I checked Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline and found Westgate Smoky Mtn Spa and Resort for $80/night but each site pushed the price to $149 once I tried to reserve a room so I called Westgate. There were alot of downtown Pigeon Forge hotels available in the $70 range with free breakfast and internet but I was interested in the Westgate and I called them directly to check on a reservation.
I spoke with a reservationist who quoted us a rate of $150.xx including all fees and taxes so I bit and took the deal. I certainly did not expect any trouble so we shopped, dined, and played and arrived at the "hotel" at around 6pm. This place has alot of traffic and it was quite hard to get a parking place but we found one and I went in to get the room key and complete the stay. I spoke to a quiet but polite receptionist and she found my reservation and started going through a pile of paperwork.
I could hear a person complaining beside me about a room issue but tried to stay focused on my check in. The receptionist asked for my credit card and I handed it to her thinking it was just to verify my card but she placed it in an old timey credit card impression machine that made a copy of the card and then ran it for $50 and handed me the receipt. I told her that I did not authorize any other transaction and that I had already paid the fee for the hotel during my reservation. She told me this was a deposit and I had not agreed to pay any deposit and was not told of one during my verbal reservation.
At this point I was upset for the deposit and was wanting my money back. A supervisor came over and told me she could not refund my money and I would have to call the Westgate reservation line to get a refund. I was also told there was an $11 additional resort fee. So this $150 became $162.50 including taxes and there was a hold for another $50 on my card totalling $212.50. Had this been Leows Santa Monica or Mandalay Bay, I would have understood because those are high class establishment but this is po dunk Gatlinburg and I could tell they were ready to nickel and dime us for everything they could.
Eventually, another "supervisor" came and was able to make the refund, but did not offer a discount or to even honor the original price which would have been fine for me at that time. I just did not want any other fees than the negotiated price that we originally had and really did not like someone running my card without authorization for the "deposit". Also she pretty much called me a liar and stood beside the quiet receptionist and said she would never run my card without telling me what it was for.
I was stuck in the parking lot at this time after they assured me that my card would be credited back for all fees and deposits. I could not get out and it was nearly 8pm by this time. I called Westgate reservations to complain. I wanted them to either find me a vacancy or help me out because of the time. The best they could do was to knock off the resort fee and promise there would be no other charges. So they called the resort for me and couldn't get through. My wife went back in with her on the phone to assure they would correct the deal and she was in there another hour.
During that time she listened to numerous complaints, it was like every other person had a problem with the pricing, their room, or amenities. I finally got free to move in the parking lot and pulled to the covered check in zone and another truck pulled beside me causing another traffic jam. I was jumped on 2 times for being in this lot and I informed them the truck was the one that blocked the path as I was there first and had been stuck for nearly 2 hours.
I moved again but to a special non parking space because I was not going through the lot again to get stuck again. When they finally took us to our room, time was about up for the pool and this turned into a simple hotel stay for us and not a "resort" stay. We had to check out by 10am, we went to our room went to sleep and in the morning we found out that the place did not have enough hot water. We had to wait and randomly it would have hot water again. We had to call for a code to use the Internet also.
In the morning about 8 am we had housekeeping banging on the door to see if we were leaving. We stayed up as close as we could until nearly 10am and checked out. This was not worth it for us. We heard one guy when checking out that had $160 in fees to pay. I really think I'm due a full refund or at least half because this was nothing. This was the most Awkward hotel/resort stay I have ever had. Beware anyone else that may try to stay here. There is fine print and fees everywhere they can get you.