The Read House Hotel Review: Historic Luxury in the Heart of Chattanooga

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Exterior of The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
The Read House Hotel is in the heart of downtown Chattanooga. Photo credit: Visit Chattanooga

The Read House Hotel is located at 107 MLK Blvd. in the heart of downtown Chattanooga. If you’re flying into Chattanooga, the hotel is about a 15-minute drive from the airport. If you want luxury and comfort at a mid-range hotel price in a central location, The Read House is a Chattanooga hotel to put on your idea list for where to stay in Chattanooga.

The writer was hosted.

Front view of The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
The Read House Hotel in downtown Chattanooga. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

The Read House is the longest continuously operating hotel in the southeast and holds a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. The hotel has gone through several renovations throughout the years; it retains all of the old-world glamor (the lobby and bar area have a 1920s glam theme) with none of the “really old hotel” vibes.

From a valet tipping his bowler hat to you as soon as you enter the lobby to comfort and amenities throughout your stay, the Read House is a historic hotel offering an immersive experience from check-in to check-out and the perfect base camp for exploring Chattanooga and the surrounding area. It makes a terrific home base for a Chattanooga girls trip or romantic couples getaway.

Read More: Like Historic Hotels? Check Out the Yorktowne Hotel in York PA

Lobby Library at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Lobby library at the Read House Hotel. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

More about the Read House Hotel

While the gleaming marble and gilt accents in the lobby may suggest a strong adults-only theme, this hotel is for everyone, from families to couples or other adult-only groups. Certain rooms in the Read House are small pet friendly.

If you like a hotel that packs some history (and maybe a ghost or two), then Read House is for you. It started as a rooming house in the 1840s and has also been a  drugstore that sold Coca-Cola and rented rooms before assuming the name of Read House in 1926.

Story on the exterior of The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee about possible haunting.
The history of the hotel is on the exterior of the building. P.S. One of the rooms is haunted! Photo credit: Jill Robbins

Famous guests include Jefferson Davis, Winston Churchill, Al Capone, and Ronald Regan, although the most famous guest is Annalisa Neverly, who is such a part of the hotel’s history that she has her own section below.

Even if you don’t select the Read House Hotel for your trip to Chattanooga, you can walk by and look at the displays on the sidewalk that tell the hotel’s story over the years. Anyone can make a visit to the lobby or have a drink in their elegant bar or check out the Read House’s onsite Starbucks.

Seeing Chattanooga trains is one of the things you can do when staying at the Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
There are lots of cool things to do in Chattanooga, including lots of train history. Photo credit: Visit Chattanooga.

My Chattanooga Stay

I divided my three-and-a-half days in Chattanooga with downtown activities and more active pursuits around the Lookout Mountain area, which is about six miles from downtown Chattanooga. I loved being able to walk or take the free shuttle around downtown Chattanooga. The city is easy to navigate on foot, and if you’re up for walking a mile or so, you can get to a lot of cool places in the city.

I thought the Read House was very conveniently located, and it was near everything I wanted to do while I was in town. There’s no free parking in downtown Chattanooga during the day (some of the lots and street meters don’t charge to park after six p.m.), but I was able to find plenty of paid parking when I needed it.

There’s an electric shuttle that stops right across the street from the hotel (go out the side entrance where the restaurants are), and you’ll see the shuttle stop. The shuttles are clean and convenient if you’re flexible on time, but overall, I found the wait time longer than what was posted. If you’re not in a hurry, a free ride is a free ride.

Lobby of The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
The lobby has a fun, 1920s feel. No detail has been left out. Photo credit: Jill Robbins


The elegant lobby sets the tone for your Read House experience. Marble floors, the hotel’s original crystal chandeliers, and plush 1920s-style furniture make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The uniforms of the hotel personnel stay true to the period. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen hotel housekeeping with a knee-length black dress with a ruffled apron. Every little detail adds to the feeling of another time.

