Tag Archives: Mt. Laurel

A Splashing Good Time at CoCo Key Water Resort

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

~Thank you to CoCo Key Water Resort for providing complimentary passes to facilitate this review. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~

This past weekend my family enjoyed a short staycation in the Mt. Laurel, NJ area. It was nice to get out of the house and explore what the state has to offer and there were different things about the weekend that each of us enjoyed, from shopping, to dining, to a little indoor water park fun.

Yeap, you read that right. We had water park fun in NJ, in April! It was cold and rainy ALL weekend, but it didn’t stop us from splashing around at CoCo Key Water Resort like it was summer.

CoCo Key is an indoor water park that offers family fun for all ages. Guests of The Hotel ML can purchase passes to visit anytime during their stay, or the general public can purchase a daily pass and just spend the day splashing around.

My kids absolutely love playing in the water and since moving from FL to NJ, the only water play they’ve gotten is during bath time. So I knew CoCo Key would be the perfect getaway for them and they ended up having a splashing good time! The water park was their favorite part of our staycation and my son is already asking to go back.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

We ventured over to the water park, which is accessible via the hotel and also has its own entrance, sometime early Saturday afternoon. As you walk in, there’s a counter for purchasing your passes and another counter for cashing in your arcade tickets.

Not only does CoCo Key offer an indoor water park, but also has a nice little arcade. If it weren’t for my son wanting so badly to play in the water park, he could have spent all day in the arcade.

Just beyond the entrance area are doors that lead you into the water park, which is two levels. You enter on the upper level and can either walk down a flight of stairs or take the elevator down to the lower level.

Upper Level

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Dip-In: This is a kiddie play area that’s perfect for the littlest swimmers. A one foot deep wading pool, Dip-In features a pirate ship in the center with double slides, as well as a baby bungee corner, and is lots of fun for toddlers and smaller kids.

The weekend we were visiting, the hotel was offering special movie nights that took place at the water park at 9:30 pm. This was after the water park closed at 9:00 pm, so it was only available to hotel guests. Friday night we went to check it out and the movie, Shrek the Third, was actually playing on the sail of the pirate ship! I thought that was pretty fun and a little added perk for the kids.

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Lower Level

Coral Cove’s Slam Dunk: A three foot deep circular pool where you can enjoy a little water basketball.

Coconut Grove Lazy River: A three foot deep lazy river where you can hop in a float and take a relaxing 300 foot ride, but be sure to watch out for the splashy surprises along the way.

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Lily Pad Adventure: A fun water activity that tests your balance and strength, the Lily Pad Adventure is like something you’d see in an obstacle course. With the help of an overhead rope to hang onto, do you think you could keep your balance long enough to cross the pool on floating “lily pads” without falling in?

Palm Grotto Indoor/Outdoor Spa: This one is for adults only. While the kids splash around, sit back and enjoy a hot, relaxing dip in the whirlpools of the hot tub spa.

Parrot’s Perch: In the center of it all is Parrot’s Perch. It’s like a big water playground and jungle gym that everyone can climb on, shoot water cannons, slip down the slides and get drenched when the 300 gallon water bucket at the top fills up and tips over.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Large Water Slides: If you’re looking for a real thrill, take a ride on one of the three large water slides – Pelican Plunge, Barracuda Blast, and Shark Slam. Grab a raft and make your way to the top by climbing the indoor stairway. The slides themselves twist, turn and wind outdoors, but they’re all completely covered and protected from the elements. The entrance and all three slide exits are indoors so you never actually step foot outside.

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Food

If you plan to spend the whole day at CoCo Key, I can guarantee you’re going to get hungry. But never fear because you can pick up pizza, burgers, chicken nuggets and more at Gator’s Grab & Go, or grab a cocktail at Wet Rooster’s, a full service bar.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Safety

There are lifeguards, on lifeguards, on lifeguards at CoCo Key. They’re everywhere and they actually pay attention to ensure everyone stays safe. There was a lot of whistle blowing during our visit, haha.

If something were to happen though, there’s also a first aid station. And if you need a life jacket for your little swimmer, they’re on hand too.

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What to Bring

For a day at CoCo Key you’ll definitely need to bring your own towels. We just used our hotel bathroom towels since we didn’t bring any from home.

And since I know you’ll want to preserve some family memories, I’m sure you’ll bring along a camera or take photos with your cell phone. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any photos of my kids playing around, for fear of dropping my phone in the water and the shear fact of having to wrangle two small kids, I really needed both of my hands available. I did see a lot of people who were wearing waterproof cell phone holders around their neck, so I would recommend bringing something like that along so your phone isn’t far out of reach, but is still protected.

