Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

It was a big band era hit performed by Glenn Miller and his orchestra that brought Chattanooga to the world stage.

“Pardon me boy, is that the Chattanooga Choo-Choo?” was the magical melody that put the modest Southern Railway stop on the map.

But these days, Chattanooga has much more than a circa 1908 Train Depot to toot its horn about.

The river city has seen some big changes over the last decade resulting in record numbers of tourists and new residents.

Chattanooga’s small town charisma is simply hard to resist.

Geographically, Chattanooga sits in a verdant valley surrounded by mountains with easy access to an overabundance of outdoor adventures from hiking to zip lining. Beautiful bridges dress the skyline as the Tennessee River flows below bringing life and year-round recreation to the community.

In fact, Outside Magazine awarded Chattanooga the honor of “Best Town Ever” in 2015.

Chattanooga may be a mecca for the nature lover, but discerning divas with big city desires will not be disappointed.

Cosmopolitan Chattanooga is getting its share of kudos. Shopping, dining and attractions are on par with Tennessee sister cities Memphis and Nashville and neighboring Atlanta.

You know that Chattanooga has made the grade when it has its very own “Scout Guide”, a tastefully curated city guide.

Chattanooga boasts a top-ranked aquarium, a vibrant downtown, an expansive riverfront park featuring a 100-year old carousel and a thriving arts community. Need I say more!

The multi-million dollar redevelopment/revitalization plan completed in 2005 has successfully helped to spur economic growth and attract new business to the area.

In 2011, Volkswagen opened up a new plant in Chattanooga bringing over 3000 jobs to the area.

And, annual events like The Riverbend Festival, Head of the Hooch Rowing Regatta and the Ironman Triathlon draw crowds year after year.

As a result of the positive people explosion, expanding services is now a top priority for the city.

The “build it and they will come” attitude fueled the creation of a unique urban concept hotel.

The city vision was to build a full service hotel on the scale of a convention center property but with a twist.  It would be in the located in an emerging Southside area  of town that once considered on the wrong side of the tracks. The plan was to incorporate green space and showcase the beauty of the region.

The Chattanoogan lives up to the dream and mission.  A sense of pride is omnipresent. The hotel is an ambassador for the city providing only the best that Chattanooga has to offer – upscale accommodations, unmatched service and outstanding amenities.

Upon arrival, guests are greeted by a grand brick edifice where one cannot help notice the attention to detail at every corner.

Step inside and the warmth of the lobby welcomes you. The entry is contemporary yet classic featuring high ceilings, sleek furnishings and a rustic design elements like wrought iron and brick accents, stone flooring and a fireplace.

One does not feel the energy of the inner city behind its walls. There is only quiet and comforting solitude reminiscent of a lodge.

The exterior offers protection from weather. Covered walkways lead a landscaped courtyard dotted with benches where guests can commune with nature and catch a glimpse of Lookout Mountain. Follow the pathway further and you will find a small city park with an obstacle course to help you free your mind while keeping fit.

There is even an outdoor fire pit to inspire casual conversation or ignite a little romance.

The Chattanoogan believes that “at your service” is a promise not a pleasantry.  The staff works to make each stay a memorable experience. Whether visiting for business or pleasure, the Chattanoogan makes the perfect home base.  You will find affordable luxury with stress-free access to activities and amenities. Everything you need is in one place from spa services to fine dining. When you are ready venture out and explore, no need to drive. Hop on the free city shuttle with a convenient stop nearby. Shuttle operates Monday through Sunday with an extended schedule on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Location: 1201 South Broad Street (corner of 12th & Broad streets)

Distance to Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport is approximately 12 miles.

For special offers, packages and room rates, visit The Chattanoogan Hotel website or call (877) 756-1684.

 Hotel Highlights:

  • 199 Rooms & Suites
  • AAA Four Diamond Luxury Property
  • Complimentary High Speed Internet
  • Valet Parking & Covered Self-Park Garage
  • Full Service Spa
  • Fitness Center, Indoor Pool, Steam Room & Sauna
  • The Foundry Lounge featuring Live Music on Weekends
  • The Broad Street Grille – a Full Service Restaurant offering Southern Regional Cuisine. A top pick for Sunday Brunch.
  • IACC-Certified Conference/Convertible Meeting Space (25,000 sq. ft.). Accommodates groups up to 600 with 20 dedicated meeting rooms with five general session rooms ; a 16-seat circular board room; 12 break-out rooms; a 7,500 square-foot ballroom; and an amphitheater with seating for 85.

