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“Ups and Downs (not just on the water slides)”

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Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark
Ranked #3 of 15 Hotels in Lake Geneva
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 9 April 2012

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.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank Timothy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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935 - 941 of 1,252 reviews

Reviewed 9 April 2012

I didn't know what to expect after reading some of the reviews on trip advisor. It sounded like either you would hate it or love it. I would say we walked away thinking it was a very costly weekend with just an average stay. The front desk is understaffed and could use some additional training. We stood at the front desk while people came and went filling water pitchers, answering phones, etc. Nobody acknowledged us. We just stood there waiting. Also, one day intor our weekend stay, our key cards were deactivated. We trudged back to the front desk with bags and the key cards were reactivated. No explanation, no apology, just handed back. The rooms are about average. Definitely could use some updating but not horrific. The beds are terrible. The king size bed in the one room was so dipped in the middle that we couldn't roll over. The bedding was absolutely horrific. Bring your own pillows and blankets. The bed spread was one of those 70's type that stay on the bed forever. The sheets and blankets had holes throughout. I was worried that the room would be musty, however, it was a overpowering smell of dirty carpet. The carpet is absolutely filthy and must be thoroughly cleaned. The kids loved the water park but we had several issues. For one, there was nobody to clean tables. By the end of the day, trash was laying on tables, floors, overflowing from the garage cans. It was absolutely disgusting. The only people I saw cleaning was one woman 5 minutes before the park closed. The other problem, as other reviewers mentioned, was the water temperature. It was ridiculously cold. Especially the small child area. There were many, many parents and children complaning. Also, the chlorine levels need to be monitored. I would get overwhelming fumes sitting by the slides. My eyes would start burning and tearing. On the last day, my children ended up with a rash all over their body. I called our ped and he said it was from the high levels of chlorine. We had to give them an antihistamine to counteract the issue. We have never encountered this in any other water park we have visited. Also, in the yellow slide, my husband's back was ripped open from the slide tube. He mentioned this to the life guard and was told that slide needed to be recaulked. Really? We ate and smokeys which was average but not bad. We avoided the cafeteria in the waterpark. It was very similar to carnival type food. The kids loved the arcade. The only complaint was the drunk parents carrying alcohol around in the arcade while "supervising" their kids. I think for $329 a night we could have gone to the JW Marriott downtown Chicago and had a much better time.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank ole7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 April 2012

We have been coming to TimberRidge Resort with our Son, DIL, and 2 grandsons since the youngest was 3 months old. His brother was 3 years old and is now 7. Four years of memories and good times. We try to book on line (although we often have to call in for the discount). Look for their "great rates" online; they work well for those 2 BR suites which we always get. The boys love the water slide and the 7 year old may be ready for the really fast one this year. The lazy river is fun, my husband and I go together. We also go down the big slide together. We are both in our upper 60's. I do the screaming.
Have we had noise at night? Yes, once, but that has happened at the Hyatt Regency as well. Could the college students be a bit friendlier, yes, but they are still learning how to work in the service industry. We have never been cold in the park, but let's face it, it's water temp vs. air temp. The rooms have been more than adequate; we bring food and snacks because we are not crazy about the restaurants there. We do like taking the boys to the game room. It's a treat for them.
The free trolley can take you to the Grand Geneva Resort where you can walk around the grounds and/or enjoy the spa (free for sauna, exercise, hot tub). My DIL always goes in the morning of the second day to work out and have some quiet time.
In town, we like to go to Geno's East which is right across the street from Lake Geneva. It's great for the kids and there is a very nice ice cream store open just down the street. Many of the stores are open at that time of year. We do go in the fall and it is a pretty time of the year to travel from Chicago to Lake Geneva. I am happy to say that we are going back in October with our family. We are looking forward to it already.

Room Tip: If you don't like the noise coming from the pool area, ask for an outside room. We have had room...
  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank Nancy T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leslie J, General Manager at Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark, responded to this reviewResponded 2 May 2012

Njtobin,

Thank you for your recent post and for your loyalty to Timber Ridge! I am delighted to read that you and your family have created such wonderful memories with us. I am also glad you have been able to take advantage of some of the deals we offer.

Thank you again for choosing Timber Ridge. We look forward to welcoming you and your family back in October!

