Sure, we appreciate traditional hotels for the service (daily housekeeping, a knowledgeable concierge, in-room dining) and the amenities (a convivial coffee shop, a great lobby bar, a fitness center, maybe even a pool), but when we’re traveling in groups, which statistics show we do with increasing regularity, we crave the community created by sharing a kitchen and common spaces in Airbnb-style accommodations.
Well, what if you could have both? The social atmosphere of a vacation rental along with the consistency and service of a well-run boutique hotel … With Bode, you can.
A group-friendly hotel alternative, Bode aims to change the way you, your friends, family, and colleagues travel — together. The pioneering hotel group opened its first location in Nashville, Tennessee, last November, and it’s no surprise why. Nashville recently supplanted Las Vegas as the number one destination in the country for bachelorette parties and sees significant business travel traffic, too. Bode has three more properties in the works in California — Palm Beach, Orange County, and Indian Wells — as well as one in Savannah, Georgia, but it welcomed guests to its second location this May in nearby Chattanooga. “As we got to know people in Nashville, a lot of them suggested we check out Chattanooga,” says Philip Bates, Bode’s CEO. “Then when we looked at the data, we realized something like 58 percent of travelers coming to the area are coming in parties of three or more. That really caught us. The nationwide average is more like 15 to 18 percent.” The Bode team quickly fell for Chattanooga’s charm, but it was the gorgeous, 100-year-old brick high-rise situated in the heart of downtown that clinched the deal.
Located on the corner of Chestnut and East Eighth streets, the circa-1916 office building-turned-apartment complex is just a seven-minute walk from the Chattanooga riverfront and the critically acclaimed Tennessee Aquarium, two of the city’s most popular attractions. Not to mention, it’s surrounded by some of this burgeoning food city’s best restaurants and bars. When it came time for the remodel, Bode and its Tennessee-based design firm let the building speak for itself. “Basically, our job was to undo the apartment feel,” Philip says, “and to restore it to its natural charm.” That meant peeling up the cheap laminate that hid beautiful hardwood and concrete floors, removing plaster that covered raw-brick walls, and opening up the space again. They also converted an old dumpster alley into a narrow outdoor concert venue. “It’s no more than 25 feet wide,” Philip says, “but I think that’s part of the appeal — the space sort of hugs you.”
In addition to those outward upgrades, Bode carved out 53 units with one- , two- , and three-bedroom floorplans available, as well as a craft beer-forward bar, a café and marketplace, a lobby-adjacent game room, and community workspace. With the larger units, the company borrowed a page from the Airbnb playbook, offering kitchens, living rooms, balconies, multiple bathrooms, even antique wood ping-pong tables and in-room cocktail kits. If your group would rather eat in than out, just pop down to the Bode marketplace to pick up supper and all the fixings. “We carry everything from grab-and-go items like trail mix and potato chips all the way up to gourmet dried pastas and curated prepared meals,” Philip explains. “The idea being, you can have a dinner party in your hotel room without six hours of prep.” But if that still seems like more work than you’re up for, simply snag a bottle of wine at the marketplace and text the hotel’s virtual concierge in advance to schedule your a private chef for the evening. Whatever your need, Bode’s friendly staff is on hand to help out. “Increasingly, travel is a way of life,” Philip says. “Our goal is simple: to make guests feel at ease and at home.”
Bode Chattanooga is located at 730 Chestnut St, Chattanooga, TN 37402. Learn more at bode.co.
This article is sponsored by Bode Chattanooga. All photography by Lisa Diederich Photography.