Only problem with Margaritaville Island Hotel is that once you go, you want to go back

Renie Carroll greeted us when we arrived at Margaritaville. (Larry Vaught Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

When we take our grandchildren to Margaritaville Island Hotel in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., we always have one problem — they never want to leave.

They love everything about the resort from the spacious rooms to the rooftop pool to the friendly staff to the spacious dual rain shower. And the Jimmy Buffet music is another treat they like.

We recently made our fourth trip to the Margaritaville Island Hotel — but first since the fires that ravaged the Great Smoky Mountains last year. Everything in Pigeon Forge is full-go and same for the most part with Gatlinburg.

But the real beauty of this place to stay is that you never have to get back in your car and can still have a great time. There are terrific restaurants at The Island. There are over 60 retail and speciality shops. There are rides — The Wheel is mesmerizing — and games. We love the dancing fountains and often you will find special live musical entertainment.

View from the rooftop pool. (Larry Vaught Photo)

Or you can just chill. We did a lot of that at the pool — and hot tub. The rooftop pool offers a great view not only of The Island, but also the Smoky Mountains. That made it easy for me to relax and let the grandkids enjoy the pool.

Our room had a balcony with a view of the village — shops — and my youngest grandson loved to sit there and talk to people walking by underneath him.

My wife is a fan of the St. Somewhere Spa. She had a pedicure, foot massage, facial and back massage. The chill room offered grapes and cheese and either wine or water. There are six treatment rooms along with a full service hair salon, make-up bar and spray tan room.

If you do decide to leave The Island, you can spend hours — or days — hiking in the mountains or just driving on the scenic highways. Or you can try one of many, many activities in Pigeon Forge.

My grandchildren loved the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show — and count me as a big fan of the fried chicken, barbecue and rolls along with the singing and dancing. They also liked the Tomb, an Egyptian escape room that lets your team try to follow clues to find a way out. At times my 5-year-old grandson was overwhelmed a bit, but my 8-year-old grandson loved every minute.

St. Somewhere Spa has a friendly, versatile staff. (Larry Vaught Photo)

But nothing beat the Outdoor Gravity Park. My grandsons and one climbed into a large, transparent ball and were rolled down one of the park’s four hills. It took only about 90 seconds as we slid around in the warm water — and bumped into each gently a lot as my oldest grandson recorded it on the Go-Pro we were given to use.

Zorbing is a sport that started in New Zealand. We chose the zig zag course to come down the 1,000-foot hill and I would recommend that course to anyone. This adventure is open to anyone 5 years old and up.

But no matter what you do, it’s always great to come back to the Margaritaville Island Hotel to chill. Just remember, once you go, you’ll want to go back.

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For more information on the Margaritaville Hotel, call 844-434-6787 or go to http://www.margaritavilleislandhotel.com.

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