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“Fun for the kids, but room for improvement” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Great Wolf Lodge

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Great Wolf Lodge
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Centralia
Bellevue
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Fun for the kids, but room for improvement”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 April 2012

The kids always have a great time at GWL, and we have been several times now. Just a couple of things....
Park attractions close down too early. Check in STARTS at 4:00, and the water park closes at 9:00. We spent 1.5 hours of that in the SLOW moving restaurant for dinner. Generally seemed slow at things -dinner, turning the rooms around, etc. Nice that you can use the park at 1:00 day of check in and on day of checkout, but their locker room facilities are lacking - cramped, etc....and they charge $20 ($10 refundable) for lockers you'll have to use. The "2 days for price of one" should have an asterisk. Sheets on beds are weird. No fitted sheets....just odd flat sheet that comes off of the mattress pad. For $500 for the big room, doesn't feel like a great bargain considering we only got the room for 19 hours. Lastly - make sure your kid has lifejacket AND adult supervision in the wave pool. I personally saw kids getting overwhelmed when they turned on their crazy waves. The lifeguards there are diligent, but that wave pool is just plain dangerous...I'm surprised they don't have more accidents....I can guarantee there are close calls, though....

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lora W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (317)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
72 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 April 2012

I took 2 kids, ages 3 and 5 to GWL. The hotel was booked solid because of spring break so it was crazy busy and crowded. The kids had a great time; there is something for them to do throughout the hotel, some of which is even free (like coloring and a play area in the activity room). Be prepared to spend some money though on things like the wands (around $18 each so they can activate treasure boxes and stuffed animals throughout the facility - very clever and the kids love it but you'd be the meanest parent alive if your kids don't have a wand). The kids also loved the swimming pools and there are plenty of lifeguards. If you have small ones and it's crowded, don't think you can sit back and watch them play, especially if it's crowded like the days we were there. It's a much better facility for older kids who can swim and fend for themselves. The pools smelled highly chlorinated and appeared clean.

Considering the number of people staying at GWL, the management does a pretty good job running it. However, I have some pretty significant complaints. One....the beds and pillows are almost unbearable. We had to drive to Sears to buy pillows because the hotel pillows are rock hard. The beds are not comfortable either. Apparently, it's general knowledge that the beds and pillows are horrible at GWL. When we posted something on Facebook, you wouldn't believe the response we received from other people who have visited and said the beds/pillows were awful. So, at a minimum, bring your own pillow!

Be prepared to eat at GWL since there isn't much in the way of restaurants in the general vicinity outside the lodge. The kid's menu is great and the restaurant is not overpriced, considering it's the only game in town. Even the alcoholic drinks aren't too expensive (and you'll need plenty of those staying there). However, I am a vegan and the wait staff was not familiar with what, if any, items are vegan. In fact, we ordered vegetarian pot stickers and half on the plate were made with pork (a vegan's nightmare). That was enough to ruin the meal for me. The salad bar was fresh and good but not a whole lot of variety. A lot of people seemed to order pizzas and return to their rooms to eat there and we never had a problem getting a table in the restaurant, despite the number of people staying at the lodge.

Although most of the staff we had contact with were pleasant and helpful, there were several that were just going through the motions and appeared to want to be anywhere but at GWL. Not surly but certainly not helpful or pleasant. I heard one particular employee (in the shop where you buy and activate wands) tell more than one customer (I heard it 3 times, in fact), not to pick their noses with the wands. Funny or gross? If I was the hotel manager reading this, I'd be cringing about now.

I had a massage at the spa (the only quiet place in the facility). It's a lovely facility and a nice break from the chaos. The massage was nice but not the best. A little expensive but not more than most nice hotels.

All in all, the kids had a really good time and I suppose that's what it's all about. Other than the horrible night's sleep you'll probably get there, I imagine it would be a lot more fun if you go during a slow period - someone there said October is a good month. Don't expect to come home refreshed. BTW, there was a conference going on at the same time we were there and two of the attendees said it was a nightmare attending meetings there. I can't even imagine, especially if you're there without kids.....

