These are the 10 Best Hotels in Gatlinburg, Ranked by a Local

the lobby at the margaritaville gatlinburg

The Margaritaville Gatlinburg is a modern hotel and resort located across from Anakeesta (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

A local talks about his favorite hotels in Gatlinburg

Not surprisingly, there are a lot of great options for staying in Gatlinburg. My favorites are along the River Road where the hotels face the river and back into the side of the mountain. They’re close to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and an easy walk over to downtown Gatlinburg. We like staying there, especially in the fall. We can enjoy the foliage and walk over to enjoy breakfast at the Pancake Pantry. Some prefer going higher up in the mountains with more majestic views or staying somewhere closer to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Yet others may prefer being right in the thick of things on the strip or down in the more old-fashioned hotels along the river as you’re heading out of town towards Pigeon Forge. There’s even a handful of the old-style mom-and-pop hotels that used to dominate the industry back when Gatlinburg was first booming as a tourist town in the 50s and 60s.

Among the best hotels in Gatlinburg are Embassy Suites, Margaritaville, the Courtyard Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn, the Baymont by Wyndham, The Park Vista, The Gatlinburg Inn, Marshall’s Creek Rest Motel, the Edgewater Hotel and the Howard Johnson.

Best Hotels in Gatlinburg

But what are the best hotels in Gatlinburg? I thought you’d never ask. First a programming note. We are limiting this list to hotels and motels. Condos, bed and breakfasts, private homes, cabins or lodge rentals are not being considered for this list. Also, this is a Gatlinburg list. Pigeon Forge is right out. Without further ado, here we go.

Firefly cove
Firefly Cove features a massive outdoor pool and waterslide (render courtesy of Hilton)

1. Embassy Suites by Hilton

The Embassy Suites by Hilton is the newest hotel in downtown Gatlinburg. It’s officially slated to open March 15, 2024. This upscale property will offer 164 all-suite rooms. Included are two-room suites and studio suites with panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains. The neighboring partner hotel, Hampton Inn Gatlinburg Historic Nature Trail, is connected by walkways.

On site, guests will enjoy drinks and light bites Firefly Cove, the resort’s expansive water park. It features both indoor and outdoor pools, a relaxing lazy river, a water slide, a creekside hot tub, outdoor fire pits and an activity lawn with outdoor games and seating.  

At the time of this writing the Embassy Suites by Hilton ranges between $203-$439 per night.

 

embassy suites

Embassy Suites by Hilton

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Margaritaville Hotel in Gatlinburg
Some hotels along the strip will offer parking for guests (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

2.  Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg

If I’m being fair, this may well be the best-established resort in Gatlinburg. It has a stellar 9.4 rating on Booking.com. However, I’m not in love with the location. It’s down in a hole at the end of the strip below Ripley’s Aquarium. It’s not the worst spot for walking downtown, but it’s not the best. Also, in my experience, Jimmy Buffet fans tend to overrate somewhat the Margaritaville experience wherever they go. It is, however, possible that I’m being picky. This is a fun resort with a cool pool and an on-site resort as well as an onsite restaurant and bar. I guess what I’m saying is you could do worse. 

At the time of this writing, Margaritaville Resort is available between $229-369 on Booking.com.

margaritaville resort

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The Courtyard Marriott
The Courtyard Marriott is located right in the middle of the action on the strip in Gatlinburg (photo by James Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

3. Courtyard by Marriott, downtown Gatlinburg

Located on the Historic Nature Trail, this is a nice, higher end hotel within comfortable walking distance of the convention center and the Space Needle. This is also a perfect hotel if you want to spend some time in your hotel. It has a fire pit and hot tub. It’s a great place to hang out after a day of walking up and down the strip or hiking in the mountains. Rated an excellent 8.6 on Booking.com, the Courtyard comes in at $359-$389 per night, at the time of this writing. We should note that most of the prices we’ve quoted are for two people and go up slightly if you add more.

Courtyard marriot

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Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg
The Hilton Garden Inn has an excellent rating on Booking.com (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

4. Hilton Garden Inn, Gatlinburg

Located on the upper side of River Road, this second of two Hilton Hotels on our list offers an excellent location, less than 300 feet from the entrance to the national park. The Great American Grill at the hotel serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Pavilion Lounge is also featured at the hotel. Rated as an excellent 8.6 on Booking.com, all of the rooms have private balconies. For the same week in March, we priced the Hilton Hotel – Gatlinburg between $369-$374 on Booking.com at the time of this writing and you get free parking (very valuable) and free Wi-fi (not as much).

hilton garden inn

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baymont along walking sidewalk in gatlinburg
The Baymont has balconies that overlook the creek (photo by Bill Burris/TheSmokies.com)

5. Baymont by Wyndham on the River

Located off the main drag and up Highway 321, towards Pigeon Forge, this classic hotel with spectacular balconies overlooking the creek below is a great option if you’re willing to do a little more walking to get downtown. There’s a strip of hotels along the creek in this part of Gatlinburg that have been there for as long as I can remember. There’s a bit of tradition in staying here even if you give up a little in terms of proximity to the action. Rated a very good 8.0 on Booking.com, we priced a one-night stay between $199-$299.

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The Park Vista hotel
The Park Vista is located near the entrance to the national park (photo by Bill Burris/TheSmokies.com)

6. The Park Vista

A DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel – Gatlinburg, I’m going to be honest. I want to dock the hotel points for the name alone. Is it Park Vista? Or is it a DoubleTree? Is it a Hilton Hotel? Apparently, it’s all of these things. But it’s still pretty cool. The interior also reminds me of the spacy Atlanta Marriott Marquis – which served as the location of Time Variance Authority in the Disney+ Loki series – though certainly not as tall. Located right at the entrance to the national park, this hotel is just kind of cool and stands out from the crowd of other local hotels.

The pool area is exceptional and the views from this multi-story hotel match. The Vista Grill offers southern-inspired cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Guests can enjoy drinks and appetizers at Firefly’s Patio Lounge. Rated a very good 8.3 on Booking.com, a single night’s stay at The Park Vista runs between $279-$469 at the time of this writing.

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The Gatlinburg Inn
The Gatlinburg Inn is right next to SkyLift Park (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

7. Gatlinburg Inn

This historic inn is possibly the best-located hotel on the strip. It’s also the site where Tennessee’s “Rocky Top” was originally penned. The guest rooms are rustic in décor and there’s a variety of suites. The only downside is the lack of private balconies, but in this location, the views aren’t conducive anyway. At the time of this writing, a one-night stay at the Gatlinburg Inn comes in between $197-$219.

the Gatlinburg inn

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marshalls creek motel in gatlinburg
Marshall’s is a charming motel in Gatlinburg (photo by Bill Burris/TheSmokies.com)

8. Marshall’s Creek Rest Motel

This throwback to the days when Gatlinburg wasn’t dominated by the big chains is a charming change of pace from the cookie-cutter chain hotels. However, that comes with its pluses and minuses. Specifically, amenities aren’t as necessarily as nice as what you might find at larger chains, but the experience is more memorable. How many times in your life do you remember what your hotel looked like? What is felt like to stay there? Marshalls Creek Rest Motel will stand out for good reason.

Rated a wonderful 9.1 on Booking.com, we found it very affordable at $156-$188 for a one-night stay during the last week of March 2024.

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edgewater hotel in gatlinburg
The Edgewater has a great location on River Road (photo by Bill Burris/TheSmokies.com)

9. Edgewater Hotel and Conference Center

Located on the lower side of River Road, the Edgewater is the right combination of a good place to stay. For example, it offers a great location and affordability, coming in at just $189 for a one night stay for the same week we priced the other hotels. It’s an easy walk to downtown and Ripley’s from the hotel and has a combo indoor/outdoor swimming pool. The private balconies on the backside of the hotel are surprisingly quiet and a great place to relax with your morning coffee. Rated a very good 8.1 on Booking.com, the Edgewater is an excellent option for your vacation.

Full disclosure, the Edgewater Hotel is a go-to for many members of our own staff here at TheSmokies.com due to its location and budget-friendly pricing. Sure it looks a bit dated, but it’s clean and overall well kept.

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howard johnson hotel
Howard Johnson is behind Fannie Farkles (photo by Bill Burris/TheSmokies.com)

10. Howard Johnson by Wyndham, downtown Gatlinburg

Located behind Fannie Farkles and an easy walk to The Village Shoppes and the Pancake Pantry, this HoJo has some cool lodge theming, a parking lot fire pit and a pool. It’s rated at a good 7.9 by the travel website Booking.com. And we priced it at $195-$224 for a one-night stay at the end of March 2024. 

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performers in gatlinburg during tunes and tales
If you stay along the strip in Gatlinburg, you won’t be far from attractions, restaurants and entertainment. Pictured: Tunes and Tales in downtown Gatlinburg (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

Frequently asked questions

Does Gatlinburg have any luxury hotels? 

In the traditional sense of the word, many of the Gatlinburg hotels would likely not qualify as luxury hotels. Particularly when compared to some of the places in New York or London or even Atlanta. Luxuries in the mountains are different things I suppose. Still, there are quite a few nice hotels.

The Embassy Suites by Hilton and Margaritaville would probably be the best contenders for the “luxury” label. 

What kind of amenities will I find in a Gatlinburg hotel? 

The first amenity is simple. Location. You’ll get proximity to the area’s attractions and to the Smokies, or the entrance to the park. You’ll see some of the best views in Tennessee from private balconies overlooking a babbling creek or the mountains. After that, the amenities are pretty standard but will vary slightly from location to location. You will find your basics like: 

  • indoor pool 
  • flat-screen TVs 
  • free parking – that’s a biggie in Gatlinburg 
  • free wifi 
  • seasonal outdoor pool 
  • fitness center 
  • outdoor playground 
  • on-site restaurant 
  • fridge and microwave
  • business center

Some of the nicer places will have a full-service spa so you can enjoy the height of relaxation without leaving the facility.

Do you have a favorite hotel in Gatlinburg? If so, let us know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “These are the 10 Best Hotels in Gatlinburg, Ranked by a Local”

  1. Completely disagree with the majority of these hotels! Most listed here are nothing more than chain hotels and Margaritaville while belongs in Key West, not Gatlinburg! There’s multiple family run and locally owned hotels that have been providing guests with outstanding service for generations in Gatlinburg that should be recognized and appreciated above another cookie-cutter chain hotel! Keep Gatlinburg atmosphere and style alive, support local businesses, and stop staying at gaudy eyesores that have completely ruined the strip!

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