Tired of looking at the same four walls day after day, but not ready to take the leap beyond the city borders? Perhaps a staycation at one of the boutique hotels in Chattanooga is just what you need to recharge your batteries. With vacation travel down dramatically because of the pandemic, many area hotels are offering promotions and packages to suit hometown folks wanting a change of scenery.
Bode Chattanooga, which opened a year ago in the century-old former Clemons Building on Chestnut Street, has an Extend deal that treats guests to discounted rates. Three- and four-night stays with one-bedroom suites start at $512.86 for all three nights, or $576.87 for all four nights.
Bode boasts a bar with craft cocktails and a nice wine list; a coffee shop where you can also pick up some munchies; a small market for snacks, sodas, beer, wine and sundries; and 54 one-, two-and three-bedroom suites — all of which come with full-size kitchens so you can bring your own groceries and cook some of your own meals to save some dough.
Some suites even have bunk beds and ping-pong tables, making the experience all the more fun for children. Plus, there's a recreation area where the kids can work off some pent-up energy playing pool, ping-pong, table shuffleboard for free or arcade games, which cost $1. The property is also within easy walking distance of the Creative Discovery Museum and the Tennessee Aquarium.
Though Bode does not have a full-service restaurant, it's across the street from the eateries of West Village at Eighth and Chestnut streets, including Easy Bistro, Old Gilman Grill and Citron de Sel.
Local physician Katie Gooden recently staycationed with her 6-year-old daughter, Emily, giving the doctor some quality time with her daughter — walking across the Walnut Street Bridge, shopping along Frazier Avenue and watching movies together in their room.
"I feel comfortable with how Chattanoogans and Chattanooga businesses are approaching safety measures," she says. "And it seemed like a reasonable, safe way to have a mini getaway. The places we went did a great job of masking and keeping distance, and we did our part as well."
Chattanoogan Mary Miller Burton misses travel outside the city. "We need travel and exploration now more than ever during these stressful times," she says. "Staycations have been the antidote for pandemic burnout for me, so I suppose that's what I've enjoyed the most. It's been just what I needed to help me survive."
Hotels follow guidelines set forth by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, but many are taking things a few steps further to ensure the safety of staff and guests.
For example, Bode check-in is contact-free — you don't check in at the front desk. It's all done by code through your cellphone. In addition, kitchens can be prestocked with drinks and snacks before guests arrive, so if you don't want to come into contact with anyone during your stay, it's entirely possible.
According to the latest figures from the American Hotel and Lodging Association, urban hotels have been hit the worst because of the pandemic, with occupancies in many cities at 38 percent, well below the national average. In Hamilton County, the epidemic has impacted tourism with almost 45% less tourism spending than in years past, says Barry White, CEO of the Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"Staycations with your immediate or extended family and friends are one way to help support the local tourism economy," he continues.
For staycationers, its an excellent way to re-energize and experience all of the benefits of going on vacation without having to travel far. In return, money spent on local getaways helps boost the city's economy, making a staycation a win-win. Here are some more suggestions of hotels offering staycation packages in the Chattanooga area.
The Moxy, 1220 King St.
Taking advantage of the dining and entertainment options as well as the walkability of the Southside area has lured locals to The Moxy over the past few months, says Kacey Swindell, director of sales. "Many have paired a dinner reservation with one of their favorite, and now re-opened, restaurants like Alleia, St. John's or Main Street Meats with a hotel stay," she says. But if you don't want to eat out, the kitchen is open 24 hours, seven days a week and the bar stays open from 11 a.m. till 11:30 p.m. daily. The hotel has a buzzy vibe that may not be the best for kids, but if you're looking for a fun evening out, you've found it.
* Follow the Flock is a favorite staycation package. Simply follow Moxy on Instagram and get a keychain good for 15% off your room and your bar tab. On subsequent visits, flash the keychain for the same deal. The package include a welcome cocktail or mocktail.
* Eat, Play and Love is a package all about romance. Bring your sweetie, and enjoy a welcome cocktail, a box of chocolates, a bottle of champagne and a $40 food-and-beverage credit. If you've partied late into the night, you'll appreciate the 1 p.m. late checkout this package offers.
* Rates for packages start at $109 per night.
* To book: marriott.com or 423-664-1180.
