This week, I had the chance to try out my first Vacasa vacation rental booked via Wyndham Rewards. The Greenbrier 2936 is a Vacasa-managed 1-bedroom cabin in the Legacy Mountain Resort in Sevierville, TN (listed as Pigeon Forge on the Vacasa website and actually closer to the heart of Pigeon Forge than downtown Sevierville). Since Wyndham charges 15,000 points per bedroom per night, I booked this cabin for 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points per night all-in despite the fact that it could easily sleep an entire family with a king sized bed, two pull-out sofas, and a 3rd-level loft with two single futon mattresses.
I spent 4 nights at the cabin and absolutely fell in love with the views and the value and was pleasantly surprised with the cleaning and condition of the cabin even though it wasn’t perfect. For more about how I booked this property, see: Vacasa success: Entire cabin booked for 15K Wyndham points per night (transferred from Capital One).
The Greenbrier Pigeon Forge Vacasa rental via Wyndham Rewards Bottom line review.
Bottom line: Overall, this is a fantastic deal when booking via Wyndham Rewards points and it makes for a solid place to stay if you prioritize a terrific view of the Great Smoky Mountains (and I would confidently bet that the same could be said for many other cabins as it seemed like many Pigeon Forge Vacasa rentals were in this complex). The condition of the cabin is more than reasonable for the award price (though far from perfect) and the location being 15-20 minutes from most popular attractions and restaurants was convenient enough for our needs. Personally, I’d gladly stay here again, though I’d be just as happy to check out other cabins in the same complex (Legacy Mountain Resort). The Greenbrier has an excellent view; many other cabins in this resort also have an excellent view, but not all of them do. You need to look closely at pictures of the view before booking and consider vegetation at the time of year you’re staying. The view mattered most to me and as such I was very happy with this stay.
- Points Price: 15K points per night when not blacked out (all Vacasa properties cost 15K Wyndham points per bedroom per night when available; we believe availability is capped at an average nightly rate of $350 before taxes & fees).
- Cash Price: Varies. On my dates, the all-in price per night would have been $474.50 per night ($1897.99 total for 4 nights), but the nightly rate before fees & taxes was $342 per night. Note that you do not pay any fees or taxes on an award stay.
- Points Value: Excellent! (North of 3c per point based on the all-in price)
- Resort Fee: None. Note that the resort complex has a pool, gym, and sauna and you receive the access codes via email.
- Parking: Free. This unit has 3 dedicated spaces.
- Turndown service: None. Note that there are no services during the stay as this is a vacation rental.
- Dining: There is a small poolside cantina at the top of the mountain serving food from 2pm-8pm Tuesday-Thursday and 12pm-8pm Friday & Saturday (it is closed Sundays & Mondays). Burgers are $7-9, pizzas $10-$13. They also serve a few sandwiches, wings, smoothies, milkshakes, and various munchies like mozzarella sticks, nachos, and cheese fries. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to try it. Instead, I ordered from Uber Eats and DoorDash several times. Not a single driver found the place without me needing to walk down to the main road to find them (which means a steep walk back up the driveway), so beware that you may need to do the same.
- Spa: None.
- Wyndham Elite Benefits: None. These units are individually owned and managed through Vacasa. They are bookable with Wyndham Rewards points thanks to a Wyndham / Vacasa partnership, but there are no status benefits.
- Welcome Gift: None (unless you count a few dishwasher tablets)
- Would I stay again? Yes. I loved the view and found the cabin suitable for our needs. That said, there are probably nicer cabins in this area with similar views, so I’d be open to trying a different cabin. See my thoughts on the view.
- Terrific Smoky Mountain Views
- Balconies on 2 levels (note that the view is in the same direction, but less obstructed on the upper floor).
- Secluded spot tucked away with only 1 other cabin
- Max occupancy says 6, but with a king size bed, two pull out sofas, and a loft with 2 single futon mattresses, this place should easily accommodate most families.