Off the lobby is a library stocked with books, gaming tables, and places to sit and people-watch. If you walk straight through the lobby, you’ll go into the newer section of the hotel, where the small fitness center and indoor pool are located.

The lobby of The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee has crystal chandeliers.
The elegant lobby has its original crystal chandeliers. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

If you go left, you’ll be in the bar and billiards area with adjacent meeting rooms, and if you go right, you’ll hit the elevators to the historic tower rooms and the restaurant and coffee shop areas. The public areas are available for anyone to come to explore.

Lobby view of The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennesse, facing the front door and bar.
The lobby style is like something out of the Great Gatsby but the furniture is either reproduction or meticulously restored. This hotel is heavy on old-world charm with none of the “musty old hotel” vibe. Photo credit: Read House Hotel

Guest Rooms

The Read House has 241 guest rooms and suites divided between the Historic Tower and the Manor House. The Manor House is the newer part of the hotel, and while you can tell what’s newer while viewing the building from the exterior, the interior transitions are seamless.

The Manor House rooms are slightly less expensive than the Historic Tower rooms. They’re still very nice and comfortable, with the same level of amenities and services but the Art Deco theming is stronger in the tower.

King Room at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
King room in the historic tower at the Read House Hotel. Art Deco styling and roomy floor plans are the hallmark of tower rooms. Photo credit: Read House Hotel.

Tower Rooms

Available room types include Executive King Suite, Premier King, Premier Double Queen, and Premier Queen. Accessible rooms are also available.

The premier rooms have more floor space and larger, black and white marble tiled bathrooms.

Deluxe double queen manor room at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Manor rooms are in a newer section of the hotel. The amenities are the same as the tower suites but the rooms are a bit smaller without the Art Deco theming. Photo credit: Read House Hotel.

Manor Rooms

Available room types include Deluxe King, Deluxe Double Queen, Traditional King, and Traditional Queen. Accessible rooms are also available.

The deluxe rooms have more floor space and modern, clean decor.

Standard queen manor room at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
The decor is clean and elegant and more on par with a modern hotel room. Photo credit: Read House Hotel.

The Read House Offers the Following Room Amenities:

  • Complimentary wifi
  • Keurig coffee makers + Tea and Coffee
  • Room Service (an extra charge applies, the menu is in-room.)
  • Bath amenities (shampoo, conditioner, soap/body wash)
  • Mini fridge
  • Ceramic coffee/tea mugs and crystal water glasses
  • Full heating and air conditioning
Keurig coffee pod in room 816 at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
It’s a really small thing but I really appreciate it when a hotel room has a Keurig and a brand of coffee pod I recognize. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

My trip to Chattanooga was working travel, and I made use of the free wifi at the hotel. I was very pleased with the speed and stability of the connection.


The hotel offers valet parking for $24 per day, which doesn’t include tipping the valet. There’s no dedicated free self-parking, although there are parking lots and garages all throughout downtown.

Door of hotel room at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
I stayed in Room 816 at the Read House Hotel. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

Premier King Corner Room

I stayed in a Premier King Corner Room on the eighth floor. The room had three windows and a small table with two chairs if I wanted to eat or work in my room. It also had a small upholstered chair and a bench at the foot of the king bed.

King room at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Full room view of Room 816. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

I had a walk-in closet with storage drawers and two bathrobes. My coffee tray was atop the set of drawers. The closet lights automatically opened when I opened the doors.

View of the floor space in Room 816 at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
I had a lot of floor space. I liked having the spacious room but I didn’t really need this much room. Photo credit: Jill Robbins.

The bed, linens, and pillows were comfortable, and I enjoyed the clean, elegant decor. Since the room was a corner, I had extra floor space. The feeling of openness was nice, but I didn’t need all that room.  

King room at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
My room also had a large flatscreen TV but I didn’t use it. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

My door had a privacy feature where I could flip a switch and let housekeeping know not to knock versus having to manually put out a do not disturb sign. I had two complimentary bottles of water in my room. Housekeeping did not replace the water, but I got complimentary bottled water from the front desk for the duration of my stay.

