3 Creative Stays in Chattanooga Tennessee

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Chattanooga was a new destination for me this past June. Truth be told, my first time to Tennessee was only last year when we made our way across country in a Pontiac named Vinny.  (those interested in following our journey can search for #WBTWxCountry on Twitter and Instagram for some great captures).

I loved both Memphis and Nashville, so was excited to return to Tennessee soil and see what Chattanooga had to offer. Historical in so many ways (be sure to read my Foodie Guide to Chattanooga), here’s 3 hotel choices in this southern city: Dwell Hotel (modern, chic and trendy), Chattanooga Choo Choo (quirky, novelty and family oriented) and The Chattanoogan(historical and traditional).

The Dwell Hotel

While Dwell might be hip, modern and trendy, it has an interesting history. During the Civil War, the corner of Chattanooga’s East 10th Street was home not to a hotel, but to Fort James, a large stone fort that protected Chattanoogans in those years of strife. Decades later, during the city’s Dynamo of Dixie boom, German immigrant L.A. Hirtzfield was commissioned to design a 16-bed hotel which was named The Colonial Hotel and it opened to the public in 1909. Later, it became the Stone Fort Inn.
While the name has changed over the course of a century, the brick-and-limestone structure stood through the Roaring 1920’s and the Great Depression, Civil Rights movements and Cultural Revolutions, hippies and disco. Dwell is all about mid-century modern style and there’s plenty of color, along with a touch of old Hollywood glam, to playfully mingle and contrast with its historic allure.  For dining, their Terra Máe translates to “Mother Earth,” a name that perfectly captures the far-flung inspiration for their upscale fare.  While we didn’t try the food here, the bar scene was oh so chic and oh so fun!
As for the rooms, a whole lotta wow and uniqueness is woven into each and every room. As you can see by the photos below, none of the rooms are identical which only add to the creativity and fun factor of the hotel.


The Dwell Hotel

120 East 10th Street

Chattanooga, TN 37402

(423) 267.7866


The Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel

If you’re a music lover, you’ll likely know the infamous song Chattanooga Choo Choo. It turns out that there’s a hotel named Chattanooga Choo Choo that is also bursting with history. The Terminal Station seemed destined for the similar fate of Union Station (parts of which were built before the Civil War) at the center of Chattanooga, which was apparently demolished in 1973. Luckily, Terminal Station was saved from the wrecking ball by a group of local businessmen who were inspired by the theme of the “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” They invested $4 million before its new grand opening on April 11, 1973.

With its listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Historic Hotel is considered a rich, historic preservation projects. More renovation started in 1989 and new restaurants, music venues, and an on-site apartment conversion was the end result. The Chattanooga Choo Choo train engine is now on display at Terminal Station is the same kind of wood-burner used on that first run from Cincinnati to Chattanooga in 1880. Built at that time by Baldwin, it was last used in service by the Smoky Mountain Railroad between Knoxville and the Smoky Mountains in the 1940’s.

Completely refurbished, she is the only engine of her kind now in the city. Two similar engines – The “General” of Civil War fame, and the “Best Friend of Charleston” – were for many years in Chattanooga but were put on display elsewhere by their owning railroad companies. You can actually stay in an old railway car, which has its own quirks and is certainly a fun novel thing to do. If you’re traveling solo, I’d recommend it. You’ll be reminded of a past era in a Pullman Train Car guestroom — there are two rooms per car, so as you can image, they are long and narrow. All train car hotel rooms feature a queen size bed and some train car hotel rooms also include a daybed with a pull-out trundle bed. If you have a family in tow, I’d suggest staying in one of their more modern updated hotel rooms and there are a couple of buildings to choose from.

The MacArthur Building is named for Southern Railway’s last steam-powered freight train that arrived in Chattanooga on June 17, 1953 behind Locomotive No. 6330 which was nicknamed “The MacArthur.” The MacArthur Building features recently renovated guestrooms with a king bed or two queen beds. There’s also a heated indoor pool located in the center of the MacArthur Building year round.

The Empress Building offers private balconies overlooking the outdoor pool and is a tribute to the Empress of Blues and Chattanooga-native, Bessie Smith.  Chattanooga suites have a king size bed, a dinette table, sofa and chairs, wet bar, ergonomic work space, and deluxe bathroom featuring a relaxing garden tub and a separate shower.

A bathroom in one of the suites….

The hotel offers a variety of on-site dining options: the Gardens Restaurant which also has a breakfast buffet, the Silver Diner, which has great pizza, the Victorian Lounge and lastly, STIR, which has fabulous Artisan drinks and an oyster bar — we dined there one night and it was oh so delicious!  The Chattanooga Choo Choo is the heart of the ultimate entertainment district in the region and they have venues right on site, including the concert venue –Track 29 and the well known Revelry Room, where we saw live performances on two occasions while we were in town. They also have a Comedy Club on the premises, which we also took in during our stay.  The hotel also has a fitness room with three Life Fitness treadmills, two Life Cycle exercise bikes, and one Life Fitness stair climber.


The Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel

1400 Market Street

Chattanooga, TN 37402

(423) 266-5000


The Chattanoogan

On Broad Street, The Chattanoogan is a very classic, traditional hotel, with a touch of class that those appreciating the finer things and attention to details will appreciate. The recipient of numerous awards and accolades, The Chattanoogan boasts historical and elegant décor, upscale amenities and state-of-the-art conference facilities.  The hotel is conveniently located and is within walking distance of many of the city’s top attractions, top Chattanooga restaurants, shopping and the free electric shuttle.

The rooms themselves are very modern and chic and decorated in vibrant, fun colors.

The Chattanoogan has three restaurants on the premises; a relaxing day spa with a steam room, sauna, fitness center, indoor pool, whirlpool and patio overlooking the hotel’s courtyard; a business center and a 25,000 square-foot conference center, so it makes for a great hotel for weddings or corporate events. I’d also argue that it’s a great option for families because it offers so many amenities and it’s so spacious.

The Spa at The Chattanoogan offers a variety of rejuvenating spa services and therapeutic body treatments, from stress-relieving massage and deep cleansing facials to toning body masks and nail treatments. Bravo — two thumbs up!


The Chattanoogan Hotel

1201 Broad Street

Chattanooga, TN 37402

(423) 756-3400

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