Park Tower Inn of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee Review & Room Tour –
We’ve been staying at the Park Tower Inn of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee every Spring Break for about a decade. I thought it would be helpful to share a review and a tour of our room for anyone considering a stay. Watch the video below until the end for bonus footage of the amazing indoor pool and indoor lazy river!
[Update March 2021: Although every single line I wrote in this post was true at the time it was originally written, I’m afraid it wouldn’t be fair not to mention the current reviews on this hotel. I was recently checking prices on this hotel for April. I happened upon the recent TripAdvisor reviews for the Park Tower Inn. They are very disturbing! I don’t want to mislead any of my readers. I’m extremely saddened to think this may no longer be a place I want to take my family. We LOVED the Park Tower. I guess this is a good lesson to remind us we should always check the most recent reviews before booking a hotel. I know COVID has hit a lot of travel industry businesses pretty hard, so I’m hoping the Park Tower can eventually rebound from their current issues.]
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VERY IMPORTANT PARK TOWER INN UPDATE! I’ve had readers comment to say the rates for this Pigeon Forge hotel are not affordable. The rates do vary by season, so my rates have always been some of the lowest. When recently checking rates for accommodations in Pigeon Forge, I discovered the rates for the Park Tower are cheaper through booking.com than directly through the hotel.
You should always check multiple places for rates! Also, call the hotel and ask them to give you their absolute lowest offer.
We stumbled upon the Park Tower Inn by accident many years ago. We had purchased one of the vacation packages they sell in Bass Pro Shops – the kind of package that gives you cheap accommodations in return for holding you hostage at a condo tour for a few hours. The package also gave us a $50 gift card to Bass Pro which is probably the real reason we bought the package. Fortunately, in the process of buying a vacation package that required a 3-hour hostage situation just to get a $50 gift card to buy some additional hunting gear, we also accidentally found a hotel that’s been great for our family for the last decade.
The Park Tower Inn has all the features needed for our large family.
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Reasonable Room Rates
The Park Tower Inn happened to be one of the hotels included in the Bass Pro vacation package. The package only covered two nights, and we were able to purchase additional nights for $23.95 each which was an absolute steal. That was back in the days when all the kids were homeschooled (some of them weren’t even born yet), so we were able to travel in early March, and that price was just the going rate for a room at the Park Tower Inn that week. This was also in the years right after 9/11 when Americans were travel-shy.
Nearly a decade later, the rates are considerably more than $23.95 per night, but the Park Tower Inn still offers a great value with competitive rates. We now have to travel during the traditional Spring Break times, and the Park Tower’s rates for those weeks in late March and early April are some of the best in the Smokies for accommodations with an indoor pool. I still check rates at several hotels every year because we all know how frugal I am, but the Park Tower Inn is consistently within a couple of dollars of the best rate I can find for a hotel that will meet our needs.
Don’t forget to check rates with multiple places! Booking.com was the least expensive I could find when I last searched, but the rates between accommodation booking services can vary day to day.
Rooms for Large Families
For many years, we were able to stay in a room with just two double beds. Even after all four children were born we were still able to do that because we had grandparents with an extra bed staying in the next room. The room we’ve stayed in for the last few years (which is the room in my video tour below) has two double beds and a sleeper sofa. My kids say the sleeper sofa is not comfortable with two people, so my two youngest take turns between the sofa bed and using the sofa cushions to make a bed on the floor.
The cost difference between the room that sleeps four and the room that sleeps six has been less than $20 per night for us. Some hotels want to charge almost double for a room that will sleep six, so it’s always nice to find hotels with a reasonably-priced room for families traveling with four children. There are also larger Family Suites available that have multiple bedrooms. My in-laws have stayed in those, and they are very nice, but the price is more than I’ve wanted to pay.
If you are traveling with a large family, a free breakfast at the hotel is invaluable. The free breakfast is a hefty savings on the budget, but it’s also a huge convenience factor as well. Dragging four kids out to breakfast is not always a lot of fun, so we never do that when staying in hotels anyway. If we can’t find a hotel with free breakfast, we bring our own breakfast items – packets of oatmeal, pop tarts, yogurt, etc. – but that’s just more food items to pack along with the bazillions of other snacks and sandwich fixings we already bring for lunches.
The free breakfast at the Park Tower Inn is better than most hotel breakfasts we’ve encountered. They always have biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, grits, cereal, pastries, toast, bagels, waffles, milk, juice, coffee, and tea. This year they had a machine that also made pancakes on a conveyor belt. It was like something straight out of the Jetsons and the highlight of the trip for some of my kids. I took a video on my phone, but I can’t find it in my files now.
The breakfast is a bit low on protein options (which is usually the case with free breakfasts), but it does a decent job of keeping my kids happy until lunch, especially since I carry string cheese and single-serve peanut butter everywhere we go through the morning anyway. We also bring our own chocolate syrup, hot cocoa packets, and vanilla creamer, since the free breakfast doesn’t include those.
