Chattanooga’s first luxury boutique hotel presents an interior with bold style and energetic statements. From the romance of Old Hollywood to the pastel vibrance of Miami’s South Beach, this property is a feast for the design enthusiast’s eyes at every turn. While its exposed brick and limestone exterior, a vestige of Chattanooga’s industrial heritage, belies its dynamic and spirited interiors, it also adds to the intrigue of this 18th-century building.
With a rich history of hospitality, the property was built in 1909 as The Colonial Hotel, later renamed The Stone Fort Inn in deference to the location’s Civil War background. Then in 2016, it was reintroduced to the city as The Dwell Hotel by native Chattanooga Seija Ojanpera.
The property was a dream come true for the first-time hotelier, who, as a child, collected hotel brochures when she was on holiday with her family. ‘I was always fascinated by the hotels and bed-and-breakfasts we stayed in,’ explains the American-born Ojanpera, who has Finnish roots. ‘I was fascinated that someone had created these interior spaces for others to enjoy.’
Despite her design interests, Ojanpera pursued a career in medicine and travelled to several underdeveloped countries with organisations such as Beyond Borders. When she decided to become a hotelier, she partnered with designer Laurel Creager, and drew on her appreciation of interiors and unleashed its expressive powers.
The result is a swanky take on mid-century modern that creates a luxury-meets-retro feel, with each room depicting a unique personality that creates a very colourful cast of characters. The Mod, The Argyle, The Dandelion and The Pink Lady are just a few of the suite’s names and indicates their interior influences. The hotel’s 16 rooms all feature original design with bold wallpaper and colourfully patterned upholstery, complemented by vintage furniture and curated art pieces, set against original rustic wood flooring and exposed brick walls.
Even the Matilda Midnight cocktail lounge, set under hundreds of twinkling lights, is a curation of statement style and modern design credentials that has crowned it a favourite among the locals, helping to make The Dwell Hotel a must-see in Tennessee for residents and visitors alike.