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2015 Hotel Waterpark Construction Report North America

Written by: Jeff Coy | View Author Bio

14 Hotel Waterpark Resorts Coming in 2015

July 20, 2015 -The big news is that two major hotel waterpark resorts, Kalahari Waterpark Resort and Camelback Mountain Resort, have opened in the Pocono Mountains, giving new life to the familiar destination. Hotel developers and waterpark lovers alike are watching for the excitement to unfold this year — as brand names, like Lego, Nashville, Dollywood, Schlitterbahn, Kalahari, Courtyard and Norwegian Cruise Lines open new properties and add to existing ones. New hotel waterpark construction is upward bound. Twenty-seven hotel waterpark resorts are estimated to open in 2016.

Kalahari Waterpark Resort in Pocono Manor PA opened in July 2015 with 457 rooms, 3 restaurants, an 87,000 sf outdoor waterpark, a 100,000 sf indoor waterpark, a 65,000 sf convention center, a 10,000 sf spa and a 30,000 sf family entertainment center that includes 6 lanes of bowling and miniature golf. The $350 million 150-acre project completed the first of two construction phases.

The second phase, scheduled for completion in 2016, will add another 500 hotel rooms and add 100,000 sf to the indoor waterpark. The resort is African-themed just like the first two Kalahari Resorts in Wisconsin Dells WI and Sandusky OH, Owner and CEO Todd Nelson traveled with his family, and a small film crew, to Africa to explore the area and purchase furniture to give the resort an authentic look and feel. Package room rates start at $200 to $300 with admission to the waterpark included in the price. While the Poconos supply of hotel waterpark resorts is expanding, the destination is still under-served due to the heavy population in the New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia markets. The new lure of the Poconos is undeniable according to Nelson. The region attracts 25 million visitors each year, with over 90% coming for leisure, generating 33,700 jobs, $1.2 billion in labor income and about $300 million in state and local taxes. For more, call 877-525-2427 or go to www.kalahariresorts.com/pennsylvania.

Camelback Mountain Resort in Tannersville PA, already a successful ski resort in the Pocono Mountains, opened a 453-room hotel with conference center and a 134,000 sf indoor waterpark in April — adopting the four-season strategy by offering recreation and entertainment for all ages year round. For more, talk to owners Art Berry and Ken Ellis. The management team is headed by Pete Helland, who owns and manages the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. Call 570-629-1661 or go to www.skicamelback.com.

Since our 2015 Construction Report in March, three more hotel waterpark resorts opened:

  • Westgate Towers Resort opened a new indoor waterpark in Kissimmee FL in June.
  • Westgate Town Center & Spa added a 39,000 sf indoor waterpark in Orlando FL in June. The park features a pirate ship, water slides, a lazy river, a children’s play area, 16 private cabanas and a steakhouse. For more, talk to ceo David Siegel of Westgate Resorts based in Orlando.
  • In June, Schlitterbahn Hotel Waterpark in Corpus Christi TX opened their river system, which surrounds their Padre Island waterpark.

What’s Opening in the Second Half of 2015?

  • Courtyard Downtown Anaheim
  • Norwegian Cruise Line’s Escape Aqua Park
  • Doug Pope’s Floating Oceana
Courtyard Anaheim Waterpark Hotel

Courtyard Anaheim Waterpark Hotel

Courtyard Anaheim Waterpark Hotel opened in July 2015 with 221 rooms and the 20,000 sf Surfside Waterpark. The hotel is directly across the street from Disneyland. The rooms are extra big (530sf), sleep six, feature bunk beds and provide two showers. Surfside Waterpark is located atop a 20,000 sf observation deck where you can enjoy 6 waterslides, a 400 gallon dump bucket, water cannons, swimming pool, children’s pool, hot tub and a view of the Disneyland fireworks. There’s the Bistro for breakfast, Starbucks coffee bar, outdoor cafĂ©, a fitness center and free Wi-Fi throughout. For more, call 714-254-1442.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Escape Aqua Park will launch November 2015 from Miami FL with 4 waterslides, a kids aqua park, 2 pools and 4 hot tubs plus several adventure sport facilities. The four waterslides include a dual racer, a free fall slide where side by side racers fall into a loop when the floor drops from underneath them, and more relaxing family open body slides. The kids aqua park features an enclosed tube slide and a 2-story climbing structure. The adventure sport facilities include a 3-story, 99-element ropes course, 2 walk-the-planks that extend over the edge of the ship and ziplines that allow guests to soar through the air. The Norwegian Escape will be the line’s largest ship to date — carrying 4,200 passengers. It will sail to the Caribbean from Miami year round with stops in Tortola, St Thomas and Nassau, starting November 2015. For more, dial 888-444-5986 or go to www.ncl.com/escape.

