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“Not bad, won't return”
Review of Great Wolf Lodge

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Great Wolf Lodge
Ranked #1 of 11 Hotels in Centralia
Redmond, Washington
Level Contributor
93 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
“Not bad, won't return”
Reviewed April 14, 2014

My wife, two daughters (ages 8 & 11), nephew (age 4) and I visited Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, WA for 2 nights in early April during our school’s Spring Break. It was a destination that we agreed on through compromise, and now having gone there once in my life, I see no need to return.

Arrival/check in
We drove up from Seattle and arrived around 7:30PM which seemed like a good time. No cars out front, easy to unpack the car, and were checked in within 3 minutes of arrival. Over the next couple days I saw the check in lines during the day, and they can get pretty long. We were impressed with the lobby – it is very big, lots of seating, and it is well maintained. A nice touch is the fact they have airport luggage carts, at least 50 of them sitting in the lobby.

Room
We booked a Kid Cabin Suite as we thought it would be nice for the kids to sleep in their own self-contained area and it worked out well as there is a bunk bed + a single bed along with a TV. The room was a good size, plenty of room for the five of us, and it was well maintained and clean. Two specific issues – 1) The pillows are tall and hard, not the most comfortable, and 2) The bathroom (toilet and bath/shower) is tiny, almost approaching Europe tiny. Not much room in there, but I suppose the hotel’s focus is on providing as much space in the room itself which makes sense. Our room was facing the freeway on the 2nd floor. The 2nd floor in our case was excellent as it’s the same floor as the waterpark, and our room was far down the hall away from the insanity taking place around the arcade area. There are rooms very close to here, you do not want those rooms as there is a lot of foot traffic in this area.

Food
The food was hit and miss during our stay.

Good: The pizza/pasta place was very good, and the prices very reasonable. Large pizza + large Greek salad for less than 30 dollars is a bargain at this place. The kids also loved the Dippin’ Dots ice cream, it’s one of their favorite treats. And Starbucks in the morning is a great way to start the day. Nice to have one on site.

Less good/bad: We ordered food in the waterpark from the Spirit Island Snack Shop from our cabana (see below), and apart from the fries, it was pretty bad. Chicken strips / nuggets – whatever you call them were like eating cardboard. I had a grilled chicken sandwich, at first I thought they forgot to add the chicken, but they were really stingy on the portion. We briefly stopped by the buffet, and at the eye watering $19 per adult, $9 per kid, we knew we would not get our money’s worth by eating here.

Waterpark
As mentioned before, I was not too excited to come here, but I do love waterparks, and I do love fast rides. It was bigger than what I had pictured, but once it gets real busy, the place doesn’t seem so big. We spent all day Monday here which was more than enough time. After 7 hours of this, we all were perfectly happy not to return.

The best parts of the park:
• Wave pool – pretty fun, big waves, lots of motion, but it gets crowded at peak times and once that happens, people are crashing into each other and it’s not much fun
• Howlin’ Tornado – it’s fun, probably the fastest ride here, has a nice drop, up to five people can go at a time
• River Canyon Run – one step below the Howlin’ Tornado regarding speed and thrills, but up to five people can go at a time which was fun
• Cabanas – this was crucial for our group as it provided a haven from the chaos of the waterpark. We ended up with the biggest one, which I guess was nice and we could spread out a bit more. 4 chairs & table, two loungers, a stocked fridge with soda, juice, sports drink and water, a TV (didn’t quite work right) and a safe (didn’t work at all). You can also get food service and we ordered lunch via the tablet on the wall. Highly recommend this.

The worst parts of the park:
• “Hot” tub – there was nothing hot about this, it was like a lukewarm bath
• Slides – there are only two “regular” slides (red & yellow, center of the park). Having gone to Slidewaters in Chelan several times, I was spoiled and expected more from Great Wolf Lodge
• Crowds – we were there during Spring Break, the place gets packed after 11AM when the new arrivals can start using the park. If you don’t have a cabana, get there at opening and stake out your spot
• Bathrooms – pretty filthy even 10 minutes after opening. I cannot imagine what they looked like in the afternoon.

MagiQuest
Since we were waterparked out, we thought that MagiQuest would be a fun activity for the kids in the evening as well as the following morning before out departure. You go to the shop to buy a wand, and then determine which activity you would do (there is also Compass Quest and Shadow Quest). We opted for MagiQuest for both my daughters, and since he was too little to follow along, we only bought my nephew a wand so he didn’t feel left out. I ended up doing some of the challenges with the kids, it requires a lot of walking as well as going up and down stairs (you will visit floors 1-5). All in all it’s a fun activity, but there were quite a few glitches with some of the stations. At one point in time the staff had to disassemble one of the kiosks as it froze. My oldest daughter had continual issues with her wand, but the shop was friendly and fixed it each time.

Overall
I suppose I’m glad to have gone to Great Wolf Lodge to see for myself what it is all about. But to me it’s a one hit wonder, we were bored after spending a day and a half there, and couldn’t imagine going back for another visit. We can find better uses for our vacation money.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Kurt M
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 review, April 15, 2014
Thank you for providing us with the feedback from your recent visit to Great Wolf Lodge – Grand Mound! I am sorry you had an unpleasant experience at the Snack Shop and I will pass along your comments so we can work on improving for future guests.

I understand your concerns with the cost of dining on-site. I wanted to inform you that this location recently began offering several dining packages you can add to a reservation that will help make eating with us more cost effective. For more information, please visit our website and speak with a live chat agent for assistance!

We hope your family will return to stay with us again soon!

Jason
Great Wolf Guest Relations
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Portland
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 10, 2014

We stayed here a year ago 4/10/13 with my 2 kids. they actually had so much fun and were due to comeback. i would say this is the safest place i put my kids and the front desk staff were great as well. we know what were going into and plan the whole thing. we brought everything we need for the 2 nights stay so we don't have to worry asking later. we brought our own water drink, utensil, paper cups and paper plates. the park is big enough for the kids i had fun. because the kids love it. i know it's expensive but you need to enjoy it for your kids. the pricing is reasonable and i don't have any complain. i save up for this for my kids and i will be coming back every year. this place is great love the story night before the kids go to sleep. fun place and i recommend this to all ages and never too old to have fun with your kids.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Tony989
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed April 9, 2014

We recently spent 2 nights at the Great Wolf Lodge with our children, ages 4 and 8. The waterpark is a lot smaller than we expected, nonetheless, it was big enough for the kids. We travelled there when it was spring break (in Vancouver) so it was quite busy.

The waterpark itself was very warm. There are lots of lifeguards on duty so we'd feel safe with the kids all the time. The line-ups at the waterslides were quite long - expect to wait at least 15 minutes for each ride. The food at the waterpark (Grizzly Rob's Bar) was terrible. There are lots of chairs and tables in the waterpark but you would need to arrive early in the morning to reserve them.

The room we stayed in (Wolf Den) was nice, spacious and clean. The kids loved the bunk bed!

We ate at all of the restaurants and overall, the quality and prices are ok for a resort. Breakfast at The Loose Moose Cottage was decent - it provides lot of choices. Remember to buy your breakfast vouchers in advance to save some money. Dinner at the Camp Critter Bar & Grille was good - I especially enjoyed the scallop salad. Pizza and pasta at Hungry as a Wolf was average - though the size of the pizza is huge! We couldn't finish a whole pizza.

Our kids also bought the magic wands for the Magic Quest but didn't purchase the games. However, they still enjoyed going around the resort waving their wands at the various treasure chests, statues, etc. Some other kids who had bought the games were running around the resort like crazy and I almost feel they are taking away their time from the waterpark. The wands are approx. US $18 each, and optional "heads" are additional US $18 to $25 each. Games are another additional of ~ $20 each.

Overall, we had a good time at the Great Wolf Lodge and will return in probably a year or two.

Room Tip: Rooms as far away from the elevators as possible
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank pandaVancouver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed April 7, 2014

We just came back from two nights to Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Washington.

Let’s start with the good stuff: the kids loved it: the waterslides, the wave pool, the basketball pool, the obstacle course, and the Magic Quest.

Now, onto the stuff no one tells you.

- There is a US$14.99 “resort fee” PER DAY that isn’t included in the rates you see when you book. Supposedly this covers things like “free” Wi-Fi (which, by the way, wasn’t a great connection). But wow, it comes as a shock when the room rates are already so pricey.