Room Tip: First floor rooms have access to parking lot (for loading/unloading car). Also, elevators can be sl...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tunsi3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
51 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 April 2012

Our family has a hard time finding a vacation spot that fits all of us. Our family consists of two adults, a ten-year-old boy and a 7-year-old boy with Autism (so he's kind of 3-years-old in some ways) , so we're hard pressed at time to have everyone happy at the same time. Our oldest is a thrill-seeker, always on the move, and our youngest can be very nervous about changes and make everyone miserable if he's scared, so many vacations are like "divide and conquer" for us parents where we have to pretty much split up the whole day. THIS PLACE, however, makes everyone happy, all the time. The kids love it. WE love it. For us, the price is worth it to have the boys so happy without having to get on a plane. The staff is always so sweet, and the food is kid-friendly and pretty good, actually. i feel like my kids are safe there and when family comes with us, my husband and I get to sneak away for a drink and a slide together without being very far from our boys should they need us. You're definitely paying for the convenience of having everything you need or could ever want in one building. It's like a Vegas casino only instead of slots they have waterslides. Which for us is worth it. So go ahead and splurge. The easiest weekend you will ever be exhausted after.

Room Tip: Rooms close to the water park are great and easy, but noisy.
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Joanna B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BC
Level Contributor
17 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 April 2012

Wow! We visited over Easter weekend. Friday to Sunday. We did the online check in and the check in took 2 minutes at most. We loved the wrist bands that allowed us to not carry keys or a wallet for the weekend.

We stayed in a Wolf Den Suite. We ended up on the first floor. The ceilings were about 17 feet high. It felt very spacious :) The kids loved their area. The room was clean. Based on some of the TripAdvisor reviews, I looked for dirt - but it wasn't there. We requested a room away from the elevators and got one. That meant we were well away from all the Magic Questers. It was nice and quiet. The beds were normal but the black-out curtains were fantastic. No alarms meant the kids slept in! But, if you play that hard all day you are bound to sleep soundly.

The waterpark was kid heaven. Both kids spent over 6 hours a day in the park. The lifeguards were everywhere and totally attentive. I kind of felt sorry for the guards at the wave pool. They all kept their whistles in their mouth at all times. I don't think safety would be compromised if they were allowed to have their whistle hang around their necks. The line ups in the waterpark were longer between 1 and 5 in the afternoon. Go 9 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm to avoid lines. But, the lineups in the afternoon weren't too bad unless you wanted to do the howling tornado. The 5 year olds could go on every attraction with supervision except the howling tornado. There was a great variety of things to do. My family had better not post pictures of me going across those lily pads on Facebook!

I thought Magic Quest looked and sounded lame. But, my kids talked me into it, and they loved it! My son spent over 6 hours doing it and would have done a couple of more hours if we hadn't run out of time. If I hadn't put some Pizza Hut bread sticks in their hands to eat on-the-go, they would have skipped dinner rather than take a break from it.

The food was surprisingly good. The portion sizes are large. The 5 year old girls always shared a kids' meal. That makes it pretty affordable! We ate at the main restaurant in the evening. The decor was kid-like and not romantic. The food was good! We had the crab legs one night and the ribs the next. The crab legs were good. $24 for 8 Dungeness crab legs that were properly cooked. The meat on the ribs fell off the bone.

In the evening the kids took advantage of the free story time and the free DJ in the lobby. If you have kids between 6 and 12 and want a fantastic weekend that is all about the kids, this is a great choice!

Room Tip: Online booking gives the option to choose a room away from the elevators. Take it! The rooms near...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank HeatherRobert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Seattle
Level Contributor
291 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 April 2012

I wrote my initial review after my family's first visit a few years ago, and it was very favorable. Since then, we've visited GWL three more times, and I'd like to give another review after our last visit. I know there seems to be a mixed bag of reviews posted for the GWL in Washington State, with some people nitpicking about the hotel's cleanliness, staff, expensive prices, lousy food selection, etc. All I can say is some people seem to just want to complain.

First, this hotel is for kids, not adults. If you're expecting a fabulous vacation where you (the adult) is pampered and have lots of adult activities to keep you entertained, then forget about going to the GWL. It's for Kids, not adults. If your purpose is to take your kids on a great vacation for THEM, then the GWL is the place.

Our stay was during our son's spring break week so we knew it might be busy. My wife booked our 1-night stay to be for Monday, which on the GWL's web site showed to be "sold out". So, we were expecting some really long lines, lots of people, and full parking lots. When we arrive, we didn't find any of that, in fact, it seemed much less busy and crowded than any other time we stayed at GWL.

I highly recommend the online web checkin, as it allowed us to avoid the long lines when we checked in. We arrived at 1:00p, and was told our room wasn't quite ready yet (checkin time was at 4:00p), but we got our wrist bands and could start enjoying the waterpark while waiting for our rooms (which ended up being available at 2:30p).