Small table in room 816 at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
I didn’t use the table or order room service during my at at the Read House but I really liked the real glassware. My coffee mugs were also ceramic. Photo credit: Jill Robbins


There was a large bathroom with a long vanity and a lighted magnifying mirror. The room had a tiled walk-in shower, and no tub, which I’m finding is becoming standard with most hotel rooms these days unless they’re older or at the highest level of luxury.

The towels were above-average quality, very soft, and plush. I hang my bath towel up each day because I use my towel more than once before washing it. Housekeeping replaced my towels every day anyway.

The provided toiletries were of average quality. There was no lotion provided, which is a standard issue in most hotels of this caliber. If you rely on hotel toiletries for short trips, as I do, you’ll want to pack that lotion if that is something you use.

Bathroom in King Deluxe at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
The bathroom had black and white retro marble tile. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

Pool and Gym

The pool and gym are in the Manor (newer) section of the hotel. I did not use either, but I did visit both to get a look at the facilities.

Indoor pool at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
The indoor pool at the Read House hotel has a set of floor to ceiling windows and lots of natural light. Photo credit: Read House Hotel

The gym is small, but it has all of the standard equipment anyone needs to get a workout in, including two Peloton bikes. The indoor pool is well maintained with towel service and plenty of seating.

Room 311

The ghost of Annalisa Neverly is believed to haunt room 311, where she was allegedly beheaded by a jealous lover in the room’s bathtub in 1927. The term allegedly is used because the whodunit part is a mystery – Netherly did die a bloody death and was found in the bathtub of room 311.  

Bathroom at Room 311 in The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
This is not the actual bathtub but Room 311 has been restored to look as it would have in 1927. Photo credit: Jill Robbins.

Guests over the years have reported paranormal activity in the room, including unexplained noises, flickering lights, running water, and more. A number of male guests have reported being pinched and shoved, which may suggest the room’s ghost has an axe to grind with men.

Room 311 in The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Would you spend the night in Room 311? Photo credit: Jill Robbins

The only room in Read House with a physical key.

During the Read House’s most recent renovation, the room was restored to its original 1920s state. This is the only door in the hotel that opens with a physical key. Amenities include a clawfoot tub and an AM radio.

The room was restored to give Annalisa Netherly some peace and quiet in comfortable, familiar surroundings.

Stay in Room 311 in October – If you dare

Room 311 is available for rent on Saturday nights in October and on Halloween night. According to Jim Bambrey, Read House Hotel General Manager, the October reservations sell out within five minutes after being open to the public. Bambrey estimates roughly half the October guests don’t last the night.

Anyone can tour Room 311. Inquire at the desk about guided tour availability, and if staff is available to give you a look, you can go in and take pictures. Learn more about Chattanooga’s ghosts with Chattanooga Ghost Tours.

Couple eating at Bridgeman’s Chop House in The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
If you love a good steak (and want to splurge on an expensive one) Bridgeman’s Chop House is the place to be. Photo credit: Visit Chattanooga.

Dining and Bar

Although the convenient downtown location of the Read House will make you want to get out and explore, there are dining options inside the hotel, too. All dining is open to non-hotel guests.

Beef plate at Bridgeman’s Chop House at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Beef Wellington at Bridgeman’s Chop House. Photo credit: Visit Chattanooga.

Bridgeman’s Chop House

Bridgeman’s Chop House is the hotel’s premier on-site restaurant. The sophisticated setting – think dark wood walls, elegant white tablecloths, and waitstaff in dapper uniforms – sets the tone for a “treat yourself” style meal.

The menu includes a selection of raw and chilled seafood, wet and dry-aged steaks, and other specialty dishes such as lamb, veal, and seafood. If you’re in the mood for dessert or an indulgent after-dinner drink, Bridgeman’s won’t let you down there. There is also an extensive wine list and a full bar.

