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Hotel or Cabin in Gatlinburg, Tennessee?

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a hugely popular vacation destination. As such, it offers a large number of lodging options for visitors. Along with the many hotels and timeshares, there are also hundreds of cabins available for rent. So which should it be “ cabin or hotel?

Each has their appeal. While some may think that price is a factor, the truth is that cabins are available at a variety of price points as are hotels. So, after removing price from the equation, let's take a look at the pros and cons of each.



  • Cabins offer privacy and seclusion. Some offer total seclusion and some websites even allow visitors to search for a cabin based on the level of privacy desired.
  • Typically, cabins will offer much better views than most hotels. Some offer breathtaking mountain views, while others have views of lakes or rolling pasture.
  • Cabins almost always offer full kitchens complete with cookware and table settings. This provides the option of easily eating some or all of the meals in, rather than having to eat at restaurants every day.
  • Cabins typically feel more like home and offer extras such as a washer and dryer, hot tub, and grill for cooking on the deck.
  • In most cabins, the neighbors are far enough way that it doesn't really matter if the kids make a little noise.
  • Something just seems right about staying in a log cabin in the Smoky Mountains.
  • Cons

  • Many of the cabins are more off the beaten path than the hotels. This means that visitors will have to drive, and then find parking, in order to visit the area attractions.
  • There will be no daily housekeeping service, and other amenities, such as a fitness center and free breakfast, often found in hotels will not be available.
  • Hotels


  • Many hotels are located right on the main drag in Gatlinburg. Visitors can step out of their hotel room and walk to such popular attractions as the Ripley's Aquarium, Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum and many others. Shopping and dining are also often within walking distance.
  • Some hotels offer amenities such as free breakfast and coupons for free dinner at a local restaurant.
  • It is very convenient to leave the hotel room in the morning and come back to a bed that has been made and room that has been cleaned.
  • Cons

  • Hotels lack the charm offered by a cabin. Obviously, a hotel is not going to have the same feel as a log cabin in the mountain.
  • While some hotels do offer decent views, they cannot compare with the best views offered from some cabins.
  • Hotels cannot offer the level of privacy available when staying in a cabin.
  • Other hotel guests may complain about the noise if the kids get a little rowdy.
  • There are clearly pros and cons to each lodging option. The better choice will likely depend on the reason for the visit and which of the amenities are most important to you.

    Either way, Gatlinburg has a lot to do and see whether visiting the museums and many antique shops or hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

    Cindy | May 6, 2009 | Category: Travel Tips

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