- Fast WiFi (about 230 Mbps down and 12 Mbps up)
- About 15 minutes from major Pigeon Forge attractions or 25 minutes from downtown Gatlinburg
- Lots of natural light
- Lots of natural light. I noted this as a positive above, but for anyone not sleeping in the bedroom (in our case our 2 kids), the place is full of light at the crack of dawn since there are no blinds on the large windows facing the scenic view. The cabin faces south, so the sun doesn’t rise directly into the windows, but it gets bright quickly nonetheless.
- Condition of the cabin was definitely good enough for us to be satisfied, though I think the condition was below what you might expect based on a cash price of nearly $450 per night. See pics that address the condition below.
- Cell data service came in and out despite having nearly full bars of voice signal. This could have just been traffic on our network (T-Mobile), but I was glad that I downloaded maps for offline use
- During the last 24hrs, we had at least a half dozen caterpillars inside the cabin (didn’t have this issue for the first few days)
- The cabin is a little hard to find the first time (and hence for any delivery drivers).
- Traffic can make travel time to/from Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg a bit slower at peak times
- Driveway is kind of steep which might be an issue without 4wd during the wintertime
- The fireplace was only decorative (it produced no heat). While that didn’t matter given the summertime weather, it would be disappointing in wintertime.
The Smoky Mountain View at Pigeon Forge Vacasa rentals
If you’re booking a cabin in the Smoky Mountains, you may want to prioritize the view (I certainly did). If the view matters to you, pay close attention to pictures of the view on the Vacasa site. While most cabins at my resort complex (Legacy Mountain Resort) appear to have excellent views, some look to have really poor views that are likely either obstructed by trees / branches during summertime and/or face many other cabins.
Again, your bet bet here is to go through the pictures on the listing and consider when they were taken. Many owners post fall or even wintertime pictures when there aren’t leaves on all the trees. Be sure to envision any twigs you see with leaves growing from them if visiting during the summertime. This wasn’t an issue for us but easily could be on some listings I explored.
The Greenbrier Pigeon Forge (Vacasa) video walk-through
When I first arrived, I took the following video during my initial walk-through and it gives a good sense of the cabin in just over 1 minute:
Pictures and captions of The Greenbrier Pigeon Forge
The Greenbrier Pigeon Forge Vacasa Rental Views
The Greenbrier Pigeon Forge Vacasa Rental Interior
The Greenbrier Pigeon Forge Vacasa Exterior
The Greenbrier Pigeon Forge Vacasa rental pool, fitness center, and cantina
The cabin was overall as clean as I needed it to be. That is to say that bathrooms and common surfaces were very clearly cleaned properly. I didn’t feel like cleanliness was lacking in general, though there was certainly some dust in spots. Despite a few reviews that noted insect issues, we had none until the last day of our stay (and then it was just caterpillars).
However, the cabin was showing some wear. For instance, while the dining table and chairs were heavy and clearly good quality furniture, they were nonetheless showing signs of wear.
Other furniture had nicks or looked well-used. As another couple of examples, the stairs outdoors had non-slip strips on some of the stairs, but it was missing from others (and one of those missing pieces was lying on the ground under the stairs).
Finally, there didn’t seem to be much attention to detail on the exterior. Cobwebs ran pretty thick along railings.
For the price and considering that we had an entire house to ourselves at stage in life when our two kids require more space than the average hotel room provides and when pandemic circumstances have us naturally more interested in a vacation rental, we were totally fine with small issues like these. On the other hand, we spent part of last week at an Airbnb property without those types of issues so we also know that not all vacation rentals are equal in that regard. Considering the fact that Wyndham has recently offered points for sale for less than 1c each, I felt like quality easily exceeded the price tag for those of us using points, especially considering that you pay none of the cleaning/booking fees or tax when booking an award stay. I would undoubtedly be less enthusiastic if paying $450 per night (though that certainly seems to be a going rate around the area for similar options).
