You simply cannot beat the surroundings, the inn itself or the service. A true gem. No need for a long review on this place. It's outstanding......... that should cover it.
- Free Parking
We have stayed at the inn twice a year for the last five years. The owners and staff attend to every need. It feels like your own personal vacation retreat. The uninterrupted view of the peaks of The Great Smoky Mts is unbelievable. The rooms are spacious and extremely clean. Each room opens onto balcony overlooking the mountains. The dining room and common rooms are inviting. The breakfast and evening desserts are delicious. I almost hesitate to share this review because I don't want to share this place with too many people. It is truly a slice of heaven on earth.
My wife and I stayed at the lodge based on a recommendation of a co-worker. We are very glad we did.
Vern and Lisa were on vacation yet it was certainly not a case of when the cat is away the mice will play. The staff was very cordial and a total delight. The food was also outstanding.
Some people commented about the steep road yet it is really only steep in one part which is right at the very end. The view at the top makes it worth it.
As far as the age of the clientele goes, all I can say is my wife and I are far from retirement age yet we loved it. Our reason for going was to escape the hussle and bussle of corporate life for a few days and we did. Yes, most people there were retired yet who cares. Each night a group sat around with a glass of wine and desert and had a great time.
If it is excitement you want go somewhere else. If it is a lovely, peaceful and relaxing time with great service then this is the place for you. We liked it so much on our first visit we have booked another already. Oh, we also bought some of that art some people liked to criticize yet it was never once pushed on us. And yes, they are reproductions of the lithograph or giclee variety. They make great conversation pieces with friends.
After the trip up the hill, which, although challenging, very doable, we were enchanted withe the first view of the Inn and its surroundings. We checked in and fell in love. One reviewer said this is a place for "old codgers". Couldn't be more wrong. It is a beautiful natural setting (yes there are paintings on all the walls, and although they are not my taste in art, they are definitely well-done..and it was not overwhelming in the room) with a wonderful porch with chairs to sit on and enjoy the view. The breakfasts were truly high quality and well-thought out. The evening desserts were wonderful., I did see a couple sitting in the kitchen once. The reality is that a lot of us who frequent bed and breakfasts enjoy meeting people from other places and walks of life. If you want absolute privacy, go to Motel 6 where they don't care about you and won't give you the time of day. We thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality here. So clean and beautiful.And really, so caring of their guests. I have NEVER been treated this well at any bed and breakfast. Yes, I believe it to be a little pricey at first glance, but ultimately, we felt like we truly got our money;s worth. We will be back. And we will bring friends. And we are not old. Keep doing what you are doing, Vern and Lisa. It was magnificent.
This was just what we wanted. Quiet, clean and out of the hustle & bustle. Breakfasts were extravagant without being heavy. Great perch to view the Smokies. Join the crowds if you like or climb back into the woods and enjoy the quiet.
My wife and I went to Hippensteal’s for three nights. It was a decent overall experience. There is a nice view out of the back porch (which is a community porch). Every day we were there we noticed a group of older folks (mid-late fifties or so) socializing at the common table in Vern’s kitchen. By the second day, we kind of realized that this place is obviously better suited for retired folks or those who are nearing retirement and enjoy the social outlet that this place provides them. We, unfortunately, are not those people. If just for that, I would be giving Mr. Hippensteal’s Inn a higher rating.
Firstly, the final road that leads to the inn is probably over a half mile long, has many twists and turns, and is ONLY for one car. It is well taken care of, but there are very steep drops to the side. If you encounter another car on this stretch of road, you’d better hope that the driver is under 65. I say this because there are a couple of small pullover areas where one car is supposed to pull into to let another car pass. In my experience at Hippensteal’s, drivers age 65+ have no idea that those areas are for them to pull into and actually show a little courtesy. Instead, I had to put it in reverse for 100 yards to get to another pullover spot behind me so the old codgers could get to the Meatball House by 4:15. The actual inn and parking lot could be lit a bit better at night, as well. It was wet when we arrived and a little difficult to see what was what and where to go.
Upon arriving in the lobby I noticed a plethora of Bob Ross-like paintings all over the place – everywhere. The stairway was littered with these paintings. These are all paintings by Vern Hippensteal (the owner). We enter the room and there the paintings are -- all over the wall, seven total. There are also seven spotlights on ceiling tracks. Each spotlight has a special painting to present to the room’s residents. Did I mention that each and every painting has a price tag in the bottom right hand corner? Another reviewer on Google described them as “begging to be purchased.” And that reviewer is exactly correct. It’s very tacky and kind of sad because they’re just not great paintings, though I think Vern and others may possibly believe them to be so (but they look mass-produced to me). Vern has a studio anyway. That is where he needs to sell his paintings, not all over every wall of every room on every floor, begging to be purchased every time I pass them by or glance at them in the room. They’re not bad paintings. They’re OK. But, when they are bombarding you from every angle wherever you are in the inn, they become menacing. Imagine if Steve Winwood owned an Inn and you are staying at the Winwood inn. Now imagine that Steve Winwood plays Steve Winwood music through speakers in your room for 16 hours a day – and you can’t turn it off. I don’t need Steve Winwood bringing me a higher love. I need Steve Winwood to turn it off. I can’t roll with it anymore, baby.
OK, we get into the room. We wonder why we can hear the neighbor’s television clearly through the closed suite doors (Oh! Because they’re old and can’t hear! Wonderful! I didn’t want peace and quiet, anyway!) Well, let’s turn on the fireplace. (There is a dial you have to turn) tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tay, that dial ticks away. Really!?! Fireplaces are supposed to be quiet and relaxing (especially the gas ones), but this one has a stinking ticking timer – RUINS the mood. OK, let’s just go heat up this food we brought. I go downstairs to the kitchen (I still don’t want to buy any paintings, but thank you for the offer), and hey, there are two microwaves, two refrigerators, plates, silverware and a lady making Otis Spunkmeyer cookies (which were very good). She helps me with everything I need, but dissuades me from using the stove (I HATE microwaved chicken), but whatever; I’ll just nuke it then. She even gave me a tray to put the plates on. She was courteous and kind. The chicken didn’t taste too mutated. I think she is Vern’s wife.
Ahh, the morning arrives. Should we have some copulation-upon-waking, aye? Oh, the retired suite neighbors are taking care of that for us? Our wine glasses are clanging from all the shaky vibrations? Oh. I also hear rhythmic thuds. I sense the imminence of heart attacks. OK then, let’s go downstairs and have some breakfast (I’m still not interested in purchasing anything, but thank you). HEY! It’s Vern! And he’s serving me breakfast (It almost felt like Prince serving me pancakes, but not quite). The breakfast was very good, though a bit silly (a super-thick, heart-shaped pancake – I guess he wanted me to feel the love. I didn’t.)
The bottom line is if you like Kitschy artwork, and like to throw down money to purchase it and/or sleep among it, then this is the place for you. If you like breakfast food such as Eggs Hippensteal, then you might find a slice of heaven here. If you are hard of hearing, and it doesn’t matter how loud other people are, this may be the cherry on top of your coconut butterscotch pie. If you ARE hard of hearing then you are most likely old, as well, which means you may also find your true ambrosia while socializing in the kitchen. I’ll try back in 30 years and see if Vern’s son is up to the challenge.