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“We had a blast!”
Review of Great Wolf Lodge

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Great Wolf Lodge
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Centralia
Reviewed May 26, 2008

We stayed on the Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend. Though like others, we encountered a few kinks, I highly recommend Great Wolf Lodge for families. The fact is, this place is wonderful for kids of any age and there's nothing else like this in the Northwest.

The waterpark was great fun, even though we experienced it as crowded as it likely will ever get. For folks staying over Saturday night, I recommend NOT arriving early as the crowds peaked Saturday afternoon (I assume because of Friday night holdovers), and were much lighter Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

They also do a good job providing ancillary distractions for the children, most notably the MagiQuest game, which was some adventure that involves kids traipsing throughout the hotel with a magic wand and various animated animals, wizards and treasure chests. But be prepared as the wand and game costs a minimum of $25 per kid, and more if the kid wants to upgrade their wand.

Food was better than I expected from these reviews, perhaps on par with Red Robin and Old Country Buffet (we're not talking fine dining here). Prices we're about what I would expect.

As for the glitches, we got there at 1pm and our room wasn't ready until after 5pm, and I had to wait in line three times before I got them to agree that I could call periodically instead of waiting in line over and over. Service was spotty at the restaurants, and the waterpark changing rooms and nearby lockers were poorly designed to handle crowds.

Of course, their hotel prices are not cheap, but remember what you are paying for -- hotel, waterpark admission, access (e.g., on-site Disney hotels are more expensive). Though you are paying Bellagio+ prices, don't go in expecting Bellagio service or refinement and you should have as a great a time as we did.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank HappyHoundz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 22, 2008

Just returned from Grand Wolf Lodge today and the trip met expectations. Given it's location, pictures and feedback from friends we had moderate expectations of the the resort/food but good expecations of the kids fun at the waterpark. The rooms are a bit cheesy but they are just what the kids wanted -- wolf cave, bunkbeds, etc. One night is plenty for a fill of water fun.

The water park was great fun for the kids but I would be hesitant to go on a weekend. We went weekday during the off-season and there were rarely lines. When there were lines (even small ones) it was a very long wait...I can't imagine what it's like on a weekend.

The food (and food service) was below average. They have really 3 choices -- Pizza hut, a buffet dinner or a bar and grill. We opted for the bar and grill and the service was poor (waited a long time despite few customers) and the food was below average. We did venture out for lunch the second day and about a mile south on the road in front of the hotel is a butcher called "Dicks" that has a great little cafe with nice fresh sandwiches and great service. I also suggest bringing breakfast food (cereal, milk, etc) as there are fridges/microwaves in teh room and it just makes it easier.

All in all, it was worth it and what we expected.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with family
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Thank SeattleGirlie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2008

We stayed overnight at the new Great Wolf Lodge just two nights ago (stayed on a Sunday night). We got a "deal" on the room because the hotel is new . . . we wouldn't have splurged for the stay if it hadn't been at a lower rate. The hotel was neat and has only been open for a couple of months. I was told that the rooms are always all booked and I noticed some carpet stains in the elevator already, so I'm wondering if they'll be diligent about the upkeep of the hotel. I'd hope so for the price they expect you to pay! The hotel staff was quite pleasant and very friendly, even though most of them seemed to be young college-age students (they didn't have "attitudes" and always said hello in passing). The lifeguard staff in the water park was much less friendly, but I didn't encounter any rudeness . . . those kids just seemed like they didn't want to be there. The hotel rooms were nice, but mainly because everything in them was fairly new and in good condition - nothing had been trashed yet. I suppose the notion is that you're not paying for the room, but are instead paying for the waterpark experience. Still, for the price they're charging, I expected everything about the hotel to be over the top. Our room was next to the stairway and the service elevator. The stairway didn't get much traffic, as we were on the seventh floor, however, starting at about 7:30 a.m. the cleaning crew were in and out of that elevator, talking at the top of their lungs in the hallway. Not a pleasant way to wake up. The beds and pillows were very comfortable, however, our hide-a-bed hadn't even had the sheets changed or taken off from the previous guests - gross! The restaurants in the hotel, the gift shop, and the arcade were all neat, however quite expensive. The arcade has Chuck E. Cheese type games, yet they all take at least two tokens to operate (usually more), while Chuck E. Cheese only charges one. The waterpark . . . we had lots of fun there! I haven't been to other waterparks so don't have anything to compare it to, but I had a blast, as did my kids (ages 5 and 8). Even though check in at the hotel isn't until 4 p.m., they will let you use the waterpark starting at 1 p.m. Check out is at 11 a.m. yet you're allowed to use the waterpark until 9 p.m.. That was really nice. The one thing I really, really didn't like about the waterpark was that the water was cold! One pool (with the basketball hoops) was so cold that I refused to even stick my toes in it! The hot tub was more like a bathtub, but was great compared to the temp of the other pools!!!
Overall, we had a nice time but won't go back unless they offer another price cut or "deal".

