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“Great History....Rooms? Not So Much....” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Chattanooga Choo Choo

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Chattanooga Choo Choo
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1400 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402-4489   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #35 of 95 hotels in Chattanooga
Orlando, Florida
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Great History....Rooms? Not So Much....”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

I've taken some time to think before I posted this to try and be fair. Let me start by saying if you're a history buff, this place is great. The lobby, the train cars and even the museum. Also, I must say that the front desk staff was helpful and pleasant for the most part. My best advice? Stay in a train car. Apparently those are the rooms to have.

I was in building three on the first floor. As I walked to my room, I was concerned. In the hallway alone, peeling wallpaper, holes in the ceiling, broken fixtures and missing room numbers. Not to mention marks on the walls from housekeeping carts. Apparently though that had been addressed as they were squarely in the middle of the hallway on day two so you could barely get by.

The room itself at first appeared okay. However, the bathroom had an odor of pet urine throughout my stay, had an overall drab appearance and the sheets and blankets overly thin. To the hotels credit, I did not notify them of any of this at the time since I was only there for two nights, so they had no opportunity to make it right. On the other hand, they did send me a survey via email post-stay in which I addressed the above issues and was never contacted.

I did ask the front desk when I checked out if they could tell me for future reference which rooms had been refurbished or a schedule of future renovations. I received some convoluted answer that they were done with complete randomness and they could not tell me which had been and which had not. I knew this was not a correct answer but didn't feel like arguing.

Oh, one more thing. Pushy housekeeping. Checkout time is 11 AM. Our first knock came about 9:30 to make sure we were leaving that day. We told her that we were. 10:30 another knock asking if we were about out. We said shortly. As we had luggage in hand and literally walking to the door, you guessed it. Another knock. I looked at the clock. 11:01.

So overall, would I stay here again? Maybe, if it was half the price I paid. That way they might be able to meet my expectations.

Room Tip: Apparently the train car rooms are the way to go.
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChooChoo29, Manager at Chattanooga Choo Choo, responded to this review, July 29, 2013
I am so sorry that we didn’t meet your expectations. It is unacceptable the service that you received on your departure date. I apologize. We will address that with the department head for correction. We appreciate your great comments about the lobby, the history and the museum. I am sorry that your room wasn’t prepared properly for your arrival. We will use your comments to continue to improve our product and service. We work on our upgrading different areas of the property on an ongoing basis. A lot of repeat guests request building 3 because of the room size, balconies and waterfall. We look forward to your return for an overnight stay in a railcar room.
Regards,
Jill
QA
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (448)
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English first
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

We took a family trip to Chattanooga & stayed at the Choo Choo Hotel. Our section was built around a pool and the room was surprisingly quiet. The property is older, but has been upgraded with comfy bed & granite in the bathroom. The kids loved riding the Choo Choo trolley around the property. You can also stay in converted train cars as well. They have a free shuttle that runs downtown and goes all the way the the aquarium.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChooChoo29, General Manager at Chattanooga Choo Choo, responded to this review, July 25, 2013
Thanks for sharing your story with us and your 4 STAR review. Thanks for commenting on the upgraded room. Come back again soon.

All the Best,
Jim Bambrey
GM
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

Nice indoor outdoor pools. Lots to do with the kids, if I had any, but very expensive for parents.
Nice hot tub/spa...if it's ever open? Between construction, hours of operation, or powered off...only seen it open once in the last seven years? yes, everything else was booked, also unders construction, or so far outside of town...not to mentioned it is a pred-advertized event/charity that would suffer if moved at the last minute.
Sometimes the indoor pool is open in the evenings...sometimes not? Security just shows up sometimes and says it's closed? "We were allowed to swim this time last year?' ...and the response of "Well, not this year, pool is closed." ...? Front desk assures us all it os OPEN until 10:00?
Limited parking IF there is an event in process. Be prepapred to walk like a "HALF" mile, no parking when you return, Another half mile if you wish to goto any of the shops and return to your room. BLD 3...just accept you will have to drag your luggage to and from the parking lot, to the sub-lobby, to your room and back again. No, they do not have bellhops.
Seniors in the group had trouble as the rooms were at the far back of complex AND at the top of the hotel and at the furtherest point from the elevators.
Not that close to anything in town, but, there is a bus service from the hotel that will drop you off. Check the time of LAST run. Obviously no late nights, bar hops, movies, etc unless you have your own transportation. Rooms are clean although about Motel6 standards. Train Cars are fun if it's a couple AND the weather is good. They have WiFi...IF it's up. If it stays up, although in other rooms you might get lucky if your device is capable of modem. Expect about 100.00 - 200.00 per day depnding on IF you get a dsicount. The gas lamps are really nice at night; if they light them. They have discontinued the free breakfast with stay since Holiday Inn took them over. They still offer the buffet at an ok price. The food is ok, plenty of it, mostly warm, with very polite and courteous staff/servers. The evening buffet is also mediocre with exceptional service. The bar is a little over priced if you are used to airport prices. Otherwise; it is very pricey, poor selection, and understaffed usually. There are Pro's and Cons to any facility. The con's in this case are numerous. The Pro's are numerous, BUT inconsistent at best. Over the last 7years the Cons typically outwiegh the Pros. Like 'Oh the SPa is working this year! Then Security runs you off? Oh the indoor pool is open this year, then Security runs you off? All that and the typical musty smell of a pool facility? Oh, the breakfast is no longer free? And it's only a HALF mile back to my car to go to an actual diner? Sure sign me up! Oh the rooms are more expensive this year? I could make a last minute booking from the hotel lobby for another facility or just walk-into another facility...or take the upcharge? Not good to have these little SPEED -BUMPS for a vacation...nor business...nor with friends and family...

