Sleep: Park Vista Hotel in Gatlinburg Rises from the Ashes
On panoramic photographs of mountain playground Gatlinburg, TN, a rotund structure emerges from the dense leafy backdrop. It’s the Park Vista, a hotel as iconic as the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City or the Bellagio, with its thrilling dancing fountains, in Las Vegas.
You surely heard the hotel was severely damaged during the multi-day wildfires that ravaged Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in late November 2016. Perhaps you saw the dramatic videos of the smoke-filled lobby with flames whipping the building outside. (You can easily find them on YouTube, but I’m intentionally not providing links here.)
The Park Vista, A DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, is a modern lodge designed with Frank Lloyd Wright flair. After the fires, it was closed for three months but was fully repaired, remodeled and refurbished.
The reopening of the Park Vista is old news–but not to everyone.
On my most recent visit, more than a year and a half after the wildfires, I was on the downtown Parkway awaiting the trolley back to the hotel. I engaged in conversation with a couple who were regular visitors to Gatlinburg. They asked me where I was staying. When I told them the Park Vista, they asked, “Didn’t they shut down?” I assured them the hotel was grander than ever. And I decided I had to let you know as well.
If you’re familiar with the Park Vista, you know what I’m writing about. If you haven’t, the hotel is an excellent anchor for your stay. Why?
The first reason is the magnificent views in every direction. The 300 guest rooms and suites circle the perimeter of the cylindrical high-rise, and each one has a private balcony overlooking vast greenery and dusky mountain peaks.
The hotel’s robust amenity package includes Vista Grill, serving breakfast buffet with cook-to-order omelets, lunch and dinner; Firefly’s Patio Lounge, with outdoor fire pit and views of Mt. LeConte; Black Bear Cove, an indoor heated multi-tiered swimming pool with water slide, whirlpool, arcade, outdoor playground and fitness center; and landscaped gardens for relaxing. It’s a place where you’ll sleep comfortably, but Southern hospitality never does.
The second reason is the Gatlinburg Trolley. Parking is complimentary at the Park Vista, but you really don’t need a car to go exploring. The trolley is convenient and inexpensive, and pickup is right in front of the hotel. Various routes stops at more than 100 locations throughout the area including the Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Pigeon Forge. The trolley runs year-round but offers extended hours from May through October.
So, now you have it: The Park Vista is ready and waiting for your arrival.
(Many thanks to the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau for hosting my visits–and for use of the feature photo above!)