So, when we were invited back recently for a hosted stay in exchange for sharing with you all what it's like to vacation at Crystal Springs during the pandemic, I jumped at the chance! Well, I put on my mask and jumped from a socially safe distance, that is! Ha!
Check out our highlights videos from our 1-night mini getaway at Crystal Springs, including our outing to nearby Mountain Creek for Snow Tubing, and keep reading for more details and photos of our time at Crystal Springs and what you can expect regarding pandemic safety!!
- Guests must fill out a waiver form, declaring that for the past 14 days they've been healthy, had no known exposure to COVID, and haven't traveled to a higher risk COVID state.
- Masks are required indoors as well as outdoors when 6-feet of social distance cannot be maintained.
- Hand sanitizer stations are located all over the resort, along with friendly reminders about masks and social distance. Everyone (guests and staff) seemed to be taking this very seriously.
- You are not currently able to cross between Grand Cascades and Minerals resorts freely; you have to stick to your location's activities, and there is no shuttle offered between them. Luckily they each have great restaurants and heated indoor & outdoor pools, so it's not a big deal.
- You are not currently able to use facilities before check-in (4pm) or after check-out (11am), which makes a one-night only stay not quite as full of a vacation as it usually is. That said, the pools have long hours, so you still have time to swim in the evening after check-in and early morning before check-out if just doing one night, and you can also pay $50 extra for a late checkout.
- The pool locker rooms are currently closed, so you'll need to change and shower in your room, a minor inconvenience. Because guests can't use pools before check-in or after check-out, they're less crowded. But if nervous about unmasked indoor swimming, no worries, both Grand Cascades and Minerals have awesome outdoor "snow pools" which are kept REALLY warm and soooooo cozy!! Pro-tip, use before you get your hair wet, or bring a hat, or just keep dunking yourself under the water :)
- The pools are being cleaned several times a day - like REALLY sanitized - fully shutting down for half an hour (4 times a day at Grand Cascades and 3 times a day at Minerals). Take note of the schedule so you don't suit up and have to wait! No reservations required, but they're for guests only (no day passes) and first come first served basis with limited capacity.
- The sauna and Grotto jacuzzi at the Biosphere were shut down, which I was disappointed to see. BUT, we had a jacuzzi tub in our hotel room, which I used after the kids went to bed, and it was amazing. Private and clean, no mask needed. Highly recommend!
- In addition to regular dining (in restaurant, pickup, outdoor, or room service), they are still offering some buffet dining options (and you'll get $30 credit toward breakfast buffet per room per night), and have gotten really smart with these! Masked staff serve the food from behind protective windows. 1 server walks from station to station with 1 guest on the other side of the shields and fills up their plate. This means it takes much longer to get your food than old-school buffets, and gets a bit complicate if you have adults ordering for themselves and their kids, but personally, I hope it stays like this always! No concerns about some rando sneezing on the food!! Love it!! My kids enjoyed the independence of being able to order for themselves, as well!
- They have a handful of really unique private enclosed outdoor dining which they're calling "Champagne Chalets" (similar to igloo dining / bubble dining). Reservations required.
- Our rooms were SPOTLESS, beautifully renovated, even the remotes were in little plastic baggies! We got adjoining rooms in Grand Cascades Lodge: Room 527 had double queen beds with a bathroom, and Room 529 was a suite with a king size bedroom, huge his-and-her sink bathroom with jacuzzi tub AND a shower, a small balcony, washer and dryer, and a separate living / dining / kitchen (bedrooms opened up to each side of this common area)! The full kitchen (oven, 4-burner stove top, coffee maker, dishwasher, fridge, freezer) is a must if you want to cook. And the large indoor dining table and small balcony table make it easy to eliminate any risk of public dining, if that concerns you. We only stayed one night so didn't have housekeeping, but for longer stays it's limited to trash pickup and replenishment of toiletries. Also, each room has individual heating and cooling systems. There was a TV in each bedroom and the living room, for a total of THREE TVs, which came in handy when our kids were getting too crazy in the morning and had to be separated for a bit (see the video LOL)!
- Glice skating was a nice outdoor activity. You grab your skates from the pro shop and they sanitize them after every use. Offered seasonally, through March 21. Reservations required - $25 per person for 45 minute session. Cute bar and fire pits out there as well, so you can watch the skaters or just hang out.
- The exotic animal show was REALLY great - it's free but you need reservations. Us adults enjoyed it as much as our kids! Very educational and we got to see a tarantula and baby American alligator, hold a huge Burmese python, and touch a hedgehog and chinchilla! SO COOL!! It was indoors in the Emerald Ballroom but families were spread out by tables and everyone wore masks so it seemed fairly safe, and was just half an hour.
- We did the "dinner and a show" which was a DELICIOUS buffet dinner and magic show in the Emerald Ballroom. I was impressed with how safely they served the food (mentioned above) though waiting in line for food took a while and guests were masked but not ideally spaced out in line. While tables were spaced out, the room was quite full for a 2-hour dinner and show where no one put masks back on after eating... I wouldn't say it was unsafe, but this is probably the only activity we did that I really wouldn't recommend for anyone super anxious about Covid.
- Some other great activities included in your stay: nightly family movies, horse drawn carriage to Cozy Corner, marshmallow roasting, petting zoo, hiking & nature trails, scavenger hunt, pony rides, putting, and golf glow.
- Some great activities (for additional fee): Glice skating, axe throwing, goat yoga, archery, paint & sip, trap & skeet shooting, arts & crafts, horse back riding, wine tastings, and activities at Mountain Creek (a short 10 minute drive). We did a session of snow tubing which was really fun!!!
- You can see the current week's schedule of activities here for a good idea of what'll be going on during the days of your visit.