- The rooms do not provide corkscrews. No, it’s not an oversight. Say you made a pit stop at Trader Joe’s enroute (which is a MUST, either in Bellingham or Olympia) and picked up a little TJ Reserve (bottles worth about US$30 sold for $13); well, once you’re ready to relax, you will not be able to open it. Your options: go to the gift shop and buy a corkscrew for around US $6 (unless they’re sold out, as in our case) or take your bottle in hand and have the people at the front desk open it for you. It kinda feels like going to your parents and asking them permission to drink.

KEY SURVIVAL TIP, PEOPLE; BRING OUR OWN CORKSCREW!!!!!

I never did get around to asking the rationale behind the lack of essential utensils, but wonder if they’re worried some kid is going to poke her eye out with the thing. Come on, GWL, it’s not the kids who are paying the bill here.

And you’d better enjoy drinking that Meritage out of a plastic or paper cup, because there isn’t a shard of glass to be found. Sure, kids are prone to breaking things. But come on, GWL, parents are known to watch out for such things, and besides, the floors are covered in (pilled) carpet not Italian tile. Every other hotel in North America does alright putting glass and children in the same room. Once again, it’s not the kids who are paying the bill here.

- The website says the place prides itself on cleanliness. Cleanliness my bumbum!!! On our first morning here we got to the waterpark right when it opened at 9 a.m.(the best time to go; you’ve got about half an hour before the lineups start). You would think the place would be spotless. The place SHOULD be spotless. It’s not. Have a look at the stairs you climb up to the Howlin’ Tornado and you will see old Band-Aids, sopping pieces of paper and plastic (from what, I’m not sure), clumps of hair, and used hair elastics. You will also walk by drain coverings COVERED in clumps of hair. Same goes for the area surrounding the hot tub (“lukewarm” tub would be more accurate). This is at 9 a.m., when things should be sparkling. And have a look at the window ledges on your hike up the stairs to the top: used Band-Aids, bits of paper, and used hair elastics. How they got there I have no idea, but clearly this place isn’t one that gets a deep clean very often.

And let’s look at the room itself. We found a hair elastic in our washroom and a Cheerio on our living room floor. A closer look revealed tomato sauce on the couch and some kind of white substance on one of two office chairs (with rips in them) tucked into a table.

- You’ll be thirsty at the waterpark, but don’t expect to find any water fountains. You’ll be encouraged to buy the bottled stuff. (Only $2.50 in your room for 500mL of Dasani!) Everything costs extra here—the Magic Quest, the wands, the glow-in the-dark mini golf, etc. Tell your kids ahead of time that there are limits on the activities you’re going to do.

- The hide-a-bed sucks. ‘Nuff said.

- We didn’t bother with the restaurants, but ordered pizza one night from the in-house pizza place. It took about 15 minutes just to get through by phone. The lineup in person was long. Once we had it, it was pretty good. Just be sure to order well before you get hungry.

- The fridges in the rooms are a decent size. We brought our own breakfast, lunch, and snack items.

- We did the Magic Quest, which was pretty cool. But we had to return to the shop a coupla times to fix our kids’ wands. The guys who work in the Magic Quest shop were FANTASTIC: patient and helpful. And if you can't solve a clue, they'll tell you the answer if you ask.

- You only need to stay for one night. You can start using the park at 1pm on the day you check in and as long as you like the day you check out.

- We fled during the afternoon to check out nearby, beautiful Olympia, Washington—the state’s capital—which was fabulous. Indie stores, fabulous coffee shops, lake and sea, big parks, great playgrounds. Well worth the 20-minute drive. Especially for the fresh air.

Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
Helpful?
8 Thank Gail J
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 review, April 8, 2014
Thank you for visiting Great Wolf Lodge – Grand Mound and providing such a detailed review! There are several things you mention that I wish to address.

Regarding your concern with the resort fee, there are several places during the booking process where we highlight the taxes & fees that are associated with a visit to Great Wolf Lodge. When booking online, it is present in the Stay Summary at Step 2, where you can select add-on packages, and Step 3 when entering in payment information.

Corkscrews are a potentially dangerous, luxury utensil to have in a room and there is too much of a risk to include this item in a room. We provide it for purchase in our gift shop where an adult can keep it in their possession, or you can take it to the Front Desk and a member of our team will open it for you.

