Described as "the undiscovered gem of Tennessee" by the New York Times, Chattanooga offers tourists a mixture of museums, historic sights and outdoor adventure, while business travelers are drawn to a city that sits at the center of commerce in southeastern Tennessee and northern Georgia. Regardless of the reason for visiting, travelers in Chattanooga will find the city marked mostly by chain hotels. However, among the cookie-cutter hostelries are a few lodging choices that offer character as well as comfortable accommodations.
Most business travelers will probably want to stay in downtown Chattanooga, where the city's main commercial district is found. Tourists, however, will find the area's points of interest spread out over a large area. Lookout Mountain and its many attractions are half a dozen miles from the city center, while the Chickamauga National Military Park is 10 miles south and across the state line in northern Georgia. Those looking to avoid the standardized features of chain hotels will find downtown Chattanooga and the area around Lookout Mountain their best bets. Non-chain options near Chattanooga's airport and Chicamauga range from few to nonexistent.
A bed and breakfast situated in the shadow of Lookout Mountain, the Chanticleer Inn occupies a convenient location for exploring local attractions such as Rock City, Ruby Falls and Civil War historic sights. The inn is actually a leafy, garden-like complex centered on a house with field stone facade with a number of out-buildings that house the majority of the rooms. The Chanticleer manages to retain a homey feel, however, which is appropriate as the owner lives on the property. Rooms are decorated in an old-fashioned, southern style. Individual guests may choose a breakfast ranging from simple cereal and fruit to pancakes or potato-crusted quiche.
Chattanooga Choo Choo
Although the Chattanooga Choo Choo might be a Holiday Inn, it is far from being the typical chain hotel. Occupying what was once Chattanooga's central railway station, the hotel has taken on a decidedly railroad-oriented theme. The main building dates to 1909, with reception located in the cavernous marble lobby of the old station. Many of the guest rooms are set inside converted railway cars by the station's departure platforms. All rooms, whether they be in the train cars or the main building, are appointed in a mid-range, contemporary fashion and enjoy features such as Wi-Fi access. As befits a Holiday Inn, the hotel's amenities include touches such as a swimming pool and fitness center.
Mayor's Mansion Inn
The Mayor's Mansion Inn is a bed and breakfast converted from a field stone home dating to 1889 and located in Chattanooga's Victorian-era Fort Wood district. The rooms are individually decorated with traditional furnishings, so touches like four-poster or canopy beds are not uncommon. The Laurel Falls Suite in particular often attracts attention for its lavish floral-print decor and 300-gallon marble bathtub. The New York Times describes the breakfast served at the inn as "elegant and plentiful," and the Mayor's Mansion enjoys a four-diamond rating from AAA.