To be fair, I REALLY wish I could award a half star because this really is a 4.5 star for me. Just shy of a five start and below is why. Apologies in advance for the detailed lengthy review!
I made reservations about three months ago. Very quick and easy process through a third party. About a week before arrival we received our entry email. Standard form email with all the basic info, address, codes, a few rules and suggestions.
My communication with the owners had all been through this third party website. I am a seasoned vacation rental person so for me it was no big deal, convenient and efficient. If this is your first time I could see how this might come off as a bit aloof. I had no interaction with them whatsoever until the day after arrival.
The price was fantastic for the area. This was our fourth visit to this area and you aren’t going to find a nicer place for this price. And the location? FANTASTIC. Close enough to attractions but far removed from the clustered chaos that can be Gatlinburg. CON: You do have to drive everywhere. PRO: Less annoying crowds.
As a reviewer below mentioned the drive up is anxiety inducing if you are not used to it or do not have the appropriate vehicle. We arrived just after the first snow fall of the season. It was breathtakingly beautiful but man, did it make the roads a bit treacherous.
We had a Jeep liberty with 4WD so I felt safe for the most part. They apparently do not believe in guardrails on the mountain and the roads are very narrow. The first trip up and down feels like a right of passage to be conquered. . I made a wrong turn. (Thank you google maps) and ended up spending 20 minutes trying to get back down the road. It was impossible to turn around and I literally had to drive backwards down a steep incline. I think everyone in the car was having a panic attack. And I had visions of going over the side of the mountain.
The Cobbly Knob folks did a FANTASTIC job of keeping the roads cleared though! Very impressed.
None of this is the owners fault of course, I am merely informing my fellow travelers. Especially any traveling in inclement weather.
The house itself is as shown. Beautiful.
Additional Pros: It is a gorgeous property. It’s clean. And the views are breathtaking. The kitchen is well stocked with the essentials. I found a corkscrew and a pizza cutter so I was pleased! And as mentioned, the cost.
Additional Cons: Admittedly most of my cons are pretty nitpicky I suppose. Just based on other vacation homes I have stayed in. AND the fact I was traveling with an elderly woman with mobility issues.
The cons and the reason for a missing star:
Toilet Paper: I know. It’s silly. But. Bring your own toilet paper. We did thank god based off the email we received telling us they only supply one intro roll. The intro TP they give you is (I think) one ply and feels like cardboard on the tushy. Thank goodness we had our trusty COSTCO TP. I think if you are going to supply some toilet paper for a property of this caliber you could splurge and give us a decent roll. Minor grievance for sure.
Instructions: If this was your first intro to vacation rentals you might be a bit confused. The instructions were all so vague.
You are given the password for the internet but you aren’t given the actual WIFI to choose and several popped up on both our phones and our laptops. We found the one after multiple attempts.
Hot tub: We actually used it. But the instructions are rather vague. It tells you what not to do. But not what TO DO. So if you have never used one before, you may be confused. Like, what temp should we leave it at when done? I mean, its winter, is there a standard temp? We lost power which I will discuss below, should we have done something with the hot tub? I had no idea.
As another reviewer wrote it does seem a bit dated. And the temp never did reach 102. Of course, its 29 out soooo that could be why...There is a hole in the decking right next to the stairs and I cant tell you how many times I had visions of us falling through the deck. We didn’t. As evidenced by this review. We still enjoyed our hot tub in the snow…Until we had to get out. LOL.
As mentioned it snowed. I could not find a shovel or salt so the deck and the walk way was slippery. I had to use a broom to clean off the deck to get to the hot tub. It took me a minute to find a broom. Some simple welcoming instructions as to where to find things would have been GREAT. Like Welcome, extra blankets are here, broom is here, flashlights can be found here. This will save some frustration of opening every door and cupboard in the home.
So our first night the power went out. Now, I had read on the fridge that power outages were rare, so imagine my surprise when I woke up freezing because the heater was off and the temp inside had dropped to about 55. We lost power for at least 2-3 hours I suspect. It was freezing inside so we were forced to start a fire. No instructions exist for emergencies. And no generator that I am aware of. So here we are at 3 am trying to figure out what to do and who to contact.
Unfortunately no fire starters or twigs are provided so it took a really long time and we had to scour for newspapers and cardboard in the dark to burn. Also, the bellow was broken and didn’t really work.(For you non fireplace owners that is the tool that blows air onto the fire to help get it started). Fires are super hard to start without a wind source.. Thankfully someone left behind matches and a lighter or I fear we would have been screwed during this emergency. I also am grateful I was a girl scout and managed to scrap together a very pathetic fire in the dark after about 45 minutes.
We didn’t know we would need to provide these items so had not brought matches or paper or anything. So some prior knowledge that these items are not included could have helped and/or having a small emergency stash of some sort on hand that renters can acess?
We could only find one flashlight at first (the second was found later) And no candles of any sort. So maybe we just had the bad luck of having the one power outage. But still. These basic items would have made our 3 am emergency less ermergent. I was sincerely trying to decide our next move and where we could go to get warm when it thankfully came back on. It was 29 degrees outside. You cant stay in a cabin with no heat for too long!