Sincerely,

Leslie Johnson

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2012

The water park was so cold my four year old could only stay in about 15 min before her lips were blue. Very disappointing, I barely got wet if I could help it. The stairs to the tube slides need a lot of maintenance as do the rooms. My bed sloped so much we kept rolling I to each other, the pillows were so flat my husband said they were pool towels disguised in pillow cases, the room was dirty and the pull out bed for the kids sloped as well and you could feel ever metal slat in it.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Smile_kbs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2012

I could swear I already posted a review on Trip Advisor for Timber Ridge, but haven't seen it yet so here I go again.

Although we've used the water park a few times in the past for a fee (while staying at the Grand Geneva or Holiday Inn Vacation Club in the same grounds as Timber Ridge), we finally stayed here over MLK weekend this past January. We stayed at GG 1 night and 1 night here.

Suite - we had a 1-BR suite with a king-sized bed in the master room and a queen sofa sleeper in the livingroom which was perfect for my 6 yr old and 7 yr old niece. Both bedroom and livingroom had flat-screen TV's (smaller in the bedroom) which were a hit to the kids. The big bathroom had a jacuzzi which again, was a hit with the girls. The kitchen/dining area was fully stocked with pots/pans, full refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher. They do not have a washing machine/dryer, but that wasn't a problem for us for an overnight stay.

Water park - if you are a fan of Wisconsin Dells, this might not be big enough for you, but it suits my family perfectly

Restaurants - did not try any of them
Gym/spa - excellent
Kids center - excellent - the workers there are great with kids. One day my daughter and niece participated in painting t-shirts - cost is $10 and totally worth it because they get to keep the t-shirts with their own art! The arcade also is big enough for all to enjoy

Management/Front desk - excellent - when they found out we had a problem the night of our stay (thoughtless hotel guests above us that kept making loud noises until the wee hours), the front desk manager called me first thing the next morning and apologized. They also gave us a complimentary future night stay which to me was unnecessary, but tototally appreciated which just goes to show you that they have an excellent customer service!

Overall, I highly recommend this place especially if you have children. You will not get bored.

The reason I am giving this 4 stars instead of 5 stars is that the suite we stayed in needs to be renovated in my opinion. Having stayed at the Grand Geneva a few times and a timeshare owner at the Holiday Inn, their suites are definitely nicer than that of the Timber Ridge.

Hope this review helps.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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Thank Melanie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leslie J, General Manager at Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark, responded to this reviewResponded 2 May 2012

Thank you for your recent post. I am happy to read that you and your family had a great time and enjoyed the room accomodations. I am sorry for the inconvenience you experienced - however, I am glad that we were able to address it before you checked out.

Thank you again for choosing Timber Ridge. We look forward to the opportunity to welcome you back!

Sincerely,

Leslie Johnson

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Reviewed 3 April 2012

I made reservations for 2 adults, 3 kids. When we checked in, I paid extra for water park tickets for my additional child because 4 are included with that room. My frustration is that my reservation clearly had five people - the website gave me the room suggestion for 4, with an additional rollaway bed for the 5th. As a courtesy to families who happen to have 5 members, that ticket should be included especially when your system gave me that room as available. The two bedroom suite was available for 6 people but bigger than what I needed when the agent explained the details. My kids are small and when I called, the agent stated that rollway beds were available but because of spring break, it was a first come basis. Since I didn’t want to chance it, I brought my own air mattress. Based on the system, tickets should just be included in the room price and upon check in, you should be able to get 5 tickets for that 1 bedroom suite. I didn’t need the extra space for a 2 bedroom room since my kids are little and it wasn’t cost effective to pay an extra $150 to get extra tickets I didn’t need. To have me pay an additional $30 for a child who wasn’t guaranteed a bed based on the seasonal timing is frustrating especially with the service that was provided. When we arrived to the “4 person room”, it was set up for "3" people - I tried to call for additional towels and no one picked up. I ended up hunting down a maid cart and leaving notes for the staff during our stay to leave more towels. And based on the website, each room had internet. That was not the case. There was absolutely no wifi or cell phone service during our stay. Being part of a conference center, I wouldn't have thought twice about a wifi connection. We have Sprint and AT&T as service providers - calls/connections were dropped instantaneously. We got service when we left the resort. That would be troubling if I had been there for business. It was difficult to get a hold of anyone at the resort as no one picked up (moose mountain, lobby, housekeeping) the landline phone. As for check out, is it really necessarily to drop the keys off at the front desk or call from your room to say that you are checking out? No one picked up from phone, so we had to go to the front desk. We did not want to encounter another fee. As for people that I did encounter and had face to face interaction, they were all very nice. We did get the ice cream package and that was delivered as promised as well as the pizza that we ordered – it was ready on time.

