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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Water parks, Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center parent featured in Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal this morning had two articles of local relevance in the Fredericksburg business community.

One was about HCA Inc. planning to use a specially formed company to pay $2 billion in dividends to its private-equity owners. HCA operates the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center and numerous other hospitals in the U.S. It will be HCA’s third payout this year.

The other article was about the current financial struggles at Great Wolf Resorts Inc., which operates indoor water parks including one in Williamsburg. The company is struggling to pay off debt amid a weak economy and has seen its stock price plummet. Such struggles explain part of the reason why waterpark operators and others in the hospitality industry have had such a hard time getting loans of late. That lack of financing has prevented Kalahari Resorts from getting started on its planned Fredericksburg waterpark resort in Celebrate Virginia South even though the company says it has turned in strong financial performances at its parks in Ohio and Wisconsin despite the recession (Kalahari is privately owned and doesn’t have to publicly report its financials). Kalahari’s plans for Fredericksburg are now on hold as it searches for financing.

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  • Joseph McBride

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that $300.00 or more a night for a room with a water park is excessive, No meals included.

    Good economy or bad, that is excessive.

    We stayed there and it is nice but come on.

  • Susan

    I agree with Joseph. The Wolf Lodge is in trouble because they are way too expensive. If I wanted to spend that kind of money on a hotel, it certainly would not be there.

  • George

    Joe, remember you get what you pay for. What do you expect to pay, $50/night?

    I’ve stayed in $500/night rooms at resorts. They had everything. Pool, bar, spa, hot tubs, concierge, restaurant.

    I’ve also stayed in $50/night rooms. They had stale muffins for breakfast and a dumpster outside my window.

    You get what you pay for.

  • Kathy

    For Christmas, we buy gift cards for our children/grandchildren to enjoy Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg year-round. They share a room and it’s a gift that keeps on giving all year. Where can you get a hotel room (and bring your own food if you want) and enjoy a water park in a secure, enjoyable surrounding for anything less than what they charge?

  • ed newell

    we stayed at kalihari over xmas.on the way home from minnesota 185 for a nite and that included 2 days for 4 of us in the waterpark was a good deal; and a good time

  • Mr. Beefy

    Mwa hmwa hmwa darling…I stay at the $500 a night hotels because I’m so hoity toity! I’m George and only the best will do for me!

  • Chris

    I stayed at the Hilton at Disneyworld and it was 250 a night and it was awesome. That was Disneyworld. This is 300 for a Williamsburg stay. I should never have paid 250 in Fla. and I will never pay 300 here. Tired of getting jipped and it seems evryone else is starting to feel the same. Half a weeks take home for what? Some water and over priced crap food. Wake the heck up people