Knoxville’s most unique hotel is a bit hard to find. Hotel St. Oliver (407 Union Ave., 865/521-0050, www.hotelstolivertn.com, $75–200) is located just around the corner from Market Square, but the 1876 townhouse easily blends into its surroundings. Built by German baker Peter Kern in the 19th century, the St. Oliver was converted into a hotel for the 1982 World’s Fair. It is not well advertised, but patrons find it nonetheless.
Far from the cookie-cutter, Hotel St. Oliver offers superior location, genuinely friendly service, and distinctive accommodation. Its 24 guest rooms have elegant beds, refrigerators, wet bars, and coffee service. Perhaps the best perk is the downstairs library with soft couches and inviting reading nooks that beg you to come in and sit a spell.
Offering an ideal location and intimate, personalized service, the Maplehurst Inn (800 W. Hill Ave., 865/523-7773, www.maplehurstinn.com, $80–150) is worth considering. Each of the 11 guest rooms have a private bath and personalized touches to make you feel like you’re at home. Breakfast is served in a cozy dining room overlooking the Tennessee River. Maplehurst dates from the early 20th century, when the townhouse was built for a wealthy merchant. It was converted to a bed-and-breakfast for the 1982 World’s Fair, and remains one of the only bed-and-breakfasts in downtown Knoxville.
Located at the north end of downtown, near the Old City and Gay Street, is the Crowne Plaza Knoxville (401 W. Summit Hill Dr., 865/522-2600, www.crowneknox.com, $110–190). This 197-room high-rise hotel has full business services, an indoor pool and fitness center, 24-hour lounge, and updated guest rooms.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition