The Chattanoogan Hotel, Chattanooga, Tennessee – Review

By Jonathan Spira on 1 August 2011
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The city of Chattanooga, in southeastern Tennessee, lies in an idyllic valley where the Appalachian Mountains meet the Cumberland Plateau along two lakes that form part of the Tennessee River. Because of its strategic location near a natural opening in the Southern Appalachians, the city has long been known as the “Gateway to the South.”

Once an important railroad hub and manufacturing center, Chattanooga was known in the 1930s as the “Dynamo of Dixie,” inspiring the Glenn Miller song “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” Today, visitors to the city can climb aboard an authentic train with a restored steam locomotive in the heart of the city’s tourist district.

From its name, one might assume that The Chattanoogan Hotel has been around since the Civil War period. I was surprised to find out that the hotel is a mere ten years old and was built by the city as part of an effort to promote tourism. With the opening of the new Volkswagen plant in the city (I was there for a tour of the plant LINK), it is likely the city will get thousands of new visitors coming to town on Volkswagen business.


My Deluxe King room was spacious and comfortable. A welcome tray including gazpacho and shrimp greeted me upon arrival. The king-sized bed had a pillow-top mattress and was exceptionally comfortable. After a good night’s sleep, I awakened refreshed and ready for a full day of meetings.

In addition to a flat-screen TV, the room had a coffee maker and full-sized ironing board.

The bathroom, while adequate, didn’t have a separate shower area and there was no hand shower, a major omission.

Another major problem was noise. After going to sleep late due to a four-hour delay in my connecting flight in Atlanta, I was awakened at 6:30 a.m. in the morning by the television in the next room. The front desk manager offered to move me but also advised that the offending guest had checked out so I didn’t move.

Throughout the day, there was quite a bit of banging coming from the hallway and, upon closer examination, a lot of it seemed to be from the housekeeping staff slamming doors.

In an effort to catch up on lost sleep, I took a nap after breakfast, only to be awakened by the housekeeper despite the prominent Do Not Disturb sign hanging on my door. When I told the housekeeper that I was not to be disturbed, she became somewhat belligerent and threatened to send her supervisor back, insisting it was her right to check on the room.

Noise and the failure to honor a Do Not Disturb sign are two major pet peeves LINK of frequent travelers. While a noisy neighbor next door can sometimes overcome even the thickest walls, there is no excuse for a staff member ignoring a Do Not Disturb sign and then, instead of apologizing, becoming antagonistic.

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