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Reviewed 18 October 2018

CHECK IN
We've certainly been to nicer water park hotels but this one has some pros to it as well. I'll start by saying our first day was rough. Check in isn't until 4:00 (to be fair, check out is noon, which is an hour later than most places) but you CANNOT access the water park before that as you can at other hotels with water parks. So that's a bummer if you have young kids who go to bed early. The front desk staff was mostly very friendly. I called around noon to ask about the possibility of early check in and they were very happy to look for me and let me know to try back around 2:30. At 3:15 we arrived and they said a room was available but it was on the first floor - we might want to wait to get a higher room for a better view of the lake as these rooms are obstructed by trees/shrubs. We opted to wait. At 4:00 we arrived in the lobby with a number of others and everyone waited until after 4:15 to start checking in. They said that housekeeping hadn't cleared the rooms yet. (Out in the parking lot we could see three housekeepers chatting for over 15 minutes - I'm sure they need/deserve a break but maybe they shouldn't take it in a place where guests can see them - especially guests who cannot get into their rooms because housekeeping is behind...) So when we got to the desk at 4:30 there still wasn't a room ready but they said we could use the water park. They guessed that a room might be open around 5:00. (That's convenient - I have to dig through my stuff to find swimming suits, schelp around all of our clothes and shoes and then come to the front desk to check again in my wet suit??? Do they text or call??? Most hotels will text you now or at least offer to call when your room is ready but they were pretty overwhelmed by a number of angry-looking guests who wanted to check in so maybe they just didn't think of it?) So first strike - not being able to check in at the "allowed" time when it's already a late time (4:00) is tough. Went to the water park, had to change in a bathroom that smelled like week-old urine - there was some sort of SERIOUS problem in that bathroom - it was so disgusting that my girls, normally oblivious to such things, were really freaked out about the horrible smell. We changed as quickly as we could and then hauled our huge bag full of sweaters/jeans/shoes out to the park area with us. At 5:30 I went to see if our room was ready and was promptly checked in to a 1st floor room (which we could have had at 3:15 but declined because they told us we didn't want this room). I went and looked at it with the thought to ask to move but the view wasn't bad (not perfect and I'm sure the higher floors are nicer) but I was really cranky/angry/fed-up by then and didn't want to argue. There were conveniences to this - near a door (though they didn't tell us this at check in so I hauled a ton of stuff a long way the first trip) and it's near the water park, which was our main reason for being there. Our balcony was a little obstructed but, let's face it, it was already almost 6:00 and the sun was setting soon anyway...

WATER PARK
The water park was OK but not as nice as others in MN. The water was too cold in the splash area for my quite robust 3 year old. My 6 year old enjoyed the pools on Sunday evening but everything was much colder on Monday morning and she could only stand the pools for a few minutes before going to the lukewarm hot tub. The hot tub did warm up over the morning but they must turn it off at night. Worked OK for us because our kids basically went swimming in it as the other pools were too cold. (And yes, I monitored to be sure they didn't disturb any adults using the hot tub! This thing was basically full of kids who were swimming because the other pools were cold.) The pools were mostly clean, though there was a lot of sand on the floors and a few questionable areas that looked like they could use a good scrubbing. I'm guessing they close for cleaning every Monday and Friday - check the hours to be sure you're not staying over a timeframe where the pools will be closed for a significant part of your stay! In October they were closed on Mondays and Fridays from 11 - 4. The slides were fun, we didn't use the lazy river. The body slide must be a 48" requirement because my 6 yo didn't QUITE make it but she was allowed to go down the tube slide with an adult. Tube slide was fun. The splash area was way too cold, though we did see other kids enjoying it. On Monday morning we essentially could have been at any hotel with a pool and hot tub because both kids found all of the pool areas too cold to use. The bathroom, as mentioned, was horrifying in smell and mess. The second morning it smelled much better but over the morning the urine smell became more pronounced - not sure what that was about but whatever they did to make it way better overnight needs to be done at least once or twice during the day to prevent it from smelling like it did on Sunday evening!