Our room was on the 1st floor, away from the elevators. The room has very high vaulted ceilings, which was a surprise considering we were on the 1st floor. But, having the extra height seemed to provide more quietness. The room was very clean, had no bad odors, and was quite roomy. It had a TV, microwave, small fridge, and small coffee pot. It also had two queen sized beds and a pullout sofa with a small table and two chairs. Very nice, and comfortable, in my opinion.

The waterpark itself was great, and it wasn't very crowded at all. The lines for all the slides and rides were very, very short, allowing us to quickly get back in line for a 2nd run with virtually no waiting.

We ate dinner and lunch at the Grill in the GWL and the food was great. They have both a lunch and dinner menu, and they do serve more entrees at dinner. My wife and I really enjoyed our meals, and I thought the food was of high quality. Dinner and lunches ran about $15 for a entree, which I feel is typical prices for most restaurants.

The Video Arcade Room was updated since our last visit with new games which my son appreciated. And of course, they still have the much needed Starbucks in the lobby so my wife and I can get our caffeine fix for the morning.

So in all, even after our 4th visit my wife, son, and myself had a good time. Again, this visit was for my son to have a good time, and my wife and I also had fun just watching him enjoy his spring break at the GWL.

Room Tip: 1st floor rooms have high vaulted ceilings and you don't need to use the elevators.
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cohoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canada
Level Contributor
19 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 April 2012

Spent a night over easter weekend at the GWL. The kids were very excited as this was their first trip to a large waterpark. Check in was quick as I had completed the web check-in, we received our wrist bands and were off. The waterpark is fairly large for an indoor park but there were only a handfull of slides that my kids were interested in. Selection is fairly limited and the lines were long.

The food available at the lodge was terrible (as expected). Over priced and poorly cooked. You are much better off getting in the car and picking up take out or taking the whole family out for dinner.

The kids signed up for the MagiQuest game. I can not understand why they would set up this game (basically a large scavenger hunt) right in the middle of the lodge. Anytime you wanted to get anywhere (waterpark, food, lobby, etc) you had to dodge tons of kids running around with wands. Could they not have put this in another area???

The mattress was terrible--very uncomfortable. Felt like a really cheap spring mattress with an overused pillow top. Needless to say we didn't get much sleep (also, kids were running down the hall--probably playing the game until very late).

Value wise this place really did not do it for me. I paid the same price (hotel plus admission) to stay in Disneyland. Let me tell you, GWL is no Disneyland. Sure Disneyland is a flight away but I would rather take my kids to one of the million cheap hotels that has 1 or 2 waterslides then waste my money on over priced food, lodging, and waterslides. Not worth it.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank VancouverEandM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GWL_Management, General Manager at Great Wolf Lodge, responded to this review, 8 June 2012
Thank you for the review. I am sorry to hear about your issues you experienced during your stay.

Your comments have been noted and shared with my team.
As far as pricing, we do hear from guests that they find it to be a great value because waterpark passes are included with the stay and you have access to the waterpark from 1:00pm on the day of check in until close on the day of check out. I am sorry that you did not find this level of value in your stay.

We also offer a variety of ways to save on your trip, you can visit our website and find regular deals or sign up for our ePack to have limited time offers sent via email.

Kind Regards,
Patrick Alvarez
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
olympia
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 April 2012

I have been to this hotel about 3 times, and twice my family had a blast but one time I stayed I happen to be in between 2 rooms that had some joint family birthday party and they were enormously loud at 1 am yelling, cursing and drinking. BUT the security was called and in the hotels defense they did their best without involving the police. But thats just bad luck and a bad group of people, so besides that time we all loved it. We got a wolf havens den for the kids once and they loved it since there was bunk beds and their own television and and it kind of looked like a cabin. I would reccomend the morning breakfast buffet but I wouldnt reccomend eating there for any other reasons, besides the breakfast the food wasnt very good and slow service. I may be saying a lot of the bad things but thats just so you dont get surprised because besides the small things we loved the experience. Tons of activities to do with the kids and of course the water park is incredible. I would give it 5 stars if not for my one bad experience and the slow food service, but I am understanding about the service because this place is always buisy because its great.

Room Tip: Wolf havens den was a very fun experience for kids and stay away from room near the stairs very loud...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank john r
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
Region: United States > Washington > Centralia
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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 (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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