PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort is officially open to the public. Dolly Parton made a special appearance at the Grand Opening to welcome guests.

The lodge and resort were inspired by one of Parton’s songs, “HeartSong,” which guests were able to hear her sing at the event.  

“We started the design process in 2019 before COVID, and seeing where we are today, it’s a really huge milestone. There are so many people to thank that worked really hard, including the four hundred new team members that were hired on to operate this building,” said Eugene Naughton, The President of Dollywood Parks & Resort.

The opening of HeartSong marks the second resort for Dollywood. The first was DreamMore Resort, which opened eight years ago. Parton referred to her role in the movie Steel Magnolias when she said, “Now I got two hotels, I’m a chain!”

The resort has more than 300 rooms. Each one has unique features including bunkbeds, murals, and some have a balcony view of the mountains, and/or a view of the outdoor patio area and outdoor pool. 

The resort sits on 28.5 acres. When you walk in the front doors, you’ll see a huge portrait of Dolly on a four-story fireplace. The outdoor area has a large pool and firepits where families will be able to make “roasties.” 

There are several dining options and there will be a variety of activities families will be able to get involved with throughout the day.  

Naughton said this is not only a place for families but a place to host corporate events. 

“I think I’m most proud of the fact that we’ve added a lot of convention space, 26,000 square feet. It’s going to be a really different level of business that we’re going to be able to get into,” he said.  

The Tennessee Commissioner of Tourism Mark Ezell was at the grand opening, thanking Parton for her contributions to the area.  

“Tourism is the backbone of our state’s economy and that’s certainly evident right here in Pigeon Forge and Sevier County. In fact, would you know that in 2022, Sevier County generated 3.8 billion dollars in travel spending,” Ezell said.  

There were a lot of other announcements at Friday’s event. Saturday marks the first day of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas presented by Humana. Parton added that her team will be working on a refresh of the DreamMore Hotel. They’re also working on a new “Dolly Parton Experience” at the park that will open sometime next year.