Recommendations in the area
While I knew Dollywood existed and I’d heard a few times that Pigeon Forge is a big tourist destination, I hadn’t previously realized that it is basically a Las Vegas for families / kids. With multi-story go kart tracks, mini golf galore, plenty of arcades to keep kids busy for an entire childhood, and the multitude of shows, mountain coasters, and zip lines (including those located right at the Legacy Mountain Resort), it would be hard for a family to be bored. I missed most of that stuff on this trip due to a mix of the nap schedule of a 9-month-old and COVID concerns (hence why the view was important to me; I knew we’d spend a fair amount of time at the cabin).
Still, we did venture out some. We went Go Karting at The Track, which had a 3-story spiral wooden track and side-by-side karts to ride with our older son.
We picked this out of the many go kart tracks in part because the brand has multiple locations where any excess purchased points could be used (including one in Myrtle Beach, which is a place we visit every year to see family). They sell “points” for $1 per point (small rides cost 4 points, the big go kart track costs 12 points). Loading with more points means a slight discount. The first discounted package is 55 points for $50. However, it can get a bit better. If you pre-purchase your points online, you can go to a kiosk on arrival at any of their locations and scan a code on your phone to print out a card(s) with your points. As mentioned a moment ago, there is a location of The Track in Myrtle Beach and the points can be used at any of the several locations. Code MBSAVE$10 takes $10 off $50 or more, which will get you 55 points for $40. Since you can purchase points online, you can check out via PayPal. Therefore, I used the Amex Platinum $30 monthly PayPal credit to pay a net $10 for 55 points, which yielded us all more than $10 of fun.
If you enjoy BBQ, I highly recommend driving the 10-15 minutes from Legacy Mountain Resort to Bustin’ Butts BBQ. It doesn’t look like much from the road, but the pulled pork and ribs were fantastic with or without sauce (I recommend their mustard sauce if you want sauce). We ended up going there twice and bringing it back to our cabin.
Finally, if you have a sweet tooth, Cinnaholic offers an array of cinnamon buns that will knock your socks off. Trust me.
Overall, we highly enjoyed our trip to Pigeon Forge. I had initially booked this cabin for 3 nights but later saw a 4th night was available and I emailed to see whether it could be extended or I needed to make another reservation. The Wyndham rep was able to easily redeem the points and add a night and I’m glad I did that as there was plenty in the area to keep us busy and the views did not get old. I’m sure I’ll be back to Pigeon Forge in the coming years and when I return I hope the Wyndham / Vacasa partnership will still be going strong. Since the booking calendar seems to extend out to December 2022, I may plan that return trip far in advance of travel.
[…] is something that was covered by Nick at Frequent Miler, and I consider it a truly incredible deal. The reason I haven’t taken advantage of it is […]
That looks stunning! I have to check it out. I have to add two things to your comments: First, I have stayed in a ton of rental cabins, both beach and skiing, and have yet to find decent knives or frying pans (we always bring our own now). I guess it’s something stolen/ruined by renters? Who knows?
The other comment is to “+1” Vacasa. I have found them fabulous to work with everywhere and very professional. If you have an issue, they are on it – soup to nuts. I now seek out their rentals (even without Wyndham points).
[…] may have a loft with additional beds, plus an extra bathroom. Nick from Frequent Miler has recently redeemed his points on this amazing cabin in the mountains, and I’m […]
[…] P.S. If you want to read a second opinion on Vacasa vacation rentals, check out this Frequent Miler post: The Greenbrier Pigeon Forge Vacasa rental via Wyndham Rewards. Bottom line review. […]
Thanks so much for sharing this! I knew we used credit card spots for Wyndham cards for a reason. We just booked 8 days in Pigeon Forge this fall based off of this post. Would’ve cost us a ton.
Well played and thanks again!
Great read! Thanks for including a word about your Great Smoky Mountain cinnamon roll from Cinnaholic. We appreciate you stopping by and sharing about it. ~Holly Roe, Owner
Nick, where is “Like” or “Thumbs up” button of your post???? 😀
I stayed at one here in northern California and experienced exactly the same with cleanliness. It’s clean but dust in many places. They should deep clean the cabins every so often.
A comment and a question:
Your pic about the knives – you say there are only two, the ones you have in your hand, and yet I see another knife right behind it?
And you comment multiple times about feeling restricted due to COVID – are you not vaccinated?
