Wisconsin’s Ho-Chunk Hotel and Casino: Rich in Glamour, Poor in Convenience

Since it was my and my wife’s fifth wedding anniversary, I wanted to do something special with my wife. When she suggested spending the night at Ho-Chunk Hotel and Casino in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, I figured it was a good idea.

I do want to be honest and will say we definitely managed to have fun. However, I do think the hotel could have done a bit more to make our stay much more enjoyable.

I spent a great deal of time trying to think of the best way to describe Ho-Chunk’s hotel and casino. I wouldn’t give it a really low score, but I wouldn’t rank it among my top weekend destinations either.

The best way I can explain it is the hotel is big on glitz and glamour; almost in an effort to convince people to go there rather than Las Vegas. And, from the moment you see the waterfall in the main lobby; you’ll find plenty of breathtaking sights.

However, in doing this, the hotel/casino seems to forget to make sure its customers are taken care of.

Like I mentioned before, we managed to have fun on our over-night stay there. However, there were times during our stay we regretted our choice.

First, when we got there, we had to stand in line for about 20 minutes before we could get to the front counter to check in. And, this was 90 minutes before their advertised check in time. Later on, we went to the casino guest services counter to get a rewards card (which gave us $10 of free game play and a 10% discount on the hotel) and, once again had to wait in line for about a half hour. As my wife described it, it was a bit like standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Around 6 p.m., we were getting hungry and decided to try one of their restaurants. Again, we found a line outside the Stand Rock Buffet and Wa-Zha-Wa Sports Bar  amp; Grill; the only two restaurants within our budget that were open at that time. And, because we didn’t want to stand in line again (this time it would have been about an hour); we wound up returning to our room instead; opting to try room service. Even this turned out to be a pain. We called the number and it just kept ringing. I finally had to call the front desk and they took the order then ran it upstairs.

This wasn’t just confined to the hotel outside our room either. Since it was a special occasion, I spent the extra money and reserved the hotel’s honeymoon suite. Much like the hotel itself, the suite was beautiful to look at, but turned out not to be overly impressive either.

First, it came with an electric fireplace that kicked out some heat but didn’t seem to warm the room all that much. We had to sit down within a couple feet of it to feel anything.

The room also had a kitchenette in it that looked nice but really didn’t come with anything. You had a couple dozen empty cupboards and drawers, a few dishes and a set of silverware that didn’t include knives or forks. Oh, and a microwave. Probably the best part of that section of the room was the full-sized refrigerator and freezer.

We enjoyed the hot tub. However the shower in the bathroom was really confusing and, because they had left the drain closed with no real instructions on how to reopen it, it ended up overflowing a bit when my wife used it. I also found it funny that they would include facial soap and lotion in the bathroom but no hand soap.

Oh, and I should mention the toilet was one of the loudest I’ve ever heard. When you flushed it, you could hear it down the hall.

The hotel’s web site is also a bit misleading when it describes the amenities that are supposed to be available to you. First, the cable television in the rooms was supposed to have premium movie channels. We had 10 channels total, and none were movie channels.

Their Web site also mentions a fitness and aquatic center. What it doesn’t tell you is the aquatic center isn’t attached to the hotel; you have to take a shuttle bus to get there.

Good thing there’s 99poker.id where I can play poker games online. This site allows me to have fun playing poker without leaving the comfort of the place where I was staying. It is also a good platform to practice poker playing.

I don’t want to give you the impression that everything at the hotel was bad because there were some pleasant things too.

I mentioned before that we ordered room service. Once I was able to order it, it was actually delivered promptly, there was a large quantity of food, it was of decent quality and it didn’t cost us a fortune (it was about $25 with tip).

Sunday morning, we ate breakfast at the Sunrise Cliff’s Caf√© and again found great food at an affordable price (which was discounted by an additional 10 percent because of our rewards card).

When we first started playing in the casino, we didn’t think we were going to enjoy it too much because the slot machines were a bit complicated. But, once we figured them out, we had to drag ourselves away. I also liked the fact you could spend as little as you wanted; the slot machines ranged from 1 cent to 1 dollar and, even when we found ourselves on a losing streak, we could still play for some time before we ran out of money (we actually ended up coming out about $83 ahead). The $10,000 drawing just fore being in the casino at 10 p.m. was also nice touch.

The gift shop was very affordable and we had the opportunity to buy Native American crafts in the lobby area (I bought my wife a bracelet for $6). We also found the staff to be extremely friendly and willing to do what it took to make you happy; I think the biggest problem is they just didn’t have enough staff members to take care of all their customers.

Would I recommend the Ho-Chunk Casino and Hotel to someone? I think the answer to that question is yes, but with conditions. First, if I were to do this again, it wouldn’t be on the weekend. The crowd on Saturday is just too big for you to get the treatment you’ll be expecting and creates headaches with standing in line.

I also probably wouldn’t bother with the honeymoon suite again; it’s just too expensive for what you’re getting. The only thing we really enjoyed in it was the hot tub and they have a couple other suites that have that and are less expensive.

I figure, if we could still manage to have fun despite the headaches and disappointments; there’s plenty of potential at the hotel/casino. Imagine how much fun we could have if we planned things differently next time.


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