June 21, 2016

Family-Friendly Hotel Near Amana Colonies

Just off Interstate 80 on the exit for the Amana Colonies in Central Iowa, families will see the huge sign for Wasserbahn Waterpark. We were expecting a laid back weekend exploring a National Historic Landmark – who knew there’d be waterslides involved.

You can't miss the Wasserbahn sign from Interstate 80.

You can’t miss the Wasserbahn sign from Interstate 80.

We were invited to stay at the Ramada Williamsburg  Hotel and Wasserbahn Waterpark by the Amana Colonies Visitor Center on a recent weekend getaway to the the Amana Colonies. Here’s what I thought of the stay:

What to expect at the Ramada

In an area with a handful of B&Bs and motels, the Ramada can draw a lot of families simply for its waterpark. It’s great, with three water slides, an area just for youngsters, a whirlpool and a charming Amana Colonies theme décor.

There are two pool areas at the Wasserbahn Waterpark, plus a hot tub that children are no allowed in.

There are two pool areas at the Wasserbahn Waterpark, plus a hot tub that children are no allowed in. The pool in this picture is the deeper of the two pools and it has a small whirlpool in back.

You don’t have to be a hotel guest to go to the waterpark. It’s $10 for swimmers not staying at the hotel, and $5 for non-swimmers. If you are staying at the hotel, it’s easy to upgrade to the water park package.

My kids would have been content only going to the waterpark and skipping everything else, if I let them.
The shallow kids pool included a waterslide, fountain and waterspouts to play with.

The shallow kids pool included a waterslide, fountain and waterspouts to play with.

There are locker rooms there, as well as an arcade. I think you can order food and drinks to the waterpark but I didn’t see anyone do that, save for the lifeguards who were dining on pizza when we went on Memorial Day.

Keeping with the kid-pleasing theme, the hotel also has a putt putt golf that’s included with your stay. Non-guests at the hotel can play for $3 per person.

Mooch and Mr. Wonderful playing putt putt in Williamsburg at sunset.

Mooch and Mr. Wonderful playing putt putt in Williamsburg at sunset.

There were water features my son managed to send his ball into, and playing at dusk meant we caught a pretty sunset and enjoyed the fireflies that came out to play. The course was a bit rundown and one hole was out of commission. Even so, my kids laughed often and enjoyed the simple experience with us.

There’s also a wooden playground my kids liked. It’s a good place to burn off additional energy.

The wooden playground at the Ramada in Williamsburg, Iowa.

The wooden playground at the Ramada in Williamsburg, Iowa.

On the weekends, they screen recent movies in a conference room. We watched “Zootopia” on our first night. The screen was small and the room was hot, but we laughed and we enjoyed the free activity with the kids.

That’s all the good stuff. The hotel does have a downside.

It’s in need of some updates. While the pool area looks fresh and new with bright colors, the halls of the hotel were dark and dated.

The rooms were comfortable but not anything to write home about. Our room had a mini fridge and coffee maker, and a TV with cable.

What’s Near Williamsburg

Amana Colonies map

The large map of the Amana Colonies at our hotel. You can see the “You are Here” arrow indicating the hotel’s proximity to the National Historic Landmark.

Obviously, a big draw is the nearby Amana Colonies. Read the recap of our trip here.

But you’re probably wondering about Williamsburg and what’s right by the hotel, right?

Across from the hotel is a little shopping center with the Village Winery and an art gallery. The winery offers free samples – in case your family starts getting on your nerves. Mine would never do that. There’s also a Maid Rite and Godfather’s Pizza there.

The Village Winery is across the parking lot of the Ramada Inn.

The Village Winery is across the parking lot of the Ramada Inn.

There is a restaurant in the hotel, but we did not dine there.

A short distance west of the hotel is the popular Williamsburg outlet mall with popular outlet stores for places like Gap, Columbia and Ralph Lauren.

About 10 miles north, you’ll hit the Amana Colonies Trail loop where you can visit the area’s main tourist attraction. In case you’re wondering, I timed it, you can get to one of Amana’s popular family style restaurants in about 15 minutes.

You won't mind the drive from the Ramada in Williamsburg to the Amana Colonies. The farmland is serene and beautiful.

You won’t mind the drive from the Ramada in Williamsburg to the Amana Colonies. The farmland is serene and beautiful.

East of the hotel is Coralville and Cedar Rapids, if you want a city experience. Southeast of Williamsburg is Kalona, a town known for the Amish population surrounding it.

If you go

Ramada Williamsburg Wasserbahn Waterpark

Where: 2211 U Ave., Williamsburg, Iowa

Website

 

Read more about the trip

My Amana Colonies Bucket List

Visiting the Amana Colonies With Kids (where to eat, what to explore and where to play)

Amana Colonies Food Kids Will Eat (July 5)

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