Yeah, you’re right. There was an even smaller knife. There was nothing to slice anything bigger than a large apple. Even the apple was a bit of a struggle with the knives we had. I was looking for a chef’s knife or something I would use when preparing dinner. The cabin basically had everything else to cook a meal but a set of knives.
Yes, my wife and I are vaccinated. My 3-year-old and 9-month-old are not and neither is a significant portion of the population still, so we’re still feeling more conservative than some about crowded places and activities, especially so with our kids. I’m not in any hurry.
I hear you that you’re not in an hurry, and no one should be pushing anyone to do anything they’re uncomfortable with.
As for the effectiveness of the vaccine, here’s some information from the New York Times
Essentially, fully vaccinated people are at greater risk from riding in a car than from serious illness with Covid.
Again, to each their own. Just trying to spread science-based information that fully vaccinated people don’t need to fear Covid.
Like I said, my 3yr old and 9 month old aren’t vaccinated and neither is a significant portion of the population, which continues to put my kids at a risk level with which I’m not entirely comfortable at this early juncture. I don’t feel enough of a need to sit at a Lumberjack Show or play video games in an arcade or whatever it may be to put them at increased risk. Similarly, I’m in no hurry to be among the group that proves whether or not the vaccine remains effective as new variants emerge or how long one maintains immunity. I certainly understand that the risk appears to be low based on the months of research we have on hand now. I hope it stays that way and surely my habits and comfort level will change over the coming months/year, but at this point I’m fine with sitting some things out and allowing for the natural learning curve that ordinarily occurs over years of research to play out some more before I do something like sit at an indoor show or sporting event surrounded by a crowd. It’s just not important enough to me to do those things.
Just my opinion here, but I think the word “fear” gets thrown around far too much here. Dogecoin is up more than 18,000% over the past year. Are you going to put all your money into Dogecoin since the experience of the last year proves that it will continue to soar in value? Probably not. Is it because of a “fear” of losing your money? I don’t think fear is the right word. It’s a matter of calculated risk and the knowledge that a one-year sample size of data probably isn’t enough to predict the long term. Some folks will take the risk and go all-in on it because Elon Musk said it was cool. Others will point to some sort of algorithm or derivatives or whatever hot predictive technology they would like to use to justify why it makes sense. I have some money in Dogecoin, but I’m not putting all my money into it. Neither am I going to jump in head first yet on crowded group activities. I’m not sitting at home paralyzed by fear but rather happily sitting on the sidelines and enjoying more time with my family for now while we collectively see what happens. I’ll get in the game again, but I don’t feel any sense of urgency to do so today or tomorrow, nor do I feel like I’m losing anything by taking my time.
I’ll concede that I probably do more dangerous things like driving or drinking a Pepsi or whatever that will likely prove to be a bigger statistical risk. I’m not presenting my perspective as the litmus test of logic against which all perspectives should be tested. Since the risk in those activities is based on decades of research rather than months, I’m more comfortable with those risks in much the same way as I will likely become more comfortable with COVID-related risks over time. It obviously seems like things are headed in the right direction and that’s exciting.
Very well put.
Yes, very well put… amazing that other people need to question other people’s health status in the first place. Many people have various health conditions that would impact their abilities, treatments, etc. Great job Nick.
Ya, I totally get it. Each of us gauges our own comfort level – that is 100% appropriate. And again, I’m not trying to say what folks should and shouldn’t do. Just sharing the scientific data that children and fully vaccinated adults needn’t fear serious illness from Covid. If you don’t feel comfortable trusting that (limited set of) data, then that’s ok – you do you – it’s a free country.
As for the word “fear,” use whatever word fits you best. The Dogecoin analogy doesn’t work for me bc I don’t normally chase investments like that. That’s not my *normal pattern of behavior.* But when we change our normal pattern of behavior based on the possibility of something negative happening, I think the word “fear” fits pretty well. Again, use whatever word fits you best.
