by Lisa Meyers McClintick
In an area overflowing with lodging options and expansive resorts, the 128-room Hilton Garden Inn Wisconsin Dells provides a serene option with vibrant, contemporary dÃ©cor and modern amenities tucked within the heart of Wisconsin Dells’ family attractions.
It’s an especially good fit for families with one or two children who are seeking the dependability of a national brand, a more upscale feel and rooms adapted for disabilities. Originally built in 2005, the Hilton Garden Inn was renovated in 2013 with ongoing annual upgrades.
It doesn’t have the grand themes and sprawling layout and water parks of the bigger properties, but families with toddlers and preschoolers can enjoy time in the pool and sit out on the balconies for fresh air and a little wiggle room without seeing dinosaur slides that might trigger colossal meltdowns when it’s nearing nap time.
This Hilton sits nestled behind towering pine trees just off Highway 12, buffering it from the Dells’ “Strip” that’s lined with theme parks, go-karts, an upside-down replica of the White House, a massive Trojan horse and other places vying for travelers’ attention. It’s easy to miss the hotel if you don’t know to look for its three-story building painted a rosy terra-cotta color.
For kids (especially thrill-seeking teens) wanting to experience the Dells’ famous water rides, it’s about a block to Noah’s Ark, which claims to be the nation’s largest outdoor water park. It’s also a few blocks to Lake Delton Public Beach for families preferring a quieter alternative. Even easier: the Hilton’s indoor whirlpool and pool makes swimming completely weather-proof, but there’s also a nice outdoor patio for sunny days and soaking in the outdoor spa.
Rooms all include mini-fridges and microwaves for preparing easy meals using the downstairs pantry shop, your own groceries or leftovers from the many places to dine within walking distance from the hotel. The hotel’s own Garden Grille and Pub opens for hot breakfasts and continental buffets, while the lobby bar and lounge offers pizza in the evening.
Our Editor Loves
- Modern, comfortable rooms with balcony options
- Indoor pool and outdoor patio
- Healthy evening snacks and refreshments
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The hotel's 128 rooms all include complimentary Wi-Fi, a desk and office chair, a chair for lounging, a mini-fridge, microwave, 42-inch flat-screen TV, coffeemaker and Neutrogena bath products. Beds feature duvets, while TVs include premium cable and pay-per-view movies. If you're visiting during the balmy months, seek a room with a balcony and fresh air. Complimentary cribs and rollaway beds are available upon request. Additionally, the hotel has 16 sets of connecting rooms.
Standard guestrooms come with an option for two queen beds or one king bed, and can sleep between two and four guests. King bed options come with fireplaces or whirlpool tubs, as well.
Suites include one king bed, along with a sitting area that includes a sofa bed fit for one person. These are the only rooms that allow a rollaway bed.
Mobility accessible rooms include one king bed or two queen beds with additional accommodations such as wheelchair-friendly vanities and shelving, grab bars and accessible bathtubs or roll-in showers. Hearing accessibility rooms have a visual alarm clock and alert devices for doorbells, knocks and incoming phone calls.
by Larry W
Clean, quiet, comfy room & hotel with great, courteous and efficient staff and inviting atmosphere. Delicious breakfast in in-house restaurant. We slept well, too, after long drive. Easy check-in and out. We'll happily be back.
Hotel is a little more expensive, so expectations were high. Hotel service was average, might be better if you are a Hilton member. Hotel room floor had a few raisins on it, this makes you wonder if anything else got missed. Hot tub was dirty, like someone put mulch in it.
Pool and Whirlpools
Most kids beeline first to the indoor pool. It ranges in depth from 3 to 5 feet and stays comfortably warm. It's conveniently located near the lobby (for snacks and sundries if needed) but closer to elevators and sleeping rooms so no one needs to parade before incoming guests in wet swimsuits. The pool opens at 5 a.m. for early risers and closes at 10 p.m.
There also are two indoor hot tubs, and two outdoor ones on the patio outside the pool area. Glass fencing keeps the patio protected from wind on cooler days, and tables are available for warm-weather picnics or relaxing with a book.
There's a small arcade on the first floor with a toy bin and crane, side-by-side racing game and a few one- and two-player video games.
Kids will appreciate the spring green and other vibrant colors in the Hilton's lobby and dining area that includes a fountain near the entrance. There are several sitting areas where families can hang out while enjoying the evening snack, reading or playing a game such as checkers.
Garden Grille & Pub
The Garden Grille serves up filling, kid-friendly buffet breakfasts that include made-to-order pancakes, French toast, sausage, bacon, hash browns, omelets and their signature waffles, plus rolls, cereal, yogurt and fruit. Coffee, tea and juice are included. The Grille is in the lobby to the right of check-in.
The Pub is located to the left of the check-in area. It's small, but popular for guests who gather to watch games, have a drink or order a pizza. Families can order pizza here, too, but place the order before or after swimming. No food is allowed in the pool area.
The Garden Grille is open from 6 to 10 a.m. for breakfast, Monday through Friday, and until 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Pub is open daily from 5 to 10 p.m.
For quick, convenient meals after a long day of driving or a late-night snack, microwaveable soups or pasta, chips, snacks, beverages and treats are at the 24-hour Pavilion Pantry near the check-in area.
In-room dining is also available daily.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Drinks and snacks
Welcoming amenities at check-in include fresh fruit water, hot water for tea, and healthy homemade snack bars that are thick, moist and packed with fruit and granola.
There are coin-operated washers and dryers on the third floor if you need to clean a load of clothes or dry swimsuits.
Guests who are part of this loyalty program can check in more quickly and accumulate points through Hilton hotels and travel partners to use toward room upgrades, free nights and other perks.
The first-floor fitness center includes weight-training equipment and cardio machines. There are complimentary Stay Fit Kits for in-room workouts with a Pilates band, yoga mat and blocks, weight ball, hand weights and resistance rope.
A business center offers guests computer access and complimentary printing service.
Onsite parking is free for all guests.
Check-in is at 3 p.m. and check-out is at 11 a.m.
The Art of Smart Timing
Because it's a family and water park destination, peak season for the Dells runs throughout the summer (mid-June through mid-September) when outdoor water parks and theme parks are open. Indoor water parks also make it popular on winter holiday weekends.
Because this hotel also caters to business travelers, prices won't drop as much here as at other resorts and hotels that discount mid-week and off-peak stays. Prices do drop if demand is low, so watching the rates is a good idea, as well as booking at least two weeks in advance.
Late fall, winter and early spring tend to be the quieter seasons, but you'll still find much to do in the area, indoors and out. Just dress for the weather, which averages in the 70s and 80s in the summer and dips to about 30 degrees (if not lower) in the winter.
The closest airport is the Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, which is about 48 miles or an hour away. Taxis and limousines charge about $110 to $165 for transport to the Dells, so a rental car makes the most sense, especially for exploring the Dells and getting around once you're there.
Other options include flying into Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport, which is 125 miles away, and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, which is a 180-mile or three-hour drive.
A vehicle is needed to get around the Dells, but there are restaurants within walking distance if your kids can't face the car seats one more time without a meltdown.
For Mom and Dad
If parents can sneak away, there are several date-night restaurants within a few blocks of the hotel, including the historic House of Embers with vintage Hollywood-themed booths, and Del-Bar with its warm, elegant arts and crafts architecture. Field's at the Wilderness also offers another nearby and elegant option.