NPR Reviews Provided by
Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains
864southerngirl from: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Trip Type: Family
Published Date: May, 29, 2020 Travel Date: May, 1, 2020 Rating: 4
Definitely a unique experience
I’ve been looking forward to staying here since it opened. It was certainly a unique experience but severely overpriced for what you get. Not impressed with the lack of amenities or things to do at the camp site. We also got charged for every little thing and the food available for purchase is very expensive. Definitely catering to the upper crust (which is not us). I would have preferred to book a really swanky hotel room and could have done so for 1/3 the price.
Published Date: Jan, 17, 2020 Travel Date: Oct, 1, 2019 Rating: 5
Our arrival was smooth and the person who took us through everything on site was super. We definitely felt like any question we had, we could ask.
Camping early October was a lovely time of year to be there - not too cold and no need to use the wood burner. The communal campfires were a nice touch with the free smores you could make yourself.
Food on site seemed generally good quality with a few veggie options, but we only partook twice during our stay due to the price of it.
The site was fairly quiet at night, but for the sound of the quad bikes used by staff in the evening or early in the morning on the gravel paths.
All the tent facilities were great (we opted for one with its own shower and toilet, which was well worth it. We weren't sure whether to spend a bit more on this, but so glad we did).
The facilities at the base were fab too and knowing that there was always someone on duty during the night was brilliant.
Would certainly consider staying at an Under Canvas site again in the future.
- Rooms: 5
- Value: 3
- Service: 5
Published Date: Dec, 2, 2019 Travel Date: Nov, 1, 2019 Rating: 2
Could have been great
After a day of travelling with my wife, toddler, and baby we arrived just after sunset. Check in was smooth, the grounds and facilities are nice. I have extensive tent camping experience (30 years of regularly tent camping), but with the small kids we wanted to try this as our first family camp out, while on the way to visit my family for Thanksgiving.
The food was exorbitantly overpriced for the product received; the pan fish lacked the appropriate seasoning to highlight the flavor and the pulled pork was just pulled pork - no pickles or slaw or anything to dress it up. For $20 and $15 respectively, a higher standard was expected. It's the little things that make or break the stay. Speaking of the little things, my biggest complaint is with the person who started our fire in our tent. He clearly lacked the experience and understanding of the proper operation of the wood stove. He used one of our two provided starters, and when we got to our tent, I had to use our last remaining starter and last bit of kindling because the fire was out when we arrived! It was out because he had overstuffed the stove with logs and didn't stack them properly to permit airflow. The first thing I did was remove a large log and restructured the fire so that it could 'breathe'. I had no trouble getting it going. I was staying with my wife, toddler, and baby. When I woke up at 2:15 AM, the fire was out and the temperature was below freezing. We needed to heat up a bottle for the baby and to do that we had to use the stove. It took me OVER AN HOUR in the freezing cold to restart the fire WITHOUT the starter and kindling. I used a pocket knife on a big log and a full box of matches, including the match box itself. This is unacceptable and speaks to the inexperience of the particular member of the staff and/or the lack of materials provided. I'm an Eagle Scout with extensive fire experience and basically had to Boy Scout that fire into existence. How could a person with less experience accomplish that? When I filed my complaint with the front desk, they apologized on behalf of that staff member, but it was sort of a 'sorry, deal with it' sort of thing. They told me that the front desk was staffed over night, but that bit of knowledge did little good to me the following day. It seems from this experience that the staff was green in some of the areas that mattered a lot given the situation, lacked the wherewithal to ensure proper communication with guests (such as letting us know upon check-in that the front desk was staffed over night, and if any supplies were needed they could be provided), and adequate fire supplies provided to guests within the tent. To be clear, this complaint is about the poor job of the staff member getting the fire started and the lack of starting supplies and kindling provided to the tent. Considering that our predicament was the result of a screw up on the part of UC and UC staff, SOME sort of recompense for the lack of appropriate supplies, bungled attempt at starting the first fire, inadequate communication regarding front desk hours and 'if you need something', and lost sleep would have gone a long way to improving our outlook on the experience and our impression of Under Canvas and staff. Sadly, this opportunity was squandered.
What could have been done to make this experience better?
Better communication from the staff regarding desk hours and 'in case you need something...', provide adequate fire starting supplies inside the tent, actually fulfill the promise of getting a fire going in the tent, improve either the quality of food items, or reduce the price of food items (btw both my wife and I woke up hungry the next morning)....ultimately it boils down to offering better hospitality. We spent nearly $400 ($381 to be exact) between the tent and food and drinks in 14 hours at Under Canvas. I camp out in my own tent several nights a year, and my most recent camping experience prior to UC was less than a month previous, in cold and rain, in the back-country, in a canoe. My family and I chose Under Canvas to glamp together as a family. We were under the impression that we just needed to be prepared for the weather, to dress accordingly, and the rest would be taken care of so that we could focus on the experience as a family in nature. It is clear now that people need to be prepared for a lot more than just that. And again, if the front desk staff in the morning could have done something to turn our experience around - like a small discount on breakfast (spent $47 on two adults and a toddler) or SOMETHING, ANYTHING to show that they cared or were apologetic about their missteps - we may have come away from this feeling differently. Instead it seemed like they didn't care, and they weren't about own their role in contributing to a negative experience. "Glad you spent $380, sorry we screwed up your fire and you had a rough night because of it. Better luck next time." Next time I'll save a ton of money and just set up camp myself.
- Value: 2
- Sleep Quality: 3
- Service: 2
MAJ0426 from: United States
Published Date: Nov, 20, 2019 Travel Date: Nov, 1, 2019 Rating: 4
Wonderful but COLD!!!
1) Our tent location was wonderful - highly recommend requesting a tent "off the beaten path" to avoid hearing cars and people going by. All the other campers were polite and quiet while we were there but I can imagine it might get bothersome being on the main road or near a parking area on a busier day/night.
2) The food available at the restaurant was fantastic.
3) Each and every member of the staff was amazing. I truly felt that there was probably nothing I could ask for that they would not have tried to provide, if it was within their power.
1) I agree with the other reviewers who mention how cold it got inside the tent. Yes, we are camping and if I were regular tent-camping at about $20 a night for a site I would expect to be very cold at night. But it was unexpected at this price. The stove needed to be stoked every hour or so or it would go out and the temp inside would drop - it was 37 degrees inside our tent! We finally gave up on stoking the fire for the evening and just hunkered down (with cold noses) under the wonderful (and warm!) bedding.
2) All the initial stoking of the fire resulted in all our clothes and luggage smelling like "campfire" for the rest of our trip.
3) This stove method of heating seems wasteful and inefficient for the company, the employees, the guests and the environment. So much wood was needed and being used. In our travels, we've stayed in cabins with propane heaters that worked much better and seemed much more efficient. Not sure if a propane heater would heat a tent structure but I'd say either a better warming solution needs to be found or the season should be much shorter so guests who pay top dollar are more comfortable.
Bottom line, lesson learned. Personally, I would never stay at an "Under Canvas" again during such cold weather but can see how it would be a fun and wonderful thing during warmer seasons.
- Value: 3
- Cleanliness: 5
- Service: 5
Josepworldtraveler from: Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Published Date: Nov, 19, 2019 Travel Date: Nov, 1, 2019 Rating: 4
Magical Fall Stay
We have stayed at Under the Canvas Moab and wanted to try the experience at the Great Smoky Mountains.
Obviously this experience cannot be compared to staying in a hotel as it is glamping, that is the point of the stay. I was debating giving it 3 stars, however overall we had a good experience and some of the negatives are related to the nature of the stay/location.
We stayed at the Suite with an outdoor tent. First of all, I think their web site should have more information. This camp most likely is wonderful during the summer/spring or early fall, however when we visited in mid-November it was freezing cold in the tent despite the wood stove being on constantly.
Again, we are "camping" and it is cold outside, so obviously it will be cold at the tent, however at a price tag of over $600 night you expect that there will be better heating of the tent. The outside tent was not able to be used because the cold and the lack of any heater, it was one of the reasons we chose that tent, so the kids could stay there.
Then the only wood stove in the main tent is way too small to heat the tent, it made it very uncomfortable to stay in the tent during the day, despite a beautiful sunny day as the tent is in the shade and at night we had to wake up every 2 hours to put wood at the stove. Most likely the temperature without the stove inside was in the 30s and with the stove full on in the 50s. That larger tent needs 2 stoves.
All of these can be expected if you are camping but at the high price tag, at least there should be some sort of warning because we had 2 younger kids and it was just too cold to be in the tent at all during the day.
We had problems with the hot water, it didn't work, then someone came to fix it and then the following day in the morning when it was needed before a photoshoot, it didn't work again, so we had to could not shower for the pictures.
We had some pictures taken in the morning, we requested a private fire pit going at 7:30 am, no one knew anything about it and t was not ready for the pictures, we used the one that is shared by other guests and they didn't charge us for it.
It is in a beautiful setting and the scenery was magical. In difference with the Moab location this camping site had a restaurant on site, which had great food and live music at night, which was nice.
There is no phone reception or WIFI, which is fine to disconnect but with babies at home, it is hard without any way to communicate directly if something happens.
Overall it was a good experience, I just think it should be more clear in the web site that the tents at certain times of the year can be freezing cold and that the outside tents might not be usable. Especially because the camp is open until December. Also, I thought it was quite overpriced, at least the tent we got taking into consideration we could not use hot water and we were freezing inside.
- Value: 2
- Cleanliness: 4
- Service: 4