Having glass in the room is another risk because if it breaks, shards of glass can become embedded in the carpeting and once this happens, it is very difficult to remove or even know it is there. Safety is our number one priority at Great Wolf Lodge and the potential for harm to our guests is too great if we featured items you have mentioned.

I will share the rest of your feedback with our team in Grand Mound for them to review so we can improve for future visits.

We hope to see your family again soon!

Jason
Great Wolf Guest Relations
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Camas, Washington
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2014

We have been to GWL twice since they opened. Once with an older child and now with a toddler. There are way more attractions in the water park for older children. For kids younger than 6 or so, there is a small, crowded area in the corner. It consists of 2 slides and several objects they can sit on and squirt water. Plus the wave pool. That's it. Big disappointment. GWL has tons of other activities but guess what, they are not included. I feel like this is a big bait and switch. They build the actual waterpark small so you will be forced to spend even more $$$$ keeping your children occupied with all of their activities. Yes, the arcade and Magic Quest are a lot of fun but they are way more expensive than a traditional arcade. When you add in the cost of their unappealing food, it is even more insulting. Our older child has more fun in the water park because he can use all the slides but even then he is ready to move onto another activity after 2 to 3 hours. We are planning another trip there soon but it might be our last trip for awhile. Time to find something else more cost effective for what you get.

Room Tip: Ask for a room away from elevators/stairs or you will be listening to kids race around playing Magic...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank missheatherfitz
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 review, April 8, 2014
Thank you for visiting Great Wolf Lodge – Grand Mound and for sharing your opinions with us! I sincerely apologize for the perception you have of our business. On our website, it does say: “When you stay at Great Wolf Lodge, your water park passes are included for each registered guest. These water park passes allow access to the water park through the day of your departure. The rate also includes access to our nightly Story Time.”

You are able to include additional activities into your stay through the use of our discounted bundle packages. We offer several different options depending on which activities you wish to have included in your stay. You can review these options on our website when making your next reservation or by speaking with a representative on the phone.

We look forward to your family staying with us again soon!

Jason
Great Wolf Guest Relations
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Graham, Washington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 3, 2014

Went to check in at 11am. I knew we were early and was told we will call your cell as soon as your room is ready. Went and asked around 130 and was told, oh ya, its been ready for a while now. Never got a call. Fire alarm went off 3 times during the night. One was at mid night. Called front desk to see if it was a major emergency and we were told eveyrthing is ok, go ahead and stay in your room. That alarm last about 10 mins or so. Another went off about 1/2 hr later. That one lasted a couple minutes. We were awoken again at 630, alarm going off again. There are speakers in the room saying, please evacuate your room, we have detected an emergency. So I called again to the front desk and nobody answered. Tried 3 times, finally told my daughter to get dress and lets go for a walk to see whats going on. Never seen her so panic before. Everyone was in the lobby, nobody was evacuating the lodge at all. Then they told us all clear, you may go back to your rooms. Dont know if we are going back. Spent alot of money to go and never got an apology or anything for the inconveniences thaat we had. Still waiting to hear back from the great wolf lodge in ground mound and corporate. I want more then a 25% discount on my next visit. Think there was a lot of upset people there. The water park was fun though.

Room Tip: I wouldnt get a fancy room, your not in it much
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Heather13078
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 review, April 8, 2014
Thank you for visiting Great Wolf Lodge – Grand Mound! I sincerely apologize for the inconveniences you experienced and for any frustration it may have caused. Safety is our number one priority and when fire alarms go of, we must take it seriously and treat each alarm as an actual emergency.

I hope you will utilize your 25% discount our team extended on a future visit and will stay with us again soon.

Jason
Great Wolf Guest Relations
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed April 2, 2014 via mobile

Kind of a bizarro land. Kids absolutely love it. For some parents it's a bit of torture – the kind we willingly subject ourselves to on behalf of our children. A big shout out to the housekeeping manager, Zack, who went above and beyond and out of his way to help find my lost drivers license.

Stayed April 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Fauxnomen
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

Property: 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 11 Hotels in Centralia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Great Wolf Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 398
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Great Wolf Hotel Centralia
Great Wolf Resort
Great Wolf Lodge Washington/Centralia

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