by Christine Koubek
The Great Wolf Lodge, Williamsburg, is a log-sided Northwood’s-style resort, tucked in a forest of towering pines, just three miles from Colonial Williamsburg. The property opened in March 2005, and in less than a year earned TripAdvisor’s 2005 Travelers’ Choice Award, ranking first in the category of “Top 10 Best Pools in the U.S.”
The lodge did so well that 104 new suites were added in 2007 (for a total of 405). Howlin’ Tornado, a super-fast water slide with a funnel was added in 2006 and is one of the amenities that differentiates Great Wolf’s Williamsburg property form its Poconos Mountains location.
The Williamsburg resort is owned and managed by Great Wolf Resorts, Inc., the largest owner, operator and developer in the United States of indoor water park resorts. The company currently has 12 properties in the U.S. and Canada that cater to families with children ranging in age from 2 to 14. And cater to them they do. A few steps in to lobby, with its massive stone fireplace, comfy chairs, and staging area with faux animals and trees with faces, and our boys could barely stand in line long enough to check-in. Friends joined us for the weekend’s stay, and the five children between us (ranging in age from 6 to 11) were begging to explore.
Find more Great Wolf Lodges by reading about Great Wolf Lodges.
Our Editor Loves
- 300,000-gallon indoor water park
- MagiQuest game for kids
- Outdoor pool, mini-golf and grill
- Water Parks
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
There are 10 different room configurations to choose from, including oversized rooms with lofts to three kid-themed suites: KidKamp, Wolf Den and KidCabin, each of which are designed for families with younger children. Families can also choose to stay in one of 10 QuestMaster Suites, where children's MagiQuest wands can manipulate magic chests, lamps, and stars. A stay in these suites includes two wands, and allows guests to gain points playing the game in their suite as well as throughout the resort.
While a particular room assignment cannot be guaranteed, you can have the reservation agent note a preference for a room overlooking the outdoor pool, or one at the end of a hallway far away from kids playing MagiQuest, and therefore quieter for daytime nappers. Since the resort is a smoke-free facility, all rooms are non-smoking.
Note: Guests are given wristbands instead of room-keys. One type of band (for parents and older kids) opens guest room doors and allows for charging privileges, while the one given to children does not. Be sure to ask for the adult type of band at check-in for children who will be coming and going from the room on their own.
The Queen Sofa Suite sleeps four people. There is a queen bed, full bath, a full-size sleeper sofa, a 27-inch TV and a private balcony or patio. The room is equipped with a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and hair dryer. This room is handicap accessible.
The Family Suite sleeps four, with a maximum of six people. The room has two queen beds, a full-size bath, living area with a full-size sleeper sofa, a 27-inch TV and a balcony or patio. The room is equipped with a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and hair dryer. The suites are also available with fireplaces.
The Luxury King Suite sleeps four. The room has a king bed, a full-size bath, living area with a full-size sleeper sofa, a 32-inch TV and a balcony or patio. The room is equipped with a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and hair dryer.
The Wolf Den Suitesleeps four, with a maximum of six. The room has a cave-themed sleeping area with a bunk bed and TV. The main area has a queen bed, a full-size bath, full-size sleeper sofa, a 27-inch TV and a balcony or patio. The room is equipped with a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and hair dryer.
The KidKamp Suite sleeps four, with a maximum of six. The room has a tent-themed sleeping area with a bunk bed and TV. The main area has a queen bed, a full-size bath, full-size sleeper sofa, a 27-inch TV and a balcony or patio. The room is equipped with a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and hair dryer.
The KidCabin Suite sleeps four, with a maximum of seven. The room has a cabin-themed sleeping area with a bunk bed, day bed and TV. The main area has a queen bed, a full-size bath, full-size sleeper sofa, a 27-inch TV and a balcony or patio. The room is equipped with a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and hair dryer.
The Loft Fireplace Suite sleeps four people, with a maximum of eight. The main floor has two queen beds, full bath, two 27-inch TVs, a living area with full sleeper sofa and gas fireplace. Upstairs is a queen bed, 27-inch TV and a half bath. There is also a balcony or patio. The room is equipped with a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and hair dryer. A Loft Fireplace Suite is also available with fireplace.