ROOM
Our room was nice - 2 bed, 2 bath. Like most hotels there were little things to nitpick but overall it was clean and updated. Note that balconies have a small railing between your neighbors so no privacy if that's important to you. I paid a really good last-minute rate online so I was satisfied with the room/cost. (Tip - I could get this last-minute rate through my browser but when checking on my phone it didn't show up on their mobile site. Logged back in to the computer and it was there.) We only stayed one night so I barely noticed this but there was no closet area. (Or maybe there was an open hanging area right behind the door? I recall an ironing board there.) Regardless, there wasn't an actual closet to store clothes and suitcases.

HOTEL / COMMON AREAS
The common areas were rather run-down (especially compared to our room, which seemed reasonably updated). The set up near the lobby is odd and during our long wait to check in my daughter had to use the bathroom. We went up some stairs and there was ONE bathroom that remained occupied for a long time so we wandered up more stairs. A public bathroom on the 4th floor looks like a crazy joke. I think they were going for a beachy vibe??? But it looked like something form your grandma's basement in the 80's and everything was run-down. The little cabinet in there had all drawers and doors hanging open because they just wouldn't stay closed. The ceiling was a false ceiling like in a basement. It was just weird and it needed to be tidied - paper towels all over, etc. Just gave off a bad vibe - this was not helpful as I was already frustrated by the wait to check in after the posted check in time....

FOOD
Despite purchasing the morning buffet online as part of my order, it never showed up on our email (along with the dog, which I listed when I booked the room but didn't appear on the email). I didn't bother to go down and ask about breakfast because on arrival night I was pretty angry with the whole room situation and didn't want to give them any more money. So no comments on the breakfast buffet.

We did have cheeseburgers from the stand in the water park. They say they'll deliver but nowhere can you actually find a phone number to call to order. There is also not a book in the room explaining things, which I think a place like this needs since they have a large place with separate buildings, "attractions", etc. They won't text you a room-ready message but they did have a 2D barcode you could scan to get the hotel directory on your phone on a laminated card in your room so maybe more advanced than I thought?! (But no paper version,which I would have appreciated. My parents wouldn't have even known what to do with the barcode, let alone have the technology to do that.) I went down to order and asked if they would deliver and he told me they would but it's an extra 20% fee. He gave me a buzzer like they use at restaurants to let you know your table is ready, which seem to work in any room in the place and that was fine for us. But be aware that you apparently need to go down to order. The cheeseburgers were certainly frozen patties but decent tasting and pretty much what you'd expect from this sort of place. Also on the plus side, three cheeseburgers with fries was $30 which is a decent price for this sort of place, where you're pretty captive due to convenience.

SERVICE
The majority of staff we interacted with were friendly and helpful. The front desk (other than one somewhat stand-off-ish woman) was friendly and apologized for the wait. A woman in the arcade helped me get ice for my daughter's head on Sunday morning as I'd bonked her with a tube, causing her head to bump into the metal stairs (WOOPS!). She was very helpful and friendly. (The food area wasn't open in the water park or I'd have asked them. This is an opportunity for them - selling muffins and coffee to parents in the morning would be good!!!)

LOCATION
This is a huge attraction for this hotel. The view was lovely (over the highway but still very pretty). We didn't use it but saw signs to the lakewalk. (It'd be a long walk to Canal Park but it's an option!) There was a gas station, Perkins and liquor store right next to the hotel. Easy off the highway as well. The scenic trains go by so that's nice to see.

ATTRACTIONS
Water park already discussed. They also had an outdoor pool and hot tub (capacity = 5 people!) that we didn't use. There was a playground for kids (not terrific but decent!) and miniature golf. It was dreary/raining when we went but we saw a few people play. There was also a basketball court. The arcade looked empty whenever we passed it and we didn't use it. (Extra points for that room on the 1st floor because we didn't have to pass the arcade each time we went to the water park like you do at other water parks! In the lobby there are two Thomas tables which was nice as it kept kids busy while parents waited in line. There were also a bunch of bikes outside so I think the rented bikes? (Again, a directory is really in order for this hotel!)

