestions to management about the views from the balconies for them to review. If you have any other questions/concerns/suggestions, feel free to contact me at socialmedia@grizzlyjacksresort.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
White Lake, Michigan, United States
Level Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2014

We've stayed here twice and both times were very well liked by all. Our family and guest thoroughly enjoyed the waterpark for the few hours we were there to use it. We didn't use the amusement park this time, but last time we had a good time, but definitely best for younger kids.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jason H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Social Media at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, July 22, 2014
Thank you all so much for your stay here at Grizzly Jack's! I am so happy to hear that you and your family had a great time! Thank you for all your feedback on our property and your enjoyment of our amusement/water parks! Hope to see you guys again soon
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 2014 via mobile

It is a water park, lodge, amusement park all wrapped into one. Which makes the price point amazing (it is relatively cheap compared to other properties).

Surprisingly the amusement park is free (except lazer tag) with a hotel stay. While not Great America, it was better than Wisconsin Dells parks I have stayed at. Mostly maintained ( a couple of rides were down).

The water park is small but still a lot of fun, the wave pool being the largest attraction. This area was also my biggest complaint. Maintenance was neglected. Both the body slide and the kids ranger house were broken. The latter is even more disappointing - never seen a kids water park playground so far behind in maintenance. Even the kids at the park avoided it. But overall for the price still worth it.

The lodge is clean, and well run. The patio rooms overlook a neglected area..that screams plant a garden in. (So not worth the upgrade). The meeting space is standard hotel space.

They had a magician here - he was awful. I assume he is limited engagement.

Food is a problem in Utica - you are better off planing trips to nearby areas like Ottawa Township for dinner and get pizza at the resort. (Although there was a great cupcake place - 2 girls and a cupcake - on the main road)

Maybe the best part is Starved Rock and Mathasein Park which are nearby - the latter was more fun (canyons with waterfalls you can explore).


Stayed July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Kyle H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grizzly_Jacks_Resort, Social Media Director at Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort, responded to this review, July 22, 2014
To our valued Guest!
Thanks so much for your stay with all of us here at Grizzly Jack's! We also appreciate all the feedback you have given us! I hope that despite all your concerns/suggestions, you and your family still enjoyed yourselves. We have sent your suggestions concerning the landscaping outside of the patio rooms to management for review. I have also mentioned the concerns about the size and conditions of our kids water park/amusement parks to management. We are also talking about possibly opening another restaurant on property so that could give us more food options in the area! If you have any other questions/concerns/suggestions, contact me at socialmedia@grizzlyjacksresort.com
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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, featuring 60,000 sq. ft. of Indoor Entertainment! This includes Grand Bear Falls Indoor Waterpark and Enchanted Forest Indoor Amusement Park, 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 Lumber Jacks Pizzeria and Sports Bar. 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, Laser Tag, Ropes Course and Zip Line (additional costs apply - open to the public). 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, the Moose Crossing Convenience Store and the Northwoods Niche Gift Shop. 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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