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“Nice mini vacation, Magiquest was our main reason”
Review of Great Wolf Lodge

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Great Wolf Lodge
Ranked #7 of 40 Hotels in Traverse City
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 11, 2014

We have a challenged young adult daughter who loves Magiquest and since they closed the freestanding game in Lomabard Il, we've decided to visit as many Great Wolf / Magiquests as possible. This is our third. It was just as expected. The room had a thermostat contdolled A/C unit which was tricky to figure out but otherwise decent room. The inclusive restaurants are very expensive so we ate off the property (Little Caesar's, McDonald's & Burger King are a stone's throw) as are the gift shops (did our shopping at Grand Traverse Mall which is 3 minutes away) and spas (much higher than free standing spas)

Nice location, downtown Traverse was close by, lots of shopping and Lake Michigan all right there.

  • Stayed: June 2014
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1  Thank Karen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,639 - 1,645 of 2,162 reviews

Reviewed July 10, 2014

Room was clean and nice until we turned on the A/C unit and chunks of mold came pouring out of the vent. Went to the front desk looking for a new room and of course the place was booked solid ( ok it was 4th of July weekend ) told them it would have to be CLEANED. came back after 6 hours to a quieter A/C unit but still reeked of mold. no follow-up! not even a 'we're sorry for the trouble.' I guess when you make money hand over fist customer service goes out the window. they will not be getting my business ever again.

  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
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5  Thank Michael W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GWL_Management, Guest Relations Manager at Great Wolf Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2014

Michael,

Thank you for visiting Great Wolf Lodge – Traverse City and sharing your feedback with us! We understand your concerns and I am glad our Maintenance team responded quickly to solve the issue.

We would like to discuss this with you further, so please contact us directly at guestrelations@greatwolf.com.

Thank you for choosing Great Wolf.

