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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hanukkah Night 4 and 5 – Key Lime Cove

As I previously posted, we spent the last two nights at Key Lime Cove in Gurnee, Illinois.   This is an indoor water park, hotel and resort similar to waterparks in Wisconsin Dells, only closer.   I’ve got a review of our stay, and some pictures.  This is going to be a somewhat long post, so click below to read it all.

Check-in was easy once you got parked.  Arrival itself is difficult.  Most hotels offer a small parking area during check-in, or at least a valet and bellhop to take out your bags and move your car while you check in.  Not here.  You pull up to literally dozens of cars parked along the side of the driveway, and two overhead signs: “Passenger drop-off”, and “Through traffic”.  There is no indication of where to go to check in.

Once inside, the place is very festive and fun.  On the main lobby level, there is a village of shops and activities.   In contrast to arrival, check-in is actually quite efficient.  The front desk went through a huge line of new arrivals quite quickly and efficiently, and considering the large line of people, we were checked in quickly.

The rooms are spacious enough, considering the price.  The basic room we took included two “queen” beds (hotels always lie) and a fold-out, with room for six.  We fit OK.

First problem – the bathroom was locked when we arrived.   Long story, it’s one of those latches from the inside with an outside key.  Apparently housekeeping thought that would be a nice joke for the arriving guests.  A lengthy wait for maintenance, with a family of full bladders, and it was fixed.

Off we went to the water park, the whole point of our visit.  My initial reaction was that the park itself was a bit small for the size of the hotel.  We started by looking for tubes.  You need inner tubes to do almost anything here – half the slides, the wave pool, even the lazy river.  Trouble is, none of the staff knew where to find them.  They sent us to the four corners of the park, looking for them, but as it turns out there’s no central inner tube management facility here – you just have to grab ’em where you can find ’em.

OK it wasn’t all bad.  Once we found tubes, we spent the first couple hours relaxing in the “lazy river” – an artificial current river that pushes you around in the tubes.  Their lazy river intersects the wave pool at one point, which adds a little fun to the relaxation.

They also have a great “tot pool” for 3-6 year olds, with a large pool and three slides.  Then there are the “big slides” – five huge tubes that you can slide on your butt or use a tube to go down.  And there’s a large “splash” area with all kinds of water sprayers and a bucket dump.

There is a jacuzzi, but during busy times there’s actually a line to get in.  On the plus side, that keeps it from getting too crowded.  On the downside, it means you actually have to wait in line to relax.

The restaurants are OK but the food is overpriced and isn’t spectacular.  The service in both restaurants is slow, with the worst being the “DW’s” ice cream parlor & restaurant – we waited 30 minutes just for our desert, and the entire meal from appetizers to desert ended up taking a little over two hours.  The service didn’t improve until we complained (along with the guests sitting near us – apparently it was a widespread problem.)

Overall, we had a good time, and spent most of it in the water park.  Pictures are HERE.

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 6:48 pm  

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