Doug Pope’s Floating Oceana Water Resort about 16 miles northwest of Key West FL has stalled due to lack of financing. The first of its kind concept calls for 50 rooms to be built 6-stories high on a floating platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The resort would be built on a 230-foot by 128-foot platform atop four semi-permanent pilings on pads resting on the sea floor, 55 to 60 feet down. The resort is planned as a partially moveable structure. Estimated cost of construction is $20 million. Construction may start in late 2015 or 2016. Target: avid fishermen. For more, investors may contact Doug at 904-838-6619.

What Opened in the First Half of 2015?

Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan WI added The Riptide, a double-wide indoor surfing ride called the Flowrider. The new ride not only extends the surfing season amid 84-degrees year round, it allows the indoor waterpark resort to attract teens in addition to the younger middle-school generation, according to David Sanderson, general manager.

Legoland Florida Added a New 152-Room Hotel to its water ski theme park in Winter Haven FL in May. The expanded waterpark features a new 5-foot deep wave pool, 2 enclosed slides, 3 speed slides, playground, tipping bucket, lazy river, toddler pool, grille and surf shop. For more, go to www.legolandhotel.com.

Nashville Shores Added a $2 million Raft Ride, Treetop Tours, Cabins & RV Park which opened to the public in May 2015. The Big Kahuna is a 57-foot-tall, 530-foot-long 4-passenger family raft waterslide. Owner Kieran Burke has doubled the size of the park with a treetop adventure area, 20 lakeside cabins, an 84-unit RV park, wave pool, lazy river, giant water treehouse and a spray ground. Nashville Shores has 104 lodging units. For more, go to www.nashvilleshores.com.

Splashway Waterpark Added a 6-foot-deep, 30,000 sf Wave Pool to its outdoor waterpark in Sheridan TX — which opened in May. Splashway is an 80-acre RV Park & Campground with tent sites, cabins and cottages. For fun, there’s 8 ziplines that run 70-feet high over 4,000 feet of cable. For more, visitwww.splashwaywaterpark.com.

Rippin Rapids Resort in Rapid City SD is opened in June 2015. The resort features a Waterpark & Adventure Sports Center. Of 93,000 sf total space, more than 77,000 sf is indoors — providing year-round surfing on a SurfStream standing wave and a PerfectSwell moving wave created by American Wave Machine. The indoor waterpark and adventure center also include 3 waterslides, a lazy river, a ropes course, rock climbing wall, ziplines racquet ball courts, massage salon and 7 retail spaces. Rippin Rapids opened at East Mall Drive next to the 100-room Hilton Garden Inn with everything under one roof. For more, visit www.rippinrapids.com.

The Dollywood Company of Pigeon Forge TN consists of the 150-acre Dollywood theme park, the 35-acre Dollywood Splash Country outdoor waterpark, Dollywood Cabins and the new Dollywood DreamMore Resort, which opened its 307 rooms in June 2015. The nearly 4,000 sf resort pool meanders through a lush pool deck. At one end is a gentle waterfall just outside the lobby’s 3-story windows. On the other end is a zero-entry swimming pool that slopes just like a natural pond or lake. Best of all, the resort is next door to the theme park and the waterpark. For more, go to www.dreammoreresort.com or visit www.dollywood.com.

In the USA, here are the hotel waterpark resorts that are under construction and projected to open in 2015:

