We are a family of 5 (3 kids under 5), never took a family vacation and decided to take a road trip (never did that before either) from Nj to Elk Springs in Gatlinburg, TN (never been there too). We live in an amazing 5 star resort now so we were concerned what we would be walking into but figure hey we can always bolt and find a Marriott or hilton somewhere. We arrived later than we expected so it was already pitch black driving thru the back woods of TN (did I tell you we hailed from NJ? So I'm already afraid of anything outside NY/NJ) & imagine everyone wants to murder us). Needless to say there were some high expectations.
First of all, booking was really great. I booked over the phone with a female (sorry i forgot your name!) who was extremely helpful and thorough with the entire process & she recommended the Fontana which we LOVED. So THANK YOU! I bought a groupon to use and they held up to their offer so that's already four stars!
She was very specific to follow the driving instructions they email you after booking which we did and we didn't miss a single turn in the dark with our 3 girls in the car. Apparently GPS is not useful in that area and I certainly didn't want to get lost with my very patient husband at the wheel (no he was not and we had already been deep in our "tiff" for the first part of our trip). Most of all, she was nice! You really think you don't have to comment about someone booking you being nice but a lot of times people just aren't! Thank you for being nice to me when booking!!!
I contacted the resort (email and voicemail) the same day while on the road to inform them we were checking in with an arrival time around 9:30pm. We pulled up to our cabin and the lights were already on for us! That was an extremely thoughtful touch. When we were getting closer to the cabin, I thought how am I going to walk into this pitch black cabin which may have a raccoon just waiting for me so it can jump onto my face!? We'll, we walked into the exact opposite! It was clean, looked new, fully furnished, air condition was on, NO SMELL and this made my husband very happy (I booked and planned the entire trip so he was just waiting for me to do something pretty dumb) and my girls were THRILLED too! So this made my life a whole lot easier. They thought we bought a new house and were so happy they didn't want to leave!
The Fontana looked exactly how I expected it to be from the YouTube video and was SUPER CLEAN! So thank you again for that!!! It came with a washer and dryer which I definitely needed for the kids and everything worked! Especially the AC because it was the end of August so it was hot for sure!
The master bed was on the main floor and the second bed was on the second floor. At first I freaked out about the rooms being far apart but my hubby setup the pullout sofa for our NEWLY turned 4 yr old (just had her bday days earlier) and my newly turned 2 yr old. The thought of my girls sleeping in a pullout sofa in an upstairs room not too far from steps they weren't used to was very crazy to me bc I'm a paranoid mommy but they loved the suite upstairs! My girls are pretty independent and have strong personalities and exploring so this was perfect for them! There was a tv above the bed so we just put on their fave cartoons and needless to say there were no accidents!
I did go up around 4am-ish bc my 2yr old always wakes up so I slept next to her (sorry but it was exactly that. A pullout sofa and was the worst to sleep on but I didn't mind). At dawn I heard a ton of commotion on the roof. Apparently they have flying squirrels running all over which didn't bother me too much (I am a huge sissy) but as long as they weren't inside the house which they weren't I was just fine with that. I figure we are their (the squirrels) visitors and that's their woods! If you are worried about steps, you could always pack those tension rubber gates bc they won't damage furniture and are safe.
We stayed for 2 nights and boy were we the luckiest people! We had the best weather so we got to use the deck and had a lovely BBQ and took the girls to Ripleys Aquarium for the day. It was perfect because it was just a few minutes drive from the cabin! It was the perfect place because the kids could run, play interactively with penguins and the aquarium was quiet with all the kids back to school so we actually got to see sharks! And it's air conditioned! We were ALL impressed with the creatures and the entire facility! One note, do your best to find admission discounts bc it does add up! Four stars for Ripleys aquarium bc we will be back for that!!!!
We drove thru the downtown area and couldn't peel our eyes off of all the cute attractions! We dint have enough time to stop and walk thru but if you want to find something to eat very close to the aquarium you will find it within walking distance. We headed back to our cabin and enjoy the summer evening BBQing. ITS VERY IMPORTANT TO KEEP YOUR GRILL SND TRASH CLEAN!!! We didn't have any visiting bears luckily.
Our 2 day trip was over and were surprised how sad it was that it was time to leave! We wanted to stay longer so immediately we started planning our next trip back and told all our friends about it who are also excited about booking trips and ones with kids too!!! We WILL be back to the Fontana as long as it's available this summer!!! Who knew Tennessee was so beautiful!!??! It's like some hidden secret!
The Fontana cabin: 4 stars.
It was clean. Not a single dust bunny insight! You can clearly tell past visitors were very respectful on keeping it lovely for the next guests. Huge thank you to you guys!!!
ELK SPRINGS were considerate to leave a light on for us on a late arrival. Something that small DOES mean a lot.
They are considerate of the natural surroundings and of safety with keeping the grounds clean bc of bears.
They provided clear driving directions to arriving so that you don't get lost.
No smoking allowed was great bc I don't want to smell old smoke nor do I want my kids to as well. So there was no musty or funky smell!
Easy booking with someone who knows the property and different cabins.
They upheld their offer for room rates.
It was the perfect kind of camping for us bc this mommy did not feel like she was roughing it at all!
We stayed at the Fontana Cabin in the Elk Springs Resort from May1st-May 4th, 2014. Upon arriving we found the cabin to be very clean and decorated nicely. We have previously stayed at properties managed by Elk Springs Resort and we are never disappointed. This cabin was cozy enough for my wife and I but just enough space for us to spread out when we wanted to be. We made ample use of the pool table that is located on the second floor. There is a hot tub on the outside balcony but we did not make use of it during our stay. Now realize this cabin is in the mountains so cell phone service is spotty but the owner provides landline for convenience. I liked that this cabin is sort of out from the main tourists locations but close enough to get to those locations when wanting to visit. I also thought the sign in book the owner provides for those who stay is a nice touch. I highly recomend this cabin and we will ve staying here our next visit to the Smoky Mountains.
|How easy was it to book the property?||How helpful were the directions to the property?|
|How easy was key pickup/access to the property?||Overall condition of the property|
|Bedding & mattresses||Kitchen & utensils|
|Bathroom cleanliness||Other facilities & amenities|