It takes a lot to make KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort in
Gurnee, Ill., the “Key West” of the Midwest.
From the décor and amenities to the sounds and smells, this
island-inspired family vacation destination provides a complete
sensory experience, making guests feel as if they have been
transported to another location. It’s a little like a
“cruise ship on land.”
KeyLime Cove is located less than an hour’s drive from
Chicago and Milwaukee, but bright colors, island style music, palm
trees, and Caribbean-inspired menus all simulate a memorable
In the 65,000-square-foot Lost Paradise waterpark, the mix of
amenities —including a lazy river, water-slide tower, wave
pool and play structure — are designed for all ages.
One key to the resort’s success has been the attention to
guest-centric hospitality. Team members might send balloons or
cupcakes to a guest room if they hear someone is celebrating a
special day, or set up an in-room scavenger hunt for a family that
may have a sick child. A child who has lost a tooth might find a
small token left in the room by a KeyLime Cove “tooth
To best understand how to focus on the details, staff members
receive plenty of training. Lifeguards are
given 38 hours of class curriculum — including Ellis &
Associates training and additional content — and more than 10
hours of branded guest service orientation. That leads to shadowing
a current lifeguard for six or more hours. After that, in-service
trainings are offered eight or more times per month.
With 180 lifeguards on staff, communication is key, so a Facebook
page was established just for crew members. This allows the staff
to interact outside of work.
Operators also communicate with guests and potential visitors
through social media. Over the summer, a group of bloggers was
invited to experience KeyLime Cove this past summer, encouraging
them to let Midwesterners know there’s a convenient and
economical alternative to the tropical South that’s right
around the corner.