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And for anything else you bring along, lockers can be rented ($10) to keep those items safe. There is plenty of space on both the upper and lower levels to sit, but if everyone in your party is enjoying the fun, you will not want to leave your belongings just sitting around. So the lockers are plus and you can access them at any time you need to.

Our Experience

Since we were visiting on a Saturday, I think the water park was a little more crowded than if we had visited another day. The kids had a really great time and we did too, but there are a few things I want to note.

The first thing is the smell of chlorine is pretty overpowering, which I totally understand given it’s a water park, but it kind of smells like a dirty chlorine. Not that fresh, super clean, dive right in kind of smell. And for as strong as the chlorine smell is and as much as they must be using, the water was pretty murky. I don’t know if this is just a result of all the traffic that comes in and out, or if it was intentional to give kind of like a natural outdoor look to the water.

The thing that really bummed us out was that Dip-In, the kiddie area on the upper level, was closed off and reserved for a birthday party. Birthday parties are a great feature that CoCo Key Water Resort offers, and there are a handful of private rooms near the resort entrance for facilitating them, as well as a large sitting area on the upper level where these parties can also be held.

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But at the same time, this really hindered how much freedom we could give our one year old. Since we couldn’t access the kiddie area, we were forced to stay on the lower level.

Let me preface this a little bit so it makes more sense as to why this bummed us out. So once you get wet, you better stay in the water because – You. Will. Freeze. After getting wet our daughter was literally shivering in our arms so it was either keep her in the water or wrap her in a towel, which she was not about to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else having fun.

The water in the Parrot’s Perch area is very shallow. We sat her down and it barely covered her legs, so this wasn’t going to work for us. The only other option was to sit in the water that was at the entrance to the lazy river. The water was warmer there and it was deep enough to keep our daughter decently submerged so that she wasn’t shivering. The problem is that this was not a very safe place for us to be, or anyone else for that matter.

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This is where we were sitting at the entrance to the lazy river.

There was traffic coming in and out for those visitors who wanted to ride around the lazy river, and not only that but there were bigger kids hanging out in that area as well and their splashing around and rough housing was not safe for our kids. So not having access to the kiddie area on the upper level was a bit of an issue for us and we actually only stayed for a little over an hour.

The other thing I want to note is that the day we checked out (Sunday), the water park was only open until 3:00 pm due to a private event (normally open until 6:00 pm). Since we had our passes, we could have stayed after checking out of our room and enjoyed the water park until it closed, but we chose not to. And I’m all for private events like this, but as a visitor who’s paying to enjoy a full day of water park fun, this would upset me. I’d hate to show up promising my kids a full day of fun, only to find out that’s not going to happen.

So I suggest calling ahead of time to ensure there are no special events taking place that could hinder your family’s fun. So long as there’s nothing going on that would have certain areas closed off, or affecting the park hours, I think you’ll have a good time.

Overall, my kids didn’t know any different and they had a ton of fun playing in the water. At CoCo Key Water Resort you won’t have to worry about sunscreen, but it’ll still wear you out like a day in the sun. Just the little amount of time we spent at the water park wore me out and I was ready for a nap as soon as we returned to our hotel room.

Have you ever visited an indoor water park?

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*Complimentary CoCo Key Water Resort passes were provided for purposes of facilitating this review. My opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.

Our Weekend Stay at The Hotel ML

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~Thank you to The Hotel ML for hosting the Making Time family at a discounted rate. As always, opinions are still 100% my own.~

It’s been a while since my family has taken a vacation, so it was time I took action and planned something fun for us. Rather than going all out and traveling far, I decided to find something that was a little closer to home.

Since moving to NJ last November we haven’t really ventured out of our immediate area, so I thought a short staycation would be a great way to get out of the house, explore the state and enjoy some time together.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

So where did we go? We spent the weekend at The Hotel ML!

Hotel

Just about an hour and a half drive from our home, The Hotel ML is situated in Mt. Laurel, NJ. The hotel itself is very beautiful. The entrance is gorgeous and very inviting. As soon as we stepped foot into the hotel lobby, I was blown away.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

There’s obviously the front desk, two sitting areas and a lounge where you can enjoy some beverages and watch a little TV. Everything appeared to be new and modern, and if it’s not new, then they’re doing a good job of keeping it up.

To the right of the lobby area there are meeting rooms for private events, such as conferences, wedding activities and other social events. In fact, I believe someone was hosting wedding activities the evening we checked in. I overheard their party talking about it while passing through the lobby the next day.

