Wyndham Rental Smoky MountainsBear! Bear! Bear!

It was the cry we had been hoping to hear. For three days we had heard rumors that a bear was hanging around our Wyndham Rentals 12-bedroom “cabin.” But for three days, there had been nothing. No deer. No wild turkeys. And certainly no bears.

Just when we had given up hope of seeing one, we heard the cry.

“Bear!” yelled Miranda Zikowski. But the timing was off. We had just returned from a helicopter ride over the Great Smoky Mountains and each of us had retired to our own spacious room to freshen up.

Miranda’s cry brought us all rushing back to the great room of the cabin like a bunch of Keystone Cops trying to get the bad guy. And, just like the Keystone Cops, we missed our target. By the time we found Miranda on one of the 14 balconies off of the Majestic Overlook cabin, the bear was gone.

There is no proof it was ever there, beyond Miranda’s yells and this photo of the bear’s butt. Look closely. It’s not easy to find. Miranda was so shocked to actually see the bear, then so focused on rallying all of us to see it too that she forgot to snap a picture until it was really too late.

Smoky Mountains Wyndham Rental

You don’t see the bear? Neither did I.

The shortage of wildlife around the Majestic Overlook was a rare miss in an otherwise picture-perfect spot in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Wyndham Vacation Rentals

It’s called a cabin, but it’s more high-end luxury than any cabin I have ever stayed in. It’s not even like any cabin I have ever imagined. This place is all granite counter tops, stone fireplaces, deer antler lamps, leather couches, whirlpool bathtubs and pine planking.

Wyndham Rental Smoky Mountain

This hot tub on the deck of the Wyndham Rental offers an incredible Smoky Mountain vista.

Wyndham’s rental homes division manages 100,000 properties in locations around the world, including 9,000 in destinations across America. The Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas of east Tennessee are among the most recent additions to the Wyndham repertoire. Rents here range from $100 per night for the small one-bedroom cabins (the ones that are closer to what I think of as a cabin, but still more luxurious than rustic) to a high-season price of $1,800 per night for the 12-bedroom Majestic Overlook where we stayed. (July and October are high seasons in this Smoky Mountain region).

Luxury Wyndham Vacation Rentals in the Smoky Mountains

Wyndham Rental Smoky Mountains

The expansive deck on this Wyndham Vacation Rental come with plenty of rocking chairs.

There are other places to stay around the area–including plenty of plain Jane motels and hotels along the kitschy strips of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge–but a vacation rental nestled in the woods offers a chance to feel more at one with the natural beauty of this Smoky Mountain region.

Equally important for families–or maybe even more important for families–Wyndham Rentals offers several things that make traveling with kids that much easier. There are full kitchens (which goes a long way toward helping hold down food costs, especially when you’re traveling with always ravenous teens). And there is a washer and dryer in every unit (which we used on the last day so we could take home suitcases full of clean clothes, a rare luxury).

Finally, because the properties are managed by Wyndham, they come with a “Vacation Rental Bill of Rights.” That includes things such as the promise that the property descriptions posted online will be detailed and accurate and that the rental will be clean and inspected regularly. Even better, it includes 24/7 service. Lost in the winding East Tennessee roads where you GPS might or might not work? No problem. Help–in the form of someone to lead to your cabin–is just a phone call away.