Pool is small -- with limited lounge area and unappealing location by the road
No restaurant or bar on-site
No fitness center
Location is everything at the mid-range Old Creek Lodge. It might be short on amenities, but it's convenient to downtown Gatlinburg yet still feels tucked away, thanks to the views of the mountain creek behind the hotel. Just off the parkway, it's on the trolley route and is within walking distance of all the main tourist attractions, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the convention center. The rooms are large with nice bathrooms, and each has a gas fireplace and private balcony. The same independent owners run several other hotels in the area, including the The Bearskin Lodge down the road -- which is closer to the national park and has almost identical rooms, but the views are better at the Old Creek Lodge.
The Smoky Mountain craft-style decor so common in the area is in full effect here. Log furniture, rough-cut stones, and exposed wooden beams prevail inside the small lobby and throughout the hotel. The added touch of tree-bark-covered walls make for a seemingly authentic rustic lodge experience. The interiors may be a bit dark, but they aren't short on character. The old creek out back provides a natural backdrop that's hard to beat. Most guests are tourists in the area to visit the mountains.
A resort town bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is known for its mountain views, hiking, fishing, rafting, and skiing. Old Creek Lodge is on River Road right off Gatlinburg's touristy Parkway with restaurants, shopping, and entertainment close by. Nearby attractions within walking distance include the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Ober Gatlinburg Tram, the Space Needle, and Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies. Dollywood theme park is about a 25-minute drive, and Knoxville is an hour's drive away. Expect at least a three-and-a-half-hour drive to Nashville.
Log furniture and woodland print wallpaper add a rustic twist to the contemporary decor, giving the rooms some Gatlinburg charm. All the rooms are on the larger side, with gas fireplaces set in the corner. Some rooms have whirlpools. Bathrooms are nicely updated with large walk-in showers that have a built-in tiled seat and massage showerheads. Private balconies overlook the creek out back and offer views of the mountains beyond. All rooms come with coffeemakers, mini-fridges, microwaves, and free Wi-Fi.
Outdoor pool, deluxe continental breakfast, nice outdoor patio on the creek
A bit short on amenities and missing the convenience of a fitness center, restaurant, and guest laundry, the Old Creek Lodge does have some natural features like a bubbling creek. The heated outdoor pool is small and has only a few lounge chairs, there's no hot tub -- one side faces the road. A free deluxe breakfast with hot food (waffles, biscuits, and gravy) is served in a charming rustic room, and a small outdoor patio offers additional seating. Parking is free, but covered spaces are limited. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel.