It’s not surprising Dolly Parton built a new resort to accommodate visitors to the Dollywood theme park. Dollywood ranked #2 in the Travelers’ Choice Top 25 Amusement Parks in the United States. Dollywood’s newest resort is named HeartSong Lodge & Resort. It opened in November 2023, just in time for a Smoky Mountain Christmas with Dolly herself in attendance at the opening. Wish I could have been there to meet her, but I did visit Dollywood and Pigeon Forge and got a tour of Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort. Here’s a preview.
When you step into the lobby of Dollywood’s new HeartSong Lodge, one of the first things you see is the massive stone fireplace. The sculptured doors of the fireplace were done by Kevin Stone who also did the 55-foot eagle at Dollywood. It depicts Dolly as a young girl with one of her favorite creatures, a butterfly. She is perched on a curving branch sitting under a tree.
Our guide, Jenn Webb, one of Dollywood‘s publicists, took us through the resort. She explained it was based on Dolly’s song “HeartSong” released in 1994 about memories of her beloved Smoky Mountain home. The new resort captures the majesty and beauty of the Smokies that Dolly loves.
Behind the reception desk, a room-sized screen depicts typical Smoky Mountain scenes. A mama bear and her cubs ramble across it then it changes and a majestic elk with ceiling-high antlers gazes out at you.
The four-story atrium off the lobby has high ceilings with lantern-inspired windows. When you are just a few miles from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, you need to take advantage of the mountain scenery. The plush, smoky blue velvet sofas and carpets with designs like tree rings and fireflies contribute the luxury part to complement the rustic decor. Dolly describes it as a high-fashion rustic lodge, and she has it nailed.
Accommodations at HeartSong
The 302-room lodge rooms and suites are special. They range from standard guest rooms which are decorated with Smoky Mountain murals to themed suites; some of the family suites have bunk rooms for the kids. Beds range from king to two queens per room.
All rooms have complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access, 42″ flat-screen TV, and cable channels, mini-refrigerator, in-room safe, coffee maker with coffee/tea, clock radio with alarm, hair dryer, iron. and ironing board. Portable cribs are available upon request. More than half of the rooms have balconies.
Resort guests have lots of dining options. Ember and Elm is their upscale restaurant. It serves breakfast and dinner. Probably since most guests will be out visiting Dollywood or Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Park during the day. Flatbreads are one of the specials that the chefs were creating when we visited. The East Tennessean with Benton’s Ham, Peach, Creamy Burrata, Arugula, Alfredo Sauce, and Balsamic Glaze, is one I want to try. I visited Benton’s several years ago and can vouch for the ham and bacon he makes. It’s the best I ever tasted. Almost all of their foods are locally sourced and have a Smoky Mountain flavor. Breakfast is a la carte so you can combine your favorites.
Highnote is their more casual bar-style dining. Craft cocktails include drinks like Pumpkin Spice Espresso Martini made with Stoli Vanil Vodka, kahlúa, pumpkin spice syrup, espresso, pumpkin cream, and fresh-ground nutmeg or a Caramel Apple Pie Old Fashioned made from Heaven’s Door Tennessee Bourbon, brown sugar simple syrup, cold-pressed apple cider cube, homemade caramel sauce rim, fresh-ground nutmeg, and star anise.
Along with the craft cocktails, and upscale spirits, there are beer and wine choices. You can get many of the same dishes as at Ember and Elm but there will be more sandwich burger choices. It has windows facing the pool and outdoor areas and Jenn said they plan on having doors opening to the pool so visitors at the pool can walk up and order from outside.
Songbird Market is the perfect choice for a grab-and-go lunch. You can pick up a pizza, sandwich, ice cream, and drinks for a picnic lunch.
If you are feeling lazy, you can have meals delivered to your door at the resort.
Everyone wants to bring back souvenirs from their trips. Honeysuckle & Pine Storied Goods Mercantile is the place to find yours here. They have lots of Dollywood items like sweatshirts, bags, mugs, jewelry, unique keepsakes, and much more.
HeartSong has 26,000 square feet of event space if you’re planning a wedding or other event. The main ballroom is 7,500 square feet with the Inspiration Junior Ballroom adding 3,200 square feet. There’s a 10-seat board room and an event lawn for outdoor meeting spaces.
On the opposite side of the fireplace, in the separate Acoustic Lobby, a pink-and-purple space with an unbelievable guitar chandelier is available for private dining. When not in use for private parties, it’s open to all guests. It’s decorated with a large portrait of Dolly and some of her costumes and instruments along with small photos of Dolly. Jenn said these would rotate.
Camp DW is a cozy game room with tables where visitors can play games or enjoy puzzles.
Yes, it’s “pools” plural here. There is an outdoor pool with a waterfall and splash pad. The splash pad is bright green and blue with fanciful trees and cartoon-like creatures and will delight kids of all ages.
Inside, there’s an indoor pool and a hot tub. Where Dollywood’s Dreammore Resort and Spa has a more feminine vibe, this resort is perfect for family getaways.
There’s a playground area with one of Dolly’s free libraries for Imagination Books set by a circle of stones where kids can sit and enjoy a good book.
The Outdoor Cove has a giant gas-operated communal fire pit for family gathering spaces. There’s a screened-in porch for bug protection. For couples or smaller families, there are individual fire pits. At night there are marshmallow roasts to sweeten the evening.
Resort guests get a lot of perks as well. A complimentary Trolley Service with a special lobby to give visitors door-to-door transportation to Dollywood Parks & Resorts is available. This is a plus I wish other hotels would follow as so often buses tie up the main entrance when you are checking in or out.
If you are a ticket or season pass holder, there are complimentary Dollywood TimeSaver Passes with priority access. If you purchase an item over $25 and don’t want to carry it around while at Dollywood, there is complimentary package delivery to your room. On Saturday you get an early park entry to Dollywood Parks. You also have complimentary parking and an onsite ticket planning center at the resort.
They are offering special prices to guests for Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show, Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction, and several other shows.
If you are planning a longer stay and more adventures, you’re just 10 miles from Great Smoky Mountain National Park. For guests flying here, you’re only 30 miles from Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport