We’ve found our favorite hotel in this part of Alabama — the almost word-salad level name that is the RSA’s (Retirement Systems of Alabama ) Marriott closest to Auburn. I’ve come to really enjoy the RSA properties, and they regularly get very good ratings. Their Marriott portfolio includes:
When in Rome…well, never mind. That won’t really work here.
But when in Sevierville, Tennessee with the intention of taking the kids to ride roller coasters at Dollywood…
Get a lodge if you’re feeling all mountain-ish, or stay at Dollywood (because generally otherwise, the options are Fairfield and lower).
We pick the Dollywood Dreammore Resort, and just as how it’s a plus to stay on-site at Disney (the last three times, we’ve stayed at WDW’s Coronado Springs Resort, and although I’ve dreamed about the Grand Floridian, the fact remains we are only at the hotel for a swim or sleep, so CS is really a great choice) for extended park hours, transportation, and other convenience factors, and the same is true here for the Dollywood amusement park. There’s the ‘TimeSaver’ which works as a scheduled line pass, a shuttle that has its own entry/exit point at the park, early park entrance on Saturdays, and package delivery.
There are other touches, like little Dolly messages in the elevators. Otherwise, though, it’s a (as Expedia classified it) 4*, 307-room hotel with valet, free self-parking, and free wifi.
There are activities the hotel puts on for children each day, but we mostly take advantage of the pools. There is a restaurant, a lounge, and a counter with things like sandwiches — but we mostly eat off-property. This area doesn’t have a great deal of non-chain, interesting restaurants, so while we’ve tried local pizza and local Thai and local whatever, we best like the little Chinatown Restaurant with weird parking and off-menu specials written in what I think is Mandarin (the chongqing chicken and war bar = excellent).
In the past, we’ve had rooms here wherein the bunk beds are in the same room as the larger bed. This time, though, ‘our’ bedroom was in its own space, and…
The bunkbeds were in their own area, separated from the main space by a wall. And this thrilled the boys more than sleeping in bunkbeds: they had their own tv.
I didn’t see a way to program the television to only show certain channels (in hotels, we only let HGTV or Food Network be on, unless some sports game is playing), so the boys kept it on HG until it was bedtime.
Knoxville is only 35 or 40 minutes away from Sevierville, and many times we choose to stay there instead (often at the downtown Marriott or Hilton), which is great because there is *so* much to do right in the middle of the city within walking distance.
Some time soon, I’d like us to think about going up in a hot air balloon ride over the GRSM. We did not get a spot in this year’s park lottery to be able to get access to the viewing area for the synchronous fireflies (going on right now), but we’re going to try again next year. We also want to try to get over to see the dismalites at Dismals Canyon in NW Alabama.