All Aboard the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel Luxury Sleeper Car!
by Jeanne Brei & Symeria Palmer
Chattanooga hotels are part of the reason the city is quickly becoming a top vacation destination. Nowhere else can you find the unique choices of staying in a historic railroad sleeper car or atop a bluff overlooking the river or on a mountain overlooking all of Chattanooga.
The iconic Chattanooga Choo Choo complex will soon unveil its latest facelift—a complete overhaul at the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. Led by design-centric hotel brand Life House, the project will convert the 132-room hotel into a four-star boutique property featuring luxury Pullman Train Car suites. Guests can step back in time by staying in a beautifully restored authentic sleeper car, once reserved for only the wealthiest of passengers during the railroad era. Celebrating Chattanooga’s locomotive history and the soul of musicians who visited during the 1920s Jazz Era, the revamped hotel will also feature a 40-seat cinema, recording studio, a 1970s-style lounge and restaurant.
The Choo Choo Complex began as Terminal Station, designed in the famous Beaux Arts style, and opened in 1909 as the first railway station in the South. It closed its doors when the last train departed in 1970. After nearly being demolished (as the nearby 115-year-old Union Station was) in 1973, it was rescued and converted into a hotel and entertainment complex. In 1974, the Choo Choo Hotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places and remains one of the city’s first historic preservation projects. With history and hospitality at its heart, the 24-acre complex boasts a convention center, hotel and resort with restaurants, shops, the Glenn Miller Formal Gardens (named after the world-famous musician who recorded the Chattanooga Choo Choo song in 1941) and more. The Gardens sit on two acres where the 14 tracks and seven platforms served millions of train passengers.
Another time-traveling gem is the Gatsby-themed Read House Hotel, a unique historic getaway where modern-day, luxurious comfort meets timeless Chattanooga charm. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown, it’s walking distance to the city’s greatest attractions. And The Edwin Hotel, Autograph Collection, is a new upscale boutique hotel also in the heart of Chattanooga with elegant, dog-friendly hotel rooms and suites, large desks, free wi-fi, generous living areas and impressive Tennessee River views. Whether you want to explore Ruby Falls, visit the Convention Center, tour the Tennessee Aquarium or walk the historic Walnut Street Bridge, you can do it easily from this riverfront hotel. The rooftop pool has great views of Lookout Mountain and the downtown scenery.
But for something completely different, The Crash Pad: An Uncommon Hostel, provides a base camp and community hub for adventurous travelers that combines the affordability and camaraderie of a traditional hostel with the charm and cleanliness of a boutique hotel. The’re the first LEED Platinum certified hostel in the world and the fifth such project in Chattanooga, thanks to their highly efficient wall system, green roof, solar array, heavy use of reclaimed materials in their furniture and fixtures, and other highly visible green initiatives. And they’ll help you plan your climbing, biking, running, kayaking and all other adventures.
This story originally appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of Exhibit City News, p. 49. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_may-june_2021