As another reviewer mentioned the tub inside is lovely with a view to die for, but if are here with more than one family there is indeed NO PRIVACY. I am not sure if there is fix for that. Seems to be just how the cabin was designed but it does limit who can use it and when.
ADA/Mobility Challenges: So the final thing for me is really just an FYI for fellow travelers. I have my 71 year old mother with me. She can walk with a cane but does have trouble. I knew there were stairs of course but they were a bit steeper than expected. There is also a step down into the living room she kept tripping over. No handrail going UP the stairs to the second floor. And no handrail on the steps out front. She REALLY struggled getting onto the porch. There is no standard stair. There is a rock then a step and nowhere for her to hold onto. This made it challenging for her.
And finally, a little information book about local things to do in the area would be great. I mean, there are pamplets galore about all the touristy things, but we found the BEST little convenience store and a ma and pa restaurant just down the road and it would have been great to have a little welcome packet highlighting those places (Please see my review about The Magnolia Tree. You MUST stop by there to eat!)
None of these things should prevent you from staying. We just had a really rough and unexpected first night. And I know it sounds so nitpicky. I blame it on being up since 3 am trying to start a fire with nothing but my sleep deprived wits. LOL. I will say we called Pat around 8 am the following day because we were still having heat issues (Thermostat was set at 75 to make up for the lost three hours and after 5 hours it still registered at only 64 degrees) She responded within 20 minutes of my husband leaving a message.
They dropped off a new bellows and some fire starters within a few hours. So I have no issues with their response time. Just a few tweaks with instructions and perhaps additional items in the cabin would definitely make this a 5 star property for me.
If you're still with me, THANK YOU and enjoy your stay!
We truly enjoyed our stay at Sugar Shack! The chalet is super clean and the views are spectacular! Both bedrooms are nice sized with private baths and the kitchen is well equipped. Owners are very helpful and quick to reply. We will definitely return!
The entire family loved our extended weekend stay at Sugar Shack Chalet! We checked in on a Thursday evening and hiked Chimney Tops and Mt LeConte on Friday and Saturday. The leisurely morning views and the hot tub were the perfect way to recover from our hikes.
The whole place was very clean, the beds were large and comfortable and the deck and hot tub had amazing views. We will definitely be looking to book the Sugar Shack Chalet on our next visit to the Smoky Mountains!
This is a great cabin located about 10 miles from downtown Gatlinburg - out of the hustle and bustle yet convenient to the park as well as town. We liked this location because it was quiet and we could commute into various areas of the park fairly easily. There is a grocery store, a liquor store, a golf course, and a few restaurants within 5 miles of the cabin for added convenience. We spent our days hiking in the park and our evenings in downtown Gatlinburg or relaxing on the deck.
The cabin is located about a mile off the highway up a couple of steep but well maintained side roads. The view of the Smoky Mountains is fantastic from the deck!
This cabin is very private nestled amongst a handful of similar cabins. It is perfect for 2 couples plus there are sleeping options for a couple of additional guests.
I booked this room Thursday and am here on Saturday for my best friends 50th birthday. When I tell you this is better than I could ever imagine. Wowzers.... it is amazing. The views are probably the best in Gatlinburg.
The chalet was very clean and orderly, and the necessary items we needed to get us started were provided.
I will have to say, I could not drive up the mountain and my anxiety set in, but once we came up and went back down, the next time it was no problem. Just glad I had my Lexus, GX 460 with 4wd.
The only thing I do wish is the large tub at the top of the stairs by thr master bedroom had door for privacy.
The decorations are nice and we felt so cozy.
My only regrets are we haven't seen any bears yet, and I didn't meet the owners. Fred and Pat are fantastic. Answered all my questions quickly. Pat called me when I didn't receive my email confirmation (due to me typing it incorrectly) ha! But she got it worked all out. I appreciate how kind they were allowing us to come a little early if we needed to, but didn't even end up make it getting here until after 3, since we stopped in town first for a while.
When we head back to Gatlinburg again, I will be checking to see if The Sugar Shack is available.
If you are on the fence about renting it, go ahead and jump on over and book it, you won't regret your decision!!!
First let me say the pictures do not do this place justice!! My husband and I were supposed to go on vacation to FL and after Hurricane Irma our plans had to change. Fred and Pat were awesome to work with when we were trying to find somewhere to go for a long weekend. This is a true mountain chalet, beautiful views and nature all around. The drive up to the Sugar Shack does have some steep roads but nothing my RAV4 couldn't handle. I do suggest bringing a flashlight, it's pitch black at night and although we never lost power it would be nice to have on hand. We LOVED the jacuzzi tub inside, so much so we never used the hot tub! We also stayed in one night and played UNO and watched TV, they have puzzles and other games which I thought was nice. Their really isn't anything missing from this cabin....maybe bring a blanket if you want to snuggle up on the couch.
We will definitely return and we had an amazing time!!! It gets you away from the tourist attractions but still close enough to do it all while you're there. Highly recommend this for couples or a family, plenty of room.
This chalet was all we hoped for and more! We are already planning a return trip. I highly recommend this rental. The sights of Gatlinburg were nice but we would have had no problem staying in the whole time!