Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort
Travel Blogs from Utica
Let it be known that this town is a genuinely happy town. I don’t think we met a single person today who didn’t smile, greet us, and (in most cases) laugh heartily while hanging out with a couple of circus folk. Even their 4th-6th graders enjoyed and laughed during their clown assembly (most kids their age would’ve scoffed and made fun, but they had a great time). I think the Kelly Miller Circus is going to make Washburn a circus town!
... went away with news about the circus and that’s what we’re here to do.
Because we missed Peru, IL so much (if you’ve already forgotten, we spent a week in Peru when we blew our transmission a couple of weeks ago), we went back there after Marseilles to get an oil change at Fulmer’s Service Station (the same place that replaced our transmission). Our mechanic, T.J., was there and we talked to him for a while about circus life and how ...
After work on Friday, we drove back to Mendota (where we broke down a couple of weeks ago) to join up with the show for the weekend. As always, it was everything we needed...
- Late night pizza run with Steve, Shelby, Radar, Elisa, and Pete to a local pizza place in downtown Mendota. We all ordered "dough nuggets", which turned out to be cheesy bread, but still delicious!
- Saturday was busy:
John met with Steve and Ryan for a good ...
We left Pine Ridge park at 7:30am. Took 69W to 94W to the 80W bypassing Chicago to Utica, IL. It rained all day as we drove through southwest Michigan. After passing Kalamazoo we noticed that there were a lot of wineries in the area. Paw Paw is a village home to one of Michigian's oldest, largest and most awarded wineries - the St. Julian Winery. It was nearby exit 39 on 94W. We had done a wine tasting at their store in Frankenmuth - loved the sparkling Sangria. We ...
... but it was closed. Oh well it was their lose and my gain as I am sure I would have spent money! Arrived at the campground at around 5:00 pm. Great dinner and walked around the campground. No one is here and it is very weird only a few people out around here!!!! They have pay showers and a chapel right next door. So you can ****,shower and pray at the same ...
How has this hotel rated in the past?
If you don't feel like reading this whole review, here are some highlights:
No hot water, disgusting water at that
broken water pipe
unfriendly, arrogant, harassing, unreasonable, small-minded, rude managers
DO NOT STAY HERE
Recently my family, friends, and I decided to book a "luxury" cabin at Grizzly Jack's Resort for three days of what was anticipated to be full of fun, good times and adventure. I put "luxury" in quotation marks and you will see why as you read this review.
When we first arrived, check-in went pretty well. The people at the front desk were nice, and gave us directions to the cabin. Although the cabin was hard to find, we finally found it. We decided to make food, only to find that one of the pots had what looked to be MOLD on it. If it wasn't mold, I don't know what else it was. But, we decided to look past it because we aren't ones to normally complain, and we wanted to just have a good time. Then, we went on to discover that the cabin wasn't even equipped with pans. We were stuck making grilled cheeses and taco meat in pots. Again, this wasn't too big of a deal, so we decided to look past it. But then we turned the water on - and let me tell you that if you smelled it, you wouldn't want to use it for ANYTHING. Not to shower, not to cook with, not to drink. Good thing we brought bottled water, although that didn't solve our shower problem. But, we decided to look past that too and try and have a good time.
All was going great; we were playing games outside, we were listening to music, and later in the night we were all inside watching the Stanley Cup final game. Then there was a knock on the door, and it was the manager. Apparently, a different cabin in their resort was filled with teenagers that were getting obnoxiously and drinking, so the managers found it necessary to knock on every occupied cabin's door and ask for the chaperone/ the person that had checked in. Well, our chaperone had gone down to the bar that is in the resort to watch the Stanley Cup game, because he wanted to enjoy a drink by himself. They demanded that he come back, so we did as we were told and called him, and he was back within ten minutes. When he got back, they basically told him that he needed to be there every minute of every day because he was the "chaperone". The funny thing is that the managers never cared to ask us for any of our ages or IDs, so they just automatically assumed that we were all under the age of 21 and needed a chaperone, which was not true. But, we complied with their rules because we didn't want to cause any problems. Throughout the rest of the night, the managers came knocking on the door 2 or 3 more times, which I would consider harassment, considering every time they knocked on the door we did as they said and gave them absolutely no issues.