Jason
Great Wolf Guest Relations

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2014

Our first visit at Great Wolf was right before 4th of July. Our plan was visit the lodge since we were going to Traverse City for the Cherry Festival. I had located a coupon code which saved us 20% off for a two night stay. We booked a family suite (two double beds and a pull out sofa) for $189/night. It was to include water park passes as well. We were given the option to add on the breakfast buffet, paw pass options, beauty salon options, arcade, cookies n milk, etc. It seems that this is where most of the "extras" can affect your budget.
When we pulled into the property, it is very grand - BIG LOG CABIN up on a hill, theme song playing, heavy wooden doors, grand entrance to the lobby, huge fireplace...everything says "You've arrived at the lodge." Great branding and marketing!!
We were pleasantly greeted by Chloe. We did sign up for the breakfast buffet, which was $9.44 per person in our party of five.
Our room was nice, again with the lodge feel and branding. Nice room, lots of space, with a fridge and microwave, sitting area with chairs, balcony with chairs (view of the parking lot). No complaints with the room, I did notice two things - there was brown markings on the curtains (not sure if it was blood or chocolate) and our room door stuck. It didn't want to close, you had to pull it shut. There was some signs of use of the room - markings on the wall and furniture but I expected that since this is a family suite. There was many doors shutting and kids running in the halls. I also expected that, too.
The waterpark was nice, warm - they say it is kept at 84 degrees. The lifeguards are very focused on their duties. I appreciated that. Many parents let their children take off and do as they wish. I prefer to stay with my children. I saw many children misbehaving and the lifeguards having to reprimand them. There is a restaurant/bar inside the waterpark with designed eating area. I didn't like that I saw parents partaking in alcohol beverages with their children running around unsupervised. The restaurant had several options (hamburgers $6 and up, hot dogs $3, fries $3.99, mac n cheese $5.49) but in my option it was overpriced, especially for families on a budget. I didn't make any purchases from that restaurant.
The second day the outdoor pool was open. It is a nice area with great seating and plenty of room for kids to swim. The pool is heated. The indoor waterpark can be overwhelming with the smell of chlorine. There bathrooms are large with many stalls, sinks to accommodate several guests at one time. I had spoken with another guest, she said the kiddie pool area was shutdown for the third time on this day. I asked why and she said that each time a child had soiled their swim diapers. She said that Great Wolf is great for taking care of this issue rather quickly and in a sanitary matter. She said other parks she had been to don't do this. I appreciated hearing this, especially since this was our first visit.
A few instances did frustrate me, I had seen several families (mom/dad/children) wearing the wolf ears. I had asked at the front desk about getting ears for my husband and I. We were informed that they were only for the little kids not the big kids. Interesting....
The next thing was our room had a shutterfly card for a free 8x8 photo book. However, our card had an expiration date of 6/30/2014 which was expired. We asked at the front desk and got a bit of flack. The person at the front desk wasn't sure if we could get another one or not. Finally after several minutes a manager gave us a new card with an expiration date for 9/30/2014. I don't get what the issue was.
Lastly, when we visited the restaurant for the breakfast buffet we noticed that the kids meals on their placemats were $4.99 (for instance:pancakes, side of meat, beverage). Why was the buffet so much more for children? Our server explained that normally the buffet for adults is $13 and with the $9.44 buffet saves you money. My children only visited the buffet once and didn't finish their plates. So, in my opinion the buffet was overpriced for children and if I had to do it again, I would not have purchased a buffet for them. I would have just had them order off the menu. So, if you think your children would eat from the buffet and get your money's worth then do the buffet. Otherwise, there is an inexpensive option - the children's menu!
I have mixed feelings on our visit. We didn't do the Kid Club that was an extra expense. We didn't do the arcade that was an extra expense. We didn't do the magiquest (children get wands and go on adventures through the lodge) that was an extra expense. So many options, but again all at an extra expense.
You can make your time as low price as you want (by bringing your own food to your room, and limiting how much you want to spend on "extras") or as expensive as you want (hitting the stores; bakery ($1.29 for a large cookie, $2.79 for a kiddie ice cream cone) swim/croc store, arcade, restaurants, etc....
Since I have traveled to Disney World in the past, I found myself trying to compare Great Wolf Lodge to a Disney resort hotel. They are similar in the consistent theme and branding throughout, however, Great Wolf is NOT Disney. I felt Great Wolf was a nice family resort with many things to do, however, it gets very pricey for families on a budget. I ranked it AVERAGE, because the service was not Excellent and nothing really stood out as SUPERIOR. Still it is a nice place with a fun waterpark, just don't remove your waterpark wrist band, I was told it is a $40 replacement charge. One of my children complained about it because it was scratching him at night. As with any vacation resort, it is what you make it and what you experience that makes you want to go back or not. This visit just didn't make me think about returning in the future.

  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
6  Thank Mamaof4littleones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
GWL_Management, Guest Relations Manager at Great Wolf Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 14, 2014

Thank you for visiting Great Wolf Lodge – Traverse City and providing such a detailed review! We sincerely appreciate the feedback we receive from our guests.

Our Wolf Wake-Up Breakfast package is set at a discounted price so it is a flat rate for all registered guests staying in the room. On average, this saves our guests about 20% off of the regular retail price of breakfast as it includes tax, beverage and gratuity for your server rolled into the total cost.

I am sorry the waterpark wristband bothered your son while he slept. With the wristbands that we issue, if you need to remove it you can do so. The replacement charge is only applied when you cannot provide the previous wristband you were issued. As long as you keep the band after you remove it and take it to the Front Desk, we will replace it at no charge to you.

I hope this information will help you when planning your next Great Wolf Lodge vacation!

Jason
Great Wolf Guest Relations

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2014

With one night you can get two days of water park. Nice restaurant in the hotel with great theme. The kids cabin type room gives parents a break. The water park is great for adults too. Lifeguards were very vigilant.

Room Tip: Kids cabin keeps adults sane
  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank Blake H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2014

Visited Traverse City a few days before Memorial day weekend, by myself, had no plans as to where I would stay. Great Wolf Lodge smacks you right in the face as you begin to enter Traverse City, large cabin building, atop of a hill, on the main US highway, so I stopped in their first, the front desk employees looked at me odd since I was solo younger guy looking to rent a room for a hotel intended for families, but that is/was expected. But after speaking with them they gladly brought up some competitors pricing and engaged the manager for a price reduction since I hinted at staying here since the placed looked nice, and it was.

