Tier Point Run to Sofia in Dec 2023

This is another installment of my series of TP runs to Sofia. In June and July of 2023, I did a number of trips out to Sofia, just to collect TPs. There was another opportunity in Dec 2023 to collect more cheap TPs, so here I am!

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The Honey Hole at Sanctuary Treehouse Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee
The Honey Hole at Sanctuary Treehouse Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee
The Honey Hole at Sanctuary Treehouse Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee
The Honey Hole at Sanctuary Treehouse Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee

Review of Sanctuary Treehouse Resort, Sevierville, Tennessee

By Nige on Mon 01 Apr 2024 at 10:30
Type: Post
Story: Holiday to Tennessee in Mar 2024
Tags: Holidays | Sevierville | Tennessee | USA

This is a very specific review of one treehouse that is available to rent at Sanctuary Treehouse Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee.

We stayed in The Honey Hole treehouse over Easter 2024, and overall, we had a really enjoyable time.

The map of Sanctuary Treehouse Resort
The map of Sanctuary Treehouse Resort
The map of Sanctuary Treehouse Resort
The map of Sanctuary Treehouse Resort

Overview of the Resort

In the first phase of Sanctuary Treehouse Resort, there appear to be 21 treehouses but some are in the process of being constructed, so (unfortunately) the resort has a bit of a building site-feel to it.

Each treehouse is individual and categorised into one of three types: Tree Fort, Tree Fort Double or the Luxe.

  • Tree Fort is designed for up to six.
  • Tree Fort Double is designed for large families – two treehouses being linked together with a drawbridge.
  • The Luxe treehouses have upgraded facilities for couples and small families.
The communal area at Sanctuary Treehouse Resort
The communal area at Sanctuary Treehouse Resort
The communal area at Sanctuary Treehouse Resort
The communal area at Sanctuary Treehouse Resort

There’s a communal area with a firepit, a larger gas BBQ, and an ice machine. The idea is to bring visiting families together.

Unfortunately, we didn’t see anyone take advantage of getting together whilst we were there. It’s a great idea though.

That’s about it in terms of resort facilities right now.

The owners have grand plans for expanding the resort to 130 treehouses with a check-in area and other communal facilities.

That’s when we think you will be able to call this a resort.

The view of the other treehouses from our stairs
The view of the other treehouses from our stairs
The view of the other treehouses from our stairs
The view of the other treehouses from our stairs

Background to Our Visit

We found an announcement about a new treehouse experience in March 2022 (that’s 2 years ago), and as soon as we could, we booked a treehouse.

We booked in October 2022 (18 months ago), and we based a trip to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, around this visit to Sanctuary Treehouse Resort.

At the time, it didn’t seem that easy to choose between the treehouses on Sanctuary Treehouse Resort’s website, but for whatever reason, we ended up booking The Honey Hole, which is one of the Luxe treehouses.

Some of the treehouses under construction at the resort
Some of the treehouses under construction at the resort
Some of the treehouses under construction at the resort
Some of the treehouses under construction at the resort

The pictures on the website were beautiful and it was just what we wanted.

We got 20% off as part of the opening offer, but after all of the mandatory add-ons (cleaning fee of $75, damage waiver of $40, processing cost of 3% and local taxes), we still paid $543 per night, so it was not cheap.

If we wanted any opportunity to cancel/reschedule after booking, there was an optional payment of 7%, which we paid to give us some flexibility. That seems to have now reduced down to 3%.

Another view of The Honey Hole and access on to the deck
Another view of The Honey Hole and access on to the deck
Another view of The Honey Hole and access on to the deck
Another view of The Honey Hole and access on to the deck

We then paid 50% up front and 50% a few weeks before we were due to arrive.

We had to remind Sanctuary Treehouse Resort about the second payment – we received no automatic reminder and there was no automatic payment taken. Apparently there was a switch over in systems, which led to this issue.

We had no concerns – it was obvious that the owners were trustworthy individuals and our booking was safe.

The day bed downstairs at The Honey Hole
The day bed downstairs at The Honey Hole
The day bed downstairs at The Honey Hole
The day bed downstairs at The Honey Hole

Our Introduction to the Owners

We initially met Amanda Jensen as we first drove into Sanctuary Treehouse Resort. She made us feel really welcome and allowed us into The Honey Hole a tad earlier than the official check-in time of 4pm.

We met Brian Jensen a little later, who was more than happy to help with everything we needed. He was also keen that we left a glowing review on Google. We don’t blame him – we’d be doing exactly the same.

Our Review

This is our honest opinion about the resort and the specific treehouse we stayed in: The Honey Hole.

The BBQ on the deck in a beautiful setting
The BBQ on the deck in a beautiful setting
The BBQ on the deck in a beautiful setting
The BBQ on the deck in a beautiful setting

The Good Bits

  • The BBQ on the deck was great. We used it every night. Note: No BBQ cleaning equipment provided, but for a short stay, not the end of the world.
  • There were links to a number of online videos to explain how to use some of the innovative features, like how to access the second mattress which is stored under the main bed in The Honey Hole.
  • From the guest book, someone had suggested a table be made available on the deck. We had a table and two chairs on the deck, so that suggests that the owners act on feedback, which is great.
  • The passion of the owners is obvious and it’s the biggest asset of Sanctuary Treehouse Resort.
The view of the maintenance area from the deck of The Honey Hole
The view of the maintenance area from the deck of The Honey Hole
The view of the maintenance area from the deck of The Honey Hole
The view of the maintenance area from the deck of The Honey Hole