The Majestic Bear Suite sleeps four people, with a maximum of eight. The master bedroom has a king bed and 32-inch TV. The main area has two queen beds, full sleeper sofa and 32-inch TV. There is also a private balcony or patio and a breakfast bar. The room is equipped with a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and hair dryer.
The Whirlpool Fireplace Suite sleeps four people, with a king bed, full-bath, whirlpool tub, 27-inch TV, full-size sleeper sofa and private patio. The room is equipped with a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and hair dryer.
The Grizzly Bear Suite sleeps four people, with a maximum of eight. There is a master bedroom with queen bed, 27-inch TV and full bath. The second bedroom has two queen beds and a 27-inch TV. The living area has a full-size sleeper sofa, full bathroom, corner fireplace, 27-inch TV and private balcony or patio. The room is equipped with a microwave, fridge, coffee maker and hair dryer.
We’ve visited this location twice and if our child had their way, we would visit for every vacation. Every experience with the staff was above and beyond. They are so friendly! If it is your first visit, highly recommend investing in a Paw Pass (or pup pass for toddlers); it allows your kids to try a bit of everything. The pool area is great, but beware that snagging a chair can be a challenge at times. Some people will go in right when the pool opens and claim a whole swath of chairs and then disappear for a few hours. We do not leave any valuables with our chairs, only towels, water bottles, and magazines (which you won’t have the time to read). We really appreciated that our toddler was able to ride on almost every slide. When not in the pool, the arcade, bowling, and Oliver Time Challenge were big hits. Be prepared to spend additionally money for arcade points.
The scheduled activities throughout the day can be a bit disorganized, but our child always enjoyed them. They are definitely geared to the younger crowd, in my opinion. They are an excellent excuse to re-direct kids from the pool for a while.
The buffet can be a bit expensive, and has been hit or miss. However, they CAN accommodate food allergies (especially peanut and nut allergies), which is a big bonus for us. If you ask, they will bring a special nut-free dessert. The dessert wasn’t fancy, but it made our child feel included and special.
We enjoyed the spa. The facials were surprisingly amazing.
It is possible to spend your entire vacation inside the Lodge, but would encourage you to get out at least once and see Williamsburg (You must eat at Food for Thought. Amazing food and service!)
Tips: You can hit up Dunkin Donuts in the lobby in your PJs in the morning, most people do; bring snacks and drinks for your room, including alcohol; have a set amount of money you are willing to spend on extras before you go; bring two swimsuits; leave your life vests at home; best time to go is during the week; hit up the slides first thing in the morning; always look for coupons or sign up online for their coupons, there is no reason to pay full price.
The water park is never cleaned, gobs of hair, old bandaids and debris left around pools during our three day stay. Rooms not cleaned between guests, outside areas littered and never cleaned up. Tub in our room was greasy and glaze coming off with tub stained red. All this never fixed took day and a half for them to respond to requests to clean. Rooms were expensive $260 a night for a dirty room?
Indoor Water Park
The most prominent recreation option is of course the 300,000 gallons of fun, always 84-degrees, indoor water park. Babies and toddlers can wade in shallow water and play with sprinkle bucks at a zero-entry pool located conveniently near the park's entrance. (Diaper wearers must wear waterproof swim diapers, which are available in resort stores). The waterpark is staffed by more than 100 certified lifeguards, with an average of about 20 guards per shift. Slide height requirements range from 42 to 48 inches tall. Those who are scared of the dark (whether adults or kids) should note that the fully enclosed slides are brighter inside during the day than at night.
Alberta Falls is four stories tall and twists in and out of the building before dropping into a plunge pool. The tube is enclosed so the temperature doesn't change. Children under 42 inches tall must ride with an adult and can only take the double tube.
The wave pool, Beaver Tail Pond, is fun for all ages with gentle waves and a pool depth that graduates from zero to five feet. Three different size life-vests are available on nearby racks as well as clear inner-tube rafts. Be prepared to accompany young children when this massive pool is crowded. It can be hard to track them from the side.
Kids test their balance, jump on lily pads and try not to fall into the water in Big Foot Pass. Children under 48 inches tall are encouraged to wear a lifejacket.
Play water basketball or let kids test their balance on the floating activities in the Chinook Cove Activity Pool.
Float in a tube along the current of the winding, endless lazy river.