My husband & I recently stayed at the Chula Vista Resort (no kids along) for an anniversary getaway. We stayed August 29-31st. We stayed in a studio condo under the all-inclusive plan. I'm trying to be as detailed as possible since these reviews help me choose our vacations so much! It seems this place has been getting some negative reviews lately so I thought I'd share our experience. If I could give this place 3.5 stars, I would say that would be more accurate than 4. The resort has the ability to be really great with a few improvements that I will try to highlight since I know the GM reads these.
Check in was quick. We were given a room on the first floor facing the parking lot, which wouldn't have been our first choice of location. We arrived on a Thursday and thought there would have been better locations available, but decided to stay in our room instead of calling to check availability on a higher floor room. Our room was huge and gorgeous. The first impression was great! There was a kitchen, two full sized beds, couch/chair, 2 tv's, jacuzzi, patio. We stayed in a studio condo so I know this side of the resort is much more up to date and in better shape than the other side. For the most part we were happy with our room with a few issues:
1. Drainage was very slow, if at all! The tub and sinks stayed full for a while
2. No cleaning service during your stay. Someone only comes to replenish towels
3. Mattresses sort of sagged inward
4. The size of the TV was way too small for how far away it was from the bed/living area.
5. There was a second tube-type tv near the beds, but no remote???
6. Ground floor was noisy with foot traffic outside our patio and the vball court, shuffle board, pool right outside
We had the all-inclusive plan so all meals and most drinks were available through out the resort. During our stay, we dined at Margaritas (the outdoor Mexican place by wave pool), Howler's Sports Bar, Big Moe's (golf course club) and the Market Fresh Buffet. For the most part we enjoyed all of our meals, nothing was over the top great. Market Fresh was your standard buffet, I can only comment on the breakfast buffet as that is the only meal we had there. It was good, but not great. I enjoyed the omelets. For beer drinkers, the all-inclusive plan is the way to go. The selection of beer in the bar that was included was surprising to me. Shock Top, Blue Moon, Stella, Spotted Cow, Fat Tire, Leiny's, you name it. For cocktail drinkers there were many fruity style drinks available but if you got sick of sweet, you were out of luck after awhile. Every bartender we encountered was SOOO friendly and informative. They made our stay a lot of fun. They were always offering up different concoctions and shots! Fun! We loved the ambiance by the wave pool bar/restaraunt and spent a lot of time there. The food there was very good and the waiters/bartenders extremely friendly!! We loved the Jalepeno poppers and the FRIED OREOS!!! The all-inclusive plan seems the way to go if you don't plan to leave the resort much. Prices, otherwise, are very high for food & drinks. We did notice that most places had specials running during certain times (ie: 1/2 price apps, 1/2 price beer & maragritas) So it's do-able. I would say that if I was paying those high prices, however, I'd expect a little more. (ie: onion rings for $9, a burger for $14)
My suggestions for improvement in these areas:
1. Add a dart board or pool table, etc in the sports bar. Not much to do in the evening besides watch tv
2. Sadly, we did see a waiter eat food from our plate as he took it away. We were a little turned off by this! He was a friendly guy, but come on!
3. We loved the tiki bar they had on the "beach" area but there was never anyone there and no real reason for anyone to go there. Maybe add some outdoor activies in that area??
4. Signage, labeling or overall information was pretty poor. We found ourselves often wondering when something opened/closed (pool areas, restaraunts, bars). Pools & bars seemed to open & close at different times?? We had no clue how to get to the outdoor waterpark! We walked around the whole darn thing before someone finally told us we had to go INSIDE in order to get OUTSIDE.
Can't really comment on this area much since we did not have children with us on this stay. We did walk around both the indoor and outdoor waterpark areas. It seems very well suited for young kids but I think teens would get bored pretty quick. My husband and I could only handle two slides inside because our legs couldn't handle all those stairs :) but they were fun! The water coaster was not working while we were there and that was a disappointment. We went in there on Friday afternoon and there was not a lot of people in there! We did go mini-golfing onsite. It was included with our deal. It was fun, but I probably would have been angry to pay $10 for it as it was nothing too thrilling! They have a wonderful outdoor tiki bar in their "beach" area but it seems hidden and not a lot of people know it's there. They told us they were open in the evening so we went down there around 8:00. Crickets were chirping. We were the only ones there! Too bad. I think more people would go during the day & night if there was more to do in that section. A pool or something?? Bag Toss?? Horseshoes?? There is no real reason for anyone to go to the beach area other than some chairs to sit on and look at nothing.
We spent a lot of time by the wave pool bar/restaraunt. Wish they would have made the pool a little bigger. It is really very tiny!! Luckily, while we were there that area wasn't very busy so we were able to get in it once.
1. Signage, labeling (as described above)
2. Chula Vista seems to have the right idea in areas, but just aren't executing. For example, the volleyball and shuffle board outside of our room is a nice addition, but we didn't see anywhere that we could get the supplies to play??? I'm sure we could go front desk and ask but it just seems nice to have that somewhere for people to know.
3. The had bonfires going on the beach down by the tiki bar but no one knew it was going on?? Maybe finding a way to better inform guests of these things would be good.
The location of Chula is what brings us back to this place. We love the river walk, pines and overall location. It is nice to walk around! As stated earlier, the hotel side of the resort needs a lot of work! Those rooms (inside & out) were looking pretty run down but the newer tadditions were looking great. Hopefully they get a remodel going soon. We would like to come back in the winter to go in there outdoor hot tub facing the beautiful river and pines!
We are coming back here for the WAMO dart tournament in 2014 and are concerned with how Chula Vista is going to keep thousands of thirsty dart shooters entertained & quenched in the 1 small indoor sports bar they have. We're hoping for good weather so many can go to the outdoor bars, if they are open in May otherwise many will have to get cabs/shuttles downtown.
I'm sure that I am missing a ton of stuff and I could go on, but for the sake of not having a super long review, I will wrap this up...
A couple quick things that didn't really fit in above:
1. We were randomly charged an extra $5.03 on our check out slip and didn't know what this was for?? We weren't told about it and couldn't ask b/c when we were leaving the line was really long and my husband said it wasn't worth it for $5. It left me with a bad taste however, b/c I'd love to know why the extra charge?? I feel like if Chula Vista does this to everyone assuming that no one will complain over $5 they will make bank off of people.
2. You are taxed 3 times on food & beverage at this resort. I can't remember them all specifically but it was somthing like sales tax, county tax & resort tax. What the heck is resort tax?? Is that normal? I thought in most places alcohol isn't even taxed?? I just felt a bit nickle & dimed in the end
While most everyone we encountered were very nice & friendly, there were a few that deserve some props. We had great service from Tanner (sports bar), Jenny (sports bar), Josh (tiki bar) & Alicia (Margaritas). They were all very informative, friendly, fun and just really seemed to enjoy their jobs. I hope you to them our appreciation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Chula Vista Resort and Waterpark is a complete resort experience in Wisconsin Dells with over 200,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor waterparks. Luxury comes standard in all of our guest rooms, suites and condominiums. Bring your clubs and challenge yourself on our 18-hole golf course. At Chula Vista, we invite you to laugh harder, splash bigger, stay longer and vacation better at Wisconsin Dells' most complete family resort! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chula Vista Hotel Wisconsin Dells
- Chula Vista Theme Hotel
- Chula Vista Wisconsin Dells
- Hotel Chula Vista Theme