Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas
… Year Round in Pigeon Forge, TN
If you believe in Santa Claus and the celebration of the Christmas spirit year-round, then you’ll love The Inn at Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge, TN.
The four-star property at 110 Christmas Lane brings the mountain-village, Bavarian-style architecture of the European Alps to the Smoky Mountain region.
Human-sized Toy Soldiers (see photo at left*) and a friendly door man greet guests at the hotel entry.
Then it's on to the holiday themed check-in lobby in the tradition of the Victorian era.
This 145-room hotel delivers an enticing combination of friendly hospitality, holiday décor and “upbeat” guests.
No, you definitely won’t find Scrooge here.
On our recent stay, the clientele patronizing this four-star hotel seemed a highly congenial bunch.
Everyone was in a downright jolly mood. Perhaps it’s the surroundings. Let’s just say that people who dislike holiday cheer probably won’t stay here.
The manager on duty told me that he’s worked at other hotels, but none with the cheery clientele of this property.
The hotel simply puts people in a good mood.
Deck the Halls
Tasteful holiday décor abounds throughout the second floor lobby and its check-in area. You'll discover hardwood floors, wreaths, figures, holiday artwork and a two-story stone fireplace.
Many decorations are one-of-a-kind and hand-made.
The artwork is by many of East Tennessee's best artists including Jim Gray, Robert Tino, G. Webb, Vern Hippensteal, Robert McDonald, Lee Roberson, and Terri Waters. If you see something you like, it may be for sale.
Down one level, the first-floor Grand Lobby faces an outdoor park-like area with two ponds.
While it's an enticing exterior, the hotel's interior has its own draws.
Within the Grand Lobby, guests gather to admire the three-story fireplace and 26-foot-tall, hand-crafted Glockenspiel.
This 15 bell carillon and animated clock chimes on the hour between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Playing well-known carols, the musical masterpiece features moving figures, 14 hand-cast bronze bells and one 24-hour strike bell.
The concert begins with Santa appearing and elves striking out the hours. (Several of the cute elves are shown in a close-up of one section of the Glockenspiel at right*).
Want to see more of the hotel's public spaces and decor?
The hotel Web site has an excellent visual tour.
The inn boasts 145 spacious rooms and suites. We priced rooms online at the inn's Web site. Prices vary by season; May pricing, for example ranged from $119 to $179 per room, depending on accommodations selected.
Our standard room had a balcony with views of Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains beyond.
In addition to the deluxe rooms, the hotel has mini-suites, as well as two and three-room suites.
All rooms have a microwave, refrigerator, coffeemaker and complimentary high-speed Internet access.
Some rooms and suites have added perks, such as fireplaces, whirlpools, decorated Christmas trees and even balconies in the castle’s “turrets.”
Our pleasant deluxe room had tastes of Christmas décor.
The holiday theming was adeptly done – just graceful touches, not an overwhelming experience.
We enjoyed a comfortable night with our two queen beds, which featured “Sleep in Heavenly Peace” mattresses and pillows.
We slept very well on these beds. Incidentally, if you really love the mattress system, you can order it and have it delivered to your home!
Anyone interested in staying at the inn might check out the various room configurations.
Mingling with St. Nick
Guests may meet the "Singing Santa" who has visited the inn from May through December for the past 11 years.
This Santa looks the part – with a natural white beard and long hair and a jolly spirit.
He happily poses with guests seeking a photo – such as with my 84-year-old mother (shown in the photo at right*).
The Singing Santa also entertains guests with song during the summer and into the holiday season. He accompanies himself on a guitar.
If guests enjoy the performance, they might purchase a Singing Santa CD at either the inn or the Christmas Place store across the street.
If you happen to miss seeing Santa, your kids may put a letter for him in the box located in the Grand Lobby.
From the moment of arrival, the Inn at Christmas Place treats guests with pampering style without stuffiness.
The bellman was only to eager to help unload and care for luggage – offering to store it until check-in time. Later, he knocked on our door because he wasn't sure if our luggage had been delivered (it had) and just wanted to be sure all was well.
Front-desk staff also greeted us with a smile and quick service.
All stays include a hot breakfast in a cheery dining area. Breakfast is more robust than most people might expect.
In addition to breads, juices and cereals, guests may head to a cooked-to-order omelet station.
Amenities on site include an outdoor pool with a 95-foot figure-eight shaped water slide; riders must be at least 48 inches tall.
We enjoyed the grounds of the Inn – featuring lush gardens, fountains and a pond. The hotel itself resembles a fairytale German castle (see photo below*)
In addition, the hotel offers an indoor pool with large hot tub, a game arcade and business center.
Step outside from the first-floor Grand Lobby and you'll find a stone terraced courtyard, picturesque gardens and two ponds. During the holiday season, live Nativity vignettes are staged here.
In addition to welcoming individual travelers, the hotel is seeking to develop more group business. It has facilities including meeting rooms for groups from 10 to 200.
In the Environs
The Inn at Christmas Place is directly across the Parkway from its namesake, The Incredible Christmas Place (shown at right*), a shopping extravaganza of holiday fare, now celebrating its 23rd Anniversary.
Nearby are a slew of restaurants, other shopping venues, miniature golf courses and other tourism diversions.
Most guests likely will spend one day at Dollywood, Tennessee’s most famous theme park. It took us about 20 minutes with traffic to drive from the inn to the park.
(Note to readers: We'll load a new, updated Dollywood story in time for the start of the 2010 spring/summer travel season; past coverage included this original story from 2007.)
The Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism has friendly folks willing to help you plan the perfect visit to the area -- based on your interests and budget. To learn more about all the attractions of the Pigeon Forge area, visit www.mypigeonforge.com.
For More Information
Guests who become a "member" on their first visit will receive loyalty credit for every overnight stay at the Inn at Christmas Place or every purchase at The Incredible Christmas Place.
That could earn the guest a credit toward a future visit or retail purchase.
For more information, visit 888-HOLY NIGHT or 865-868-0525