My husband, son, mother, and I rented the Amazing Views Retreat for several days in September 2012, and every single one of us fell. in. love. with the house. It was meant to be a "bucket list" experience for my mom, but we loved it so much that we're going back in May. We can't help it--we're addicted! The views of the Smoky Mountain National Park from the decks are so beautiful that neither I nor my four-year-old son cared to leave the house at all for the four days we were there. It rained the first two days we were there (which was beautiful, too, with the fog hanging around the mountain tops), so we decided to go to the aquarium in Gatlinburg. However, we had to speed through it in under an hour because my son refused to look at anything and kept insisting that we go back to "VACATION HOUSE!!" (Emphasis his.) He spent all day, every day exploring the house and riding the ride-on train toy we took with us around the main floor. Different children enjoy different activities, but he could not have been happier with the house. On the day we arrived at the house, my son was on day two of treatment for a double ear infection. Didn't matter--he still loved the house.
My mother is 71 years old and has some knee problems, so she found the stairs in the house a little tricky to navigate--but that isn't the fault of the house, obviously. Because of the stairs, it may not be the best house for anyone with mobility issues or for todddlers who aren't walking well, yet. But, that's an issue to note for any vacation house with stairs.
The couches in the theater room are so comfortable, and the theater system is easy to use. All of the bedrooms are spacious and comfortable, as well, and nicely furnished with big beds and flat-screens televisions with clear pictures. The fancier bedrooms are those on the main and upper floors, but the downstairs bedrooms are cozier and have great views from big windows, too (the bunk bed room being the only exception, but we didn't utilize it). So, there isn't a bad spot to sleep in the house. I gave "sleep quality" a very good rating instead of an excellent rating because the mattress in the master bedroom isn't the best, and the sheets aren't the softest. Similarly, I gave "cleanliness" a very good rating instead of excellent because, while the house, in general, was very clean and pleasant, there was quite a bit of dust on light fixtures, on blinds, and under beds, as well as a few dead bugs behind one of the bedroom doors downstairs. In addition, several lightbulbs, inside and out, needed replacing, and both the oven and stovetop needed a thorough cleaning. (We couldn't use the top oven because it had a strong baked-fish smell.) Basically, the house needs a more thorough cleaning every few weeks, just like any other house (including my own).
The check-in process was super easy, and the directions provided by Elk Springs Resort were easy to follow, too, which we appreciated. We actually took the "back" way to the house that was suggested by ESR because the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg exit on I-40 was backed up and looked thoroughly annoying. So, we got off the Interstate at the Newport exit and stopped at the Walmart we passed to get our groceries. Doing so allowed us to enjoy our first night at the house without having to worry about going out again for supper. On our first full day at the house, a member of the Elk Springs Resort staff called to make sure everything was okay, which was very nice. Finally, the check-out process was simple, too; we didn't have to do much with the house before we left, at least not compared to other rental vacation properties we've stayed at. That helped to get us on the road home in an efficient manner.
Suffice it to say, any minor issues with cleanliness or bed comfort were not enough to mar our experience at the Amazing Views Retreat in the slightest. We've been on lovely vacations before, but never have we yearned to go back to a place like we all yearn to go back to VACATION HOUSE!! :-) My son has asked to go back every. single. day. since our return home, and the rest of us have been maudlin and whiney about having to wait until May to go back. (I'm not exaggerating for effect; we've been ridiculous.) There's just something about that house . . . we fell in love with it and treasure our experience there.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A luxury cabin resort in Gatlinburg featuring 1-7 bedroom cabin rentals with hot tubs, pool tables and home theater rooms. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Elk Springs Hotel Gatlinburg