Rooms were fairly large, sectioned off living room area(TV, couch and table), bed room area with large counter top and mirror, and a faucet outside of the washroom. To be honest I felt weird the first few hours, but after sitting in the room which canceled out the little kids running around with complementary wolf ears, I began to feel more comfortable. The hotel is about 5-10 minutes from the Traverse City downtown area atop a hill, which was pretty neat to look down from during the evening.

If you have kids this place is where you want to be, pool, enough room to run around, gift shop, yadda, yadda, and if you are a couple of solo person just expect to see little ones inside the lobby but not too much interaction after that since most parents keep them on lock, and there is a little one's must be accompanied after a certain time rule in place.

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled solo
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3  Thank Kbryk90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2014

Will definalty go again! We went for a trip when my husband came home from deployment. My daughter love it, the waterpark was fantastic and the food was good. Our room was clean, the bed was soft. The staff was friendly and helpful!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Sharisse L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2014

It's been several years since we've stayed at this location. We have been to the GWL in Sandusky, OH as well as several other waterpark hotels (Kalahari, Maui Sands Resort, Bavarian Inn, Zehnder's Splash Village, and Avalanche Bay). Waterpark hotels are a nice option when you want a family stay-cation.
We decided to stay at the Traverse City location because they now have Magic Quest unlike the closer Sandusky location. My children (11 year old boy and 8 year old girl) were introduced to Magic Quest while in Myrtle Beach a couple of years ago and love it. Think "Harry Potter themed scavenger hunt". They already had the wands and just needed to reactivate them to play while at GWL. What I didn't like about MQ at GWL is it was kind of added as an afterthought, meaning the game items were added to the first section of each wing of hotel rooms. Thank goodness we were not guests in one of those first few rooms because those things make noise as well as multiple children running up and down the halls. Although I don't usually let my children run in the halls of hotels, there is actually one game that requires the wand activate the console on one side of the hotel and then counts down 30 seconds to get to the other side of the hotel...requiring the player to run. In addition to noise, it made it very difficult to travel through the hallways because of all the players in the hall. Nonetheless, my children thoroughly enjoyed becoming Master Magi. : )

I always check the bed bug registry before staying at any hotel. There were a couple of reports of bed bugs at this location; however, they were not recent. I decided to chance it. I always inspect the mattress/headboard when I arrive anyway. There was no evidence of bed bugs and I was relieved. However, they put a mattress cover and a heavy mattress pad on the beds which made it very, very hot. We had the room's air conditioning set on 68 degrees and still roasted at night.

My children had fun in the waterpark. They were old enough and tall enough to ride everything on their own, including the large slides at the back. (My daughter is small for her age, barely 48 inches tall and 54 lbs).

The arcade was fun for an hour or two but they got bored with it.
We bowled as a family at Ten Paw Alley. It's "Canadian style" bowling with small pint sized balls. The pins are on strings and got tangled easily. Several times it didn't reset the correct number of pins, so our scores were not accurate. In some cases, we didn't get our second throw. For the price, it was kind of a waste. There was no attendant in the room. You had to go to the arcade to purchase a game of bowling.

We ordered pizza one day for lunch from "Hungry as a Wolf" dining. The pizza was so-so but we were able to take it into the pool area making an easy family meal.

Our favorite place in the hotel is the "Bear Paw Sweets and Eats" on the lower level between the arcade and pool. It has every dessert imaginable. Yes, a German chocolate brownie cake is nearly $7 but the portion size is huge and can easily be split 2-4 ways. They also have ice cream, fudge, cookies, brownies, caramel apples...Yum!!

Overall, I would recommend GWL in Traverse City. There are numerous activities and dining options within the hotel making vacation easy.

Room Tip: Save some money and bring your own case of bottled water. A bottle of water is over $2 at the hotel...
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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4  Thank GabrielRN
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: 3575 N US Highway 31 S, Traverse City, MI 49684-4500
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Michigan > Grand Traverse County > Traverse City
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Family Hotel in Traverse City
#10 Business Hotel in Traverse City
Price Range: $189 - $393 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Great Wolf Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 281
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Also Known As:
Wolf Lodge
The Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Hotel
Great Wolf Lodge Rates
Great Wolf Lodge Traverse City Mi
Great Lodge Resort Wolf
Great Wolf Traverse City
Graet Lodge Wolf
Gerat Lodge Wolf

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