This much-loved mountain town in eastern Tennessee is a gateway to the Smoky Mountains and a trendy vacation destination all in one. Here you can visit the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hike the Appalachian Trail, raft in the Little Pigeon River and ski at Ober Gatlinburg. You’ll also find bears and other wildlife such as elk, coyotes and the spectacular synchronous fireflies display at the park in late May and early June.
The funky downtown is full of quirky theme parks, museums, amusement rides and car shows. Make sure you stop for a taste of Tennessee wine and admire the view of the far horizon from the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle. There is a wide range of unique places to stay, including boutique inns, upscale resorts, and cozy cabins in the woods, here are the best cool and unusual hotels in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (in no particular order)…
1. Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg – a hip, fun and trendy resort perfect for partying Millenials and Gen Zs
This tropical brand of laid-back luxury is everything a mountain resort should be, and puts guests in the ‘island’ state of mind through its tremendous backdrop of gorgeous mountain terrain.
Located minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National park, tree-top trekking and hiking experiences among many other memorable day trips are right on your doorstep, and the hotel boasts its own private river and outdoor riverside pavilion.
Visitors can drink and dine at the Landshark Bar & Grill, the License to Chill Bar, or the poolside, after having a fun-filled time on the outdoor slide and splash pad. A well-appointed ballroom and blissful spa also feature at this resort – one of the coolest hotels in Gatlinburg!
- To book, check prices or availability for Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg
2. SmokyStays Private Pool Chalet – one of the most Instagrammable holiday homes in Gatlinburg
Initially built as a personal retirement home by civil engineer John Brock in 1972, this charming Pool Chalet is located on the most beautiful mountain ridge, and at one point belonged to Miss New York!
Upon arrival, guests are greeted by the expansive private patio, which is the perfect spot to admire the breath-taking panoramas of the Smoky Mountain.
The spacious home comfortably houses up to 17 guests across 5 bedrooms, with pull-out couches in the loft and living room.
The home boasts a gorgeous 3-level interior, with the impressive views beaming through the gigantic wall-to-wall windows, topped with natural oak ceilings.
Dazzling sunrises and sunsets can be enjoyed from the patio, which also features a brand new solar-heated swimming pool and a private hot tub.
- To book, check prices or availability for SmokyStays Private Pool Chalet
3. Downtown Gatlinburg Apartment – a rustic-chic apartment that offers great city views
Fitted with one quaint bedroom and one bathroom equipped with a shower and hot tub, this 42 m2 Gatlinburg apartment is situated within 8 minutes walk of Gatlinburg Needle Tower.
A 10-minute walk would land you at Gatlinburg Sky Lift Station, and the Star Cars Museum can be reached within a couple of minutes.
A seasonal outdoor swimming pool is one of the stand-out features of this property, as it allows guests to fully rejuvenate after a day hiking around the luscious mountain terrain which frames the property.
The apartment features a mini-kitchen, a kitchenette, climate control, as well as a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. A lovely, chic apartment nestled within some of Tennessee’s finest natural landscape!
- To book, check prices or availability for Downtown Gatlinburg Apartment
4. Woodland Hideaway – easily one of the coolest vacation homes to stay in Gatlinburg perfect for Millennials and Gen Zs
This gorgeous, secluded home is decked out with top-of-the-range facilities to make your dream woodland retreat become a reality.
Woodland Hideaway is expansive enough to house the entire family, of even multiple small families.
Guests can choose to relish under the stars in the warmth of the hot tub, head for a game of nine-ball on the upstairs pool table, or hang out in the media room for a memorable movie night.
The property is situated less than seven miles to the awe-inspiring Smoky Mountains National Park, presenting visitors with the chance to spend their vacation exploring the park’s waterfalls, scenic views and wildlife on foot or car. The home boasts 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, and an amenity-laden kitchen.
- To book, check prices or availability for Woodland Hideaway
4. Modern Mountain Escape – a modern holiday home that offers serene mountain views
Following a complete make-over in 2019, this condo now offers a taste of modern boutique luxury, nestled in the astonishing mountains of Gatlinburg, only 25 minutes from downtown.
Whether on a weekend getaway with friends or a family vacation, this suitably-priced establishment exudes a replenishing atmosphere, permeated by the fresh mountain air.
Boasting 2 beds with king-size memory foam mattresses, 2 baths, gorgeous tiled showers, lavish quartz countertops and a real wood fireplace, this vacation rental provides the ultimate R&R experience.
