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“THINK TWICE”

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Black Bear Inn & Suites
Ranked #43 of 77 Hotels in Gatlinburg
Reviewed January 12, 2011

Although this is a lengthy review, it would be wise to read it fully and carefully. I have delayed writing this hoping that the Clarion personnel would meet the following statements:
“Commitment to Your Satisfaction: If you’re not satisfied with our accommodations or service, please let the front desk know without delay so we can make it right. SATISFACTION COULDN’T BE SIMPLER AT CLARION HOTELS.” - A Clarion statement found in our hotel room.
From the Clarion of Gatlinburg’s website: “Service is our number one priority, you will find we are well equipped and eager to please when handling your precious time away from home.” (http://clariongatlinburg.info/index.html)
When my wife and I vacation, the room is important to us. We both keep busy schedules and vacation is our time to rest, relax, and unwind. Therefore the room is not just a place to sleep during the night, but a place to enjoy when rest is desired. Upon checking into the Clarion Inn and Suites of Gatlinburg, we found the room to be nice; a little worn from time, but well suited to our purposes.
The day after checking in we left the hotel at 8:30 a.m. and returned at 1:45 p.m. with the intent of reading and knapping. However, our room had not been made. Understanding that it was still early afternoon, I called the front desk to see if housekeeping had missed us and when we could expect to have our room cleaned. The front desk attendant said that they would notify housekeeping. An hour later, we had heard nothing, so we left asking the front desk to see that our room was made when we returned in an hour. Upon our return, the room had been made, but very poorly. The bed looked as though someone had laid on it after making it, the ironing board was still up, and the folded towels were lying on the sink instead of hanging.
The next day, we left the hotel at 8:00 a.m. and returned at 3:00 p.m. with the intent of resting before dinner. The room was unmade. I notified the front desk and was told that they were short staffed (“you will find us well equipped…”). The room was not made until sometime after 5:00 p.m.
When we checked out the next day, I asked to be reimbursed one night’s lodging ($130.00) for our inability to use the room for the intended purposes thus having two days of our vacation interrupted. The management would only refund $29.30. I found this to be insulting. Our “precious time away from home” is only worth $29.30! (Reread the commitment to satisfaction statements again)
(I contacted my credit card company and asked to dispute $130.00 of the $465.84 bill. In the final analysis the credit card company, to my disappointment, interpreted this situation as a customer service issue and paid the full bill.)
After returning home I discussed the matter via phone with the reservations manager who stated, “Our incoming guest receive first priority” (i.e. non registered guests take precedence over registered guests), and “we cannot guarantee when a room will be cleaned). However in a follow-up letter the reservations manager stated, “If you had requested your room to be serviced at a specific time daily then it would have been our pleasure to do so.” These are contradictory statements: the first statement says "cannot" while the second statement says "can". As for the second day, you would think that a hotel with the professionalism of a Clarion would have acted proactively by taking a cue from the previous day and cleaned the room earlier.
In the follow-up letter, the reservations manager also stated “If you were unhappy with our hotel procedures then you could have checked out any day by 2:00 p.m. with no penalty; however, you chose to stay with the hotel for 3 nights.” Notice the inconsistency? The grievances committed by the hotel took place after the so called 2:00 p.m. deadline on both days. I say “so called” because when I made the reservation some 3 weeks prior to our stay, I was told that the hotel required a 48 hour cancellation notice: another contradiction. Additionally, if we could have checked out, the front desk did not share this information with us at the time.
In the reservations manager’s response to the credit card company during the $130.00 dispute she stated that such disputes were becoming all too easy for the card holder. This seems to imply that the manager is questioning my motive. Not only is this insulting, but borderline slanderous as well.
It should also be noted that while this hotel is not a member of the Knoxville Bureau of Better Business, however the BBB does rate this hotel a “D” (“F” of course is failing.
The Clarion Inn and Suites of Gatlinburg is independently owned, but is also affiliated with Choice Hotels. Contacting the Choice Hotels complaint department is useless. On the initial contact they are very sympathetic to the complaint. After a complaint is made they then contact the hotel. The hotel only has to say that the situation is resolved and that’s it. There is no further recourse.
If you are looking for a hotel that is sensitive to the needs of the guests: THINK TWICE about this hotel. If you are looking for a room to enjoy, not just a place to sleep, THINK TWICE about this hotel. If you are looking for a hotel that will live up to its word, THINK TWICE about this hotel. Should the hotel decide to do the honorable thing and act with integrity by refunding the $130.00, I will be sure to let everyone know.
My wife and I travel considerably and we will never stay at another Clarion anywhere.
“SATISFACTION COULDN’T BE SIMPLER AT CLARION HOTELS.” Really?

