WORSTgate A review of Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort
I have reviewed over 60 hotels all over the world and I have NEVER given a hotel anything less than a 3 (I am REALLY good at picking hotels and also I try to always find a redeeming quality in any hotel I select) But this one I should have went with my instincts on and don't even feel I want to consider its redeeming qualities in giving it a rating. On the surface this resort seems lovely at a glance. Our room is in the 3000s and on top of the hill and has a great view. It has a fireplace and tiled floors and a nice tiled shower. It has a comfortable large bed and a full kitchen, nice ceiling fans. The resort itself is located a few minutes from town but up on a mountain so the location is nice. So you might wonder why I would rate it so low...well let me start by saying this is NOT a review of the staff but a review of what is wrong with the room. The ice maker didn't work which was possibly due to a low setting on the freezer which we couldn't locate upon our search (they eventually switched out the refrigerator for another one), the internet is spotty at best and goes in and out and I was unable to access it at all for a day and a half until I complained and had them check the router, even still it goes in and out. Although I am quite aware I am in the mountains I am also aware that the system they have for the routers is not the wisest or most efficient. I would have easily overlooked these things but the bigger issue I had was with the washer/dryer. We booked this room specifically for the washer and dryer and had quite a bit of laundry to do. I had never seen a combo before (as in the drum both washes and supposedly dries) but we gave it the old college try. It did not in fact DRY anything. I will spare you the details but over the course of 3 days we called probably 20 times to complain and each time the poor maintenance guy would come up and give us tips on how to get it to "kind of" work. Even after the latest tip...to put it through the spin cycle twice and then dry it for 3 HOURS it should be MOSTLY dry. We tried that and left for the day and came back to find our wash still locked inside. And when we finally got it out it was not dry. I laid it out overnight and it was STILL not dry. It literally took me an entire DAY to do 1 load of wash (and it's a SMALL drum to begin with so maybe 7 items) and now I have underwear hanging from the ceiling fan. Finally after completely flipping my lid they replaced the washer/dryer combo with the same (still waiting to test this one out). I know this doesn't seem like a big deal but I have literally spent every second of the time I have had in my room either on the phone with maintenance or waiting for someone to show up over SOMETHING. It has been a general sense of annoyance every second and some of the staff seems completely unconcerned or willing to help. I also want to be clear that this is NOT the fault of the staff. There are some VERY kind people who work here...Mike, David, Henning, Jim, Carol (I think her name is...) just to name a few...and they have tried to do what they can within the bounds they have to operate in to make us happy. In fact I would say they have themselves gone above and beyond to try to fix things as best they can but it is clear they do not have the back up they need from the resort itself to actually make things right. It's sadly like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic and I feel terrible for them. So I am in no way faulting them and in fact I would like to say that it is sad and tragic that a company with such gross displays of their own wealth would treat their employees with such disrespect. Working for a large company myself I can see the suffering they are all going through trying to make the guests happy but having little chance of that with what they are left with. This leads me to the general construction of the room itself. You can tell that ZERO care was taken in the building and upkeep of this hotel. Door frames are crooked so badly so that I can see the light under the connecting door to the other unit and a small rat could fit underneath the door through the gap. I can also hear everything my neighbors are saying as the walls are paper thin and the giant gap under the door doesn't help), the couches are covered in a child's marker scribble, the "granite" back splash is stuck on crooked and ill matched. The closet door is the cheapest I have ever seen (mirrored metal doors) and the track is so thin that the door pops out and won't open right and again is crooked. Light fixtures are crooked (installed) and even in the woodwork you can see they made no effort in design to accommodate for entry ways size etc as some are simply cut off half way and crooked on top of that. The washer/dryer combo was an obvious after thought because it does not fit well under the sink and sticks out making you have to wedge yourself in between that and the giant makeup mirror that is hanging from the wall to get to the sink. Oh and by the way do not touch that mirror. It is Nasty! There appear to be stuck on whatever all over it. It's not even usable as a mirror. They say the washer/dryer combo is what they use on boats...well I am not on a boat. They also say its supposed to be energy efficient yet I don't see how since 1 load took me all day and between the wash/extra spin and 3 hour dry cycles was easily running non stop for 5 hours at least. It sounds like it was a cost saving effort from the resort and they don't care how terrible they are or how many complaints maintenance has on them they will just keep putting them in. I am also aware there are still units with electric separate dryers so not sure why they didn't just move me to one of those but whatever. The shower was a good idea and probably great new but the rainshower head is so high up that now it has lime scale all over it and you can't clean it so the water sprays everywhere and its freezing cold so I am not sure how to turn it on and get out fast enough to let it heat up?? Then there is the odd design of the shower where the "bench" is right behind the water spray so no matter how you angle the shower head you can't really functionally use it (say for shaving). Everywhere you look it is obvious they have cheaped out and taken the sloppy and fast approach. It speaks volumes to me about this company and where the person in charge has squarely laid his priorities. With himself and his own financial gain with no care or concern for his guests/owners or the even and especially the people who work for him!! It makes me sick to see how the kind hearted employees are being treated and I wonder how many complaints like mine they have to endure on a daily basis because the management has no common sense or ability to listen to the people in the trenches. I find it ironic that upon check in I was told that they wanted my opinion on the hotel and wanted to set up a time for a tour and to hear what I thought of the place. They say that this resort is a 5 star and they are trying to get one more (is that even possible???) and frankly the "star system" they are referring to is based on availability of amenities to which I would say this qualifies for possibly a 3 on that scale but anything above a 3 is merely quality of said amenities and the quality of amenities here is downright CRAP. Well they have gotten about 20 calls from me so far about what I think of the place. (and yes I am quite aware this was simply a ploy to get me to sit through a time share presentation) There were also employees who disappointed me here. like when I had to ask for ice 3 times and even drove down to the front desk thinking maybe they would just GIVE me some ice but NOPE. I finally got some but what a hassle. It seems that some people just put in tickets in this giant boondoggle and have no thought on how to make the people happy. I was even transferred at one point to "the front desk" to tell them what was going on and got a voice mail and left one and no one has called back or attempted to deal with us in that regard. I would also like to say the parking situation is next to awful up here. And there is construction so you can't drive right to the building but have to drive all the way around. I think our room is possibly the farthest and most inconvenient on all of property right now (with the construction). The exterior night lighting down below on the cabins seems softer and warm and rustic yet up here on the hill the lighting is like that of an airport! Which is great if you want to watch the bats flying around at night. I'm in unit 31083 in case you were wondering. Although I suppose there are units above me that are even more inconvenient. At least I am 1st level. The Pool situation is also not what I hoped for. There are 2 pools way on the other side of property and it is such a large complex that you either would have to drive there (and risk not finding parking) or take the resort shuttle which you have to wait for. AND the pools do not even look impressive at all from what I have seen. I have not inconvenienced myself to use them so I can't comment on cleanliness etc. But good damn luck getting to them from up here. Much of this stuff I could overlook but everything together leaves a bad taste in my mouth so much so that as I sit here now in this room writing this I am wasting my vacation but I feel its important to let people know what they are getting into. Particularly if they are considering BUYING into Westgate.