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“Dirty, Broken and Out of Date” 1 of 5 stars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 #36 of 95 hotels in Chattanooga
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Dirty, Broken and Out of Date”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

We got the room via a sale and thought "How bad can it be?"

The Good: The hotel lobby is the old train terminal and is very nice. Check in was pretty quick. It also seems that there is always a sale price so if you can stomach it, you can stay there cheap.

The Bad: The lobby is not the actual hotel. There are several off buildings that make up the compound that is the Chattannooga Choo Choo. There are several train cars that you can stay in as well. We stayed in one of the buildings, so maybe the train cars are better.

We get to our building and the door to the building is broken in such a way that the key entry is useless. There is an interesting hole in the wall where a wall airconditioner used to be and they removed it and sort of tried to cover it up. First impression is that there is a smell and the carpet in the hall is filthy. Not just in need of a quick clean, but needed a deep clean since the 1980's. Get on the elevator and it honest to goodness scrapes as it goes up and down. This became a running joke/adventure with everyone staying there. There is stuff (food?) splattered on the doors and walls of the elevator that had obviously been there long enough to get dirt in it. We tried taking the stairs, but must have been the first people in decades in the stairs. Spider webs had taken it over and there was an actual layer of filth that had settled. Get off the elevator and there is the same filty carpet in that hall too.

We go to the room and turn on the light. It sizzles. Lamp doesn't work at all. The air conditioner has a smell and there are stains on the chair that I didn't want to identify. We should have left, but it was late. The tile in the bathroom was clearly the wrong color and the grout had not been cleaned in years. When I got home, my wife and I took a shower to get the Choo Choo's shower off of us.

I also noticed a general lack of up-keep. They have nice gas torches at night. Only problem is that several didn't work. The trains need work and almost everything they have as a decoration was old. Along the walkway, there was a pool of water and it was not raining. It was obviously coming from a pipe underground. There was a trellis outside our building which was completely broken. From our room, we could see how rotted the lower roof was on the buliding.

And one last thing about the service, the grounds are big enough that they have golf carts to take people around. I did not need that service, but I noticed that several people, including myself were unloading luggage within a few feet of the golf cart people, but they were too busy talking to offer a hand. What are they there for?

I personally think that the building they put us in is beyond saving. It would need to be torn down and start over.

Spend a little more. Do not stay at this trap.

Room Tip: Stay somewhere else.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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, September 21, 2013
Thank you for your impressions. I regret we did not meet your expectations. I wish you had let us know about the issues while you were here, so we could resolve them for you and your stay would have been more comfortable. It always amazes me that a guest does not contact management about an issue. Instead, the guest leaves and decides to write a review, who wins, nobody. I am a 30 year hotelier and have traveled a lot. If I stay in a hotel and I’m not happy, I let management know. Normally, it is rectified right away. That is our philosophy. We make mistakes; however we make great recoveries!! I will email you via tripadvisor.

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.
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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 (458)
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English first
Atlanta, Georgia
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2013

We stayed on Sept. 16. I wanted so much to love everything about this hotel but the best things were the main lobby (gorgeous & opulent), the wonderful shower in our room and the food at the Garden Restaurant (delicious & reasonable prices). We also loved the Railroad Museum on the second floor, well worth seeing. The room itself was not great, no fridge or micro, carpet not real clean & nobody to monitor what was going on since their only office was in the lobby, not in any of the 3 hotels behind that building. Unfortunately, we stayed during a pug dog national show or whatever it was - - dogs were everywhere inside & outside of the hotel!!! And, to make things worse, very loud & rude people were at the pool (hotel 3) until closing time. I doubt they were swimming since the water was like ice. Since we needed to get to bed by 9pm, we had to listen to this for a long time & it was impossible to sleep with the yelling & partying going on. Then, we had dogs barking in the room next to ours on the 3rd floor. We asked about dogs when we arrived & were told that dogs were usually on the 1st floor. Having animal allergies, I thought all would be ok but between the barking & the partying, it was honestly the worst night we have ever had at a hotel. We tried to call the front desk twice for other questions before this all happened but only had an answering machine & nobody ever called back!! I would strongly suggest visiting the complex & eating there but I would never stay at the hotel again. Perhaps the train cars were better since they are farther away from the pools & dogs but we could not check them out. The outdoor garden area & water fountains were beautiful, the large deco lamps & chandeliers inside were exquisite, lattice work in the restaurant was extremely pretty & the trains were interesting. I hope my review does not deter people from going there - - maybe we were just there at the wrong time. I'm still glad we went & got to see all that they offered in the way of history, beauty & great food.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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, September 20, 2013
I am glad to hear that you enjoyed many of the aspects of our complex. . I apologize for the situation that occurred. I have reviewed your comments with the respective Department Heads, so that they can take corrective action. We take your comments very seriously and it is our opportunity to improve our product and service. Someone should have called you back.. I will reach out to you via tripadvisor. Please call or email me.

