I have always believed that you can find little hidden treasures close to home. I think Gatlinburg Falls Resort is one such treasure. It is located approximately six miles from the little town of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with only the Smoky Mountains National Park separating the two. We decided to take a long weekend break to visit Gatlinburg which is a little over a four hour drive from Atlanta.
I hate to admit that I got lost the first time trying to find the resort. Once you pass the Park, you will come upon the first traffic light in Gatlinburg. It is literally marked with the number “1”. You will need to turn left at that light. We had gotten to stoplight number 10 when we finally decided to call the resort for directions. Luckily, the lights are in close proximity, otherwise I would have been upset.
Once you make the left turn, keep driving up a steep hill until you get to the stop sign. Bear right at the stop sign and keep going until you see the resort on your left. I wish that they would install a sign indicating that you should turn left to get to them. However, there is a lot of sign porn going on, so you may miss it anyway.
We realized that we were early….very early. We left Atlanta around 5 am, so it was now 10ish. The front desk clerk was a little terse with us. He didn’t ask if he could help us. He said something like, “What can I do for you?” without looking at us. I told him that we had reservations for the Rainbow’s End cabin. He quickly offered that they only guarantee that rooms are ready by 4 pm and he didn’t think it was cleaned yet.
That wasn’t a problem for us. We knew we were super early, but we were a little tired and had crossed our fingers for an early check in. I sent an email three days prior to let them know that we would probably be arriving by noon, but I guess they couldn’t accommodate us. The fact that they weren’t ready for us was quite alright. I was a little put off by the disengaged attitude of the clerk who after checking his phone (their internet was down) verified that the room wasn’t ready.
He was ready to take my payment however. I asked him to give me an estimate of when it would be ready; he repeated that it would be around 4. He said he could call me if it was ready before then. I gave him my number and started to leave. I didn’t know there was anyone else who’d come in behind me. THAT gentleman was greeted with a cheery, “Hello!” and was asked “How may I help you?”. I took note that it was markedly different from the way that we were approached, so it wasn’t that the clerk wasn’t trained, it was telling that there was such a glaring difference.
We visited Gatlinburg and got back to the Welcome Center offices a little after 4 pm. He said “Let me see if the cabin is ready”. I was thinking it’s after four, it should be! He confirmed that it was and again asked for payment. I told him that there was no payment that it was gratis; that I had been invited to stay. As if by magic, his tone changed and he suddenly became engaged and interested in us as guests.
I purposely didn’t reveal why I was there in the beginning because I didn’t want to influence his true ‘service’ technique. I wanted him to treat me like any other paying customer. I know people’s eyes glaze over when you bring up the fact that not all humans are treated equally, but I can say that I FELT like I was treated with less concern than the other patron.
Other than that brief interlude, my stay was perfection. I can’t praise their cabins enough. Rainbow’s End was a two-bedroom respite with a huge eat-in kitchen on the left that sat eight and a spacious living room on the right as you entered the cabin. The kitchen had all the comforts of home: Dishes, pots and pans, silverware, cooking utensils, cups….literally everything that you needed to cook sans the food.
There was a coffee maker, microwave, mixer, can opener, chef knives in addition to the dishwasher, stove and fridge. All necessary chemicals and supplies were provided for the guest’s convenience.
On the right, the living room was outfitted with whimsical lodge type sleeper sofa, loveseat and chair with a large wooden storage chest standing in nicely as the cocktail table in the center. A 32” tv is anchored on the stone covered wall right over the electric fireplace with a dvd player encased below.
One quick note about all of the furniture in the cabin; I have to say that it’s been years since I’ve seen such high quality, well-made furniture. It was definitely built to last for decades and is very kid-friendly.
Right behind the living room is a full bath with an extended countertop. Again, all of the creature comforts like towels, washcloths, shampoo, soap, lotion and conditioner are provided.
Across from the bath was a closet that housed a stacked washer/dryer unit and an iron and ironing board. If you are planning a long getaway, this alone is worth the rent!
Connected to the bathroom is the first of two bedrooms in the unit. It has a king sized bed with a dresser, nightstand and tv ensconced on the wall right across from it. A small closet was in the back of the room and there was a beautiful balcony outside the master bedroom.
Right past the laundry room were the steps that lead you to the second bedroom with an ensuite bath. As you descend the staircase, you will see a game room with a table and two barstools surrounding it. There were two old fashioned, manual video game consoles (one of the consoles had eight pages of games!!) and an air hockey table. Right outside the bedroom was another queen sleeper sofa.
When the description said the cabin sleeps eight, they meant it! There is a second balcony outside the game room. This is where the hot tub (a necessity in the cabin community) is located and is a true blessing after a long day of sightseeing.
Gatlinburg Falls Resort 645 Park Vista Way Gatlinburg, TN 37738
To make a reservation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more info, check out their website to view all cabin options at CabinsOfTheSmokyMountains.com