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Breezy Point

Fairways & Greens
August 16, 2017

Cold Water Canyon Golf Course At Chula Vista Resort -Big Fun
Chula Vista outdoor waterpark
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Chula Vista outdoor waterpark
Cold Water Canyon #10
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Cold Water Canyon #10
By E. Nolan

200,000 is a big number. In square feet, it's a big space. Fill that space with water parks, a world-class spa, one of "America's Top 10 Chophouses" and an 18-hole championship golf course and it could be inferred that this big space is really BIG FUN.

Welcome to Chula Vista, a "Best Value in Wisconsin" resort, on the outskirts of the Water Park Capital of the World, the Wisconsin Dells. WisconsinDells.com lists Chula Vista Resort as "the most complete resort in Wisconsin Dells." What exactly does that mean? I researched area travel sites like TripAdvisor.com and GolfAdvisor.com for some answers, and was impressed at how much acclaim the resort receives across the board. "Most complete" means that Chula Vista is one of the "Big Five" in the Dells, with Kalahari, Wilderness, Mount Olympus and Great Wolf Lodge. It means they have over 600 rooms and suites, including villas and condos - many of the lodging options with panoramic river views. Situated right on the banks of the Wisconsin River, they can afford guests some pretty epic scenery... in every season. That means they're open year round, with indoor and outdoor waterparks to explore. Those water parks have 27 waterslides, including the world's fastest indoor water coaster - The Fly'n Mayan. "Most complete" probably also means "something for everyone." Unlike almost all the other area resorts, Chula Vista is off the "beaten path." There's more serenity and less chaos in the "suburbs" of "Water Park City." People of every age can find a comfort zone, and "relaxation is actually possible." The resort tends to cater to a "more professional" crowd - adults, older children, spa-goers and fine-diners. It also caters to golfers. (Couldn't include us stick-swingers in the "more professional" sentence.)

It was that collective information that led me to book my first stay at Chula Vista, and I have to say my family and I were impressed that the word of mouth proved so credible - so true. If anything, a great deal of the opinions were understated. Chula Vista, in every resort category, was more than I expected.

Digging deeper into the lodging options at the resort, you'll find rooms that can fit up to six people, including many child-themed suites - Wild West, Pirates, Safari, etc. The rooms include microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makers, a TV, table and balcony. There are also villas, condos and rental homes available, many on the Cold Water Canyon Golf Course, with the capacity to hold up to 14. In other words, Chula Vista is ready and able to accommodate you, your family and/or your golf group every day of the week.

Chula Vista boasts six different restaurants, but one in particular draws the crowds and reservations. Kaminski's Chop House has been ranked "One of America's Top 10 Chop Houses" and annually is recognized among the best restaurants not just in The Dells, but in all of Wisconsin. Specializing in hand-cut, dry-aged beef and a variety of seafood specials, paired with wines and top-notch service with incredible river views at the most sought-after tables, any Dells visit is enhanced by a meal here.

The other restaurants at Chula Vista include the Kilbourn City Grill with its modern pub food, sports vibe, and large flat-panel TVs. There's The Tavern Restaurant with its popular brisket burgers and Friday Night Fish Frys. Luigi's Pizza and Margaritas Mexican Grill & Cantina are family favorites, and if you're looking for a quick bite you can stop at the Cactus Outdoor Waterpark Bar and Grill, Crash Landings Indoor Waterpark Snack Bar and the Market Fresh-To-Go for Coffee and snacks.

Chula Vista is home to one of Wisconsin's best boutique spas - Spa Del Sol. Offering a variety of stress-relieving massages, body and facial treatments, outdoor Hot Springs, and (a favorite of my daughters) manicures and pedicures. Along that line, we had to stop in and check out Chula Vista's new Pink Nail Bar - the trendy nail salon with all the latest fashions and flair in nail-ware with chocolate-covered strawberries to boot.

Chula Vista has an indoor and outdoor waterpark. Lost Rios Indoor Water Park has an arcade, lazy river, a large, kids splash zone, the fabulously fun Matador Mat Racers and the aforementioned fasted indoor water rollercoaster. There's another lazy river outdoors, a wave pool, adventure lagoon, sports pool, mini-golf, a sandy beach area and some pretty insane rides. The mini-golf is great, but it's the mega-golf that steals the show. The Wisconsin Dells area is loaded with great golf, and Cold Water Canyon Golf Course has carved it's own unique niche in the city's diverse sports-scape.

Cold Water Canyon's front side is the second oldest nine-hole set in Wisconsin, built in 1923. It is a classic design, with tight fairways and smaller greens. The back nine was added in the early 2000's - a very modern complement. Director of Golf, Todd Campbell came to Chula Vista Resort from one of America's Top 100 Courses - Forest Dunes in Roscommon, Michigan. He knows what it takes to turn a contender into a champion, and has quickly applied his skillset to the management of Cold Water Canyon.

Mr. Campbell refers to the two sides at Cold Water Canyon as two different worlds of golf. "There's no course in the area that can compare to our contrasts." (Poetic.) "Given our gameplay diversity and low rates, we think we're the best value in the Dells," Todd adds, "and the best part is we sacrifice nothing to deliver that deal." If anything they've added more bang for the buck. They have a brand new 8,000 square foot clubhouse, and completed a massive renovation of their bunkers in 2016. I have to say that I enjoyed the back nine a lot more than the front, but my game "needs space" and the open links-style format of the back provides plenty. There was quite a bit of beauty out there too, playing around all the wetlands and ponds, with the resort framed in the background. I asked Todd what he considers the greatest qualities in a Cold Water Canyon round. "Pace of play and conditioning," he replied, without hesitation. "You can breeze through your round here and go enjoy the rest of the resort... or head back out and play it again."

Play it again. That's one of Cold Water Canyon's best deals - their "Unlimited Golf" Stay & Play Package. Starting at $99 per person, you get a standard room, unlimited golf with cart, free lunch and a pro shop discount. (Promo code: GOLF) I also think that this would be a great place to host a big group or fundraising event. It's clear they have the space in the clubhouse, and their outdoor banquet tent can seat 350. I love the idea of hosting events at resorts, where everyone can socialize in so many different environments and you can keep the rest of the family entertained by all the offered amenities.

Chula Vista Resort and Cold Water Canyon make a pretty great pair for people looking to get away and play - for a day or for an extended stay. Are they "the most complete resort in Wisconsin Dells?" Depends on what you're looking for, I guess. I sure couldn't find anything they were lacking.

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