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with family
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2  Thank Andrea A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 5, 2008

My family of four (2 kids - 6 and 9) stayed at the Great Wolf this past weekend. THere is a lot to love and a lot to dislike about this park so I will break it down into two sections. First the things we loved:

We checked in at 2:45 on a Friday without any hassle, waits or lines. Our room was terrific! The kids loved the bunk beds and we loved the lay out of the rooms. The kids had their own area as did we. We had the Kid Kamp room and it was large and nicely deorated. The room was very clean.

THe feeling of safety and security. The resort is like a busy little town with everything you need right there. THe kids roamed by themselves for short periods of time without me worrying about them.

The Howlin tornado! THE BEST ride, especially at night when you cant see a thing!

The ease of using wristbands to pay for everything. No need to bring valuables/wallets down to the waterpark.

Love the magiquest game. The kids loved roaming the resort with their wants making things activate.

Negatives:

For the 350.00 a night we paid we were expecting very short lines. We ended up waiting over 20 minutes for the big rides which was upsetting to everyone. If I wanted to pay less and still wait in long lines, I would have gone to Wild Waves. I thought for the rate we were paying, we were paying to have a less crowded atmosphere but that doesnt seem to be the case. My husband and I were trying to do the math and we could not figure out how that many people could be staying in the hotel. UNless people were sneaking back in with their same wristbands after they checked out. It was literally standing room only at one pt in the wave pool which made it very dangerous for little kids to get hit in the head with intertubes in which people were packed on.

One small throw type blanket on the kids bunks. Both kids woke up cold.

One rude, over powering life guard. I did complain and the person told me that my complaint was the 5th of the day. UMMMMM, so what is there not to understand? Get this person off the floor and out of contact with the public!

Prices for food and snacks were spendy but on par with most resort prices. Lines were slow for snacks, and at the Bear Claw Cafe. Service was lacking in the buffet area. I actually had the waitress ask me how much money I was leaving her for a tip when I was paying for the meal.

Arcade games are very expensive. MOst take 3 or 4 tokens. Plan on dropping a lot of money in here if you venture in.

Water temperature was a tad cold for my liking. Even the kids shivered at times. The hot tub was more like lukewarm. I doubt it was over 98 degrees. Everything needs to be turned up 2 or 3 degrees.

The lifeguards closed down the wave pool for an hour on Sunday evening around 5 pm to do life saving/back boarding drills. While I certainly appreciate them being trained, I couldnt understand why they would close the pool down for an hour during business hours rather than do it before or after the park open/closes.

Overall I think that the Great Wolf has a lot of potential but only if management makes the needed corrections and ensures that people are not sneaking in and the customers are treated well.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank olystacy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 4, 2008

--Last year we stayed at the Raptor Reef at the Holiday Inn Express in Hayden, ID. Great Wolf's waterpark is much bigger, nicer and has more for kids 6 and under. Fun slides, "big toy" type structures with water squirters, wave pool - plenty to do.

--We went to Great Wolf for the waterpark - not for the lodge. We northwesterners think "lodge" and expect the Salish or Skamania. Yes, rooms are small and food is overpriced. But the hotel is nicer than the Raptor Reef Holiday Inn Express ($259 for family of 4) and you get a hotel which you don't get at Wild Waves ($129.96 for family of 4).

--I read all the previous reviews before our trip and as of 5/3/08 here's an update:
**Elevators are moving quickly. We stayed on the top floor with no issues
**Lifeguards friendly, attentive and offered a bandaid quickly
**The bar and grill had a nice menu and above average food. Family of 4 spent $50 on lunch. My husband peeked at the buffet and said it looked worse than an "Old Country Buffet." We're food snobs, though.
**We checked in at about 6 pm on a Friday. No wait. Friendly front desk. We decided to drive another 4 miles and had dinner in Centralia (mexican - good - also $50) and then checked in. Kids still had 2 1/2 hours in the waterpark before bed.
**When we left at about 3 on Saturday the check in lines were very long.
**Girls (aged 3 and 6) enjoyed Scoops Spa pedicures (inlcudes ice cream after). Very nice staff - bring your camera ($45 each but included tip). Thumping base from teen disco next door a little distracting...
**Wolf Den room ($300) - kids enjoyed bunkbed - their TV didn't work but I didn't even call the front desk b/c it was a good excuse to not have them turn on the tv. Room clean, quiet and temperature control worked. Slept well.
**Avenue Espresso next to the Mcdonalds/Gas Station is great. Drive down (1 min away) to grab coffee and McMuffins... the SBUX is not open yet.
**Cute clock with "animatronic" characters does story time - sit next to the fireplace to warm up - the waterpark is plenty warm but you'll want warm coverups in the rest of the lodge.
**Workers are still installing features throughout the lodge and they're obviously still working out the kinks. I was told they employ 600 people -and I would bet many of them are still learning how to work in the service industry. I found everyone to be happy, eager to please and honestly trying hard. Several staff asked me about my stay .

Overall - it was a fun getaway for our kids. My 3 year old wanted to go back today. Lots of smiles and giggling and the parents had fun too.

