Posted by Darryl Payne in Smoky Mountain Cabins
If you're heading to the mountains on vacation this spring or summer, remember that there are a lot of cabins in Tennessee from which to choose. Price and location should always be factors, of course, but there are also several questions that you might want to ask the property management company or owner before signing on the dotted line. First, determine the immediate environment surrounding your cabin.
What types of roads lead to the cabin? Are they steep? One lane or two? Are the roads paved or gravel or some combination of the two? Will I need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get to my cabin?
How steep is the driveway? Again, is a four-wheel-drive vehicle necessary, and what happens if it snows in Tennessee during our cabin stay? Who is responsible for clearing the driveway?
How close are our neighbors? Is the cabin secluded, or are there several other cabins located close by? And if the neighbors are nearby, what are the privacy barriers? Can our neighbor see onto our back porch or hot tub area? Likewise, does the view from the cabin overlook a neighbor's deck or hot tub area?
Does the cabin have east-facing or west-facing views?
Is there construction of other cabins going on nearby? Will we wake up to hammering and sawing every morning?Questions regarding the specific location of your prospective cabin should then be explored.
Where, exactly, is the cabin located? Which city? Is it in town or in a secluded wooded area?
How far is the cabin from the nearest grocery store or supermarket? Remember, most properties have full kitchens, so you'll need a handy place to access and stock up on food and other provisions.
Is the cabin close to area activities like attractions, shopping and dining?
How far is the cabin from Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
Does the cabin have views of the mountains? If so, are they year-round views or only in winter, when the trees are bare of leaves?
Outdoor hot tub questions are also important. It's such a popular feature in most cabins, yet it can also be a source of potential problems if not addressed on the front end.
How often do you clean your hot tub? Is it emptied and cleaned before each visitor? If not, how often is the tub emptied and cleaned thoroughly?
What kind of filtration does the hot tub have-24/7 or only when the jets are running? Those that only filter during operation generally need to be drained more frequently.
If the hot tub breaks, do you have someone on staff who can repair it quickly? If so, how long will that take?
Is the hot tub under cover or out in the elements? Is it on a deck or inside the house?
How many gallons does the hot tub hold, and how many adults is it designed to accommodate?
Does the guest have to turn the spa on to warm the water, or is it continuously kept warm?
Questions about the exterior of your rental property should include these.
Does the cabin have a fire pit? If so, does the rental company or the guest provide the firewood?
If the guest is responsible for providing firewood, where can it be purchased?
What sort of parking is available at the cabin? Is it covered? Is there a garage?
Are motorcycle trailers allowed, and if so, how much room is available to turn a trailer around?
How do guests access the cabin? Steps, ramp or both?
If the air conditioning breaks in the middle of summer, how quickly can it be repaired?
Now learn answers about the interior of your cabin.
What does the kitchen offer in terms of cookware and appliances? Do all the appliances work?
How many place settings are stocked in the kitchen? For example, if the cabin sleeps six and there are only six place settings, that means doing dishes after each meal.
Does the cabin have central heat and air conditioning? Is the fireplace gas or wood-burning? Are there ceiling fans?
Are pets allowed? If so, how often are the cabin's carpets cleaned?
How many rolls of bathroom tissue are provided at the beginning of each stay?
What linens are provided? How old are the mattresses in the bedrooms?
Of vital importance is understanding issues for payment for your lodging.
In general, learn as much as you can about all the rental fees involved when comparing the costs of different companies' cabins. Not all properties structure their pricing and fees the same way, so only knowing the total cost will let you compare apples to apples.
What's the refund and cancellation policy? How much deposit is returnable within 30 days of check-in? Outside 30 days of check-in?
Do return guests get a discount?
Is there an additional charge if the cabin sleeps over a certain number of guests?
Does the rental company offer trip insurance?
What are the check-in and checkout policies?
Is there a damage deposit? What constitutes “damage” to the property?
What is the cleaning fee, if any?
Are there any booking fees or other hidden, miscellaneous fees?Some miscellaneous questions that might not have fallen into any of the previous categories might include:
If a cabin is rented directly from the owner (as opposed to a property-management company), how far away does the owner live? Can the owner quickly respond to a problem or be able to send out someone who can?
Does the rental office have written directions to the cabin? This is important, because many rental properties can be difficult to navigate by GPS devices or online mapping applications.
Are the photos on the website current ones, and is the list of amenities still accurate and up to date?
Is the cabin's deck built to proper building codes, and is it safe?
Is there a floor plan of the cabin that can be viewed?
If there are mountain views, can the mountains only be seen in winter, when the trees are bare, or are they visible during full foliage?
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