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChooChoo29, General Manager at Chattanooga Choo Choo, responded to this review, July 29, 2013
A very unusual review. I am sorry that we didn’t meet your expectations. However, it appears that you have been here 7 times.
We do have golf carts to move guest around the complex. We are not a Holiday Inn and we still have kids eat free; that’s the way it’s always been. We are upgrading our Wi-Fi network. We have installed 50 access points across the complex providing 300 megabit true mesh access. Our pricing is in line with our competitors. To date in July, we have sold over 6,982 rooms with approximately 7 reviews 2 and below, that’s 1 per 997 rooms sold! And remember, some of the reviews are guest opinions. I will email you via tripadvisor.
All the Best,
Jim Bambrey
GM
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Golden, Mississippi, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2013

It will be 33 years ago on August 3rd since my husband and I spent our wedding night in one of the train cars. It was the most wonderful and amazing place to spend your honeymoon. My husband worked for Norfolk Southern Railway...so railroad was our life. My husband passed away 1 year ago from cancer...I want to bring our children and grandchildren to see where Dad and Mom stayed on their honeymoon. Thank you Chattanooga Choo Choo for memories that have lasted a life time.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChooChoo29, General Manager at Chattanooga Choo Choo, responded to this review, July 25, 2013
Thanks for your 5 star review! I am pleased that the you had a great experience with your family. Thanks for the great comments about the train car. ! Your review means a lot to us. .
All the Best,
Jim Bambrey
GM
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Naples, Florida
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013

At best, you are getting a large hotel complex that offers plenty to do when you are NOT in your room: beautiful gardens, lots of history, a lovely lobby, fun gift shops, a trolley you can ride for a few dollars, things like that. You also can hop on the free electric shuttle to all the wonderful attractions downtown. The rose gardens are impressive, and the largest in the city. The fountains are really pretty, and they serve as a good distraction for children who do not want to be cooped up in their rooms. While we were there, in fact, the Lionel Train Convention was there, and they had set up quite an elaborate train in the lobby. I believe some guests thought this was a permanent exhibit at the Choo Choo when it really isn't.
The downside? The rooms are HORRENDOUS in hotels 2 and 3, and they need major renovation. We were moved from our original room because of overpowering cigarette smoke (in a nonsmoking room) to a room that was not any better in a different building, but at least it didn't reek of cigarette smoke. We were on the third floor in Hotel 3. The elevator rattles so much that we told our son it's to replicate the sound that a train makes. The sign says the elevator permit is on file in the lobby, and while I've never really paid attention to those things, I actually wonder if the permit doesn't exist because it's just that bad. Our room's A/C did not work, and the exhaust in the bathroom did not work, either. Gnats were flying all over the place in the bathroom, possibly as a result.
It took them 1 1/2 days to fix the A/C.
Do not expect a mini fridge in your room. You get a small coffee pot. No free breakfast here, either. There is a small cafe to the side of the big restaurant where you can grab a bagel or muffin if you want to avoid a big breakfast. They have a $12 buffet for breakfast in the Gardens Inn restaurant as well as a la carte. We did the cafe. Cheaper and offered what we needed. Or, just go downtown and try some of the great new coffee shops down there. Lots to choose from if you have not been to Chattanooga in a few years.
Years ago - before we were parents - we stayed in a train car and enjoyed it very much. Only drawback to that was that kids and grown ups alike would climb up to the train cars in the morning and talk about how much fun it would be to sleep in one, sometimes pulling on the doors to see if they were open. Plus, they are all out in the open, and many people bang on them as they walk through the gardens.
I am very glad I went to a site to bid on this one for WELL under the advertised price, because I would be incredibly upset if I had paid the advertised price; instead, I paid $80 less than the advertised price, which sits much better based on the value of the musty, gross room.

Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChooChoo29, Manager at Chattanooga Choo Choo, responded to this review, July 25, 2013
I am sorry to hear that you weren’t happy with your accommodations. Let me assure you that we have renovated every year in some fashion. I know because I do the purchasing for these renovations. Three and a half years ago, we finished a 1 million dollar plus renovation to our guest rooms and corridors in Building 3(your building) to brand standards. In addition our capital plan, we spend $870,000 dollars annually on maintenance and landscaping. The elevator is inspected regulary by a 3rd party.
Regards,
Jill Ellis Coker
Quality Assurance
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Atlanta
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

We enjoyed staying here. The hotel property is a lot of fun to visit, and the front desk and staff were extremely hospitable. The hotel rooms in Building 2 were average at best, with the hallway having a musty odor. The pools were fun for the kids, and it was nice that they had 3 to choose from. The water in each pool seemed a bit questionable, but we are all still healthy after spending a morning in them.

Room Tip: Go with Building 3 if possible
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChooChoo29, Manager at Chattanooga Choo Choo, responded to this review, July 24, 2013
It is great to hear that you had a fun time on our property. Thank you for your compliments of the staff. I will pass those along. I am unclear as to the smell you are referring too. However, we will follow up. Come back again soon.
Regards,
Jill Coker
Quality Assurance
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Atlanta
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

This is a railroad themed hotel with choices from the more familiar and standard rooms to converted railway cars. There is a large station lobby and nice architecture details to check out in the buildings. The site itself is impressive with a selection of restaurants and shops on site with a lovely garden smack in the middle in between several tracks laden with train cars. There is some upkeep attention needed, but for an historic site of this size and scope, we were charmed. However we soon learned that staying in one of their historic train cars in the middle of July was not the best idea of our trip. We arrived around 4:30 P.M.,registered easily and made our way to our train car, finding the room extremely hot and stifling. While the air conditioner was blowing on full cool, and the bed and furniture looked inviting, the train car was essentially uninhabitable. We briefly sat down and quietly dripped sweat. We decided a better decision was to wander about the grounds (there was an astounding Lionel miniature train set in the lobby to enjoy) and let the room temperature drop. When we returned in an hour there was no discernible difference in the heat. It was oppressive. I spoke to the front desk and a helpful young woman immediately switched us to another train car, acknowledging that some of the train rooms had cooling difficulties in the afternoons. This one was better, at least bearable, but our room thermostat reading did not drop below 80 degrees until 8:30 P.M. I thought it must be broken. The room was lovely, nicely decorated in a Victorian theme. Our 10 year old loved the trundle bed, and eventually we slept well and woke to a temperature that was almost TOO cold, but the late afternoon and early evening heat of the day before convinced us to NOT book these rooms in the summer and I'd advise any readers to be forewarned. We may well return in the fall for a second visit when temperatures are more comfortable as we found the area had a lot to offer in historic sites and entertainment.

Room Tip: Stay out of the train cars during the height of summer.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ChooChoo29, Owner at Chattanooga Choo Choo, responded to this review, July 23, 2013
I am so glad that you were charmed by our facility. At times we do have some challenges in extreme heat in our railcar rooms. However, we do check all our A/C units to assure a cool room upon arrival. I am unclear as to what happened upon your arrival to your car, but will certainly address with the maintenance team. I do apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you for your compliments of the Victorian theme décor in the room. We look forward to your return.
Regards,
Jill Coker
QA
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Additional Information about Chattanooga Choo Choo

Address: 1400 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402-4489
Location: United States > Tennessee > Chattanooga
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #35 of 95 hotels in Chattanooga
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Chattanooga Choo Choo 3*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
One of the South's most renowned landmarks, the Chattanooga Choo Choo opened in 1909 and welcomed thousands of travelers during the Golden Age of railroads. Today, the 23 acre complex is a magnificently restored hotel resort for visitors of all ages. The Holiday Inn Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel offers a variety of overnight accommodations, including the famous Victorian Era train rooms and luxurious suites. *Theme restaurants *Specialty shops *Authentic New Orleans trolley ride *Model railroad display *Convention Center *3 swimming pools *Tennis courts *Beautiful formal gardens. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel Chattanooga
Holiday Inn Chattanooga Choo
Chattanooga Holiday Inn

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