Nestled in the southeast corner of the state, Gatlinburg is Tennessee’s gateway to the Smoky Mountains and is buzzing with family-friendly fun. With so much to do and so many visitors, it can be a little overwhelming.
Enter Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg.
Newly opened in June 2018, Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg is an effortless way to enjoy the area, and our family all agrees that this is the perfect oasis from the touristy hustle and bustle. After exploring the Smokies or nearby Pigeon Forge, Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg is the “latitude adjustment” we all needed, and we think your family will love it also. We’re not the only ones who love it, though. It was voted the country’s best new hotel in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards for 2018.
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Disclosure: We partnered with Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg to bring you this review. They graciously hosted us for two nights, and we paid a media rate for two more nights. Also note that this post contains affiliate links, and as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. There is no additional cost to you, and it helps us to bring you more great content like this. Thanks!
Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg – a tropical paradise in the heart of the Smokies
Reasons your family will love Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg
1.) Kids will love the water slide and splash pad!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – swimming pools and water slides wield some sort of power over children so that no matter how exhausted they are, they somehow find the energy to ride the slide a bazillion times. Even after full days at Dollywood and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, they were never too tired to hit the slide. With poolside beverage service, we were on board and didn’t mind.
Check out all the fun in this short video!
2.) Margaritaville Resort has an excellent location.
Margaritaville Resort is perfectly situated among all the shops, restaurants, and best attractions in Gatlinburg. Since the resort offers free parking for its guests, be sure to take advantage of the location and walk to downtown. Most everything is just a short walking distance away. Valet parking is also available.
If you have a tired kiddo, it’s nice to know it’s only a short walk back to the pool. (See reason #1 above).
Gatlinburg Skylift Park
Gatlinburg Skylift Park is only a ten minute walk away and offers up Gatlinburg’s best sunset views with a walk across the brand new Gatlinburg SkyBridge – the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. Afterwards, make a stop at Ben & Jerry’s for a dip of your favorite ice cream before heading back to the resort.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
If you are planning on visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it’s only a few minutes away by car. We spent two days exploring this park and fell in love with it, so be sure to put it on your agenda. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in the entire NPS system, so getting there early is a must during the busier summer months. Staying at Margarativille Resort puts you nice and close for a good head start in the morning.
Related: Read our ultimate guide to visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park here.
Love National Parks? Discover more National Parks with our tips and guide here.
If your plans take you to Pigeon Forge, the resort is only about fifteen or so minutes from the main strip. We visited Dolly’s Stampede dinner show and spent a day at Dollywood theme park which were both excellent. Dollywood just opened their largest expansion to date in spring of 2019, and this park is great for little ones and adrenaline junkies alike!
3.) Rooms are spacious and perfect for families.
We stayed in a double-queen room that came equipped with a huge TV, sink and wet bar area, safe, refrigerator, microwave, and beautiful walk-in shower with double rain shower faucets. The bathroom also had a full-size tub which is great for families with babies and small children. The beds were comfortable, and a small table and chairs gave us place to put our stuff and charge our devices. Speaking of devices, our room had USB and electrical sockets all over, which you don’t see very often, so this was a welcome touch!
The resort has a variety of rooms and suites available including one and two bedroom suites along with family suites. Most rooms come with a private balcony which is nice for enjoying your coffee in the morning as the sun comes up over the Smokies. If you decide to stay in for the evening, the 50″ flat-screen TVs are great for a movie night. Throw some popcorn in the microwave, and it’s a party!
4.) Food and service are excellent
We dined at each of the resort’s restaurants at some point or another and found them to be delicious. The LandShark Bar & Grill is a casual dining restaurant serving burgers, fish tacos, nachos, and other laid-back fare, similar to what you’d find in Key West. They’ve got a full bar and cocktail menu to match, and the margaritas hit the spot.
Joe Merchant’s Coffee and Provisions is a quick-service and grab-&-go place which worked really well for us on early mornings while we were headed to the National Park. Their breakfast sandwiches and croissants will fill you up, and the kids liked their cinnamon rolls. A selection of granola bars and bottled drinks are also available, and make an easy addition to your day pack before heading out the door to go find a beautiful waterfall.
Finally, the License to Chill Bar serves up all kinds of tasty concoctions for adults and kids, and is situated right by the pool for easy access to the refreshments. If you’re not in the mood to leave your pool lounger, no worries – the attendant will be by to take your order. No sense in risking a flip-flop blowout I say…
5.) They have the most colorful ambassadors
Rita and her friends are South American Macaws that come to visit from nearby Parrot Mountain in Pigeon Forge. The kids were enthralled each time they spotted them in the lobby, and we loved watching them climb around and squawking at the occasional guest. We love fun animal encounters, and nothing brightens up a room or adds to the tropical vibe like these two!
Other resort amenities
In addition to the outdoor pool, water slide, and kiddie splash pad, there are several other amenities that make Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg and ideal place to stay. Outside, there is a large Jacuzzi tub to rest your tired bones from the day’s adventures, along with a fire pit and chairs to sit and relax. A large covered patio with fireplace is a great place to enjoy a meal or cocktail and even listen to some live music. In the spring or fall months, this would be a great place to hang out and enjoy the sunset and changing leaves.
Inside, there is an indoor pool as well as a small gym. Public spaces with couches and chairs are plentiful and add to the island vibe. If you didn’t have anywhere to be, enjoying a book by the window would be a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
No resort would be complete without a spa, and if it’s total rest and relaxation you’re after, the St. Somewhere Spa has got you covered. They offer plenty of services to keep you occupied for as little or as long as you’d like. If you’re wanting seclusion to go with your pampering, consider booking Jimmy’s Hideaway. It’s a private bungalow on a small island just steps from the resort with its own private patio, Jacuzzi tub, indoor fireplace, and private outdoor bonfire pit.
So, is Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg Parrothead approved?
The short answer is YES! Margaritaville has really made it feel like a tropical sanctuary right in the middle of the Smoky Mountains. We loved the decor, comfortable public areas, the pool, and the breezy Caribbean vibe. Every aspect of this resort was soothing and made us feel relaxed, comfortable, and worry-free – just like a top-notch resort should.
If you just want a hotel, there are plenty of those around. If you want a true resort experience right down to the drink service at the pool, then stay with Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg. We would absolutely go back!
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Have you stayed at a Margaritaville hotel or resort? What did you think?
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