by Traci L. Suppa
Branson, just north of the Arkansas border in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, is a multi-faceted destination, with a historic downtown district, a buzzing strip along Highway 76 of retail, dining and attractions, and two lakes for swimming, boating and fishing. Family vacationers come here for the high entertainment value, which is multiplied exponentially by staying at the Welk Resort.
In 1964, celebrity bandleader Lawrence Welk purchased his first resort in California. Now the Welk Resorts company — led by his grandson — owns four properties, including this one. They operate as resorts, and as Interval International Premier Resort timeshares. So in addition to traditional hotel accommodations, there are also villa rentals called the Lodges at Timber Ridge.
The Branson Welk Resort, which opened in the early 1990’s, completed a major renovation in 2013, which replaced all major components of its 159 guestrooms, the lobby, corridors and common areas. The resulting dÃ©cor is comfortably modern, with a warm color palette appropriate for a mountain destination.
There is plenty to see and do around Branson while based at this conveniently located hotel, but there is equally as much to keep your family happy on the property. Families are the main focus, with a busy Activity Center running events all day long, the Splash-A-Torium pool area, game room, playground and mini-golf course.
Our Editor Loves
- Children's activities and dedicated Activity Center
- Splash-a-Torium indoor and outdoor attraction
- Proximity to local attractions and activities
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
In the hotel (as opposed to the owned and rented villas), there are 159 rooms in three different room configurations, and connecting rooms are available. Cribs are available at no charge. Due to local regulations, guestrooms can't accommodate rollaway beds or cots.
The rooms, as well as most public spaces, have been remodeled, and we appreciated the fresh, modern dÃ©cor in earthy colors suited to this mountain location. Everything from the white duvet covers to the granite counter tops looked new and clean.
Standard room amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi, desks, mini-fridges, clock radios, 32-inch, flat-screen TVs, bath products (Ecology brand), coffeemakers with Seattle's Best coffee and Starbucks Tazo Tea, and ironing boards and irons.
Deluxe King with Sofa Bed
These rooms feature a king bed with a sofa bed next to it and a coffee table.
Deluxe Two Queens
These rooms feature two queen beds separated by a night stand.
These rooms are larger than standard rooms, and have one king bed with a pillow-top mattress. Instead of a sofa bed, there is an oversized chair and ottoman.
Room 254 should have been taken out of service. It was damp,musty, and moldy smelling. Obviously, something overflowed like the tub or toilet and the carpet and pad were wet. Management must have known of this problem by the 3 or 4 bags of damp rid hanging in the room closet. It is a shame when the almighty dollar is more important than a persons health. We have stayed here every August for the past 5 or 6 years, but doubt that will happen again!
by charles b
I booked a family room for four nights, did my research before I visited and didn't realize this was a timeshare location. I booked a quaint little two bedroomed villa looking over the lake only to find I couldn't stay there, my room was in a block of flats behind the picturesque view. Room was nice and plenty of room however room service is an extra $50 per night and after spending nearly $400 per night felt a but ripped off. Family BBQ food order was good but overall a little disappointed
The Activity Center
The Activity Center is the hub for all scheduled programs and events, as well as walk-in activities for kids. We were impressed by the breadth of the daily programs, offered all day and into the evening. The staff organizes competitions and games like Aqua Jenga in the pool, hula hoop contests and cupcake wars. They run craft sessions where kids can make a tie-dye shirt, kite or stuffed teddy bear, and cooking classes where they make "fun-due" and decorate cookie pops.
Beyond the scheduled activities, there are always games and crafts that kids can drop-in to enjoy, as well as a gaming unit on a wide-screen TV. Children under the age of 14 are expected to be supervised by an adult at all times.
The Activity Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. The weekly activities schedule is available at the concierge desk. Some activities have limited space and require advance registration, so sign up as soon as you check in. There is a nominal fee for some activities, particularly those that involve craft materials or food.
There is also a separate game room with a pool, foosball and air hockey table inside the Activity Center.
Pools and Splash-A-Torium
The Splash-A-Torium is a 10,000-plus-square-foot water attraction open year-round. The pool, which is half indoors and half outdoors, has a maximum depth of 4 feet. The main attraction is a100-foot indoor waterslide, which you must be at least 42 inches tall to ride.
On the outdoor deck, there's also a "Splash-Zone" water play area with a slide, water cannons and geyser fountains, and a tipping water bucket. There are both indoor and outdoor pool locker rooms, and a large indoor and outdoor hot tub.
The Stage Door Restaurant offers a pool menu, including frozen drinks and non-alcoholic smoothies for families to enjoy during their time at the Splash-A-Torium.
