I've stayed in gatlinburg a few times, we used to stay there when we would go down that way to ride our motorcycles. I would suggest renting a cabin/house. We did that every time that we stayed there and it's a great value compared to a hotel. A lot of the houses have great features too like a hot tub, pool table etc. As well as great views of the mountains.
The cabins are great for those reasons but I prefer to stay on the strip. The Hilton isn't bad but I usually stay at The Edgewater. It's straight from the 70's but I love the balconies right over Little Pigeon River. Leave the door to the balcony cracked at night and you can hear the river...I'm ready to go back!
Gatlinburg isn't dry. There is a bar on the strip. They also sell moonshine and give out samples now! The moonshine shop is new. I believe is was opened by some attorneys and took three years to get the liscense. It recently opened and is the only place licensed to sell it. Just some interesting facts, if you're into moonshine, lol.
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