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.
- 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