Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wyndham Glacier Canyon Lodge

Hotel Stay Details 
Hotel: Wyndham Glacier Canyon Lodge
Dates: February 14-16, 2014
Rate Paid: $119/night (incl. taxes)
Points Earned: 0 Points

We've been doing quite a lot of domestic traveling the past few months (Memphis, Scottsdale, and Austin), enjoying family time spent in the wonderful parts of the United States that remind us how much of a bubble New York City is. This time around, we wandered into the famous Wisconsin Dells (C on the map below), a local weekend vacation destination about an hour drive northwest of Madison (B) and 3 hours northwest of Chicago (A).

While we normally try to stay at Starwood hotels (since my father has his Platinum status perks like complimentary suite upgrades, free breakfasts, and VIP service), we actually went to Wisconsin specifically to enjoy the massive indoor water parks connected to the Glacier Canyon Lodge with our friends. Water parks are very popular in the Midwest, and especially in Wisconsin. I suppose being so far from a real beach, Wisconsin found a way to bring the water fun to them.

Because the resort was managed by Wyndham, we could have booked the reservation through their website and earned some Wyndham reward points, but my friend Jack's mother knew that using EBay offered a much cheaper way to book.

We secured a great 2 bedroom suite for the weekend all for the low price of just $475 total (split between 2 families). In addition to the room for 2 nights, the price included 8 passes to all the waterparks and all cleaning fees, taxes, etc. No timeshare tour/presentation required. Since the lodge is actually a timeshare property, many owners put their shares up for sale to the highest bidder when they're not in use, oftentimes priced significantly less than "retail." By way of example, the same type 2 bedroom suite was being offered online at $409/night (including taxes). We paid just $238/night. No reasonable amount of Wyndham points would be worth foregoing that $169/night savings.

Booking a hotel room via EBay was pretty easy, though there's always a risk when dealing with another individual as opposed to a professionally run hotel. Our seller was a couple from Minnesota who seemed to have a solid transaction history on EBay (226 Positive Reviews, 1 Neutral, 0 Negative). We prepaid online and received confirmation from EBay including the seller's contact information.

As a part of the transaction, we were supposed to send our name (exactly as written on our driver's license) to the seller so she could officially reserve her timeshare under that name. However, more than 24 hours had passed and no word from the seller. So my father then called the Seller and left a voicemail.

Within the hour, the woman called him back apologizing for being away from the computer. She confirmed the name we wanted on the reservation (apparently, only that person could check in and it's a huge deal to have to change the name later) and then we received the official confirmation email from the resort shortly thereafter.

We originally thought to put my father's name on the reservation (since we'd likely arrive before our friends). But given the chance of Midwest winter snowstorms in mid-February, we put our Chicago friends' name on the reservation instead since they were driving up. In the scenario where our flights from New York would get delayed or worse, cancelled, at least they would get to enjoy the resort.

The 2 Bedroom Suite
The 900 sq foot two-bedroom suite was perfect for a pair of families, especially having a full kitchen and dining room area. My mother appreciated having separate bathrooms.

Our friends took the bedroom with the double beds and gave us the larger master bedroom with the king bed. But most of the time, we were all hanging out in the livingroom/kitchen. All of us kids got to use the Jacuzzi bathtub too.

We didn't arrive to Glacier Canyon Lodge until about 8:30PM Friday evening. We had landed at 4PM that afternoon in Madison (about an hour drive away), but decided to enjoy some of the University of Wisconsin's finest to time our arrival with my friends who didn't hit the road from Chicago until mid-afternoon.

Check in was hectic with a lot of other families all arriving for the long President's Day weekend. But we finally got our keys to Room 8310. Here are some photos of the actual suite from this weekend.




Plenty of space for two families with young kids. And plenty of room for me to get to play with Jack and Connor.

1 comment:

  1. We just purchased a similar deal on eBay for the Wyndham 2 bedroom pres. room. How was the access to the indoor parks?