At about midnight, when we were all getting ready to go to bed, someone in the basement of the cabin heard water running. Thinking that maybe somebody took a shower and left the water running, she got up to go turn it off, only to find that one of the pipes in the laundry room had broken and water was spilling EVERYWHERE. If she hadn't noticed, the whole basement would have been underwater. So we figured out how to turn the water softener off, and configured something to make the water that was spilling out pour into the drain like it was supposed to. We called the front desk immediately, and they told us that they don't have a maintenance staff on call 24/7, which we thought was a little ridiculous considering it is a hotel. So it was either we move all of our stuff and everybody to a different cabin at 1 in the morning, or we wait until 8 am for the maintenance guys to come. Because we were tired and aggravated, we opted to stay and wait for the maintenance guys.
So, we went to sleep, and at 8 am the maintenance guys came, and fixed the problem. They left, and we all proceeded to go back to bed because we had a late night staying up with the broken water pipe. One girl decided to take a shower, only to find that there was no hot water. This was not due to the broken pipe, because they didn't have anything to do with eachother. The chaperone couldn't sleep, so he went into town to get coffee. At 9 am, there was a hard pounding at the door, waking everybody up and disturbing everybody. We answered the door, and there was the general manager Brett Sullivan and another manager Ryan Greaves, demanding to know where the chaperone was. Not only did we not get an apology for the broken pipe or an apology for pounding on the door at 9 am, they were rude. They asked us to get the chaperone back here within 10 minutes. So naturally, our chaperone sped into the parking lot because he wanted to get back as soon as he could to find out what the managers wanted. As soon as he got out of the car, the managers yelled at him for speeding into the lot, even though they were the ones that told us to get him back within 10 minutes. So, they then proceeded to tell us that it would be best for us to leave, even though we did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to get "kicked out" of this "luxury" cabin. Then, they told us we had until 9:45 to get out (it was about 9:15 when they said this) or they were calling the police. Fed up and annoyed, we were HAPPY to leave. So we gathered all of our stuff, hoping we didn't forget anything considering we were given 30 minutes to get 18 people out of a cabin, and left.
The chaperone went to the lobby to check out, and was told that was we would get our security deposit back and that we would be refunded for the second night. Wanting it in writing, the lady at the front desk told us she couldn't confirm that was true until she got authorization from the managers that were pounding on our door at 9 am. Wanting to leave because we were so aggravated, we told her to have them call us if they weren't giving us the money back. So on the way home, we received a phone call that we would not be getting a refund of $850 for the second night because we "were asked to leave" even though we did nothing for them to ask us to leave. Then they told us we would not be getting our $1,000 security deposit back. Then they even had the nerve to tell us that one of us must have kicked the water pipe and that's how it broke, because "they don't just break on their own". After arguing back and forth, they said they would let us know how much money from the security deposit we would get back, if any at all, after they shampooed the rugs.
I normally wouldn't take the time out of my day to write a negative review about a place, but I think it was necessary to write one for this resort, because what they did was ignorant and wrong. I don't think they know was "hospitality" means. I don't know what happened to this place, because I went here a couple years ago and everything was great. But now they just have ignorant, rude, arrogant managers running the place that seem to be scamming people out of their money. I would definitely NOT RECOMMEND this place to anyone, even if you aren't planning on getting a cabin. If this is what their "luxury" cabins are like, I can't imagine what their normal hotel rooms are like. Do yourself and your family a favor, and stay somewhere else. I'm sure you can find a better, less expensive, friendlier hotel than this one, because it isn't hard to beat.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
TravelPod Member ReviewsGrizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort Utica
Historical Traveler Reviews Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort Utica
We stayed at the Lodge on a Sunday night. The waterpark itself was just wonderful although I agree with a prior review that you really must watch your own children. Also the slides by the treehouse area should not be attempted by normal size adults. I really hurt my knee and witnessed another woman do the smae. The padding at the bottom is inadequate for the speed! In general the park was clean and very fun. My kids enjoyed themselves immensely. The restaurant however was just awful. We decided to go even though we read bad reviews bc we thought they might have improved things and we really didn't feel like packing up the kids to drive around and find something else. They really have a captive audience and clearly take advantage. Most if not all the food items were well over $15. We had an obviously frozen pizza that cost $18.95. It was extremely thin crust, was cold in the middle, and was served on a pizza pan that was so bent the pizza was in danger of falling off. The extra cheese was a joke. The wait staff was very inattentive. We had empty water glasses that were commented on (You must have been thirsty..." but not filled the entire time we were there. Our waitress failed to bring us plates for the pizza and she just reeked of cigarette smoke. She apologized for the pizza explaining that they didn't have a pizza oven, but she didn't tell us this until after she brought it out. Strangely we had a great breakfast at the same restaurant. It was a great basic brunch with plenty for all to eat, fruit, donuts, eggs, sausage, bacon etc. It was great. I even filled out a comment card bc it seemed such a shame that the restaurant was so bad in the evening but I never had the hotel contact me to follow up. I just felt I should warn other guests. Really, bring your own microwaveables or go anywhere else for dinner. The breakfast is very nice but don't attempt the dinner!