The Big Concerns

  • The key concern is the view of the maintenance area from deck of The Honey Hole. All of the views of The Honey Hole on the Sanctuary Treehouse Resort’s website are to the other side, so it seems a tad disingenuous not making its location clear. Had we known in advance, we wouldn’t have booked The Honey Hole.
    • Suggestion: Include a panel on the deck to stop guests viewing the maintenance area. This could be something artistic like a painting of trees.
The deck of The Honey Hole including a nice log fire
The deck of The Honey Hole including a nice log fire
The deck of The Honey Hole including a nice log fire
The deck of The Honey Hole including a nice log fire
  • There was no stove, oven, kettle or toaster in the kichenette. That makes self-catering really difficult and limiting at best. There’s only so much you can cook with a small BBQ and a microwave!
    • Suggestion: Appreciate a redesign of the kitchenette wouldn’t be possible, but provide the basics of a kettle and a toaster!
  • For a luxury retreat, the quality of the mattress, pillows and bed linen left a little to be desired. The mattress and pillows felt like they were foam-based. The bed linen didn’t feel luxurious.
    • Suggestion: Upgrade the mattress and pillows to memory foam or similar. Upgrade the bed linen to Egyptian cotton – it needs to feel luxurious.
The instruction manual for The Honey Hole
The instruction manual for The Honey Hole
The instruction manual for The Honey Hole
The instruction manual for The Honey Hole

The Minor Gripes

  • The Honey Hole didn’t appear to be set amongst trees, which was a little disappointing. The other treehouses appear to be nestled in amongst the trees. That might just be because The Honey Hole is the first treehouse in the line.
  • There were no basic food items provided in the treehouse as standard. Without some basics, guests either have to bring a box of basic items or (like us) we had to head to the supermarket.
    • Suggestion: It would be good to offer (as an option) a basket of goods to allow guests to avoid immediately heading to the supermarket. E.g. salt, pepper, oil, bread, milk etc.
Some ideas for eating out in the instruction manual
Some ideas for eating out in the instruction manual
Some ideas for eating out in the instruction manual
Some ideas for eating out in the instruction manual
  • No wine glasses were provided as standard. The Honey Hole is described as a romantic getaway and most romantic getaways include wine. We had to ask for wine glasses. Brian explained that the plastic wine glasses they originally provided with had started to look a bit ropey. Note: plastic glasses are not romantic, nor do they help with the taste of the wine!
    • Suggestion: Provide glass wine glasses.
  • A Keurig coffee machine was included in the treehouse, but the coffee pods provided were horrid. They were branded Sanctuary Treehouse Resort but didn’t have any details on the pods about strength, flavour etc.
    • Suggestion: Provide a variety of coffees pods with clear explanation as to the strength and flavour. E.g. strong, mild, decaf etc.
A broken seat off the deck in The Honey Hole
A broken seat off the deck in The Honey Hole
A broken seat off the deck in The Honey Hole
A broken seat off the deck in The Honey Hole
  • Outdoor furniture needs to be sturdier. We broke one of the chairs and we are not heavy individuals!
    • Suggestion: If you are going to provide equipment, they need to be fit for the task.
  • Need to provide additional toiletries as standard, rather than having to order replacements. We were staying three nights, so it’s not difficult to work out that we were likely going to need more than one small tub of shampoo and body wash.
    • Suggestion: Just include more than one set in a treehouse!
  • Air con inefficiency. We found it really difficult to get the room cool, if the air con hadn’t been on for a while. Most hotel air cons go into overdrive when turned on. The unit in The Honey Hole must have been in the slow lane.
    • Suggestion: Include advice on use of the air con and any limitations it may have in the instruction manual.
  • The instruction manual was a bit basic and a little unstructured. We appreciate the aim is to keep things simple, but guests need to easily get access to everything they need, so provide it to them!
    • Suggestion: Restructure the instruction manual and make it available on line.
  • As part of checking out, we had to throw all foodstuffs away. That’s not a great idea, especially if guests have unopened boxes, or the basics like salt, pepper and oil.
  • There appeared to be no obvious recycling going on. At checkout, everything was marked for heading to the trash. That’s not great from an environment perspective.
    • Suggestion: Actively promote recycling as one of Sanctuary Treehouse Resort’s core values.
The guest book for The Honey Hole
The guest book for The Honey Hole
The guest book for The Honey Hole
The guest book for The Honey Hole

Other Suggestions

  • The instruction manual was ok, but it could be enhanced significantly with more comprehensive info on all appliances in the treehouse.
  • Even better would be a 360 degree virtual tour of the treehouse, where items of interest could be clicked to access more detailed info (e.g. how to use, problems that might be encountered, tips and tricks etc).
The beautiful view of trees looking along the line of treehouses
The beautiful view of trees looking along the line of treehouses
The beautiful view of trees looking along the line of treehouses
The beautiful view of trees looking along the line of treehouses

Summary

Sanctuary Treehouse Resort has huge potential and is a great location for your vacation right now.

But it’s not cheap and for the price we paid, we wouldn’t have expected the number of issues to still be in evidence twelve months after opening.

The Honey Hole is lovely, but based on its location next to the maintenance area, we wouldn’t have booked it.

The Honey Hole is targeting the luxury end of the market. To be successful, the details matter.

A few improvements here and there would take this resort up to the next level.


Follow the whole story here: Holiday to Tennessee in Mar 2024


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Author Bio: About Nige

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Nige is one of the co-founders of The Billingham Blog and works as a freelance management consultant. He loves to fly in his spare time!

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