Fun Fact: The Chattanoogan Hotel’s meeting rooms are named in honor of past city mayors.

Best Bets:

Tennessee Aquarium: One of Tennessee’s top attractions offers two distinct experiences regional and global – that will not disappoint. The multi-level aquarium allows visitors to explore the aquatic and terrestrial wildlife of North America and of remote exotic regions of the world. Must-see exhibits include Penquins’ Rock, the Butterfly Garden, Ocean Journey, Seahorses: Beyond Imagination, Jellies: Living Art and River Giants. Schedule a full day to enjoy all featured exhibits and the on site IMAX 3D Theater.

River Gorge Explorer: This scenic Tennessee River adventure is operated daily by the Aquarium. Each two-hour excursion via a climate-controlled comfort vessel is guided by a naturalist who provides insight into the river’s history and wildlife. Save 15% by purchasing the Aquarium, IMAX and River Gorge Explorer combo ticket.

Easy Bistro: The ultra-chic old world French style bistro, housed in Chattanooga’s first Coca-Cola bottling plant, serves a creative and changing menu of savory signature dishes.  Featured plates include Chef Niel’s tasty twist on risotto, cioppino, and a mean”milanese” pork chop. Close out the night with a southern delight, bourbon bread pudding. And let us not forget…Sous Chef, Benjamin Park who adds his spark of originality to dishes that further elevates every meal. The food is fresh and the service superb. There is something for every palate. If the extensive menu and ambiance does not impress, the bar list surely will. Mixologist maven extraordinaire, Alex Jump, will wow you with her craft cocktail magic. My Easy Bistro drink of choice (other than full bodied red wine…which there are many) is fitting. The”Double Exposure” delivers the “extra yummy” that is a well-deserved reward after a long day of sightseeing. The sweet blend of Bourbon, Sherry and Amaro topped off with a spicy white froth makes the drink decadently delish.

The Hunter Museum:  Exhibits showcase American Art from the Colonial period to the present day. The museum is an architectural blend of old and new. The complex consists of an early twentieth century mansion, a modern 1970’s era building and a sleek, contemporary structure of steel and glass, all perched on a bluff offering spectacular views of the mountains and the Tennessee River. Be sure to check out the museum’s outdoor sculptures located on the grounds and sprinkled around the city. Open Daily until 5 p.m. with extended hours on Thursdays.

The Walnut Street Bridge: The world’s largest pedestrian bridge. Built in 1891, the historic truss bridge spans the Tennessee River connecting Chattanooga’s downtown with the North Shore. Restored and reopened in 1993, the bridge is a treasured landmark and hub for community activity.

The Northshore: A popular shopping and dining destination.  A few special finds on Frazier Avenue not to miss are Winder Binder Gallery and Books, Blue Skies and Backstreet Betty’s Boutique.

Coolridge Park: Riverfront park with open green space, pavilion, fountains, playing fields and a beautiful historic carousel.

The Bluff View Art District:  This scenic creative arts district  is walking distance from Hunter Museum.  The Bluff View Inn, a restored Bed & Breakfast, is the anchor with an adjacent gallery, shops, coffee/dessert cafe and fine dining. Spectacular views from the outdoor sculpture garden.

Tennessee Riverwalk: A 15 mile greenway, extending from the downtown riverfront to the Tennessee Chickamauga Dam. Perfect path for a bike ride or brisk walk. Venture out on the river on a kayak. Rentals available at L2 Outside Sports and Retail Shop on Market Street. City launch ramp is in Renaissance Park under the Market Street Bridge.

Warehouse Row: Converted warehouse that is now a popular retail center with shops, dining, salon and fitness services and office space.

Tennessee Valley Railroad: The Southeast’s largest operating interactive railroad museum and facility. All Aboard for a fantastic family friendly adventure on a vintage steam locomotive. Trains board at the Chattanooga Grand Junction Station on Cromwell Road. A truly moving and memorable experience.

Visit the official Chattanooga Visitors’ Bureau website to request a visitor’s guide and assistance with your Chattanooga vacation planning.

Photos courtesy of S. Gaspers & Benchmark Hospitality.

 

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