(although thinking about this, maybe the isolation and extreme caution is some folks’ new normal pattern of behavior, in which case it would indeed take something extraordinary to pull them out of that)
And also, kinda weird that folks would downvote the sharing of scientific data that shows it’s relatively safe to go back to the way things were before the pandemic started.
I guess I just can’t imagine staying away where the word “pigeon” is used in its name.
Hi Nick! I’d quipped to your compadres here at fm that we’d be in the same area at roughly the same time, but had no idea just how close! We were literally around one bend from you, at 2943 Legacy Vista Dr. (place named “the edge of forever” –and yes, that view, felt like it, especially at sunrise) We did encounter one maintenance issue …. a/c wasn’t quite working. Worth noting vacasa has local maintenance who showed up in minutes from our call, and in turn an hvac pro was on site within hours…. (good to know)
So many more notes to compare yet with your good write-up. Will hold a few days, as we’re still in the area…. now at Cherokee. Noticed you didn’t mention much the Great Smokies National Park…. bit far from Legacy Vista, but oh my, it’s own (wildly chaotic, poorly non-organized, badly over-crowed in areas, surreal) world. that deserves a separate write-up / guide. 🙂 )
ps, little tip, the falls just south of the GSNPark in Cherokee territory are even more …..stunning than those overcrowded zoos inside the park. Still, there are several reasons why it’s the most visited US national park.. (not just because its free)
I drove by that place last night! It was one of the other options available when I booked my cabin. In hindsight, looking at the layout, that might have been a better option for us. Am I understanding the layout correctly that downstairs the bedroom and pool table room were separate rooms off of the same hallway? That might have been better. We had both kids sleeping in the loft in ours (not the loft above the loft, but rather at opposite ends of the large pool table floor). With your layout, we probably could have put one in the living room and one in the pool table room and they wouldn’t have disturbed each other. On the flip side, we were able to sit in our living room for a while once the kids were asleep. Lots of tradeoffs to consider.
We had a drain that didn’t work well, but we just pulled out the plug rather than call maintenance. When we arrived, we thought that maybe the AC wasn’t working well, but after a couple of hours it became apparent that it was. In fact, almost too well, We had it set at 70º and the indoor temperature was somehow dropping to like 66 even when it was warmer outdoors. But I’d rather have that problem than have it too warm. I’m glad to hear that they fixed your issue promptly.
Would you also stay again? Did you try out the cantina at the pool?
Nick, to your bottom line good question, YESSSSS! (and am already contemplating ways to ramp up various forms of spending on our new wyndham business earners card — ty again to Greg, you and TwGrant…! Already had a Wyndham stash to work with — this card just jumped to the front of the proverbial wallet…. )
About that cantina, we were enjoying our “cabin” sooooo much, we almost forgot about that cantina (and modest pool club). We did eventually take a (heart-pumping, delightful) walk up all the way to the top… Occurs to me that you/we could host a splendid travel hackers meet-up up top there. 🙂 Trick would be just what time of year would work to maximize chances for greatest number of fm players to get digs near by…..
About the a/c, we were a bit hesitant to even say anything…. as yes, the downstairs a/c worked almost toooo well. But before we actually called, vacassa kindly gave us a courtesy call and we sheepishly mentioned to them that upstairs, the temp on the thermostat was reading 78 when we had it set for72…. and they made the quick decision to send someone out to check on it. (it eventually rose to 82 before a recharging)…. I’m more of a fresh air guy anyway, so for much of our stay, I searched around to find the (surprisingly few) windows that actually opened….. Again, for future reference for all, good to know vacassa apparently has attentive maintenance personnel available close by. (and they encourage you to call them — if any questions/concerns arise….. like if you get confused with the potentially confusing inputs on the tv remote….)
ps, about specific cabin layouts and settings, I appreciate that with precious young ones to mind, you have had perhaps different priorities and even safety concerns. (those slopes aside each cabin are often extremely steep — no room for play or exploring alone for young ones) For us, we were most interested in maximizing the view, privacy, and even “elbow room” …. The further up the hill you went, the closer together the cabins. (both side to side, and even vertically…. )
Hi Nick! Glad you enjoyed your time in our neck of the woods here in East TN.