Great Family Trip
My Christmas present to my family was a trip to the Grand Bear Lodge. We had 3 Villas. The Villas are wonderful. The service to the Lodge and back was great. Most of the time I would put the phone down and the van was there. The waterpark is great for all ages. The Christmas lights were still lit. It was beautiful. We will be returning next year, if not sooner. Can't wait for the Amusement Park.
Will definately return
Everything went perfectly. We had a midweek rate of $149. Check-in was simple and quick. Staff is very friendly. Our Family Suite was quite big compared to other hotel rooms. Very clean. We have a 4 1/2 yr old who LOVED the waterpark. It is not "huge", but more than adaquate for children. The wave pool was great. We had too much fun. Everything you need is available right at the resort (restaurants, ice-cream, chocolate shop, coffee, etc.) I would recommend this resort and do plan to return.
This is a hidden gem and a great value for the money. My family stayed here over the Veteran's day holiday and had a great time. Our kids loved the indoor water park, and we loved sitting there watching them with bar service right there! The local scenery and hiking at Starved Rock State Park were tremendous. We rented a villa, which is really a townhouse complete with two fireplaces and a jacuzzi. It could have accomodated 10 people easily. Next time, we'll share it with another family. We would have (and have) paid twice as much as we did. We'll be back for sure.
We stayed here over the weekend of October 14-17 2005. We had an incredibly fun time--but most of our joy came from non-property activities. The little town of Utica was wonderful. Lunch at Duffy's Tavern was one of our highlights. Starved Rock State Park was spectacular. There were too many people on the trails, but it was still a lot of fun.
We visited the Grand Bear Lodge for two nights on the third weekend of October and found that it lived up to its advertising. We had three generations and all stayed in one villa which we truly enjoyed. The indoor water park was incredible for the children and very enjoybable for the rest. The playground was good. The miniature golf that was attached to it was probably not quite worth the expense especially for young children who were charged the same as adults. We had all of our meals in the villa so did not try the restaurants.
We stayed at this hotel during the Buroga Festival in Oct . My family loved this hotel. Yes , It isn't as big as the ( Wilderness / Kalahari ) but my kids had a Great Time .
We were excited to see this new waterpark hotel in Illinois. We are frequent travelers to Wisconsin Dells so we were able to compare the two. Utica is much closer to us than Wisc Dells. The hotel is small in comparison to the larger dells hotels with 92 guest rooms. We stayed on a thurs night, One King bed was 139.00 We were informed that on Friday the rate was 298.00 for the same room. Insane. I actually was trying to reserve the "family suite" 2 double beds, and pull out couch. But during the very long wait for reservations, which appear to be handled by the meager front desk staff, the room was "no longer available" It was at the beginning of the call, but by the end of the call it was not. Of note, they don't take debit cards at all for reservations. I was told this at the end of the reservation process not at the beginning. I had to hang up, call back again with my credit card number which I do not usually use. I had to wait even longer on hold. Took about one hour on the phone altogether.
For those that are wondering what Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Lodge is all about, it's worth a visit. There are some kinks that the folks at Grizzly Jack's need to work out. Staff members need to receive more training for inquiring guests. The exercise room still needs to have TV's or music installed. More staff members are needed to answer the phone. When guests dial 0, the phone will ring 15 to 20 times and never be answered.