Hotel Waterpark Resorts
Under Construction & Opening in 2015
Location Rooms OutdoorWP Sq ft Indoor WP Sq ft Open Date
Blue Harbour Resort Add Double Flowrider Sheboygan WI 0 01/2015
Camelback Resort’s Hotel & Aquatopia IWP ($163m) Tannersville PA 453 134,000 04/2015
Legoland Florida Adds Hotel to Its Water Ski Theme Park Winterhaven FL 152 05/2015
Nashville Shores Adds RV Park, Cabins, Treetops & Raft Ride Nashville TN 104 05/2015
Splashway RV Park/Cabins & OWP Ads 30,000 sf Wave Pool Sheridan TX 435,000 0 05/2015
Rippin Rapids Resort – Hotel, Adventure Sports & Waterpark Rapid City SD 100 16,000 77,000 06/2015
Dollywood Theme/Waterpark Adds DreamMore Resort Pigeon Forge TN 307 06/2015
Westgate Towers Resorts adds Indoor Waterpark Kissimmee FL 06/2015
Westgate Towers Center Resort adds Indoor Waterpark Orlando FL 39,000 06/2015
Schlittlerbahn Hotel Waterpark opens River System Corpus Christi TX 39,000 06/2015
Kalahari Waterpark Resort Phase 1 $230 million Pocono Manor PA 457 87,000 100,000 07/2015
Courtyard Downtown Anaheim Adds Outdoor Waterpark Anaheim CA 20,000 07/2015
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Escape Aqua Park Miami FL 2,100 10/2015
Doug Pope’s Floating Oceana Water Resort Key West Area FL 50 12/2015
Total Under Construction & Projected Opening in 2015 14 3,723 538,000 370,000
Source: Jeff Coy, JLC Hospitality Consulting
480-488-3382

Canada, Mexico & Caribbean Hotel Waterparks in 2015

The Town of Blaineville, part of Greater Montreal, Quebec, Canada, has acquired the 900,000 sf of land it needed to construct its $40 million Aquapolis Indoor Waterpark. About 100,000 sf is being used for the indoor section of the waterpark and another 30,000 sf is being used for the outdoor waterpark. The building will cost $11 million and the equipment will cost $29 million. The remaining space is designed for green parks, parking and 4 to 5 hotels. The Divco Group, Rosdev and Capital Liason are backing the project as investors. Aquapolis will have a 2,500 person capacity, which translates into about 500,000 visitors annually, with ticket prices for the day costing around $27. Aquapolis is scheduled to open in November 2015.

In Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, the 155-room All Ritmo Resort & Waterpark opened in March with a 20,000 sf outdoor waterpark. Diamond Hotels & Resorts is the developer. For more, call 809-221-2121.

As we see it, there are no hotel waterpark resorts in the Caribbean that are under construction and opening in 2015.

What’s On the Horizon in 2016?

While some of these properties have broken ground, others are in various stages of development and still others have yet to secure financing. What appears on the horizon may not become reality. However, these developments are worth watching!

  • Embassy Suites & Waterpark at Ford Park, Beaumont TX.
  • Blue Mountain Ski Area Adds Hotel & Waterpark, Danielville PA.
  • (Former Casino) Magic Resort & Waterpark, Biloxi MS
  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Waterpark, Bullhead City AZ.
  • Great Wolf Resort, Garden Grove CA.
  • Carnival Vista Cruise Ship Adds Kaleid-O-Slide, Miami FL
  • Crowne Plaza Aquatic Wellness Center & FEC, Goddard KS
  • Ocean Lakes Campground Triples Outdoor Waterpark, Myrtle Beach SC
  • Hotel Waterpark at Grand Texas Hotels & Theme Park, Houston-New Caney TX.
  • Bahama Bay Outdoor WP & Hotel Indoor WP, Pasco WA.
  • Lakeland Landing Hotels & Waterpark, Yakima-Ellensburg WA.
  • Grand Springs Resort & Waterpark at Polaris Pointe Mall, Colorado Springs CO.
  • Great Wolf May Buy Renaissance Hotel, Add IWP. Colorado Springs CO
  • Sunset Bay Beach Hotel & Waterpark, Irving NY.
  • Spa Castle with Indoor-Outdoor Waterparks, Tannersville PA.
  • Schlitterbahn Indoor-Outdoor Waterpark, Austin-Cedar Park TX.
  • Gene Martin’s Surf City Waterpark & Lodge, Ellensburg WA
  • Atlantic Club, Atlantic City NJ
  • Four Points by Sheraton & Reopening Coco Key, Arlington Heights IL.
  • Kalahari Waterpark Resort Phase 2, Pocono Manor PA.
  • Uphoff Hotel Indoor Waterpark Resort & CC, Phoenix AZ and Midlothian PA.
  • American Dream Hotel & Waterpark Phase 1 & 2, Meadowlands NJ.
  • Revel Waterpark Casino, Atlantic City NJ.
  • Port Royal Resort & Waterpark, Jasper GA.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, Port Everglades FL.

That is what’s expected to open in North America during 2015 and 2016. If we missed something, please let us know.

Stay positive, work smart and do the right thing!