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“Years of Fun Until Bed Bugs”

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Cherokee / Great Smokies KOA
Certificate of Excellence
Atlanta, GA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Years of Fun Until Bed Bugs”
Reviewed July 21, 2007

Vacationed with another family at Cherokee KOA every year for 10 years and always loved our experience until our teen broke out overnight in a horrible rash all over him (the movie Oceans 13 shows exactly what that's like). All of our clean sheets had blood spots on them, but only my son broke out (learned later from info from the CDC that the rash was a bed bug rash and the reason the rest of us didn't break out like he did was because he was the only one severely allergic to bed bugs). We took him to the ER and the ER doctor wrote on the discharge orders that we should find different bedding, so my son slept on the porch in a hammock for the next two nights. The following morning as I lay on my bed, I saw critters (ticks and something I did not recognize) and I got a baggie and bagged them.

Our friends returned home from that same trip to find their daughter likely had rocky mountain spotted fever. They did not have the same experience in their cabin as we did (no blood spots), and figured she got the tick bite outside the cabin.

As this great place was a tradition for our families, we tried again the next year. Both families called ahead to remind the staff of what happened the year before and to make sure the cabins were fumigated. Not only did they assure us they had sprayed, they had new mattresses with vinyl protectors on them. They went the extra mile. I also brought my own spray and sprayed the cabin before we went in, although I didn't think to spray every inch of the walls. Thirty minutes after getting there, shortly after my son climbed in the top bunk, he broke out. I came prepared with prednisone, so we didn't have to go to the ER this time. We got him bunked down in the car (it was too late to leave) and when we returned to our other son in the cabin, he said: "I know what's causing it... it's these bugs coming out of the wall by his bed." Sure enough, they were the same mystery bug as I had bagged the year before. According to news reports, some of today's sprays don't have what is needed to deal with bed bugs. I assume that's what happened here--it wasn't due to lack of effort on KOA's part.

The KOA staff was very apologetic when I showed them the critters I had bagged again. They made reservations for us in the Lodge for the next year at the same price as the Kabins, but we already felt foolish enough for what happened because of our attempt to hold on to our tradition at KOA. We're going elsewhere this year, but will miss KOA Cherokee--it was an awesome place for family vacations that only got better every year until 2005.

As a disclaimer I will say again that our friends did not have bed bugs in their cabin (no blood spots) either year. I will also say we bring dogs with us every year; they don't. However, my son has never broken out in road trips with them or when they sleep in his room every night at home. He did not break out during the four-hour road trip to KOA in 2005 or 2006; both times it was after he was in the cabin.

  • Liked — Chess board and staff.
  • Disliked — Bed bugs.
  • Stayed September 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank baserockermom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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368 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (49)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Virginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 29, 2007

vacationed there 2 summers in a row ('04,'05). Area is beautiful and campground is one of our favorites. The kids are begging to go back. Would suggest you pay the extra money for a super site as some of the gravel sites seemed to be a little soggy after raining.

Stayed June 2005
Helpful?
2 Thank Marie65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Walhalla,SC
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed February 2, 2007

We stayed in 1 of the 2 room kabins in May of 2006. We have already planned our stay for May of 2007. This is a fabulous campground, and believe me I know good from bad as we are avid campers. Some of the kabins are located directly along the river bank which is beautiful, while others are located along the trout pond and the trout pond inlet. You can hear the river flowing all night and watch trout fisherman all day. The view is spectular.

We normally use our camper, so I made sure to check out the campsites as well. Each site is spacious with full hookups available and you are parked on concrete in most spots.

The campground is quite clean, has lovely landscape, and plenty of things for people to do without spending the extra money. We did not use the pools this last time because the weather was beautiful and we didn't want to spend our weekend away playing in a pool. I'm sure the pools can get overcrowded during the summer months, as they do everywhere.

Anyone that is familiar with bathhouses at campgrounds, may be able give some stories, but these were some of the best I have ever seen. They are quite clean and well kept. The staff takes great care in looking after these areas. There are also individual bathrooms (no showers) located at the bathhouses as well.

I would recommend this campground to anyone. Just keep in mind this is not a hotel, but is a campground and people will be milling around and visiting with each other all the area. We have a group that we join each year camping with we decided not to change locations this year, because this site was so beautiful.

Enjoy your stay!

  • Liked — Scenery
  • Disliked — Not one
  • Stayed May 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank LiveWalhalla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Naples, FL
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed December 22, 2006

I had stayed at this koa years ago before I was married. My husband and I decided to rent a kottage for a week this summer there. My husband was wary (he's from Long Island, NY.) I told him we wouldn't be exactly roughing it. Anyways, we got kottage #517 which is right on the corner of the little area where the kottages are. After we unpacked the car and sat on the porch, I could see my husband's eyes well up. I asked him what was wrong. He said, "I have never seen anything so beautiful in my life." He was referring to the view we had while sitting on the porch.

Renting one of their kottages was not like camping at all. It was a beautiful little cabin with a bedroom with a bathroom, sitting area, and kitchen. It was air conditioned (though we didn't need it). It had a television with remote control, a gas fireplace, a stove, microwave, kitchen table and chairs. In the living room area, there was a futon and also a cot if we needed it. On the covered porch, there was a table and chairs and a bbq grill. We overlooked the river and steps away was an entrance to the river for wading or tubing.

