The Best Hotels in Tennessee

Tennessee is a state dedicated to tourism, so it’s no surprise that it boasts some fantastic hotels. From countryside retreats and boutique stays to historic properties and family-friendly escapes, there’s something here for every type of traveler. Prepare yourself for Southern hospitality at its finest.

1471 W Millers Cove Rd, Walland, TN 37886, USA
Set on 4,200 secluded acres of hillocks, ponds, and gardens at the foot of the Tennessee Smoky Mountains, this award-winning resort, a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux brand, is awash in genteel luxury, from its splendid spa to its exquisitely appointed rooms, suites, and cottages. But make no mistake, the family-owned property takes the “farm” in its name to heart: Its James Beard Award–winning restaurant, The Barn, as well as the more informal Dogwood restaurant, were early leaders in the farm-to-table movement, welcoming guests who come to pay homage to the inn’s self-described foothills cuisine.

In addition to several gardeners, the farm employs its own butcher, cheese maker, and beekeeper, along with a preservationist who makes pickles, jams, and jellies. The staff raise their own sheep, pigs, and chickens, and forage the land for mushrooms, berries, ramps, wild crab apples, and muscadines—which you’ll share at the table with other guests (all meals are included in your stay). Thankfully, a roster of on-site activities—including cycling, wakeboarding, archery, paddleboarding, hiking, fly-fishing, swimming, tennis, and golf—allow you to indulge without feeling guilty.
1500 Pinnacles Way, Newport, TN 37821, USA
Just 30 minutes from the bustling tourist towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge sits this secluded bed-and-breakfast surrounded by 200 forested acres. Accommodations at Christopher Place are intended for couples rather than families: Nine individually decorated rooms, four with in-room hot tubs for two and several with fireplaces, have only one bed, and children younger than 12 aren’t allowed.

You can savor in-room breakfasts and dinners in a few of the rooms; everyone else can enjoy meals at the Mountain View Restaurant, which serves an affordable, seasonal four-course menu with a backdrop that’s just as satisfying. Hearty breakfasts will gird you for a full day of exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or just hiking the trails outside the resort’s front door. Return for a dip in the pool, then a cocktail or glass of wine in front of a roaring fire at Marston’s Library Pub, named after the property’s owner.
120 E 10th St, Chattanooga, TN 37402, USA
Why we love it: The first luxury boutique hotel in Chattanooga, with mid-century cool to spare

The Highlights:
- Every room is different, so guests can discover a new favorite on each visit
- Attention to detail all the way down to thoughtful room amenities like electric kettles and a welcome cocktail on weekends
- Surprisingly affordable rates for such a refined property

The Review:
As much gallery space as boutique hotel, the 16-room Dwell occupies an early 20th-century building in downtown Chattanooga. Bold wallpaper in the public spaces and individually designed guest rooms lend the property a modern-art vibe, while furniture and fixtures are more in line with the building’s history. It’s all the vision of first-time hotelier Seija Ojanpera, who has created a haven for business travelers seeking a stylish spot to rest up for meetings, as well as tourists eager to explore “The ’Noog.”

Each room is designed differently and sports a unique name, allowing guests to request specific lodgings. Some feature working gas fireplaces, while all come with soaking tubs and rain showers to promote relaxation. Some balcony rooms offer views of downtown, but with enough separation to ensure a quiet night’s sleep. That is, unless you stay up late at The Dwell’s stylish cocktail lounge, Matilda Midnight, where talented bartenders serve expertly prepared drinks and small plates for snacking until the change of day.
1235 University Ave, Sewanee, TN 37375, USA
Why we love it: A peaceful mountain hideaway with easy access to outdoor activities like golf, tennis, and hiking

The Highlights:
- A location surrounded by the campus of the University of the South and its history
- Luxurious rooms and common spaces with golf course views
- Popular Sunday brunch

The Review:
Owned and operated by the University of the South, the Sewanee Inn has become an important part of its small mountain town. Regular visitors include alumni and families visiting campus as well as fans of the great outdoors, who take advantage of the on-site Gil Hanse–designed golf course and the myriad hiking and biking opportunities on nearby Monteagle Mountain. Guests can also carry drinks from the cozy Shakerag Hollow lobby lounge out to the expansive open patio to enjoy beautiful sunsets over the edge of the ridge and to heckle their golfer friends as they approach the eighth green.

