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Wilderness at the Smokies Resort
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Reviewed December 4, 2013

This is a great great place for kids of any age. The indoor water park and Adventure Land were wonderful for Thanksgiving cause you never know what the weather will be like on the Beach. However, the Thirsty Miner Restaurant was just awful. Kids eat free but the buffet is $18 so you end of up paying for them anyway. The food was the absolute worst I have ever eaten and I couldn't' even eat the Thanksgiving buffet - the turkey was a pressed loaf and the rest of the food was just as awful. This is a shameful thing this day and time. Pillows are huge and hard, like sleeping on cement bricks. Otherwise, this is a fun place for 3 nights and 2 ay stay in the winter, probably more in the summer when the outdoor water parks are operational. Lifeguards were terrific and plentiful. I will go again, but I won't eat there for sure, and I'll bring my own pillow!!

Room Tip: No running allowed in halls, but this is not enforced. Don't know if there is a better option. Ask to be moved if your next door neighbor is cooking 3 times a day cause the smells are pervasive!
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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1  Thank Kathy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2013

We came here to celebrate our daughter's 10th birthday and the overall experience was positive.
We booked late and ended up booking one of their new Sanctuary Villas located about one mile off of the main building. Our daughter brought a friend from school and the three-room combination suites in the main lodge were not available. Their rooms are designed to handle 6 guests in a single room but I wanted my daughter and friend to have some private space.

I had to wait about five minutes for a front desk clerk to check me in but they were friendly. I requested to get my keys and not have to listen to some hustler try and sell me a time share. The lady honored my request and I saved myself from having to tell the time share rep that I am not stupid enough to fall for that.

Sanctuary Villa 116 was beautiful. Their "villas" are actually more like condos as the walls to our villa were contiguous with our neighbors. They are not stand alone houses. However we did not hear our neighbors and there was plenty of privacy.

My only real complaint about the Villa was we ran out of hot water. The water heater was set on energy saver mode. Good for pot-smoking tree-hugging hippie Marxist environmentalist Obamatards; but bad for bathing. Thankfully the Obamatards have yet to hide the setting on the heater and I changed it to regular "Smart" mode and the hot water problem was alleviated. If the environazis ever take this away, I would have to boil water on the stove to have enough. There were only six of us and the place can handle a maximum of 16.

The kitchen has a monster fridge that worked well, They are well stocked with plates, glasses, pots and pans. The oven and stove are there as well as a microwave. If you want to cook for yourself, this is the place to stay (as long as the hot water is available).

There is a pool table and dart board in the game room.

There were five televisions, each in working order. There were DVD players also, although we did not use them. They looked to be in good shape.

The bedrooms were nice with plenty of bedding and covers.

The bathrooms were in good shape.

They have a walk-in closet that would qualify as an apartment in some countries. It has bedding for the fold-out sofas and a safe. There is also an ironing board and iron.

The washer and dryer were in working order and were a great feature in our minds. We washed and dried clothes so as to have very little laundry.

They did not have any plastic glasses or plates. If you have small kids, bring a few so you do not have to worry about giving a little one a glass.

The indoor water park was very nice and not as crowded as last time. My kids had fun. Get there early in the a.m. when it opens and you will get worn out before it gets filled up.

The indoor Adventure Playground was a very good addition to the place and we did this on Sunday after checkout and before we left. We bought the all-stay pass and it was worth it for all the activities that were available. The ropes course was especially nice.

The reason that I did not give it a 5 has to do with the hot water, my experience with the reservations process, and my experience 2 years ago in the restaurant. When we reserved the villa and indoor playground passes, we got a confirmation number without any detail as to what we purchased. I called the reservations office and they confirmed that it all went through, but the agent did not appreciate me as a customer and I think I annoyed them by calling. The hot water was explained above. The housekeeping staff, who was extremely friendly and got us our towels, would be wise to change the heater to regular mode before a group checks in. Of course, this extra 25 cents of power consumption may anger the great leader.

We did not eat the restaurants this time because on a trip in early 2012, I had to pay $2 for a glass of milk so I could have milk in my oatmeal. If they ever add milk and juice to the breakfast buffet, I will give it another try. However I found their restaurants to be poor value and the milk thing still gets under my skin a bit. I understand if someone finds it crazy that I pay what I did for the villa for two nights and then complain about a $2 glass of milk. All I can say is that God gave me the ability to pay for the villa because I try not to waste money.

