This past weekend we were invited by the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Smoky Mountain Resort for a stay in this family-friendly resort. We have visited Gatlinburg on a weekend trip in the past but we stayed in a rental cabin home. So it was our first time staying in a resort property right in downtown Gatlinburg.
The Holiday Inn Club Vacations Smoky Mountain Resort
The family friendly Holiday Inn Club Vacations Smoky Mountain Resort is a newest member of Holiday Inn brand family that aims to provide luxury, resort-style accommodation at the affordable price. With the partnership of Kemmons Wilson who built the first Holiday Inn hotel in 1952 in Memphis, TN and IHG, the Holiday Inn Club Vacation offers timeshare ownership program with more than just a typical timeshare program.
At first, I have my reservation when I heard about “Club Vacation or Timeshare”. We have seen those advertisement before of cheap low rate resort stay in exchange of 90 minutes presentation. We have done that a few times and do not wish to do that again.
But after checking the website and personally speaking to the representative, I was reassured that Holiday Inn Club Vacations offers regular guests to rent the resort room without any obligation. So it means you can just book a room like you would at other Holiday Inn brand hotels and you wouldn’t have to do any presentation.
Actually, they don’t even have a sale center at the Gatlinburg location. BUT if you find the value in becoming a timeshare owners, there are staffs who will be more than happy to talk to you about the detail.
The First Impression and Impressive Staffs
When we arrived at Gatlinburg, I was VERY impressed with the hospitality from ALL the staff at the resort. Everyone was genuinely nice and attentive. We spent a good 15 minutes talking to the maintenance manager who came by after we checked in to make sure that we have everything we need.
The lobby of the resort set the stage for our stay. We felt like we walked to a mountain lodge up on the Smoky Mountains when we actually were about 5 minutes away from bustling Gatlinburg downtown.
The cozy fire place with comfy chairs was perfect for us to sit down and relax. Kids also enjoyed spending time at the checker table trying to outwit each other. If we didn’t have such a busy schedule, I’m sure they would be happy to just spend time at the lobby.
Great Location in Downtown Gatlinburg
It might sound too much like a real estate commercial but the location is a big factor for family vacation. When choosing accommodations for your family trip, the location can make your trip more enjoyable or miserable.
The resort is located about 3 blocks from the main street in downtown Gatlinburg make it very convenient to walk to any downtown attractions, shops and restaurants.
If you have been to Gatlinburg, you will know that public parking in Gatlinburg can run from $5-$10 per day. With that saving, you will be able to get yourself some hand made candies or wood craved souvenirs.
Room with Plenty of Space for Family
As a club vacation resort, the rooms at Holiday Inn Club Vacations Smoky Mountain Resort are one-bedroom or two-bedroom villas. With separate living area and full-size kitchen, it is definitely a perfect choice for family vacation.
We were staying at a two- bedroom villa which includes a large living room, a dining room that can easily accommodate 6-8 people and a full size kitchen. For a family of 4, the room gives us plenty of space without being on top of each other. And I think the room can accommodate even more people.
Each bedroom is charmingly decorated. I love the little details they put into the decoration that really make you feel like you are in a getaway cabin.
I probably won’t be able to list all of the detail amenities that are available for guests in the resort. But there are a few that I want to highlight because it is the little thing that count for me.
Indoor heated pool
There is no doubt that a pool is a must-have amenities for family travel. Even if you travel in the midst of winter, a quick swim in a heated indoor pool will be almost as fun as a full day at an amusement park. Unfortunately, Mr. Z got sick once we arrived (it seems to be a theme here when we travel), we didn’t have a chance to enjoy the pool.
The picture above is taken from our 9th floor. The indoor pool is housed in the building next to the outdoor pool.
Hear that? FREE as in no extra charge to use the internet in this resort. I believe this should be a regular amenity in all hotels just like free local call. Holiday Inn has always been the pioneer of complimentary services in the hospitality industry. I hope other hotels and resorts will follow soon.
During the week, there are various fun activities for kids and adults ranging from art & crafts, story time or photography classes. This is one big difference between staying in a typical hotel and a club vacation resort. A planned activity on a rest day where you might just want to simply lay low and enjoy time in your room.
Washer and Dryer
You may ask who would want to do laundry on their vacation! A smart traveler will say ‘Me’. With all the increased price in air travel on checking in luggage, family has to learn to pack light in order to save on check-in luggage. With washer and dryer inside your room, it makes packing light easier and less troublesome. With our weekend getaway of family of 4 we only pack 2 carry-on luggage. We are fortunate that Gatlinburg is within a driving distance. But if we have to fly, we know that we won’t have to pay extra to check in our luggage.
Although, the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Smoky Mountain Resort graciously hosted my family for the weekend and also paid for certain attractions and expenses for us, the resort room rate online is very affordable and comparable to area hotels and resorts. The rate that I checked for my weekend was less than $200 for a two-bedroom. (Rate is subject to change based on availability and date)
With the saving you will further receive from cook your own meal in the spacious kitchen and walking to various downtown Gatlinburg, it makes the Holiday Inn Club Vacations a great option for family travel. I will definitely stay there again in the future!
Disclosure: Thank you Holiday Inn Club Vacations Smoky Mountain Resort for hosting my family over the weekend and providing us with complimentary attraction tickets and expense card. This post is based solely on my experience and my opinion without any outside influence. I will not write about a place we will not stay ourselves.