Guests can also enjoy access to a hot tub, sauna, steam room, basketball court, tennis court and playground, making this stunning home the perfect fit for visitors of all ages.
- To book, check prices or availability for Modern Mountain Escape
6. Bear Mountain Retreat – a fantasy mountain getaway perfect for a family escape
This uniquely decorated fantasy cabin is the ultimate luxury getaway for the discerning heart, featuring 3 bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, and 3 bathrooms.
At Bear Mountain Retreat, guests can fully focus on enjoying the serenity and beauty of the gorgeous Tennessee landscape.
It is the perfect home in which to clear the mind, in a setting of sky-blue heaven and clean, crisp air.
The coloured mood lighting transforms the cabin to a true wonderland at night, as visitors can head to the mountain’s most lavish hot tub (within the property), complete with waterjets.
Situated perfectly on Ski Mountain, the panoramic views of downtown backdropped by the breath-taking Smoky Mountains truly sets a memorable tone to this eccentric Gatlinburg vacation rental.
- To book, check prices or availability for Bear Mountain Retreat
7. Million Dollar View – Gatlinburg Cabin – a charming and cozy chalet ideal for families
A prominent feature of this fun-filled vacation cabin is its covered decks which span one side of the home, and faces the Great Smoky Mountains.
Million Dollar View, Gatlinburg Cabin boasts a perfect harmony of a great location, spectacular mountain views, and activities for absolutely anyone.
The cabin has its name for a reason – From the upper deck, guests can sit on a porch swing and gaze out at the incredible, iridescent panorama.
On the main deck, you can relish the sound of singing warblers whilst luxuriating in the steaming hot tub. The inviting living area comes with a genuine blend of sophistication and cosiness, ornamented by beautiful, large windows. The cabin further boasts a packed-out game room.
- To book, check prices or availability for Million Dollar View, Gatlinburg Cabin
8. Spacious Hillside Gatlinburg Retreat with Hot Tub! – a rural-chic and romantic holiday home set in a unique and peaceful location
This welcoming home is the perfect spot in which to treat yourself to some wonderful Tennessee delight. Located in the lush hills above the town, this 3-bed, 3-bath cabin offers easy access to the activities in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.
Sipping on refreshing drinks at Margaritaville is also just a short drive away.
Upon returning from an adventure-filled day in the nearby area, guests have the option to whip up a gourmet meal, indulge in some well-deserved R&R in the steaming bubbles of the hot tub, or simply feast their eyes on a glorious sunset from the amazing outdoor deck.
- To book, check prices or availability for Spacious Hillside Gatlinburg Retreat with Hot Tub!
9. The Mighty Crabapple Manor – one of the best places to stay in Gatlinburg, great for large groups
Housing up to 46 guests across 3 floors, The Mighty Crabapple Manor is a wonderful home base for a large family reunion or big group getaway to the Great Smoky Mountains.
The mansion boasts a stone fireplace, walls adorned with real bark, and a wood-beamed ceiling. This rustic charm is balanced by contemporary comforts such as a private hot tub, a home theatre, and an open-concept room.
Guests can absorb the fresh mountain air out on the deck, whilst challenging friends or family to a game of billiards. Half a mile north is the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, which features countless opportunities for shopping and dining, where guests can socialize before returning to this gorgeous retreat to kick back and unwind.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Mighty Crabapple Manor
10. Buckberry Creek Chalet – a countrified chalet nestled in the magnificent Great Smoky Mountains
If you are in pursuit of that mountain alpine feel, brimming with comfort and serenity, look no further than this chalet, which is named after the roaring mountain creek, Buckberry, that runs from the home.
The quiet serenity of the stream and its aquatic life can be enjoyed from the many banks and rocks that surround this one-of-a-kind chalet, as well as from the chic furnishings that embellish the home’s patio.
On the deck, guests can breathe in the sweet, mountain air, and relax under the canopy of mountain foliage. The cosy chalet, adorned by all-wood walls, a stone fireplace, and vaulted ceilings, boasts an upright piano and comfortably sleeps 6 guests.
- To book, check prices or availability for Buckberry Creek Chalet
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Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fuelled by strong coffee, you’ll often find him wandering well off hiking trails in search of interesting photographic subjects or scenery to video. Self taught and with the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a strong client base and has worked with many prestigious organisations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specialising in evocative images of people, places and cinematic videography and his goal is to make the viewer look twice and engage. As well as a penchant for good design, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find him on Instagram @garynansome, Twitter @garynansome and his website https://garynunn.co.uk/