Dollywood’s Heartsong Lodge & Resort named one of National Geographic’s “Hotels We Love For 2024”

By | January 31, 2024

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. — One of the world’s foremost publications, National Geographic, has named Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort as one of the top 22 hotels across the globe for 2024. Nat Geo staff also named Dolly Parton as one of their nine “Travelers of the Year,” calling her the “Hospitality Queen.” 

HeartSong Lodge & Resort was named to the “Best Hotels” list, part of National Geographic Best of the World’s new “Worth a Trip” category featuring the top establishments recommended for the year ahead. Best of the World 2024 was created, researched, reported and written in collaboration with National Geographic’s international editorial teams, which serve millions of readers through their magazines and websites around the world. Full lists can be found at

Just four properties in the United States and Canada made the list: HeartSong Lodge & Resort (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee); Kona Village (Island of Hawai’i); Under Canvas North Yellowstone (Livingston, Montana); and Haciendaat Armendaris (Truth or Consequences, New Mexico). Other resorts on the list include: Pink Palm Hotel (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands); Wilmina (Berlin, Germany); Raffles London at the OWO (London, England); Singita Mara River Tented Camp (Tanzania); Kurulu Bay (Ahangama, Sri Lanka); and Southern Ocean Lodge (Kangaroo Island, Australia).

This year’s travel guide celebrates not only must-see destinations but expands the franchise to include a complete and authoritative guide of must-do, must-stay and must-consume recommendations for travelers to engage with these destinations more deeply and meaningfully. For the first time ever, Best of the World recommendations include a selection of top wellness retreats, hotels, cultural gems and restaurants that National Geographic’s experts say are “worth building a trip around.” 

“We just opened HeartSong Lodge in October, so I’m honored to know that it is already receiving such an outstanding recognition as this one,” Dolly said. “Like I always say, though, we don’t do what we do to win awards.As we’ve continued to grow and expand our parks and resorts, we’ve taken a lot of great care in making sure our guests feel like a member of our family and that they are making precious memories they’re always going to remember. But that’s just one part of it. We’re also blessed to be right here in the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. After all my traveling around the world, I still feel like the Smokies are one of the most beautiful places God created.”

Dollywood Parks & Resorts President Eugene Naughton said the new designation further showcases the company’s commitment to growth, part of a plan that was first announced in 2021.

“In June 2021, Dolly and I announced HeartSong Lodge & Resort as part of a half-billion dollar investment strategy that will sustain our growth for a 10-year period. To continue the momentum from the success of DreamMore Resort and Spa—as well as the rave reviews we’ve already received from guests staying at HeartSong Lodge & Resort—our plan calls for a total of five resorts and an outdoor resort to be constructed here in the heart of the Smokies. The various properties will provide different lodging options for families to select an experience that truly caters to their specific needs.” 

According to the article, “The best hotels offer more than somewhere to lay your head. They connect you to local communities and provide the kind of memory-making activities that tempt you to extend your stay…NationalGeographic’s editors, writers, photographers and explorers scoured the globe in search of new hotels and lodges that embrace this sense of place.”

“At National Geographic, we know that travel has the power to move you. That the experiences you have can make you see the world—and yourself—in a new light. Our expanded Best of the World franchise is the ultimate guide to the exceptional experiences that we and our global community of experts are most excited about right now, whether that’s hiking to the El Vallede Antón volcano in Panama or listening to live music in Kyoto or bear-watching in Alaska,” said Nathan Lump, National Geographic’s editor-in-chief. 

“This year, we wanted to give travelers more ideas than ever before to jump start their travel planning for 2024 and beyond, so we grew our lists to include hotels, restaurants, cultural spots we believe are worth getting on a plane for, and gear that makes your travels smoother. And because we know that people can also be a great source of inspiration, we’re sharing our picks for Travelers of the Year—those individuals who, through their example, make us all want to get out there and experience something new.”

Dolly, called the “Hospitality Queen” in the Travelers of the Year category, was recognized as one of “nine game changers making a difference.” The article says, “our nine Travelers of the Year inspire us to experience the best of the world and, once we’re out the door, help make our journeys more meaningful. They are explorers, boundary breakers, and changemakers who know a thing or two about where and how to travel right now.”

Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort, and its sister property Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, have truly made Dollywood a leading vacation destination for families seeking a memory-making experience in a warm andfriendly atmosphere. Dollywood Parks & Resorts boasts world-class roller coasters, award-winning entertainment, delectable Southern-inspired culinary options, and one of the world’s “most beautiful water parks” all in a place where everyone feels like part of the family.