After checking Expedia and finding that the hotel didn’t have any rooms available, my husband called them directly and found that they actually had 44 rooms for the night we planned to visit. We booked immediately and were excited to be going to this brand new hotel! Unfortunately, our experience fell more than a little flat.
First off, the terribly slow front desk almost always seemed to be in a state of chaos (The 4 staff partnered up and had trouble managing 2 guests at one point, while I waited, and waited, and WAITED....)
The rooms, while tastefully decorated seemed cramped (and the king size bed sure didn't look like much more than a Queen to us!)
The minibar price list was missing (and it took a looooong time to get one.)
Room service that said they'd take 7 minutes to bring us dessert (a "sundae" that was 2 sad, half-melted scoops of vanilla ice cream tossed in a plastic take out container with caramel in a little cup on the side. Nuts and "candies" that were supposed to be included were nowhere to be seen) @ 10:30 p.m. took over 45 minutes and only arrived (with an apology) after we called again to check in on its whereabouts.
I can’t comment on the hotel restaurants because other than our room service fiasco we avoided the hotel restaurants (after reading the poor service reviews on this site a week or so before our trip.)
Although through the window the water park looked bright, fresh and exciting with plenty of activities to keep a kid busy for a while, once you’re inside you find that the execution isn’t so hot after all. Since it isn’t included in the room rate (which we knew before booking the room) the water park is expensive (we have a 2 year old who only wanted to swim for about 2 hours twice - at a cost of $42 U.S.)
Half of the water park was closed on the first night we visited from 8:30-10:30 p.m. (due to a "spinal injury" earlier in the evening. Hotel staff had been reassured that the casualty was expected to be okay.) The price was the same, but this meant that the play structure, bucket and 2 waterslides were off limits. Little did we know that this was actually a blessing.
On day 2 these "features" were back up and running. Who knew that the "bucket" that dumps water on the play area is actually a torrent of hundreds (if not thousands) of gallons of water (complete with a cautionary sign warning of the large volume of water that falls in the area. Note that none of their online photos show this bucket at all...) We knew we were out of range of the water, but the wind gust after the deluge was enough to petrify my little girl. One experience with the bucket left any child under the age of 3 in the vicinity crying and clinging to their parents whenever the 19-clang warning bell started up.
You MUST climb the play structure stairs to get to 2 waterslides - a feat which needs to be perfectly timed to avoid the torrent from above. That’s the least of your concerns though since there are other smaller buckets, geysers and water sprayers that you need to be on the lookout for on the constantly soaked stairways (with water running down the treads.) You never know when 3 litres of water might fall on your unsuspecting head.
The lazy river which you must float down in an enormous tube isn’t so lazy when you’re bouncing off others and paddling like mad to avoid more water spraying down on your face. Plus, if you’re floating with a little one in your arms, plan on needing the help of a lifeguard to both enter and (very unflatteringly) exit the stream.
While the weight of an adult is apparently enough to make the textured floor work the way it’s intended, this was not the case for my 23 pound little one who had trouble staying on her feet when walking to the kiddie slide. The texture didn’t serve her well to walk on, nor did it do much for her cheek or knees when she wiped out twice. (Apparently a common concern – we heard another family reminding their kids of a little boy that fell the night before [although it was admittedly while running] and cut his head open. Lacerations AND spinal injuries in a country without government funded health care? Who designed this place?)
Happily I can report that unlike another hotel we visited earlier in our trip, there were plenty of luggage carts available and the elevators were wildly FAST! (When it's time to check-out you should have no worries on those fronts!) Also, the arcade was fairly impressive (this coming from someone who hasn’t been in one for about 12 years) with a lot of games. After checking out and loading the car we had some fun with our 24 free game tokens for 15 minutes before leaving.
The best part by far was that the hotel didn’t actually charge us the “peak season” fee we were quoted when we booked. An extra $30 a night would likely have added a bit more insult to injury.
Maybe they're still suffering some growing pains and will work the bugs out over time (if they aren't sued and shut down first for the dangerous water park) all in all though, for a new hotel that looks fantastic at first glance, we were pretty disappointed. We don't travel often and so we'll likely give them another chance in a few years, (the experience wasn't so terrible that I'd never return there) but our expectations won't be as high.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- 201 superior guest rooms, including Deluxe Queen Rooms, King Leisure Rooms, Kids Theme Rooms, Jacuzzi Theme Suites, Business Suites, Penthouse King Rooms & Suites, and our Penthouse on Main (1st floor level) business suites. We offer you three diverse restaurants, a two-level gaming lounge and inside access to the Alerus Center. Plus for the "children in all of us" our 40,000 square foot Splasher's of the South Seas Indoor Waterpark and Garbonzo's Pizza and Arcade. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Canad Inns Destination Center Grand Forks Hotel Grand Forks
- Canad Hotel Grand Forks
- Canad Hotel Destination Center