* Anti-virus precautions: Moxy is a Distinctive Select Marriott property and follows guidelines established by Marriott and the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Moxy Chattanooga has been ranked first in the brand for cleanliness since early 2019.
Riverview Inn, 2159 Old Wauhatchie Pike
Built in 1935 and renovated just last year, Riverview Inn is a resort-style inn perched on the side of Lookout Mountain, a location that offers outstanding, panoramic views of the city and the river. After hiking or biking the nearby mountain trails by day, or driving the kids to nearby Rock City or walking to Ruby Falls, rejuvenate in the heated pool, then warm your toes by a roaring fire and make s'mores. Sit back and enjoy coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the afternoon in an old-fashioned rocking chair on your balcony.
* Autumn Brilliance is a two-night staycation package designed with savings in mind. Book any two consecutive nights through Nov. 18 and receive 25% off regular rates. Packages start at $300 for a two-night stay, plus taxes. A hot breakfast and Wi-Fi are included, so bring your laptop and make it a working staycation.
* To book: StayAtRiverViewInn.com or call 423-821-8619.
* Anti-virus precautions: Riverview Inn has increased sanitation over and above all its normal cleaning practices, says innkeeper Jonathan Ryan. All surfaces are sanitized multiple times a day, and staff members are screened daily and required to wear masks. As directed by local laws, all guests must have a face covering to enter any enclosed common or public space on property. All breakfast items are individually wrapped in single-serving options. And the pool area has a 10-person capacity.
The Read House, 107 W. M.L. King Blvd.
Downtown's oldest hotel received a head-to-toe facelift — completed in 2018 — and now features 241 guest rooms, including room No. 311 said to be haunted by the ghost of Annalisa Netherly who, according to legend, was beheaded by a jealous lover in the 1920s. She's now been floating around for nearly 100 years, and you can stay in the room with her, but you may not get much work done. If you're hoping to get some work accomplished during your staycation, make reservations for the Remote Office package, developed for those finding themselves now able to work or study remotely due to the current climate.
"We're hoping it's an attractive offer for local guests in need of new 'scenery' by offering package components valuable to their needs," says Kris Altman, chief marketing officer. "Of course, with many schools offering remote classroom options, we hope this offer opens the doors for not only working professionals but the entire family to utilize."
Kids and adults will enjoy the indoor pool — social-distancing guidelines must be followed. The Read House has two dining options — the Bar and Billiards Room with daily happy-hour food and beverage deals from 3 to 7 p.m.; and Bridgeman's Chophouse with a menu of extensive fish and steak choices.
* Remote Office weekday packages offer early check-in and late check-out; complimentary gigabit Wi-Fi; and a daily $25 dining credit. Rates start at $139 per night.
* To book: thereadhousehotel.com or 423-266-4121.
* Anti-virus precautions: Masks are mandatory in the hotel's public areas, and there's a maximum hotel occupancy that limits the number of guests allowed to stay overnight. Common areas are sanitized at least once an hour, and rooms are cleaned, thoroughly sanitized and sealed after every stay. There is no bell service or in-room maid service. Employees are not allowed to enter rooms for the duration of the guests' stay.
The Edwin, 102 Walnut St.
With a catbird seat on the Tennessee River overlooking the historic Walnut Street Bridge, The Edwin makes for a memorable staycation. Walk over to the Bluff View Art District and stroll through the Sculpture Garden; take in an exhibition at Hunter Museum of American Art; or tour the fantastic glass collection of Anna Safley Houston at the Houston Museum of Decorative Arts. All this within a stone's throw of The Edwin.
* The Family Adventure Package is an experience that features a guided tour of the Lula Lake Land Trust with its waterfalls and lake — guides, snacks, water and towels included for up to two adults and two children. You'll also receive a $30 food voucher for breakfast at Provisions coffee and one Muscle Therapy gift in the hotel's Ama Spa. The package is available Monday through Thursday nights through December, with select blackout dates, and must be booked 14 days in advance. Rates start at $519 per family.
* To book: theedwinhotel.com or 423-713-5900.
* Anti-virus precautions: In addition to sanitizing all hard surfaces and all staff masked, there is no housekeeping during your stay, plus no room service, but you can get dinner to go from Whitebird, the hotel's primary restaurant, and take it to your room.
Email Anne Braly at firstname.lastname@example.org.