“It always started with a dream.” -Conrad Hilton Years ago, when my kids still wore arm floats to swim, I got roped into a “vacation” at a Great Wolf Lodge. If you’ve never been to one, find a reason to keep it that way. There are now twenty of them in existence, each a supersized indoor waterpark with arcades and crowd-pleaser food, temples of capitalism and pre-diabetes, owned by Blackstone, and expertly marketed to the Monster Energy crowd. Imagine Bass Pro Shops with a municipal pool, but super expensive.
I used to own a small hotel and live close to a GWL so I love this story. I can't believe it was "some guy" who came up with the laundry cards, and actually made a business out of it by heading to Kinkos. Always thought it was some enterprising housekeeping manager, general manager, or maybe some directive from a corporate bean counter.
There's a hotel nearby with a covered central courtyard with a pool, tall trees, kids area, and pool bar - I wonder if it wasn't inspired as a cheaper version of the Holidome.
The Holodome reference made me nostalgic for those old hotels with the strong smell of chlorine from the indoor pool as a kid.
Plus some Greatwolf Lodge bashing parenting humor and fun writing.
having viisited GWL and being a hotelier, this was a great write-up. 🔥
i also spent many late nights printing out high school papers off my Zip drive at Kinkos. smooth nostalgia.