One last thing. if you are going down the tube slide at the water park in a two person tube, put your butt in the tube low enough to not be top heavy. Me and my daughter fell over in the tube. I have an arm bruise and she bumped her head to where it hurt for about three days. Thankfully all is well and I will go on the slide again. I just will make sure to have my fat butt in the tube more and lean back so as to not be so top heavy. I do not mind the arm bruise, but head knocks can be serious. Thankfully this time all was well.

Will I come back here? If I have the money and God allows, yes. This is a nice place. I think that I will come back in the summer to see what it is like with both outdoor and indoor attractions available.

Room Tip: If you have a large group, get a villa or book ahead and get a three-room suite. Each room is a stand-alone room and they can get booked up. We only took the villa because these were booked up. However I am not complaining as the villa was great. This place does not let you reserve a particular room ahead of time so you just have to hope they give you a room close to the indoor park or away from it depending upon what you want.
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Shankaracharya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2013

We wanted to see the smokies in the fall and to see the Christmas lights in all the towns on the "strip" leading to Gatlinsburg. The room was nice and clean and had all the amenities in a vacation resort: stove, oven, fridge, dishwasher, washer/dryer, pots, skillets, dishes, cups, silverware. You eat out at the many restaurants or eat in and save money. We have been to many vacation resorts this one ranks up there with the best. We are too old but we were interested in the attached water park for a future date with our grand kids. It looked like a lot of fun for all ages from toddler on up. It had wading pools with small slides on up to slides 4 stories high. There also a game room room and other things to occupy their time. There is an indoor as well as outdoor park. We saw lots of elementary school age kids having a great time at the indoor. Park since it was November over Veterans Day weekend. By the way, this resort is run by two different owners. We were in one of the two buildings by Wyndham. Yes, we would definitely stay here again and bring our kids and grand kids .

Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
1  Thank Jimmie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2013

I booked our family of 5's Thanksgiving vacation in mid-October. While making the reservation, I specifically requested a room in a quiet area because 2 of our 5 members had special needs. The room they gave us shared a wall with the fitness center. I thought no one in their right mind would need to use the treadmill at 10-11pm so I didn't request a room change. Live and learn. Not only did guests enjoy running on the treadmill while our kids tried to sleep each night, they had to have the fitness room TVs up to max volume... TVs that were a wall's thickness away from my elderly mother's headboard. Our last night there, we had a rather unnerving thing happen... someone opened our door! Guest services had given another woman with my same name keys to our room. Luckily we were there or they would have been able to walk right in and have access to our luggage. We chuckled about the awkward situation but, understandably, it made us very uneasy. A manager called our room a short time later to apologize but I still mentioned it during checkout the next morning. The supervisor on duty was less than cordial, even going so far as to blame their mistake on my "common name". They also weren't able to compensate us for any of our sleepless nights because we didn't complain the first night, even though she said they most likely couldn't have moved us because they were booked at 95% capacity. There really was no talking with this supervisor. She already had our money (a lot of it) and wasn't interested in anything other than moving me along. This wasn't the only time we were greeted with a bad attitude during our stay. The staff at The Thisty Miner couldn't have been less excited to be working the Thanksgiving buffet, and our waitress reminded us twice that gratuity wasn't included. She brought our drinks and cleared our dirty plates and huffed and puffed the entire time. There were some plus sides to our stay, otherwise I would have given this 2 stars. Our kids loved the pools and Adventure Forest. We felt safe with the numerous lifeguards on duty and the areas were always clean. Our room was beautifully decorated and the beds were very comfortable. The one maintenence worker who had to provide us with a new DVD cable was very friendly as was our maid. The pottery place was wonderful, a nice change of pace from the active pool and adventure areas. Tip: If you're going to paint pottery, give yourself plenty of time. Our daughter chose a large fairy that took a total of 4 hours over 2 days to complete. It turned out beautifully and will be a nice souvenir for years to come, so it was worth it. Overall, not terrible, but I think we'll give our hard-earned money to a smaller place that prides itself on top notch customer service next time.

Room Tip: Be very specific if you need to request a quiet room. We asked for a room away from a lot of foot traffic and were placed next to the fitness center (jogging at 7am and 10-11pm = lots of heavy foot traffic and very little sleep).
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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1  Thank Angela R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2013

We were so shocked at how much we loved staying here we plan on making another trip very soon. Our daughter is 2 and enjoyed everything it is fun for all ages! You never have to leave the facilities they have everything you can imagine right at your fingertips food, entertainment, shopping, and more !

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Thank Melinda'n Dave W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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