I really, really wanted my family trip to Timber Ridge to be awesome and it was, at times. I read just about every review of the place on here--the good, the average and the few bad (including Bruce's responses) and felt this was my family's best bet for a three-night getaway close to home. Here's what we experienced:
First, check-in was a breeze. Parking was ample and the front desk person was friendly and accommodated my request for a first-floor suite (all rooms are either one or two bedroom suites) near the water park. When we first walked in our room, it smelled heavily of smoke; almost worse was the perfumed scent they had obviously used to cover up the smell, which we all agreed was akin to baby powder.
The room itself was great. It was a perfect size, there was plenty of storage for clothes, and there was a dining table with seating for six. The kitchen was very nice and had a fridge/freezer, microwave, electric stove top (no oven), and a dishwasher. Each day housekeeping washed our dishes, which were of high quality. There was a long counter top with four stools that our kids loved sitting on for cereal and PB&J. The separate bedroom, with sliding pocket door, was good to get away. The bed was fine (I was worried after other reviews, but it's your standard hotel bed). The queen sized sleeper sofa was great for our three kids, who are 6, 4 and 3. They slept together and loved having their own TV over the fireplace. There was a patio but we didn't use it.
Going down to the water park for the first time, we encountered our first problem. There was a huge "buckle" in the carpeting in the hallway that my daughter tripped on. They had a fan blowing on it and later they added a yellow caution sign, but it was an eyesore each time we walked down the hall.
The water park was fantastic for our kids, who seemed to be the target age of most of the activities. The toddler area was fun for all three kids, even after our third day there. My six year old (who is tall and nearly seven) could ride both slides by himself. My older daughter, who is four and too short to ride by herself, was able to ride the two-seat tube slide with my son. This was wonderful, as I'm not much on slides myself. My three year old was content in the kiddie area and made lots of friends. The kids did get cold pretty quickly--the air temperature seemed warm to me, but I wasn't wet, and there were always blue lips after a couple of hours.
There were a few missteps by the staff. First, housekeeping left their green cleaning towels drying on our towel bars on the second day--gross. Second, we were there during Easter weekend and planned our whole Saturday around an Easter Egg hunt happening at 2 p.m. We called the front desk to confirm the location of the hunt and were told that it was happening in "Building 5 at the Grand Geneva Resort" (a residential building on the property, we came to learn). I gave my wife some time alone and drove the kids over to the Grand Geneva and spent about 20 minutes walking around trying to find "Building 5." By the time staff directed us to the front desk there it was after 2 and they kept telling me that the Easter Egg hunt was tomorrow (Sunday) at 1:30 p.m. on the 18th hole of the golf course. Eventually they called the Timber Ridge and figured out what I was talking about and I got the proper directions, but my kids missed the hunt. To their credit, the staff running the hunt put together gift bags (and lots of game room tokens--keep reading) for my kids and apologized; my kids were fine, but I was fairly irritated with the whole thing.
That evening, I took my son to the game room to spend the tokens from the Easter Egg gift bags and I was shocked at the behavior of some of the adult guests. It was obvious some were drunk and, while you can't control all guests' behavior, I felt the room was understaffed and pretty overwhelmed. There was only one woman behind the ticket redemption counter. Also, we encountered a total of six broken game machines. It almost became a running joke with the other staff member there, who spent most of the time there refunding tokens to my son and fixing machines where tickets had gotten stuck. She was very nice and gave my son some extra tickets as compensation, but this was probably my least favorite experience in the hotel. I would not repeat, even if I was again spending the hotel's tokens.
Another irritation were the key cards. I travel a lot and have never, ever had door entry key cards de-magnetize like the ones at Timber Ridge did. On three separate occasions (once with three freezing kids standing in the hallway) over three days we had to stop by the front desk to get them re-coded. The first time my wife had her card near her cell phone, but after that we kept the cards in wallets and still they stopped working. The front desk didn't seem to have any ideas for us.
Last, and probably worst, our tub leaked. After showers on the first couple of days, we thought we had just been careless with the curtain. On our final night there my wife decided to take a bath (it was a huge, jacuzzi-style tub) and the entire bathroom flooded. By this point I didn't even care enough to complain. I just took all the remaining towels, sopped up the water, and then threw them in the tub. So, Bruce, if you're reading this check out the tub in room 172.
Man, I wanted this vacation to be awesome. We had a great time, thanks to the great water park, the staff who responded to the issues we faced, and my wife's constant refrain of "We're on vacation--let it go." But I shouldn't have to adjust my expectations so much; I understand that things happen, but in the end we just didn't get our money's worth.
- Also Known As:
- Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark Hotel Lake Geneva
- Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark Hotel
- Timber Ridge Hotel
- Timber Ridge Lake Geneva
- Timber Ridge Lodge
- Timber Ridge Lodge And Waterpark
- Timber Ridge Lodge Lake Geneva
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