The historic city of Knoxville has been constantly reinventing itself, and in the process has acquired something that will appeal to everyone. Railroad, history and civil war buffs will find plenty in the city’s heritage, museums and historic sites to keep them busy, and outdoors enthusiasts will be within easy reach of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Don’t miss the chance for an authentic Tennessee River steamboat experience, check out the music and theatre scene, and visit the Alex Haley Heritage Square with its statue of the famous author. Knoxville is also known for being a center of Appalachian culture, and is fast becoming a foodie destination.
From the luxurious to the quirky-chic boutiques, here are the best cool and unusual hotels in Knoxville, Tennessee (in no particular order)…
1. Graduate Knoxville – a trendy, Instagrammable and fun hotel to stay in Knoxville perfect for partying Millenials and Gen Zs
The Graduate is the ultimate accommodation to live, work, and play and get inspired by the finesse and artistic creativity of the interiors. Located on one of Knoxville’s most prestigious addresses, The Strip, this boutique hotel is within proximity to the Neyland Stadium and the University of Tennessee.
The guest rooms at the Graduate are magnificent works of art, and each of the themed rooms pays tribute to the culture and heritage of Marble City. Vibrantly painted in rich and deep palettes of blue, orange, and white, the interiors are drenched in local culture and vintage elements.
The Graduate is home to Knoxville’s famous Saloon 16, a western-inspired watering hole, while guests also have access to a state-of-the-art fitness center, meeting rooms, and event spaces.
- To book, check prices or availability for Graduate Knoxville
2. The Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel – an upscale and trendy hotel where pets are welcome too
Nestled in the heart of downtown Knoxville, the Tennessean offers a traditional East Tennessee experience with a contemporary twist. The central location is ideal for enjoying the best of Downtown’s diverse culinary culture, artisanal stores, and entertainment venues. The Tennessean offers proximity to numerous popular attractions, including the Old City, Bijou Theater, the Market Square, and the University of Tennessee.
The hotel is home to 82 lavishly comfortable guest rooms and suites, offering sprawling views of the city, Tennessee-crafted furniture and furnishings, and state-of-the-art appliances. The guest rooms are designed to deliver those quintessential hotel room comforts with sink-in-the-mattress king-sized beds, fine bedding and linens, and modern tech upgrades.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Tennessean Personal Luxury Hotel
3. The Oliver Hotel Knoxville, An Original by Oliver Hotels – an elegant boutique hotel beautifully decorated
One of the finest boutique hotels in Knoxville, the Oliver Hotel is located in the city’s heart, a stone’s throw away from the vibrant Market Square. Erected in an 1876 heritage site, formerly the Peter Kern Bakery, the Oliver Hotel has beautifully preserved iconic architectural elements with contemporary upgrades.
Guests can choose from an array of elegantly furnished guest rooms ideal for solo travelers, couples, families, and large groups. The Market Suite is famous for its delightful views of Market Square, while the Oliver Suite is the most coveted abode of luxury in the hotel.
Guests can enjoy dining at the hotel’s onsite hotel, the Oliver Royale, an award-winning fine dining establishment with an eclectic bar.
- To book, check prices or availability for The Oliver Hotel Knoxville, An Original by Oliver Hotels
4. Marriott Knoxville Downtown – a cool and modern hotel set in the heart of Knoxville’s downtown
One of the best upscale hotels in downtown Knoxville, the Marriot is a splendid accommodation for business and private travelers. Marriott is a celebrated hotel chain that never fails to impress with its exclusive brand of luxury, characterized by innumerable amenities, keen attention to detail, spectacular dining, and time-honored hospitality traditions.
Guests can choose their ideal accommodation from 302 thoughtfully designed king and double-king rooms decked with smart TVs, luxury bedding, and floor-to-ceiling windows boasting spectacular city views. Guests also have access to a state-of-the-art fitness studio, meeting spaces, a business center, and a delightful garden in the backyard.
The hotel’s onsite Maker Exchange restaurant and lounge is famous for preserving traditions through its flavorful cocktails and cuisine.
- To book, check prices or availability for Marriott Knoxville Downtown
5. Aloft Knoxville West – easily one of the coolest hotels to stay in Knoxville perfect for Millennials and Gen Zs
The Aloft is a modern venue famous for its expansive loft-style structure, state-of-the-art amenities, tech-savviness, and ideal location. This boutique hotel offers a tech-savvy setting with upgrades like keyless entry, free WiFi, modern appliances, LCD TVs, and Bluetooth speakers.
Guests can choose from Aloft’s King-size and double queen suites, decked with contemporary comforts, lavishly soft bedding, private bathrooms featuring rainfall showerheads, and spectacular city views.
The hotel has a vibrant and eclectic ambiance, characterized by vibrant color palettes, 9-foot ceilings, an onsite grab-and-go, and the WXYZ Bar.
The hotel guests have access to the luxury Splash pool, the in-house Remix Lounge, a business center, and a 475-square-feet even space.
- To book, check prices or availability for Aloft Knoxville West
6. Embassy Suites By Hilton Knoxville Downtown – an upscale and unique place to stay in Knoxville
A project of the prestigious Hilton Knoxville Downtown, the Embassy suites reinvents modern comforts and opulence with a charming historic appeal.
The location is ideal for business and private travelers eager to position themselves in the heart of Knoxville Downtown. Embassy Suites is located two miles away from the convention center, the University of Tennessee, and the city’s best fine dining establishments.