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
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

We were here for a week. Our room was not clean. The carpets were dirty, the tile in the bathroom was moldy (in the tub/shower and on the floor). I literally took a washcloth to the shower railing and wiped it (with very little effort) and removed black mold that must have been there for months, accumulating. The hallways are musty, the common areas are deplorably dirty. When checking in I used the ladies room adjacent to the main lobby and found a huge squashed roach (one of the jumbo flying ones) on the thresshold. When I told the folks at the front desk, there wasn't even an apology or a look of surprise, so I think it must been something that happens regularly. The pool area is very ugly and I would not want to spend time there. The soda machines on EVERY floor of our Building #3 were non-functional. We asked for towels once and were told they were only available after 4PM (what???). This place needs a major overhaul and someone in charge that actually is supervising the cleaning and has some STANDARDS. Gross place. Would not stay again if I was paid to.

Room Tip: We were told Building #3 was the most up-to-date. If so, I cannot even imagine what the other build...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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, General Manager at Chattanooga Choo Choo, responded to this review, September 17, 2013
I am sorry that we didn’t meet your expectations. I am not sure why you would have stayed a week and not notified management. I feel assured that if we had known of your concerns with your room we could have rectified the situation. It is unacceptable that the room wasn’t clean and ready for you. We have sold 3763 rooms in 15 days and our Tripadvisor Customer Satisfaction Index is 87% in September. We have had thousands of very happy guests this month; I regret you were not one of them. I will email you via tripadvisor. I would welcome a conversation with you.
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.
Apache Junction, Arizona
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2013

This hotel has the most amazing lobby I have ever been in and it should as it is the Central Station building for the Southern Railway system from 1909 to 1970. During this time, all trains to points south passed through Chattanooga’s famous terminal, which was designed by a 24-year-old architectural student from New York. However unable to compete with faster modes of travel, trains stopped running in 1970; but the terminal was saved from demolition in 1973 by a group of local investors. The1909 station, with its magnificent 85-foot free-standing dome, is the focal point of this 24-acre historical property that features exceptional accommodations, spirited dining venues, family fun, and, of course, the finest in Southern hospitality.
We loved this place. There are actual rooms you can rent on the trains located on the property. You can have dinner in a diner car. There was a time in our history that traveling by train was the only way to move forward. Our west was built on the railroad system and many a good man gave up his life to lay the tracks. If you love history as much as I do then forget staying at the Ritz, Motel 6 etc and step back in time at the Chatanooga Choo Choo Hotel.

Room Tip: We stayed in a standard hotel room in Building 1. There are 3 buildings on the property and all are...
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  • Stayed September 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, September 17, 2013
Memories are very important! Your 5 stars means a lot to us. . Thanks for the great comments about the history of the complex! I am pleased that you had a great experience.
All the Best,
Jim Bambrey
GM
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san jose
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

Pricey rooms but fun especially for family. This hotel has regular rooms but we stayed in the train car rooms and was lucky to get one with a queen and day bed/trundle for our daughters. Fun room out of the Wild West. Bathroom in train car simple. Other amenities such as ice machine is far. But service delivers in request. No micro or fridge. Pool available. free shuttle to downtown. Very helpful desk.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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, General Manager at Chattanooga Choo Choo, responded to this review, September 16, 2013
Thanks for your review! I am pleased that the you had a great experience. Thanks for the great comments about the train car and the staff. ! Your review means a lot to us. .
All the Best,
Jim Bambrey
GM
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2013

We recently stayed at the choo choo and our room had bedbugs. While management was extremely apologetic and refunded our room price, this was something I hope to never again experience. Taking precautions to avoid bringing any bugs into our family home has caused me a great deal of anxiety. Location was convenient but the hotel is in need of major cleaning and renovation.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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, General Manager at Chattanooga Choo Choo, responded to this review, September 13, 2013
Let me assure you that this is a major issue all around the nation. We have had TWO isolated cases in the last 18 months: that we have taken action immediately to eradicate. During that period we have sold over 100,000 rooms. If it happens, the room is professionally treated and all bugs have been eradicated. These bugs do not appear in areas because of unclean conditions. We feel assured that the sightings that we have had were early detection and were brought in by a guest who previously occupied the room at some time. Our first priority is to make sure to stop the spread. We have been involved in training and know what to look for in advance of guest’s occupying a room. We know that education and early detection are the best ways to keep the bugs under control.
Our plan involves continued education and on-going inspections of rooms. This is not only isolated to this hotel but there are many other hotels locally and nationwide.
Of course, our most important concern are our guest’s and there safety. We feel very confident that we have proactive steps in place. Our commercial pest control company keeps us up to date on the latest information regarding this issue. I can assure you of our commitment to do all we can to keep this situation under control.
All the Best,
Jim Bambrey
GM
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jackson, Ohio, Usa
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

Love this hotel. Everything about it. The architecture of the train terminal was fantastic. Everything seemed true to the era of the depot. The train car we stayed in was very comfortable. The bathrooms were older but we did not expect to have marble counters and brand new flooring. The only thing I would have to say about the bathroom that would need to be improved is the height of the shower head. It is great if you are under 5 foot. We would definitely use this hotel again.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
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, September 12, 2013
It is nice to hear that you enjoyed staying overnight in one of our signature, railcar rooms. We are glad that you had a great getaway. Come back again soon!
Regards
Jill Ellis Coker
QA
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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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 #36 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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