The entire property is intertwined into the history of the university, with artifacts thoughtfully positioned in nooks and shelves around the common areas and a small museum gallery just off the main lobby. Even the hotel restaurant, Eighteen58, is named for the year the university received its official charter. Guests and locals alike love the elevated comfort food served here, but especially popular is the Sunday brunch in the soaring Founders Hall, which includes a generous buffet, pancake and omelet stations, a Bloody Mary bar, and live entertainment. After brunch, hit the fitness center, borrow one of the inn’s complimentary bicycles, or simply return to your room, where amenities like cotton linens, flat-screen TVs, and Gilchrist & Soames bath products make for a luxurious retreat.
407 Union Ave, Knoxville, TN 37902, USA
Why we love it: A conveniently located boutique property where history meets hip

The Highlights:
- A location just steps from bustling Market Square
- Handcrafted furniture and local art throughout the property
- A popular speakeasy that draws guests and locals

The Review:
From the team behind the recently refurbished Hotel Clermont in Atlanta and the design-forward Fairlane Hotel in Nashville, The Oliver shares the same dedication to historical preservation and cool, minimalist design as its sister properties. It’s also extremely convenient, with a location near Knoxville’s popular Market Square and some of the most beloved restaurants in the city. The circa 1876 building was home to a bakery, a drug store, and a dancing hall before becoming a hotel in time for the 1982 World’s Fair. When two young developers took control of the property in 2011, they set out to create a hotel that honored that history but also offered the modern amenities guests crave. Their success is your gain at this boutique stay, which features 28 elegant rooms filled with regional art, handcrafted furniture, and fixtures created by local artists.

Dining options include Oliver Royale, which uses ingredients from local farms and purveyors in its elevated comfort food, and an outpost of the popular farm-to-table Tupelo Honey café, where guests can enjoy lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch just steps from the hotel lobby. Most notable, however, is the much-buzzed-about Peter Kern Library, with its speakeasy vibe and craft cocktails. Now that the word is out, patrons line up under the red lamp in the alley that marks the secret entrance, but hotel guests can just stroll in through a door in the lobby like they own the joint.
1216 W State of Franklin Rd, Johnson City, TN 37604, USA
Why we love it: A faithful reimagining of a classic travelers’ hotel

The Highlights:
- Conveniently located right next to East Tennessee State University and near downtown
- Delightfully comfortable sleigh beds
- Historically accurate decor, including oil paintings and antique furniture

The Review:
While the original Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City was lost to a fire in the early 20th century, guests can get a taste of history at this faithful re-creation, which offers upscale accommodations for both business and leisure travelers. Today, the hotel combines historical grandeur with modern amenities, such as a state-of-the-art fitness room, a heated outdoor pool, and a full-service spa for massages and body treatments. In the 128 rooms and 11 suites, guests also find sleigh beds with mattresses so comfortable they’d be wise to set two alarms for the morning.

The on-site restaurant, Wellington’s, serves elevated Southern cuisine made with traditional Appalachian ingredients, while the bar offers craft cocktails and a wide selection of whiskey. After your meal, take a nightcap down the hall to the clubby Roosevelt Library lounge, where you can admire original oil paintings, dark wood accents, and antique furniture that recall the Carnegie Hotel of yore.
1603 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206, USA
Across the Cumberland River from downtown, residential East Nashville got its first taste of hipster cool in 2016 when this Instagram-friendly bed-and-breakfast opened in a renovated Queen Anne mansion. Like its sister property in Brooklyn, Urban Cowboy’s eight suites and freestanding cabin are each uniquely named—Midnight Rider, the Lion’s Den—and decorated with geometric inlaid woodwork, Southwestern-inspired designs, and handcrafted furniture, plus custom wallpaper and copper and claw-foot tubs. The communal music parlor encourages interaction among guests with a collection of gently worn instruments, as does the all-weather fire pit, where blankets and good cheer are plentiful, especially after enjoying craft cocktails and wood-fired meals at Public House, the property’s on-site restaurant and bar.
2525 DreamMore Way, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863, USA
Why we love it: A conveniently located stay that’s perfect for families visiting Dollywood

The Highlights:
- A family-first design, including some rooms with bunk beds
- Perks like discounted tickets and a free shuttle to Dollywood
- Two on-site pools with views of the Smoky Mountains

The Review:
When Dolly Parton came up with the idea for her DreamMore Resort, she was hoping to create a “front porch” for Dollywood, a place where families could relax and share time together after a day of fun at the park. To that end, almost every detail of the property is designed with families in mind, including 11 different guest room configurations with amenities like bunk beds and adjoining doors. The resort also offers discounted passes and a free shuttle to the theme park.

An expansive pool area features waterfalls, a splash pad, and more placid areas for adults, all within view of the stunning mountains that surround the resort. For when parents need a break, there’s also a luxurious salon and spa with treatments designed to relax and rejuvenate. The food and beverage offerings at DreamMore aren’t fancy, but they offer good value for families, including an ample buffet at Song & Hearth and grab-and-go fare at DM Pantry. After the kids have gone to bed, end your day with a nightcap in The Lounge, which serves Southern-inspired cocktails in an old-timey ambience.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe