USA Daily News
Top US news in one place!

USA DN

Majestic Retreat: Unveiling the Charms of Dolly Parton's Exclusive Resort Lodge Nestled in the Tennessee Mountains

post-title

"Nestled in the Heart of the Smokies: Dolly Parton's Enchanting HeartSong Lodge & Resort Unveiled

When the petite blonde with towering hairdos and even higher heels announces her presence in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, devoted fans embark on pilgrimage, ready to witness the magic. The air buzzes with excitement as crowds gather, smartphones poised, eager to capture the essence of this living legend – a master singer-songwriter, a shrewd business mogul, and an all-around beloved entertainer known for injecting humor even into her own press conferences.

Dolly Parton, the force of nature, has once again left her indelible mark on the Smokies. Her second resort hotel, HeartSong Lodge & Resort, has opened its doors, an extension of the Dollywood amusement park complex in eastern Tennessee. Parton's enduring partnership with Herschend Family Entertainment, fueled by her star power, contributes an estimated annual economic impact of $1.8 billion, shaping the landscape for more Dollywood resorts and attractions that promise to further propel the state's burgeoning tourism industry.

At the grand opening of the 302-room HeartSong Lodge & Resort, Parton graced the stage with her trademark wit, sharing snappy jokes and serenading the audience with verses from her 1994 hit, "Heartsong," paying homage to her rural Tennessee roots that inspire the lodge's rustic charm. The 77-year-old icon, dressed in a bold print dress with black ruffles, beading, and her signature plunging neckline, quipped, "I’m the only person that ever left the Smoky Mountains and took ‘em with her."

While Parton's glittering persona adds a touch of glamour, the resort itself boasts an aesthetic she playfully dubs "high-fashion rustic." Yet, beyond the flashy adornments, HeartSong radiates warmth and hospitality. In an interview after the launch, Parton expressed, "I’m just a down-home person, and all the people I grew up with are just likable, easygoing people. And I guess once you’ve kind of had that instilled in your whole psyche, in your whole being, that does follow you."

Visitors to HeartSong are welcomed by a genuine smile and a helpful attitude from Dollywood empire employees, embodying the down-to-earth spirit that defines both Dolly Parton and the enchanting retreat she has brought to life in the heart of the Smokies."

"Echoes of Dolly's Roots: A Journey Through HeartSong Lodge & Resort

In the heart of the Tennessee mountains, Dolly Parton's childhood memories unfold like a cherished story at the newly unveiled HeartSong Lodge & Resort. The essence of growing up in a large family, where giving to one another and the community was a way of life, permeates every corner of this enchanting retreat.

Parton, the fourth of 12 children, reminisces about her humble beginnings, rich in music but modest in material wealth. She shares, "When you grow up in a big family, you cater to one another, you cater to your neighbors, you cater to your friends, even on Sundays when the preacher comes over, you’re always kind of giving, and we kinda have that spirit (at Dollywood resorts)."

The lobby itself is a testament to Dolly's roots, featuring a four-story stone fireplace adorned with an iron grate portraying a young Dolly among trees and butterflies. On the opposite side, a monumental portrait of the artist captures the spirit of her upbringing. Behind the reception desk, a massive screen transitions through seasonal imagery – fall brings a scene of a mama bear and her cubs, a majestic owl, and the vibrant hues of mountain crests.

Nature's wonders and the ever-changing seasons are woven into the fabric of the hotel. Hallways on guestroom floors showcase artwork representing the four seasons, while the fireflies that enchanted young Dolly find a place in the carpet alongside concentric rings reminiscent of tree trunks, symbolizing a lifetime of experiences.

With nearly half of the rooms offering balconies for guests to savor the mountain air, the guestrooms themselves are adorned with wall-length murals depicting day or nighttime scenes featuring bears, raccoons, and butterflies. HeartSong offers a diverse range of room and suite types, including configurations with separate bunk rooms for kids, inspired by Parton's commitment to childhood literacy through her Imagination Library effort.

Camp DW kids' crafts and morning reading time continue this literary journey for young visitors. Outdoors, an inviting pool area with a waterfall and splash pad awaits, complemented by a hot tub and an indoor pool – all safeguarded by attentive lifeguards. The large firepit becomes the stage for evening singalongs, while smaller firepit seating areas dot the expansive patio, offering a warm ambiance. Adding a delightful twist to evenings is the wood-burning firepit, where the resort's signature "Roasties," a creative take on s'mores, are savored under the starlit mountain sky."

"Whispers of Glamour in Rustic Charm: HeartSong Lodge & Resort Unveiled

While HeartSong Lodge & Resort exudes a rustic charm, subtle hints of glamour add a touch of magic to its welcoming ambiance. In the lobby, amidst the cozy rusticity, plush smoky blue velvet sofas offer a luxurious retreat. The unmistakable influence of the iconic singer's pink-and-purple aesthetic comes to life in HeartSong's Acoustic Lobby, a dedicated space for private dining. Adorned with a chandelier crafted from acoustic guitars and displays showcasing Dolly Parton's dazzling outfits, this enclave is a feast for the eyes. When not reserved for private gatherings, guests are graciously invited to bask in its unique charm.

HeartSong goes beyond the ordinary with its culinary offerings. Ember & Elm, the primary restaurant, tempts the taste buds with a la carte breakfast and dinner, featuring Southern classics. The biscuits served with local jams are hailed as addictive, providing a culinary journey through the flavors of the South. The adjacent High Note, a more casual restaurant/bar, offers all-day dining in a relaxed setting.

This haven follows in the footsteps of Dollywood's first hotel, DreamMore Resort and Spa, which opened nearby in 2015. DreamMore, with its feminine allure, boasts a spa and salon for a more indulgent escape. Peak-season rates at the new HeartSong Lodge start at $319, while DreamMore offers a starting rate of $269 during peak season. Rates typically dip in January and February when the theme park takes a brief hiatus.

Dolly Parton's music, kindness, and down-home charm have cultivated a legion of devoted fans, many of whom evolve into loyal customers. For the opening of HeartSong, enthusiasts embarked on pilgrimages to Pigeon Forge, eager to catch a glimpse of their idol. Allen Jones, a Dollywood season-pass holder from Dothan, Alabama, made a seven-hour journey to be part of the celebration, cherishing the friendships formed with fellow Parton aficionados. As he lounged in the hotel lobby wearing a T-shirt proclaiming, "Everyone has their addiction. Mine just happens to be Dolly Parton," he shared the joy of seeing Parton twice on opening day.

Carol Malerbi traveled from New Hampshire to Dollywood, her pilgrimage fueled by a deep connection to Parton's music, which played a vital role during her recovery from a two-month coma a decade ago. The stories of fans converging at HeartSong reflect not only the allure of the resort but also the enduring impact of Dolly Parton's artistry and the sense of community she has fostered among her admirers."

"Devotion and Joy: Dolly's Impact at HeartSong Lodge & Resort

The love for Dolly Parton is palpable at HeartSong Lodge & Resort, where fans from near and far converge, drawn by the allure of the legendary singer's newest venture. Among them is a couple, Jim and his wife, who crafted a cutting board adorned with an eagle and a butterfly as a heartfelt gift for Parton. Their first trip to Dollywood, timed with hopes of glimpsing the star, became a reality as they caught a fleeting two-second moment with Parton leaving the hotel on a Friday evening.

Autumn Martin, an elementary school teacher from Marietta, Georgia, immersed herself in the Dolly experience with her family. Wearing a pink Dolly sweatshirt, she shared her devotion to the singer, having transformed her entire classroom into a Dolly-themed haven. Each year, Martin and her kindergarten class stage a year-end production featuring tweaked Dolly Parton song lyrics, emphasizing the singer's messages of kindness and care. Martin notes, "We love the sparkles and the glitter. But it’s really about being kind. She teaches us to care for everybody. She embodies a genuine goodness. It’s something I want the kids to emulate."

For many fans, visiting Dollywood and the chance to spot Dolly, especially during events like HeartSong's opening, is akin to a near-religious experience. The enduring appeal of Dolly Parton translated into over three million Dollywood visitors last year, solidifying its status as the state’s largest ticketed attraction. Sevier County, encompassing Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, witnessed an impressive $3.8 billion in visitor spending in 2022, ranking third in the state behind Nashville's Davidson County and Memphis's Shelby County.

Mark Ezell, the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, acknowledges Dolly Parton's profound impact, dubbing her "our second first lady of Tennessee." With HeartSong Lodge strategically located just 10 miles north of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the U.S., the allure of Dollywood continues to contribute to the state's impressive tourism growth. In Ezell's words, "Dolly Parton’s impact on the state is profound, and it keeps on growing," solidifying Tennessee's position as the fastest-growing state in terms of visitor spending over the last five years among the top 40 tourism states in America."

"HeartSong Lodge & Resort: Beyond the Lodging

HeartSong Lodge & Resort, beyond its exquisite lodging, unfolds as an expansive haven with 26,000 square feet of event space. Kevin Osborn, the resort's general manager, strategically incorporated this space to boost business, especially during the two winter months when Dollywood temporarily closes its gates. This calculated move reflects the ongoing commitment to providing a dynamic and thriving experience for visitors throughout the year.

The journey that led to HeartSong traces back to the site's earlier iterations as three distinct theme parks – Rebel Railroad, Gold Rush Junction, and Silver Dollar City – before Dolly Parton's transformative involvement birthed Dollywood in 1986. The park, which features a replica of Parton's childhood Tennessee mountain home, has evolved into a multifaceted destination. Notable attractions include a bald eagle sanctuary, the recent $25 million Big Bear Mountain roller coaster, and the upcoming Dolly Parton Experience.

Scheduled to open in May 2024, the Dolly Parton Experience will revamp the former Chasing Rainbows Museum and neighboring buildings. This immersive exhibit will showcase interactive highlights from Parton's life, encompassing her TV shows, movies, duets, and her cherished Imagination Library initiative. Visitors can explore "Behind the Seams," a section dedicated to Parton's performance outfits, wigs, and more. The experience extends to boarding one of her former tour buses, offering a glimpse into how the iconic artist crisscrossed the country.

The ambitious plans for the future include three additional resorts, including an upscale RV experience slated for 2026, according to Eugene Naughton, president of The Dollywood Company. DreamMore Resort and Spa, the first of Dollywood's hotels, is also set for a decor refresh in 2024. Dolly herself, speaking at the press event, humorously acknowledged the necessity for occasional updates, saying, "You know every few years I get a little facelift, a little nip and tuck myself. It’s only right that my hotels should do the same."

All these attractions, just a stone's throw from Dolly Parton's childhood home, contribute to the expanding tourism offerings in the area. Parton, expressing her pride in the local businesses and the people, states, "I’m so proud of every business, every hotel, every motel – all the people around here – because this is my home." As HeartSong Lodge & Resort continues to evolve, it solidifies its place as not just a place to stay, but a destination that encapsulates the spirit and legacy of Dolly Parton."

"In conclusion, HeartSong Lodge & Resort emerges not only as a luxurious retreat nestled in the Tennessee mountains but as a dynamic hub pulsating with the spirit of Dolly Parton's enduring legacy. Beyond its inviting lodgings and thoughtful amenities, the resort unfolds as a testament to the transformative power of Dolly's vision. The incorporation of event space and plans for immersive experiences like the upcoming Dolly Parton Experience underscore the commitment to providing year-round allure.

As a cornerstone of Dollywood's expansive offerings, HeartSong weaves together the threads of Dolly's childhood memories, her music, and her message of kindness, creating an enchanting destination for visitors from across the globe. The resort's evolution, complemented by upcoming attractions and decor refreshes, reflects the timeless charm of Dolly Parton and her profound impact on the region's flourishing tourism industry.

With plans for additional resorts and a continued commitment to rejuvenation, The Dollywood Company, under the guidance of Eugene Naughton, envisions a future where the allure of Dolly's world continues to captivate and inspire. HeartSong Lodge & Resort, standing just miles from where Dolly Parton grew up, encapsulates not only the warmth of Southern hospitality but also the boundless spirit of a cultural icon. It is not merely a place to stay; it is a destination that celebrates the indomitable spirit and creativity of Dolly Parton, making it a must-visit for those seeking an immersive experience in the heart of the Smoky Mountains."

News