Quick Pro / Con Highlights first, read on for detailed review
Good value (with Groupon deal)
Slide lines not too bad
Friendly Life Guards
Most staff were friendly
Check-In time "Cattle Call" and front desk staffing
Locker Keys net cost $5.00 / day
No coffee makers in room
Tattooed Life Guards
No TV in fitness center
Some front desk staff not customer friendly
No elevator to second floor for 3000 block of rooms
Is it a repeat? Yes unless prices go up.
Read on for the details.
Check in / front desk experience
We checked in on a Sunday and left the next day on Monday. We arrived around 3:00 pm and got our passes, but were told we couldn't get our room until 4:00 (we'd read about that on here already). So we went in to enjoy the park. When my wife went out again a little after 4:00 there was a huge line to check in and she waited in line at minimum 45 minutes. Although there were 3 or 4 people working the front desk area only 2 were checking people in. This might be because they only have 2 computers at the desk. The check in experience is probably the biggest negative of our stay.
I read a review that said lockers were free here and that is outdated. When I asked about getting a locker the front desk girl told me they were $10 and when you return the key you get $5 back. I gave her my credit card, signed for the key and then was told I had to return it at the end of the night when the park closed. I said forget it then, I'll wait until tomorrow for a locker since it was already evening and we had a room to keep our car keys etc in. Rather than taking the key back, she told me not to worry about it, she'd only charge for 1 day. So, the next morning before the park was open I explained what happened to the new person working the desk, just to make sure there wasn't going to be a problem later. I told her I didn't remember the first girl's name, but described her (brown curly hair and braces). The response was along the lines of "too bad so sad" - she said "well, she shouldn't have told you that, you'll be charged 10.00 and won't get anything back. At this point I was thinking I wouldn't feel so bad if I "forgot" to return a few pool towels and I could use them next time I had to change the oil in something in the garage. It all worked out, because someone else was working the desk when we left and took me at my word on what happened and gave me 5.00 back (and I didn't forget to return any towels). Most of the staff were friendly and nice, except for that one- I think her name might have been Angie?
We haven't been to any other water parks such as GW or Kalahari, so I can't compare except on what I've read here about the other places. Our kids are 8 and 11 and both had fun on the slides, lazy river, and other things there. Many times there were only a couple of people in line for the body slides. Longer lines for the tube slides, but the wait doesn't seem as bad as what I read about Kalahari.
Several of the life guards had tattoos - one had a dark Gothic looking cross on his throat and others on his leg, another had a skull and others on his leg, and I think maybe a confederate flag on the other leg. While we weren't really offended by any of the tattoos, if we had younger children, I think it would have been a bigger deal. Some were kind of creepy looking, and I really don't think that's a good look for a person of authority in such a place. Now with that being said, about all of the life guards, including the ones I mentioned with tattoos were polite and friendly to guests (insert speech about judging books by their covers here).
Hotel room (#3202)
Our hotel room was clean and did not smell of mildew or other odors. The toilet and shower were clean and nice. The location of the heat / AC unit is a little unusual because it is under the bathroom counter. TIP- we brought a cheap folding wooden clothes drying rack for our suits and set it up right in front of the AC on the vinyl / linoleum floor to dry our suits overnight. We brought extra suits but were trying just to reuse our older suits because we'd read some reviews that said the choline was super strong and their suits faded. We not did have this issue, but better safe than sorry. We did notice one of the life guards trunks were faded at the bottom of the legs, but they're in the water day after day there.
Not a huge deal, but an in room coffee maker would have been nice instead of having to wait until the breakfast buffet was open. Our room did have a microwave and refrigerator. We discovered that the microwave was not plugged in and to plug it in would require moving the big heavy entertainment center. We just put it on the bathroom counter and plugged it in long enough to use. The fridge was nice sized and worked properly. As another reviewer stated, there were not a lot of extra outlets anywhere for charging cell phones etc. I ended up unplugging our alarm clock since I use my cell phone alarm anyway. Hopefully as they upgrade rooms, they'll have the light fixtures with a built in outlet or two.
Our room had bunk beds, which our kids loved. It was also nice that the kids had their own TV in the bunk bed area. There is a ventilation fan which can be turned on or off to help circulate air in the bunk bed area. The fan is a little noisy. Since the heat / AC was on the opposite end of the room from the queen bed, it seemed harder to cool the end of the room with the queen bed.
The wifi signal was strong and we didn't notice any bandwidth or connection issues, however we didn't try to stream any movies while we were there either. It was fine for surfing, email, and facebook etc.
There wasn't elevator access to the second floor where our room was. Now chances are, if you're going to a water park where you have to climb stairs to the slides, you can handle a flight of stairs to your room, however if you have a lot of luggage or are pregnant, maybe it's a bigger deal. It wasn't to us. There was a small heater running near the hotel door #1 entrance. I don't know if mischievous kids had turned this on or not, but because the door at the top of the stairs was closed, the heat went up there and it was a little warm.
After the cattle call check in line experience, we were a little concerned that breakfast might be the same way or run out of food early, so we set our alarms for 6;30 and went down to breakfast around 5 'til 7:00. We all liked the breakfast. I thought the scrambled eggs were really good- sometimes when they make them in large quantities like that, they are runny in the bottom of the pan, but these were good.
When I came down for more coffee a little later, there was a decent line and all the tables were full, but it didn't seem all that bad.
I didn't use the fitness center, but there were four decent looking treadmills there and some free weights. There were mirrors in front of the treadmills and no TV in the room. A TV would be nice, but the treadmills did seem to be newer.
IGNORE ALL THE WHINERS AND DRAMA QUEENS-
On my way back to our room that night I could see the reflection in a window of a woman pointing her cell phone camera towards the ceiling and taking pictures. As I got closer, sure enough, that's what she was doing. She was right in front of a several rooms which were being renovated. There were notes on the room doors with notes for the contractors of what needed done to the room - new bathroom door, new bathroom floor etc. There was a ceiling tile that had been removed with a small wire (looked like telephone wire, NOT electrical wire) coming out and the wire was not just hanging down, it was kept close to the ceiling. As she documented this horrible atrocity, the woman said to her friend, and I quote, "I feel like we're in Bosnia!!!" I bit my tongue, although I really wanted to say something smart to her, and I'm not the type of person who normally would. It just struck me funny and my wife and I had a good laugh about it when I told her the story. And, that was the joke each time we walked past that area.
If I was her husband, I'd probably have to find a job where I traveled a lot so I wouldn't have to listen to her most likely complain about everything all day long <wink>
We were a little apprehensive about staying at Maui Sands, after reading some of the reviews, but we know there are some people who aren't ever happy about anything unless they're complaining. Those are the same people who complain about hotel decor being outdated (We don't think that Maui Sands decor was outdated by the way). Our family had a lot of fun in the water park, thought our room was nice and clean, and will probably return again some time.
If you see a review comparing this place to war-torn Bosnia, ignore it ;)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- See the Difference a trip to the Maui Sands Resort and Indoor Waterpark can be. You'll experience the little touches that you'd only find in any Hawaiian home. And always, the warmth of a smile, because once you're here, you're family. When you compare the value you'll receive at the Maui Sands Resort against the area's other lodging choices you'll be proud to call Maui Sands home. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Maui Sands Resort & Indoor Waterpark Sandusky, Ohio