The Good: We live about an hour away from Gatlinburg, and try to go up each winter for a weekend just to break up the winter blahs for our little boy. An indoor pool is a must, cleanliness is a must. This place really fit the bill, and then some. We used out AAA discount, and got a room for $78.
We asked on checking in if we had to listen to a timeshare sales pitch, and the lady very kindly said "Of course not, not if you don't want to." The restaurant had some very nice dishes listed, even homemade lasagna with freshly made pasta (YUM), but our little boy and his friend opted for Golden Corral and the 'Wonder-Fall' chocolate fountain for dinner.
Upon check in, a bus staff gentleman named Dennis (ExTREMEly nice guy) gave us a golfcart ride up to the unit. He was very kind, full of information, and just exceptionally friendly. The entire staff was, right down to the lady at the store.
The Wild Bear Falls waterpark was PERFECT. Almost. (Note: I have been to Wilderness at the Smokies, and while it had some neat slides and a wave pool, it is hard to enjoy them when you are choking on chlorine gas, your eyes are tearing up, and your skin is burning. I could even taste chlorine in the air. Oh, and it was like a sauna inside.) Wild Bear Falls at Westgate is long, open, airy, and comfortable. I noticed two huge air vent tubes that run the length of the ceiling, full of openings, so I surmise that is why the place was so comfortable and pleasant to be in. They have the biggest lazy river I have ever seen, indoors or out. Two big curvy slides, and lots of play area for little ones like toddlers and preschoolers. Child-friendly, with one entrance.
The BAD: There was an african-american man who was lifeguarding the exit to the slides for a while on Saturday the 25th of February, who chatted with hot-tub patrons the entire time I watched him, only glancing at the slide pool occasionally. I observed one little boy pop out of a slide exit, who really struggled to get out of the water. He 'frog-kicked' to the side, and pulled himself around to the stairs. The lifeguard did not glance his way one time for about two full minutes. The lifeguard I observed earlier stood right by the exits and did NOT take his eyes off the water for more than a few seconds at a time. Most all of the lifeguards seemed alert and intent on doing their jobs.
The UGLY: The armbands and manned entrance/exit made us feel safe about the kids, until about two hours before closing. At that point, the rope was dropped and people walked in and out at will while the employees joked and chatted. A perfect place for a predator, as parents enter thinking the place is secure and that their kids are safe. THAT scared me.
- Also Known As:
- Westgate Smoky Mountain Hotel Gatlinburg
- Westgate Smoky Mountain Hotel
- Westgate Smoky Mountain Gatlinburg
- Westgate Resort Gatlinburg
- Westgate Resort Tennessee
- Westgate Tennessee
- Westgate Smokey Mountain Resort
- Gatlinburg Westgate
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Westgate Smoky Mountain resort in Gatlinburg, Tennessee is the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of nature, and a short drive to Dollywood, antique shops, and restaurants. Enjoy nature trails that take you from your cabin into the wooded forest of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Suite villas feature a fully equipped kitchen, and whirlpool tub in the master bathroom. Guests can enjoy two large swimming pools and an indoor water park. ... more less
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