You can also check out my guide for dining with kids in the Smokies, Best Cheap Eats in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Refrigerator & Microwave
It’s always helpful to have a refrigerator and microwave in our hotel room. These rooms have a pretty good sized fridge. When we travel, we try to only eat one meal a day from a restaurant. We bring stuff for sandwiches. Sometimes the one meal we do purchase that day is pizza which we bring back to the room, so having a fridge for drinks is nice. Refrigeration also allows us to safely eat our leftovers for lunch the rest of the week. And it’s much easier to heat up leftover pizza in a microwave rather than trying to do it in one of those little coffee pots.
The Park Tower Inn has consistently been one of the cleanest hotels we’ve stayed in through the years. When I had little kids, I never felt like I had to keep them up off the floors. The bathrooms were always clean. Some would probably find the decor slightly dated, but this never bothers us at all. I love that they just put regular blankets on the beds now. The first thing I do in any hotel room is throwing the comforters in the corner out of the way, so I’m glad they finally ditched those altogether.
I did find some crumbs behind our nightstand this year. That’s the first time I’ve ever found any evidence of less-than-immaculate conditions. I’m giving them the benefit of a doubt on the crumbs. All other years, we’ve arrived late on Sunday evening because we go to church in the morning and then make the six-hour drive to check in. This year we had to alter our usual travel days to work around the newlyweds’ college schedule. Their college Spring Break was not the same as my son’s high school Spring Break, but fortunately, they didn’t have college courses on Monday or Friday. My son missed one extra day of school to make it all work out. Somebody had to make the sacrifice.
The altered travel days meant we arrived on a Wednesday early in the day, since we didn’t have to leave after church. We actually checked into our room early, so they may have been in a rush to get our room ready. Considering this hotel has ALWAYS been spectacularly clean every other year, I’m giving them a free pass on the crumbs behind the nightstand this one time. For the sake of full honesty with my readers, I felt compelled to disclose that minor detail though.
Cheap Hotel Laundry Room
The Park Tower Inn has a small coin laundry. The washers and dryers are only $1 each. WE HAVE TO DO LAUNDRY WHEN WE TRAVEL! I cannot even think about bringing home an entire week’s worth of laundry. For a week, I let the kids pack 3 outfits (plus the clothes on their bodies), two pairs of pajamas, 5 sets of underwear/bra/socks, and 2 bathing suits. We wash midweek and then again the night before we leave for home.
Doing laundry doesn’t really take time out of our vacation, and it makes coming home so much easier (especially mentally for me). I just load the washers and set a timer on my phone for 30 minutes. Then we go down to the pool. When my timer beeps, I go back and switch the laundry to the dryers and set another timer. I don’t stay with my clothes. I’ve never felt like there was any risk of someone stealing them. There’s nothing fancy about our clothes, and I’m pretty sure no one would want them anyway.
The Park Tower Inn is in a perfect location for us. It’s one block off the main road which means it’s way easier to get in and out. You can drive up one block and use the traffic light to enter the main road. We have stayed at hotels on the main strip before, and trying to exit those hotels can sometimes take a while at high traffic times.
A couple of years ago, Pigeon Forge added a shopping center called The Island. You can see The Island from our balcony on my video tour of the room. The view of The Island at night from the hotel balcony is phenomenal because of all the lights. The walk to The Island from the Park Tower is about the same amount of walking as you have to do if you park at The Island’s designated parking lot.
You can find out about one of our favorite snacks found at The Island in Best Cheap Eats in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Indoor Pool & Indoor Lazy River
The Park Tower Inn has an INDOOR LAZY RIVER! I added some bonus footage of the indoor pool and indoor lazy river to the end of the video tour of the room. The pool and lazy river are in the basement, so the noise can’t be heard from any of the rooms. It says open until 2 am!
We love the pool and lazy river being open late. The pools at many of the other area hotels close at 9 pm or 10 pm. We are often out and about all day, so there would be no time for my kids to swim at those hotels. You can read more about our usual daily activities in 10 Free Things to Do with Your Kids in the Great Smoky Mountains.
We stayed in many, many hotels during the years our oldest was playing travel basketball. Nothing was more frustrating to me than being stuck in a hotel at night with a dozen teenage girls and a closed swimming pool. They would have games late into the evenings and want to swim at night, but many of the pools would close just a few minutes after they could get down to the pool.
I definitely appreciate the Park Tower Inn keeping the pool open late. Because my husband tends to be an “early to bed, early to rise” person, and half of us are night owls, it’s been really nice to have somewhere to take the kids, so Dad can sleep when he’s ready. It’s much better than having a bunch of rowdy, wide-awake children in a relatively small space.
The Park Tower also has a seasonal outdoor pool. Sometimes it’s open when we’re there, and sometimes it’s not. It depends on the weather.
And Now the Room Tour You’ve All Been Waiting For!
I took a tour of our room the day we were leaving this spring. I also wanted to let you see all the items from 5 Simple Items You Must Pack for Your Next Hotel Stay in use in our room. You’ll need to click on over to that post if you want to find links to those items.
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We hope this review and room tour have been helpful to you. Have you been to the Smoky Mountains? What are your favorites?
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