Access to the Splash-A-Torium is for registered guests only, not the general public. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. It's open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., though hours may change seasonally. The outdoor sections are closed during the winter months and during storms.
There is a second smaller pool closer to the guestroom wings and next to the playground. This one is a traditional rectangular pool, open seasonally, with a maximum depth of 5 feet.
Children in diapers are required to wear resort-approved reusable swim diapers, which are available for sale at the resort. Pool towels are thoughtfully stocked in your guestroom, so you don't need to search for them at the pool.
The outdoor playground includes infant- and child-size swings, as well as a climbing structure with monkey bars and two slides. There is also the nine-hole "Lawrence Welk Championship" mini-golf course near the playground under several shady trees. Welk was an avid golfer, and one of his golf carts -- as well as other family memorabilia -- is on display in the lobby of the restaurant.
Welk Resort Theatre
The resort has its own onsite theatre, which can seat up to 2,300 guests. Well-known performers are featured year-round, so check the schedule to see if there is an act your family will want to see during your stay.
While there is plenty to do onsite with the Splash-A-Torium, playground, and mini-golf course, you'll also spend a lot of time enjoying the myriad of attractions, activities and shows in Branson. In addition to more than 60 live shows, there are sightseeing tours, cave tours, animal attractions and outdoor recreation and water sports on Lake Taneycomo and Table Rock Lake. Among the most popular of these for kids is the Silver Dollar City theme park and White Water waterpark.
Stage Door Restaurant
There is only one restaurant on the property. The casual, family-friendly Stage Door Restaurant is one of the public areas that doesn't appear to have been renovated or updated yet. It's open all day, and serves an American menu, with several Southern-style choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The affordable daily breakfast buffet offers several hot and cold dishes, including eggs, bacon and sausage, pancakes, hash, grits and make-your-own waffles. The lunch menu features sandwiches and salads, and specialties such as chicken-fried steak and the Welk Burger. Dinner is more of the same, as well as chicken, pork, beef and salmon entrees. The family-style pizza dinner is a good value, and is available for dine-in, to go, or via room service.
If you don't want to dine in the cavernous, dated dining room, ask to sit on the lovely patio overlooking the gardens. You can also order a boxed lunch to go. Highchairs are available.
In-room dining is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu features traditional hot breakfast dishes, salads, sandwiches, several entrÃ©e choices and four typical kids' meal choices.
In the lobby, you'll find complimentary coffee service in the morning. In the afternoon, there is fruit-infused water.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Market and Gift Shop
There is a small market off the front desk where you can purchase travel-sized toiletries, snacks, and drinks. There is a larger gift shop next to the Stage Door restaurant that sells gifts, souvenirs, toys and accessories.
Lounge and Business Center
There is a spacious and comfortable lounge area downstairs from the registration desk, where you'll find a desk with computers and printers.
The fitness center, located in the Activity Center, features a treadmill, bike, stair stepper and elliptical equipment.
This hotel has ample free self-parking.
Check-in time is at 4 p.m., and check-out time is at 10 a.m.
The Art of Smart Timing
While this resort is open year-round, not all hotels in Branson are. The winter months of January through March are cold, and the icy mountain roads can get treacherous. The great weather in spring and summer attracts the family market, and the fall foliage draws in a lot of motorcoach groups. Although not a major concern, tornados have affected the area.
Branson is primarily a regional vacation destination, and the large majority of tourists get there by car or as part of a motorcoach bus tour.
While there is a local airport in Branson, it is only served by one airline at the moment, Buzz Airways, which flies to Austin, Cancun, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Houston and New Orleans. The closest major airport is the Springfield-Branson National Airport, about an hour away by car. There are several rental car companies based at the airport. There are also local transportation companies, such as Ryde with Us and The Branson Loop, which will take you to the airport for approximately $50 per person.
There is a concierge desk in the lobby where you can get information on local attractions, shows and dining options. You will need a car to get around Branson, but most visitors drive there anyway, or are part of a motorcoach group. There is taxi service and a few local private shuttle services if you want to leave the driving to someone else.
During high season, driving around Branson, particularly along Highway 76, can be slow-going because of traffic volume. Look for the three time-saver routes -- red, yellow, and blue -- that run parallel to the highway. The Welk Resort is located off the yellow route.
For Mom and Dad
While there aren't any babysitting services offered here, there are evening children's events in the Activity Center, such as dive-in movies and air hockey tournaments, which could entertain your kids while you sit by the pool with a drink.
A major part of the Branson experience is the scores of live shows in theaters across Branson. The onsite Welk Resort Theater brings in national acts, and you'll find performances ranging from singers to comedians and magicians, and even acrobats.