We went to the water park during different times to avoid the massive amount of crowds (6:30pm to close, 11am to 1pm, 5 – 8pm) and there was never a spot to put down our coverups/towels/flipflops because things were unkempt and basically ignored. Towels and garbage were on tables that looked "abandoned" for hours and were never picked up. One chair we did find had a "skid mark" and remained there for the duration of our stay. And while you cannot control what people bring with them, some policing of patrons who were there and drinking from glass bottles could have been reminded that their bottle posed a safety issue with broken glass, bare feet and pools. If someone was monitoring the park, they could have given them a plastic cup and have them put their coolers in lockers. I also think that as a guest of the resort, I should be able to find a chair without me cleaning up after someone else. We ended up dropping our stuff in a corner using a chair that came from the outside pool area. Instead of having an adult section in a water park filled with kids, have a section for resort guests only. Logically, if someone wants adult relaxing time, do you really think they would sit above a lazy river with kids splashing/screaming past them? They would be heading to the spa. That section remained empty during our stay. Offer a cabana service for the section. I would rather have a reserved chair to come and go as I please then spending 20 minutes searching for a spot every time I entered the park. Since there is limited amount of space in the park, there is not much you can do unless you camp out early and find a spot when the park first opens. Daily use patrons camp out at their tables for the day, so there is no turnover of those tables. I was not going to put our stuff in a locker since we needed the towels when we got out of the pools. Provide wrist bands specifically for resort guests when they check in. Trying to determine the code for what color we were supposed to wear for the day and not lose the remaining wristbands is inefficient for your guests. Use that color code for your daily guests at the water park, and not for your resort patrons. That system would help your towel attendant determine what towels to give to whom. In addition, most of the inflatable tubes were under inflated. I understand that this was a peak time for spring break but even a nightly inspection might be the answer. Once you received my payment, there was no hospitality specifically for your resort patrons. I could have stayed somewhere else with hospitality and treated the same at your hotel. I chose to stay at your resort to be treated as a guest with special resort privileges, not as a number. I have stayed at many resorts and this was one of the poorest experiences I have had in a long time. One highlight was the lifeguard staff was very helpful when my daughter had a bloody nose. They did have some protocol on how to handle the incident, which given everything else I encountered was quite unexpected.

Room Tip: Lower Level Rooms are easier to get to the pools.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank LAC3027
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2012

Actually a short drive from Chicago, far better than W Dells with little lids. Few things were not working at the room but a nice technician came and fixed in a few mins.
For dinner We went downtown Lake Geneva and asked a liquor store owner where we can find the best baby back ribs in town and we went to Morse restaurant at Lake Como on their advise, that one is a perfect lakeview location, small, clean and cosy and a romantic restaurant, not pricey when compared to the restaurant at the hotel, mo meal exceeds $20, and the food is delicious, service quality is exceptional, a must enjoy place around here.
We will definitely come back here to enjoy not only the waterpark but other options like horse back riding etc. Only negative is a check-out at 11 am while kids are in the middle of fun and once you check out lockers are limited.

  • Stayed: March 2012
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1  Thank Jeremy2011_07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leslie J, General Manager at Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark, responded to this reviewResponded 2 May 2012

Thank you for your recent post. I am glad to hear that you and your family enjoyed your stay with us and will be returning to enjoy some of the other amenities we have to offer!

Thank you again for choosing Timber Ridge. We look forward to welcoming you back!

Kind regards,

Leslie Johnson

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark

Address: 7020 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, WI 53147-5105
Region: United States > Wisconsin > Lake Geneva
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Spa Hotel in Lake Geneva
#2 Family Hotel in Lake Geneva
#4 Romantic Hotel in Lake Geneva
Price Range: $237 - $367 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark 3.5*
Number of rooms: 225
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Also Known As:
Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark Hotel Lake Geneva
Timber Ridge Hotel
Timber Ridge Lake Geneva
Timber Ridge Lodge And Waterpark
Timber Ridge Lodge Lake Geneva

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