If you’ve come to Pigeon Forge, there’s a good chance Dolly Parton sent ya – this is the famed country and western entertainer’s stomping grounds, with theme parks like Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Perched on the edge of Smoky Mountain National Park, Pigeon Forge, much like its neighbor Gatlinburg, caters as much to enthusiasts for kitschy Southern culture as to nature-loving families. And those families need space! Check out the best hotels with suites in Pigeon Forge, bookable with Culture Trip.
If you love the mountains but can’t really tear yourself away from the tropics, Jimmy Buffet’s 134-room Margaritaville Island Hotel threads that needle with its island-themed resort in Pigeon Forge. Tropical art and pastel color themes bring a taste of the Caribbean to Dolly country; and spacious one-bedroom suites keep things comfy with seasonal stacked-stone fireplaces, private balconies overlooking the river or village, and rain-style showers. The whole thing sits right in the heart of the Island in Pigeon Forge, the premier entertainment district in the city. Yes, there are margaritas, too!
Those taking the Dolly deep dive will want to check into this cozy resort inspired by Parton’s childhood home in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, and located next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country water park. Numerous restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools and a kids camp and playground create a self-contained Dollyverse for families; and small touches abound in the suites, including denim pockets sewn into bed pillows to hold the TV remote. It all culminates in the lavish Dolly Parton Suite, awash in the colorful pinks, purples and golds of Parton’s personality – with just a hint of sparkle.
Hilton’s 178-room lodge-style hotel frames views of the Smoky Mountains as well as the Little Pigeon River, leaving no doubt as to the highland setting. Sizable corner queen suites feature two queen-sized beds along with a separate living room with yet another queen-sized sofa bed and fantastic 60ft (18m) wrap-around balconies, while two-bedroom versions stretch the space even further. A seasonal outdoor pool with a water fountain and slide distracts the kiddos while mom and dad bliss out on the stone patio with a central fire pit.
The name fools no one: from the rooms with private balconies to the outdoor pool, the focus here is on the Little Pigeon River, which provides the views and the soundtrack at this former Hampton Inn. Owners with a keen eye for character have given the 128 rooms and mini-suites at the hotel, some of which have fireplaces and jacuzzis, a makeover. Perks include a pool deck and ecotouches like energy-efficient lighting and a rooftop recycling system. It’s one of the few hotels in town that has bragging rights to 3 acres (1.2ha) on the banks of the river. Also, you’re walking distance from the top sights in town, while nearby dining options range from burgers and BBQ to pizza and Southern classics.
This 163-room hotel (and 140-room inn) offers a head-spinning arsenal of room categories decked out in typical American hotel fashion. A small waterpark on the property ups the ante on pool-only resorts in the area, and the welcoming grand lobby with a large, soothing fireplace is an excellent place to unwind in winter. King suites boast postcard-perfect views towards the Little Pigeon River and Great Smoky Mountains beyond, making a clear sense-of-place statement direct from your pillow.
A more downhome feel pervades throughout this affordable Pigeon Forge option located smack downtown. Landing lobbies on two floors leave plenty of outside congregation space for you to enjoy the vistas and maybe a nip of moonshine. Hotel suites are rather basic, but the more cozily appointed log cabins feature a settle-in motif rich with local hardwoods, indoor fireplaces, outdoor jacuzzis and porches peppered with Southern-style rocking chairs. You’re mere steps away from attractions such as the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel and Arcade City. Smoky Mountain Brewery is a 10-minute walk.
Hilton’s modern hotel arm specializing in all-suite extended-stay hotels has a leg up on similarly featured chain hotels in Pigeon Forge, due to its indoor and outdoor pools and outdoor patio with fire pits. Studio suites aren’t as large as others on this list, but are well-appointed and separated into three functional areas: kitchen, living and work area, and sleeping area. The brand’s attention to sustainability also makes this an ecofriendly choice. If you’re traveling with kids, the quiet location across the river from the bustling Downtown is a boon, as is the Pigeon Forge Snow amusement park, a two-minute drive away.
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