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“Underwhelming experience - beware the waterpark!”

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Canad Inns Destination Center Grand Forks
Ranked #22 of 28 Hotels in Grand Forks
Winnipeg, MB
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Underwhelming experience - beware the waterpark!”
Reviewed January 4, 2008

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.

  • Liked — Fast elevators ; decent arcade
  • Disliked — Service ; dangerous water park
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Poopsie-Daisy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (72)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Brandon, Canada
Level Contributor
60 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 162 helpful votes
Reviewed November 21, 2007

We Stayed here for 1 night, we have stayed at pretty much all of this chains hotels over the past few years, and this one is by far the Flagship. The price was reasonable and the hotel was very modern and well appointed. The Room was excellent, and the front desk staff was great.

The water Park was just perfect,I had as much fun as my 3 and six year olds. The water park was clean very well staffed, there is professional lifeguards everywhere in the waterpark. The only downside to the waterpark is that there is an extra charge for hotel guests, and they allow outside people access to the park, which for me is a safety concern.

The only real downside of this hotel was the Aaltos resturant, we had 2 meals there, and they were both terrible, the food was o.k but nothing like what was pictured in the menu (my kids ordered the oreo pancakes in the menu, whch were supposed to have whipped cream and oreo garnish ect..., however they were the saddest looking pancakes i have ever seen.) The service in the resturant was also terrible, out first meal there was supper which took at least an hour and a half from start to finish, i thought it was a time of day issue, however breakfast the next morning was the same.)

Having stayed at alot of this chaind hotels, I know that there service is usually better and i am sure they will bring it up to standard.

Bottom Line: I would stay again, the waterpark and the rest of the hotel make up for the poor resturant service.

  • Liked — Waterpark
  • Disliked — aaltos resturant
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank derloc12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
Level Contributor
35 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed September 28, 2007

Stayed here for one night on business, scouting locations for future family getaways.

As one would expect from a new hotel, the facility is outstanding. Very clean, good services, well-appointed rooms and the on-site pub was a great place to end a long day.

With that said, I was disappointed to read the "rate sheet" for the waterpark and learn that you're charged extra to use the facilities even when you're a hotel guest. I have stayed at hundreds of hotels all over the world, and this is the first one I've seen where there is a premium to use the pool.

Picture a typical family weekend stay where you're paying $400 or more for the basic two-night room rate. Now add another $100 or more to that for your children to use the pool, and suddenly a flight to Florida is looking more and more affordable than a car trip to North Dakota.

So if you've saved your money for a while, enjoy yourself in a great facility. If not, watch your wallet.

  • Stayed September 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank Kramerdog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
grafton
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed September 19, 2007

First I have to say, traveling with a child that has a severe allergy (in our case Celiac Disease) is difficult at best. Usually eating at a resturant is near impossible. We went to AALTO'S with my 3 other childeren,my daughter with Celiac and my husband. My family was talking about their orders when the waitress overheard my conversation with my allergic 8 year old explaining we would get something later for herself and I (also Celiac)
She came over and asked us "what allergies do you have" I told her "Wheat, barley, Rye and oats" She sprung into action and made our family feel so at ease and at home. Offering to make my daughter whatever she wanted. They ended up making a HUGE omelett with loads of cheese and ham. She also let her have ice cream from the buffet . I don't know if that server knows how happy she made my little girl and me. We will DEFINATLY eat there again. We only live 45 mins from the hotel...and will make that a place our whole family can eat even if we are not staying there.
The waterpark. My kids are ages 12,8,7 and 6....they all love it. We have been to the waterpark 6 times now since they opened. We go after 6 because it is cheeper. They can all play for a good 3 to 4 hours and not get board at all. We travel to Wisconsin Dells almost everyother year for the waterparks.....this fills that void up here. We may not go to Wis Dells for many years as we have our own little treasure right here in North Dakota now. Also...the lifegaurds all really seemed to like what they were doing and were on top of EVERYTHING! They are quick to put and end to teens that seem to bully the crab in the larger pool and you can hear their whistles at the first sign someone is breaking a rule. I really appreciate that. At Wisconsin Dells the lifegaurds all look like they hate their jobs and it takes an act of God for them to yell at unruley kids.
I am so glad Canad Inns came to Grand Forks!

  • Liked — THe theme rooms are great for families........
  • Disliked — Not many pop machines
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank hitsandgiggles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manitoba
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed September 10, 2007

I booked a weekend stay at Canad Inn Grand Forks a month before our trip. I have a young child who still enjoys a bottle of warm milk in the middle of the night and was assured I'd have a microwave available in the room. I even called back a week before to confirm. The room came sans microwave but they did offer to put us in a more expensive room which automatically has a microwave. After some firm persuasion, the hotel did come through.