The hotel suites offer a variety of accommodations suitable for couples, families, business travelers, and large groups. Guests can enjoy golfing at the hotel’s in-house TopGolf Swing Suite or have flavorful cocktails at the rooftop bar overlooking sprawling views of the Tennessee Rivers.
- To book, check prices or availability for Embassy Suites By Hilton Knoxville Downtown
7. NoKno Flats • The Little Lemon Lounge – a cozy and charming apartment close to major attractions
A lavish vacation home designed for luxury-focused business travelers, couples, and families seeking total privacy and home-like comforts, the Little Lemon Lounge is a much-celebrated project of the QBRenovation Team.
These luxury apartments are ideal for travelers who want to live in the heart of all the action and entertainment, within proximity to leading attractions, dining spots, bars, and local hangouts. The structure is home to two buildings featuring 5 modern apartments and free parking spaces.
The apartments comprise 2 master bedrooms decked with queen beds, 1 bathroom, and state-of-the-art appliances. Travelers who enjoy the privacy of having their own space and privacy will adore the elegantly furnished apartments and ideal location.
- To book, check prices or availability for NoKno Flats • The Little Lemon Lounge
8. Cozy Downtown Loft – one of the most Instagrammable apartments in Knoxville
Located in the heart of Knoxville’s vibrant and action-packed downtown area, the Cozy Downtown Loft is a lavish accommodation for travelers who desire the privacy and comforts of a home away from home.
The loft is decked with state-of-the-art appliances and elegant furniture, designed to create a lavishly comfortable setting for vacationers and groups. The rooms feature luxurious mattresses and 50-inch smart TVs with Netflix and other streaming apps. The fully-equipped kitchen offers all the appliances needed to enjoy home-cooked meals or entertain your guests.
Travelers can access the gym located on the basement floor and enjoy proximity to Downtown’s best eateries, bars, cafes and tourist attractions.
- To book, check prices or availability for Cozy Downtown Loft
9. Largest Rooftop w Firepit – Vaulted LUXE Penthouse – one of the best vacation apartments in Knoxville, great for families
A luxury penthouse surrounded by the elegance and historic charm of Knoxville’s downtown area, the Vaulted Luxe Penthouse boasts the largest rooftop in the area, famous for its sprawling panoramic views of the cityscape and hills. The ambiance is endlessly relaxing, for the rooftop comes with a built-in fire pit and deck, perfect for entertaining your local guests and friends.
The penthouse comes with a lavishly decorated master bedroom suite, designed like a retreat with an oversized soaking tub, walk-in shower, and double vanity.
The penthouse includes elegantly furnished bedrooms, dedicated office space, a family room, and a private bathroom. The gourmet kitchen features state-of-the-art appliances and tasteful accents to channel your inner culinary artist with Knoxville’s finest farm-fresh produce.
- To book, check prices or availability for Largest Rooftop w Firepit – Vaulted LUXE Penthouse
10. Modern minimalist comfort 5 minutes from Downtown – a trendy and comfy holiday home that offers great facilities
A modern retreat with elegant minimalist interiors, this luxury vacation home is ideally located five minutes from the rip-roaring energy and endless entertainment of Downtown Knoxville. The luxury accommodation offers the perfect base to explore the city’s finest attractions, from the Old City and Market Square to the University of Tennessee and hundreds of eateries.
The space is ideal for digital nomads and work-from-home professionals as it features a reliable WiFi connection, innumerable electric outlets, and efficient working spaces in every bedroom. The three bedrooms and two bathrooms are ideally spacious for a group of 8 or more, while the state-of-the-art kitchen makes it a family-friendly vacation home.
- To book, check prices or availability for Modern minimalist comfort 5 minutes from Downtown
11. Boyd Harvey Main House & Carriage House – a quirky-chic vacation home ideal for large groups
The 1835 Boyd Harvey House is a breathtaking historical heritage site and prized architectural remnant of pre-Civil War Tennessee. This opulent accommodation is a beautiful treasure trove of traditional Southern countryside charms, painstakingly preserved historic remnants and lavish modern upgrades.
This sprawling 2-acre estate is home to two buildings, which can be booked together for a large group or individually for an intimate setting. Guests have complete privacy and the entire space to themselves.
Most travelers prefer basking in the historic charm of the Boyd House Harvey, a classic brick structure with two spacious loft-style bedrooms, two bathrooms, a summer kitchen, and a delightful wrap-around porch.
- To book, check prices or availability for Boyd Harvey Main House & Carriage House
12. Modern Downtown Loft on Gay St – a contemporary loft near popular attractions
A modern loft with a fancy address in one of Knoxville’s busiest districts, this accommodation is situated in the Downtown area where one finds the best theaters, attractions, entertainment venues, boutiques, and eateries.
This vacation home will position you in the beating heart of the city, surrounded by endless entertainment and home-like comforts.
The space offers 1 loft-style bedroom featuring a queen-sized bed, one sofa bed, and a high-end floor mattress to create comfortable sleep stations for 6 people.
The elegantly furnished living room features a 49-inch Smart TV with Netflix and other streaming apps. The fully-equipped kitchen comes with state-of-the-art appliances to fix healthy breakfasts and enjoy complimentary coffee/tea.
- To book, check prices or availability for Modern Downtown Loft on Gay St
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Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fuelled by strong coffee, you’ll often find him wandering well off hiking trails in search of interesting photographic subjects or scenery to video. Self taught and with the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a strong client base and has worked with many prestigious organisations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specialising in evocative images of people, places and cinematic videography and his goal is to make the viewer look twice and engage. As well as a penchant for good design, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find him on Instagram @garynansome, Twitter @garynansome and his website https://garynunn.co.uk/