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank skeebo65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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548 - 554 of 698 reviews

Reviewed December 25, 2010

We've stayed here many times in the past but this one topped all past visits. We got a great rate on a suite and loved the additional space! The room was very clean and the beds were comfortable. Hotel staff was very professional. I know that a lot of people complain about the resort fee, but we consumed that much in the free hot chocolate and coffee. We are already planning our next visit! Thanks for a great stay.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank gatdaddy3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 23, 2010

My experience of this hotel was fabulous. I have paid more for hotels in this area and were not pleased like I was at this hotel. I thought the room and bed was very comfortable. The balcony was cute. The breakfast was fantastic. My omelette was really good. I also had potatoes and biscuit/gravy. I know a few people were irritated by the resort fee. Luckily I checked reviews before staying so I knew what I was getting. The only thing I would change if I could was the amount of light that came through the balcony door window. It wasn't a lot and it looks like they are doing what they can but I like to sleep like I'm in a cave.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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Thank woodsychik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 16, 2010

good location.. close to smoky mountain entrance ... clean... major plus is complementary hot breakfast to include omelets, biscuits and gravy, waffles.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank catmalways4ever
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
gobuckeyesOSU, Manager at Black Bear Inn & Suites, responded to this reviewResponded January 5, 2011

The Clarion is glad that you enjoyed your stay. The hotel is located with great access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We're are glad to hear that you enjoyed the Full Hot Breakfast. Thank you for taking the time to post the comment and we appreciate your kind words. Look forward to having you stay with us again.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 30, 2010

The Clarion was just what we expected it to be. We had a street view balcony on the 6th floor and the view was excellent. The room was as expected except for the refrigerator in the room was missing the control know so all of our drinks were frozen or nearly frozen. The breakfast was outstanding!! An omelete chef prepared our order to perfection with the other selections near perfect. Some of the best gravy and biscuits I've ever had. The drinks topped off the fare. Coffee is available in the lobby 24/7, which is a great feature.
There was no wait for a luggage cart and the unload and load went off without a hitch. Overall this is a great place to stay, especially if your military because of the discount offered.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank EASeabee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2010

My fiance and I stayed at this hotel for the weekend, and It was everything that I expected it to be. Hotel was very clean and bedbug free. The staff was nice and polite. We're actually getting married in March. We're having our reception here. That was the reason for our visit. Yes, the $9 charge could be added to the room charge, but let me tell you. You can't eat anywhere else like that at any other hotel. They had so many different choices for hot and cold items. We were very pleased. Can't wait to get back!

  • Stayed: November 2010
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1  Thank tfinley32611
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 25, 2010

Just got back from the Clarion and had a great time. We really enjoyed our visit. The hotel was clean, the staff was friendly, and the location was great. You can park your car at arrival and never see it again til packing up to head home.
After reading reviews, one of the things most upsetting to people is the $9 resort fee. While I would hardly consider this a resort, the cost is more than offset by all the things you receive. I think the great breakfast, evening cookies and breads, and the unlimited fresh coffee (and hot chocolate) saved me $50-$60 a day. I'm sure these things aren't as important to some. However, as a father of teenagers who can eat you broke, I found it wonderful. Maybe if the hotel could just bury the fee in the room cost they could save some hassles. Also, Gatlinburg in October is expensive. Trust me, the resort fee is a drop in the bucket compared to what you'll spend if you do anything more than wander around the National Park.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank 1holein1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Black Bear Inn & Suites

Address: 1100 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738-3108 (Formerly Clarion Inn & Suites)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Tennessee > Sevier County > Gatlinburg
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Business Hotel in Gatlinburg
Price Range: $103 - $1,141 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Black Bear Inn & Suites 2.5*
Number of rooms: 130
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Black Bear Inn & Suites Gatlinburg has a sleek, stylized look! From the lobby to rooftop Penthouse Suites and every room in between. Start your morning off right with a delicious full, hot complimentary breakfast including omelets cooked to order and Belgium waffles. The Black Bear Inn & Suites's location is ideal for everyone! Interested in a scenic drive or hike? The hotel is located only 100 yards from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited park in the Nation! Want to walk or take a Trolley around downtown Gatlinburg and experience the town's many popular attractions and wide array of restaurants? Not a problem! Black Bear Inn & Suites is located right on the Parkway! Thinking about driving to Pigeon Forge to visit Dollywood, Dolly's Splash Country, Titanic Museum Attraction, shopping at Tanger Outlets or seeing Pigeon Forge's many theaters and dinner shows? Black Bear Inn & Suites is only a short drive away from Pigeon Forge. Black Bear Inn & Suites Gatlinburg is "Definitely a Cut Above!". We hope to see you in the Smoky Mountains soon! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Clarion Inn And Suites
Clarion Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg Clarion

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