The rooms were clean, my kids loved the waterpark (we were aware it was an extra charge). However, a few phone calls were charged to our room when we did not make any calls. They were not happy to remove the charges at my insistence.

As well, two days after check-out, I was billed for snack items that we did not consume. I had done a complete inventory before I left (in case something fell behind the dresser, etc.) and everything was accounted for. I was not sent an invoice for these charges (as is the usual practice during my travels, and they usually appear the day of checkout - not 2 days afterwards), I had to find out on my credit card statement. The hotel is currently investigating but I have a hunch that I will have to file a formal dispute with my credit card company.

So while the facilities are nice, watch your room charges & credit card charges LIKE A HAWK.

  • Liked — Waterpark was appropriate for even younger (toddler/preschool age) children
  • Disliked — fake room charges
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank cdnchopsuey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minnesota
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed August 10, 2007

My husband, our 12 year old son and I spent one night while visiting family in the area and thought there were some great things about the hotel but also some very bad things.

First, the hotel is beautifully decorated, roomy and clean. Our room was designed very nicely with rich, warm, classy colors and a large flat screen TV, comfy beds and 4 fluffy pillows for each bed (loved that!) We were very happy with the rooms. One thing though, they give you an iron but no ironing board. I had to call room service for it. We waited for 30 minutes and it never showed up so we just got dressed anyway and left.

My son was initially excited about going into the waterpark but after seeing it he said it was no big deal, so he didn't want to go swimming. Imagine hearing that from a 12 year old boy! I think partly because we did not get to the hotel until 9pm and it closed at 10 pm so we would have only been able to swim for an hour anyway. Plus, we very disappointed that each guest has to pay an additional $10.95 each to use the "waterpark." This should be free to hotel guests as I am sure this is most of the reason someone would be staying there. Another possibility would be a greatly reduced rate for hotel guests. It really isn't a "WaterparK" like one would normally think of waterparks (Wisconsin Dells). It has the typical little kid area with climbing structures and water play area but this is mostly for ages 8 and under. We saw only 1 big slide that looked like fun and dumped into a short, lazy river. I wouldn't really call it a river because in just went a round in a very small circle. Please remember that we did not use the facility so we can't judge it to much, but what we saw (which was all of it) we weren't impressed with at all. I think if you have children under 8 they would love it but older kids than that would not be impressed, especially charging guests for it and calling it a waterpark, which it really isn't.

The next morning we went to breakfast at AAlto's and were not impressed at all. The service all seemed really new (both hostesses and servers).and not knowing what they were doing. Out of all 8 of us (we met family there for breakfast) no one was terribly impressed with their meals. We were so excited when reading the menu. Everything sounded so good we could hardly decide what to order. Then when it finally arrived (about 20-30 minutes later) every dish was lukewarm, bland and not good at all. So disappointing. We are all very nice people and easy to please but none of us would go back. Keep in mind that I used to wait tables for many years so I am very sympathetic and understanding when it comes to service in restaurants. I realize that this is a fairly new hotel and restaurant, they are probably still working out all the kinks but we all left very disappointed.

If you are staying just for a wonderful room and a good night's sleep and that is it I would highly recommend this place. But the so called waterpark and one restaurant we ate at were poor, so save your money. The waterpark is definitely not worth paying extra for and frankly I don't think hotel guests should have to. The rooms are already priced more than others in the area, so that should cover hotel guests "privelege" to use the water facilities. There is no other pool for guests to use, which usually is standard in hotels.

  • Liked — rooms
  • Disliked — restaurant
  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank gypsysoul66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winnipeg
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2007

We decided spontaneously to take the family on a trip to the new hotel in grand forks. We had a GREAT time! The hotel was incredibly clean, our room was wonderful and the waterpark was so much fun! I have to agree with another patron though, the service at Aaltos was very much lacking and the food was quite expensive. We also ate at the bistro and had much better service and "ok" food. The hotel and waterpark (and friendly, helpful hotel staff) made up for it all! We'll definately be back! My kids came back and are telling all their friends about it. Great memories!

  • Stayed August 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank WinnipegPopcorn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Canad Inns Destination Center Grand Forks

Property: Canad Inns Destination Center Grand Forks
Address: 1000 S 42nd St, Conneted to the Alerus Center, Grand Forks, ND 58201-3927
Location: United States > North Dakota > Grand Forks
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #22 of 28 Hotels in Grand Forks
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Canad Inns Destination Center Grand Forks 3.5*
Number of rooms: 201
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

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