We brought our dog with us. There was not an extra charge to have the dog in the cabin. The dog walk area was close by and it was a nice little island surrounded by the river and streams. It was like walking through a little forest.

Previous people have commented that the indoor pool was too overcrowded by kids. I think that is a good thing. I went there to have a nice vacation. It was great to have a place where my son could have fun with other kids while my husband and I relaxed.

I loved the fact that they cooked food for every meal 7 days a week. A few nights we just got stuff to bring back to the Kottage. Any leftovers we put in the fridge. They had a country store with ample supplies.

I don't know why people were complaining previously about the kennels. We left our dog in our kottage while we went out. I don't know why it would be necessary to put your pet in a kennel there.

One last note, in the kitchen all dishes, utensils, cups, coffee maker, broom, dustpan, sponges, dish soap, pots, pans, paper towels, sponges was supplied. In the bathroom they supplied us with toilet paper. They did not clean our kottage during our stay. Remember to bring bed linens and towels and you should be set. Remember, this is supposed to be camping-lol.

  • Liked — Beautiful view, very relaxing
  • Disliked — Wished they had 2 bedroom kottages to rent.
  • Tips/Secrets — My review is of the kottages-not to be confused with the cabins.
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank LoriMichelle0117
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa Bay area, Florida
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed October 18, 2006

My family stayed at the Cherokee KOA for several days in July of 2005 and it is in my top two campgrounds, we loved it. The staff (mainly international students) were wonderful, very friendly and helpful. The indoor pool is excellent, though as other reviewers have noted the hot tub tends to be full of rowdy preteens. The Internet connection is spotty, but wireless is available off and on. The very best thing about the campground is the food court! They have fresh baked pizza, ice cream and (best of all) nightly all-you-can-eat specials. The AUCE steak special with corn on the cob and roll is delicious, and very economical. The camp store is 3 or 4 time the size of most KOA camp stores, and some weekends it is open 24 hours. I highly recommend the trip to Mingo Falls, if you can make the hike (a bit challenging for the out of shape like myself) you are rewarded with some stunning views.

  • Stayed July 2005, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank sherrie87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Midland, Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 5, 2006

We traveled to Cherokee to the KOA site the first week of July. We stayed in one of the Kottages. This included one bedroom, a bathroom, a living room/kitchen area and a front deck overlooking the river. I'd like to say that the Kottage was great, especially the air conditioner and stove. Being non-campers, it was a perfect way to camp with our three children and not be burdened by the actually work that goes into camping.

The activities were on the weaker side. For example, the jumping pillow costs $2 for 15 minutes of jumping per child. My kids stayed on for the full time, but it was nothing special compared to their trampoline at home. Also, the putt-putt golf was a very small course--perfect for my three year old, but I imagine for older kids, pretty boring (especially for another fee). The outdoor pool was so cold even with a mid to high 80s air temperature. The hot tub was full of uncontrolled children most of the time. The indoor pool was warmer, but had a small workout room and food/concessions in the same spot. It just didn't feel right. Lastly, the tubing experience was not good. The rocks were a pain in the bottom and we had to stop before the end of the journey. All I can say is don't do it.

Overall, the experience was good, but could have been much better with a few people working a little bit harder.

  • Stayed July 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank qualms
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Myrtle beach,SC
Level Contributor
27 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
Reviewed July 1, 2006

we stayed in KOA Cherokee NC last week of June 2006. Their website looks much better then the campground actually is. We loved the staff and the store.

The campground was too crowded and at night you could actually hear what people are talking about in another tent from your cabin. (hard to fall asleep).

Both swimming pools were freezing cold and hot tub was always full of screaming children with lots of inflantable stuff....Their so called gym is actually in the corner of the indoor swimming pool between the pool and pizza stand, so no privacy at all.(see picture)

Their "pet kennel" is something I would not leave a guinea pig in for a day. It is a small storage like building with no windows at all (see pictures) and you can hear the doggies whine and bark sadly...

Their computers are older then my Grandmother and were not working. The whole week there was a sign "all computers out of order".
Mini golf is really MINI, I mean 3 or 4 holes, and they have the nerve to charge you for it!!!

The walk area for dogs is very nice, private and by river. I liked that a lot. There is a nice mountain view from all the campground, clean showers and a very nice hiking trail to a waterfall called Mingo Falls nearby. They have nice trout ponds.

I am sorry for my English, I am from Europe.

  • Stayed June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank sumsicz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cherokee / Great Smokies KOA

Property: Cherokee / Great Smokies KOA
Address: 92 Koa Campground Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719-6451
Location: United States > North Carolina > North Carolina Mountains > Cherokee
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 13 Specialty Lodging in Cherokee
Number of rooms: 29
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
What a location! The Cherokee/Great Smokies KOA is bordered on one side by the serene Raven Fork River and on the other side by three tribal trout ponds. It lies just across the road from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and one mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway. From almost anywhere on the KOA's grounds, take in 360-degree mountain views. The resort campground offers camping cabins, cottages and Deluxe cabins, large RV and tent sites. This KOA is ideal for the biggest group gatherings with year-round indoor and seasonal outdoor pools and hot tubs, food service,an outdoor movie-cinema, a Jumping Pillow and adventure mini golf. Campers enjoy the shuttle to area attractions and events too numerous to count. Check online for special events, theme weekends and seasonal activities. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Cherokee / Great Smokies Koa Hotel Cherokee

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