When we first decided to go to Gatlinburg for the boy’s spring break, one of the hardest decisions to make was where to stay. Since we are a larger family, we cannot fit into a regular hotel room, but we still wanted to be somewhere that was within walking distance to almost everything we wanted to do. Cabins are spacious, but pretty pricey and definitely not within walking distance of the fun. That is when I ran across the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Resort in Gatlinburg. I took one look at their cozy rooms and location and knew they would be the perfect fit for our family.
Holiday Inn Club Vacation Resorts
I myself never knew that Holiday Inn Club Vacation Resorts even existed before I started searching for the perfect place to stay in Gatlinburg. I of course had heard of Holiday Inn Hotels. Who hasn’t? It turns out that Kemmons Wilson who created the Holiday Inn brand in 1952 revolutionized the hotel industry in 1982 by creating Orange Lake Resorts, the biggest timeshare resort in the world. Later, as more locations were added, they adapted the Holiday Inn name to include these now 8 resort locations and they became known as Holiday Inn Club Vacation Resorts. Spread from the beautiful Smokies in Gatlinburg to the sun and fun in Orlando, these affordable family resorts offer a real home away from home for traveling families.
Holiday Inn Club Vacation Resort in Gatlinburg
The resort in Gatlinburg is cozy and puts you right at home from the moment you walk through the doors. The staff here truly is dedicated to making your stay as good as humanly possible and they actually do care. Don’t take my word for it, check out the reviews on Tripadvisor. You will hear over and over again how wonderful the staff there truly is. The manager even gives out his personal cell and home numbers so that you can reach him anytime of the day. No joke! From the warm fireplace to the cozy wooden chairs and checkers sets in the lobby, the whole resort resonates that comfy mountain feel.
Check-in is a breeze and while some other locations have a long row of check-in agents, this location has only one who gives you their full attention and makes the process personal and friendly. I know you heard the word timeshare and it has probably made you want to run for the hills, but don’t. While they do offer timeshares, you can also book individual stays at low rates and with no obligation of a timeshare presentation whatsoever. We were never asked or pressured about purchasing a timeshare, and that is not the way these resorts operate. If you want the information it is certainly there, but it is not forced down your throat like at other places.
I could literally go on for days about the room and if I had not just redone half my house, I likely never would have wanted to leave! We stayed in a two bedroom villa that was huge and more than enough room for all six of us. There was a full kitchen that could save a family a bundle on meals alone during their stay. Complete with a dishwasher and a washer and dryer. It was a relief to wash the boys clothes before we left and have everything clean and ready to put away when we got home.
The dining room table was beautiful and big enough for all of us to sit at and have breakfast as a family each morning. The living room is large with comfy furniture and the whole place is decorated with the rustic cabin feel. The sofa in the living room pulled out into a queen size bed and must have been pretty comfy as I got no complaints from the boys who slept there. There is a sliding glass door that opened onto a balcony that gave us a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains and Gatlinburg itself. The boys loved sitting out there and watching the people who were ziplining nearby, but my favorite time was during a thunderstorm. It was great to be able to watch the lightening come down and the mist spread across the Smoky Mountains.
The master bedroom was spacious and had a relaxing jacuzzi tub that my mom took advantage of a few times during the trip, a king sized bed and a shower complete with a bench to sit on so you could let the heat soak in after a day of walking the streets. The other bedroom had two double beds, yet another TV and was decorated in the same rustic flavor as the rest of the villa. I was so pleased to finally be given plenty of pillows as well, since I sleep with tons of them every night. We were no sooner tucked away in our villa, than the phone rang and it was the resort manager asking us if everything in the room was satisfactory. Just another personal touch to help make your vacation special.
There is definitely no skimping on amenities at the Holiday Inn Club Vacation Resorts. They each have their own unique amenities, but they are all dedicated to helping your family enjoy their vacation to its fullest. The Gatlinburg location has both an indoor and outdoor pool and hot tub. There is a family game room inside, a fitness center and a children’s activity center. This was one of my favorite amenities. They have a vacation news flier that they give you at check-in, which tells all of the weekly activities they will be having. Everything from tubing, to hiking, making tie-dyed tee shirts and painting your own souvenirs. Some activities are free and some like the t-shirts have a small fee, but it is a great chance for the kids to have fun and take home a memory from the trip. Not to mention that Misty and Chasity are two of the sweetest women you will run across in the Smokies and truly love what they do.
In addition to the amenities above is my personal favorite. Free WIFI! It truly is free and it works really really well. After all my stays in various hotels over the last year, from the BlogHer hotel in San Diego where I could not even get online to the timeshare in Orlando where I paid $10 a day for sporadic service, it was a relief to easily be able to get online whenever I needed to and not have to worry about a huge bill at the end of the stay.
Cost and Location
I lumped these two together because the location of the resort has a lot to do with its value. If you have never been to Gatlinburg, let me tell you, you will pay for parking everywhere. Everywhere convenient anyway. Parking is anywhere from $5-$8 a pop and that can add up over the course of a trip. Most trolley rides are $.50 each, but add six people and that becomes $3.00 for a one way trip to an attraction. Staying at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Resort in Gatlinburg meant we could walk literally everywhere and it never cost us an extra cent.
The cost of the rooms vary, but are lower than most cabins in the area and cheaper than purchasing two rooms at a local hotel, which is what we would need to do to have enough room. You can check rates at anytime of the year on their website. With the ability to make your own meals, save on transportation and parking, as well as the free vacation themed kids’ activities, there really is no better choice in Gatlinburg for a family than the Holiday Inn Club Vacation Resort.
* I was provided with a four night stay at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Resort in Gatlinburg, but all words, thoughts and opinions above are entirely my own.