Our Room

To the left of the lobby area is the elevator and rooms. Our third floor room at The Hotel ML was a very nice size. It was probably the largest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in and the kids were able to run around to let out a little of their excitement. With two double beds, a lounge chair and ottoman, office desk, dresser with TV and mini fridge, and full bathroom, it was a home away from home.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

After arriving we headed to the closest store to pick up a few snacks and drinks to stock our mini fridge. This was great because the kids are always wanting something, so having the mini fridge helped save us some money on food and drinks throughout the weekend.

While it was a spacious room, there were a few things that could use some improvement and it’s mostly all aesthetic. I was told the room was newly renovated, but the only thing that looked new was the bathroom sink and counter.

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There were marker lines on the window curtains, most likely caused by kids during a previous stay. But it’s a kid-friendly hotel, so things like this are to be expected now and then. The furniture and mini fridge were also pretty dinged up. Again, this is something that can be expected with the traffic that comes in and out, but it was very obvious and immediately noticeable.

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel

Check out our weekend staycation at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort! #TheHotelML #CoCoKeyWaterResort #staycation #MtLaurel #travel
This was the view from our large room window. Since it was 50 degrees out the pool was closed, hence the pool cover.

 

Another issue was the mattress or bed springs on one of the beds was broken, I think. I didn’t even notice it until the day we left because I had been sleeping on the other bed, but I sat on it while getting ready to leave and drastically sunk down.

So again, nothing in the room really stood out to me as being renovated besides the bathroom sink. While I’m on the topic of the bathroom, I also want to note the toilet was lower to the ground than an average toilet. Not a complaint, but just something to mention. This is actually great for the kids, but as an adult you better make sure you have your squat game on point.

After being blown away at the entry and lobby area, I was expecting a bit of a nicer room. Overall, the room was okay and I’d consider it pretty average. Nothing too over the top and fancy, but it was suitable for our weekend stay.

Dining

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If you get a little hungry, you can always order room service or head down to Talia’s. Situated just behind the lobby lounge is Talia’s Restaurant and Bar. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to dine at Talia’s, but they serve up-scale comfort food all day.

In the morning you can enjoy a breakfast buffet, and for lunch and dinner you can order dishes like Short Rib Grilled Cheese, Portobello Sandwich, half pound Black Angus burger or Cajun Seared Salmon, just to name a few.

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If you’re just looking for a snack, sweet treat or cup of coffee, I suggest heading to The Little Shop of Coffee, located between the elevators and front desk. You can find snacks, ice cream treats, a variety of coffees and a table or two to just sit and enjoy some conversation.

There’s also PLENTY of off-site dining options, too. Starbucks, Ale House and Bob Evans are just across the street from the hotel. And in the general area, a short ride will take you to any restaurant you can imagine. It would take me a while to list them all, but during our stay we dined at Don Pablos, Cracker Barrel and Grand Lux Cafe.

Attractions

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So, you’re probably wondering what’s so great about The Hotel ML that we chose to spend our weekend family staycation there. The answer is simple – CoCo Key Water Resort! The kids had a blast and I can’t wait to tell you all about it – tomorrow, haha.

Sounds like fun, right? I’ll give you a little info now, just to be fair. CoCo Key Water Resort is on the same premises as The Hotel ML. It’s housed in a separate building towards the back of the property, but can easily be accessed from the hotel.

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One of the CoCo Key wristbands is missing because my son just couldn’t wait to get his weekend fun started.

 

As soon as we left the lobby area and walked to the elevators, we could smell the chlorine so there’s no missing the fact it’s there, even if you’re not visiting the hotel for purposes of the water park. To get there, just take the elevator down to the first floor (the lobby is on the second floor) and walk your way through the halls.

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There are rooms on the first floor, so I would assume if you’re staying on the first floor, you’re probably going to hear a lot more noise and traffic as hotel guests utilizing the water park make their way through the halls. But just a short one to two minute walk and you’re ready to enjoy some indoor water park fun!

Aside from the on-site fun of CoCo Key Water Resort, there are also some fun things in the general area to do. Want to do some shopping? Head to Moorestown Mall or Cherry Hill Mall. Want to do something fun with the family? There’s a bowling alley right down the road or spend a few hours at Sky Zone Trampoline Park. Still not enough? Make your way to The Funplex for bumper cars, laser tag and more!

I had no idea there was so much to do in the Mt. Laurel area. It was nice to get out of the house and have a mini family vacation, while exploring what our new home state has to offer. I can’t wait until our next staycation!

When and where was your last staycation?

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*This hotel stay was provided at a discounted rate for purposes of this review. My opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand.  Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.