Salmon dinner at Bridgeman’s Chop House inside The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
I opted for lighter fare at Bridgeman’s Chop House: Salmon topped with a seared sea scallop. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

Named for a beloved employee

Bridgeman’s is named for Peter “Rabbit” Bridgeman who worked at the hotel for 47 years. A salad on the menu is named for him. Onsite photos and displays pay homage to the restaurant’s namesake. who had heard of The Read House knew of the legendary Peter “Rabbit” Bridgeman. He served and charmed hotel and dining guests for 47 years.

Bridgeman’s Chop House is open for dinner only. Reservations recommended.

Exterior of Starbucks at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Even if you’re not staying at the Read House you can pop into the Starbucks and check out the lobby. Photo credit: Visit Chattanooga.


Whether you need that quick cup of coffee to go before heading out to explore Chattanooga or want to sit and enjoy a pastry or prepared breakfast sandwich, the Starbucks, just off the lobby, is a place to stop and grab what you need.

Bartender making smoked drinks at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Enjoy a 1920s style craft cocktail at the bar. Photo credit: Visit Chattanooga

Bar and Billiards

The Read House’s speakeasy-style bar sits just off the lobby and serves lunch and dinner. Like all good speakeasies, the billiard table is tucked in the back behind pocket doors. The billiard room is adults-only in the evenings.

The food menu has a variety of sandwiches, salads, and small plates to satisfy your hunger. There’s a full bar and a cocktail menu with creatively named 1920s-inspired cocktails, such as The Death of Annalisa, named for room 311’s famous guest who never checked out.

Flapper Hour is daily from 5-7 p.m. with daily specials on both food and snacks.

Ruby Falls near The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Ruby Falls in Chattanooga. Photo credit: Visit Chattanooga.

Things to Do Nearby

While you’ll want to get out and explore the Chattanooga area outside of downtown, there’s no shortage of things to explore within an easy walk or short drive from Read House. Here are my picks for things to do off-site:

If you’re traveling to Chattanooga with kids, the Tennessee Aquarium is a don’t-miss. Also, check out Los Trompos, which is a  large-scale, interactive art installation inspired by the shape of large, spinning tops in a variety of shapes sitting along the Tennessee River. Los Trompos and the Tennessee Aquarium are within walking distance of each other and can easily be combined in the same visit with no change in parking. Just walk toward the river before or after your aquarium visit.

Exteriors of the two wings of the Tennessee Aquarium, near The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
The two buildings pictured are the two wings of the Tennessee Aquarium. This riverfront location is about a mile from the Read House Hotel. Photo credit: Visit Chattanooga.

Final Thoughts – Should You Stay at The Read House?

Prime location, old-world elegance, comfortable rooms at a great price, and loaded with on-site amenities and extras? What’s not to like? I stayed as a solo traveler but would have been comfortable at this hotel with my husband and children.

Bathrobe in closet at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
I loved the amenities in my room at the Read House Hotel. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

The staff is beyond friendly, and while I didn’t experience the bar or get my coffee at Starbucks (I favor the locally-owned spots within walking distance, like Sleepyhead Coffee and Dawn), my meal at Bridgeman’s Chop House was superb.

Deluxe King Room at The Read House in Chattanooga, Tennessee
My room was very nice and I loved the clean Art Deco style. It was stylish without being too fussy. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

I have nothing negative to say, and I recommend this beautiful hotel in the heart of downtown Chattanooga to all types of travelers who want to be close to the action in downtown Chattanooga.

But I’m a bit of a scaredy cat.

I don’t necessarily believe in ghosts, but I don’t disbelieve anything. Even though I was assured Annalisa Netherly’s ghost doesn’t roam beyond room 311, and my room was nowhere near that part of the hotel, I had a fairly sleepless night after touring her room on the last night.

I felt nothing weird in her room or mine, and I’ll chalk my insomnia up to an active imagination and being in a hotel room alone.


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