SUMMARY
On the first night my husband and I were so angry about the check-in delays that we said we'd have left if it wasn't for the kids waiting to use the park. By morning we'd mellowed a bit and said this hotel has its place. It accepts pets, which is convenient, especially in Duluth where it seems hard to find pet-friendly hotels. The water park is an attraction for kids. The view of the lake and being on the lakewalk were pluses and the staff was friendly. The price was good (especially compared to hotels on the lake in Canal Park but you're not quite getting that here). Will we be back? I sort of doubt it but I won't rule it out.

Room tip: Higher floors have better lake view but 1st floor is near water park.
Date of stay: October 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
2  Thank RiverTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 October 2018 via mobile



It has been a while since I have stayed and I was extremely disappointed! The room was old, tired and realy needed updating! I would not walk stocking feet on the carpet. The lock in the door broke and the carpeted hallway outside stunk.
The price for such a room was outrageous.i due d more than 50 nights a years in hotels worldwide and have never paid that much for such a dumpy room.
You charge extra for the waterpark,  having a "resort fee" and then when we go in it in the morning, we got half an hour and you closed it for maintenance.  Why not do maintenance after 11 when the wristbands expire and before thec4 PM check in time for the next day?
The service was inexcusably slow.  Our room was not cleaned ( which we don't know why since we went out at 9 am and returned at 10 p.m). When we phoned the desk to let them know, they said they were gone for the day..We asked for fresh towels so we could shower and go to bed, phoned 3 times in the hour to see if they were coming and were finally told there was a shift change and she was by herself do couldn't get away.  We went down to get them ourselves.
Free breakfast is now gone so we ate elsewhere.
The cafe was so busy with one employee that we waited 20 minutes and were 3rd inline.  Next time we went across the street.
When I got home, I showered because I felt grubby. Not what I expect from a supposed 3star with high prices. Waterpark just isn't worth it for the stay. Will stay somewhere else next time.

Date of stay: October 2018
Trip type: Travelled with friends
Thank recentvisitor155555
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2018

My husband really liked this place. I thought it was okay. The real bonus is that it is within walking distance (about a block) to Blackwoods Grill and Bar. Our room was huge. It overlooked the pool area and Lake Superior. It appears that they could update the rooms. I really think a family with children would have a great time here. The indoor waterpark area is large, and the families we saw were having a great time. They have a lounge overlooking the waterpark.

Room tip: I'd request a lake-facing room
Date of stay: October 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Tracie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 September 2018 via mobile

We were told we couldn’t check in till 4:00. Showed up at 2:00 and there was a line 20 mins long to check in. That was frustrating. Got our room the bathroom had black mold around the tub the ceiling had brown water spots from leaks... Asked for a new room and they said they didn’t have any.. tried to tough it out but went to go to bed and the beds were soooo warn out we couldn’t even sleep. We asked for a room again where the actual springs weren’t poking out of the mattress and asked for a refund on our horrible “lake view”. They put up a fuss and gave us a worse room... must have been on the budget side because there was a strungout couple having a domestic in the room next door and the cop said they didn’t have enough money to split up or go anywhere else. Solid 3 hours of no sleep...Breakfast was fine except for the black flies (no outdoor seating).... but get what you pay for there..Water park was okay, good selection of amusements but.. thank goodness there was a hot tub because the water and the room air was very cold... so many kids in the hot tub...the entire establishment is very very run down... the one thing we had the most fun in was th arcade! Good array of games and fun prizes for the little ones..

Date of stay: September 2018
Trip type: Travelled with family
1  Thank 6sxtr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 September 2018

We read a lot of the reviews for this hotel when deciding where to stay in Duluth and we almost did not book here based on them. We decided to stay here due to the lake views and the prices being cheaper than other hotels. So glad we did decide to stay here! We found the hotel to be just fine. The rooms could use come fresh paint and carpet cleaning but overall it was just fine. The rooms and bathrooms were clean, there were nice bed linens. and they provided great toiletry products from Bath and Body Works. All the staff were very friendly and helpful. The hotel had a free shuttle service which we used both Friday and Saturday night to go out for dinner. We enjoyed drinks at the hotel’s Sunset Lounge. We did not use the waterpark facilities but we noted a lot of families having a great time there. In summary-we would recommend staying at the hotel. Good value for the price.

Date of stay: September 2018
Thank TravelerKJB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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