End note - Great Wolf's CEO was quoted in the Wall Street Journal last week saying that they plan to raise prices in light of gas prices - figuring families will cancel bigger vacation plans this summer. You may want to go now while they're still having their opening special.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled with family
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Thank lostinthesupermarket
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 3, 2008

We spent Apr 30- May 1 here for my son's 16th birthday. Having read the reviews, I was prepared for some trouble at check-in. We walked in to the lobby at 1:15 and were DONE with our check-in at 1:20. No line, friendly staff, piece of cake. Our room was clean and large and stocked with towels. We hit the water park (whcih provides more towels) and had a great time! The giant tornado slide was the best slide my son had ever been on, and he has been to Silverwoood and Wild Waves. There was plenty of fun for our 8-year old, too. Having read about the cost of food we left the resort and drove 1/2 mile to FIgaro's pizza (they also deliver), and had pizza, breadsticks, and pop for 5 people, including two teenage boys, for less than $25! They have ice cream there, too - get a single because the scoops were huge and theboys could NOT finish!

The boys got wristbands (10 bucks for entire stay) for the GR8 Space, the tech lounge, and spent most of the evening between that and the arcade. The arcade was like Chuck E Cheese except all of the games work and are more generous with the tickets. Our daughter was thrilled that she could get a nice-sized stuffed dog with only 150 tickets, whcih she won using less than 10 bucks in tokens.

The GR8 Space would have been more fun if more teens had been there, but since the crowd was sparse the boys never had to wait to play Rock Band!

Having your wristband activate your door lock is fabulous, never having to look for a place to put your key in our bathing suit! You can also use it to charge things to your room, which I did. I found a very nice pair of swim trunks for my son for $25 and tax is only 3%!

Again no line at check out, and no unexpected charges. After you check out you still have use of the facilities for the ENTIRE day, and their are ample restrooms and showers so you can change for your ride home.

As for value, we got our room at a special grand opening rate at nearly half off, $169. I 'dont know if I would go for the full price, but I would go again on a special like that!

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank forgottenprincess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 28, 2008

Here in the Pacific Northwest, families long for something like what Great Wolf has to offer. The indoor park, something for kids of all ages and even adults, family time and time kids can do their own thing while parents do another yet be close by, etc. is such a well-needed concept here. Unfortunately, it was just the "idea" that kept us wanting to be positive about the visit. With over $350 a night, I would hope for a reasonable time of checking in, not after 5 p.m. and also reasonably courteous service. The front desk help repeated their basic "get over the wait time for check in" statement with some superficial empathy while they also overemphasized the statement that is noted in your reservation that check-in BEGINS at 4 p.m. My husband thought they must have some SERIOUS cleaning guidelines if check out is at 11 a.m. and they can get only some families in by dinner time and the rest well after dinner. I had the unfortunate run-in to see the "head" housekeeper (well, she was directing others) taking a smoke break on one of the guestrooms' balconies. This just made us even more disappointedas she would have been the one we complain to about not getting any bath towels after two requests. And, even though she was on the balcony, the whole floor wreaked of smoke. We continued walking down the hall as our room was at the very end , to see that housekeeping must have recruited their boyfriends for help. They were not quiet about it; as a matter of fact, we could hear them discussing how helpful they were and that the head of housekeeping should also pay them. Now although some may think this is a nice gesture, most others would think this is quite unprofessional let alone EVERYONE's valuables are at stake.
As far as dining, yes, there are some options. We enjoyed the Pizza Hut pizza and Hot WIngs the most! We would recommend to save your money and opt for the buffet since the restauant food is taken from the same kitchen/menu as the buffet but the cost is much higher.
The waterpark was a lot of fun. No need to bring your own life jackets, they are provided and of great quality. Many guests like to reserve seats but you never ever see them sit in those seats so plan accordingly. Lockers are avaialble for $15, you get part of it back when you give back the key at the end of the night.
The arcade is great for all kids and the games are of good choice. Prepare to spend much money. Most games are at least 50 cents and some are up to 2 dollars.
The cub club or whatever it is called had some fun activities in there - craft like activities. We were looking forward to doing that we didn't need to spend $10 craft that could be easily made at home for nothing.
I did splurge and spend a whopping $45 (less 10% discount) on my little girl's pedicure. It was a wonderful experience for both of us. The ice cream theme is creative and quite appealing to my 3 year old.
Well, I think I covered all the aspects that we experienced at Great Wolf. I thought it was important to share our visit as it was very helpful to read everyone else's reviews.
Like I said in the beginning, Great Wolf Lodge has such a needed concept for those of us here in the Northwest who don't always get to experience the warm weather and are in search of a family activity. Unfortunately, they are far from all-inclusive and are in dire need of professional management who can demonstrate customer-service so as to keep patrons coming back as opposed to focusing on a single visit. So, do prepare to pay a huge amount for all aspects of your visit. We saved for this, but we are still not convinced that it was a $1000 well spent for a two-night vacation. We may have thought otherwise if we didn't experience such unprofessional housekeeping and guest service.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
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4  Thank cicalmama
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: 20500 Old Highway 99 SW, Centralia, WA 98531-9708
Location: United States > Washington > Centralia
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Centralia
Price Range: $247 - $505 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Great Wolf Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 398
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Also Known As:
Great Wolf Hotel Centralia
Great Wolf Resort
Great Wolf Lodge Washington/Centralia

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