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Chattanooga Choo Choo Holiday Inn
1400 Market St.
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Our stopping point in Chattanooga during the 2008 trip, much to our gleeful amusement, was the Chattanooga Choo Choo Inn. Run by Holiday Inn, it is set in the former 1909 train station, the original terminal making for a grand lobby and the former trainyards now a multi-acre property of gardens, hotel buildings, and even a trolley that will run you around the grounds.

Some of the rooms are in lovingly maintained train cars, which is really, really cool in theory and mostly cool in execution. We say mostly, mostly because of things like size and modernity. The cars are narrow and the ceilings are low-ish and the bathrooms, well, let's just say it's not the type of facility where you'll want to do a lot of luxuriating. Having said all that, they are charming and certainly unique and if you want something out of the ordinary, book one of these.

The rest of the hotel rooms are in low-rise buildings scattered around the property, and while they are not as interesting, perhaps, as the train car rooms they are big, comfortable, modern, well-equipped - everything you'd expect in a Holiday Inn and more. Each room has high-speed Internet, a coffee maker, hair dryer, iron and board, and more. Most have balconies or patios.

There are two outdoor pools (one with its own waterfall) and one big indoor pool plus a hot tub. And the gardens outside the main terminal are lovely, with hedges, flowers, fountains, walking paths, and even a gazebo where we saw a couple getting pictures taken for their wedding.

There are multiple restaurants, bars, shops, and other attractions including the Model Railroad Museum on site and if those don't do the job for you, you can hop the free electric bus out front and get whisked to the main historic downtown district in about five minutes.

Overall the hotel is a terrific use of space and a fine piece of preservation.

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