Vacation Rentals Versus Hotels

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Vacation Rentals Versus Hotels

I am writing this while staying in a hotel in downtown Boise, ID (great city by the way) where I can take the elevator down a couple floors to get a massage at the spa, swim in the lap pool, or have a beverage at the lobby bar. Many Chattanooga hotels are no different. Hotels can offer some amazing on-site luxuries and conveniences. This is not usually the case with vacation rental homes. While we are working on partnerships with some amazing folks to offer our guests in-house massages and chef-prepared meals, our vacation homes do not have spas, pools, or bars. Our amenities are more the put your feet up on the deck and watch the world go by kind of experiences.


We at Chattanooga Vacation Rentals are available to you to solve any issues, but the response can be a bit slower than you find in a hotel. The hotel staff is in the hotel. On location. The vacation rental manager is not on location (whew, aren’t you glad about that! Privacy!) so it may take a bit longer to help solve a problem. You can order a fresh towel from a hotel and five minutes later it will be at the door. At a vacation home, there are not fresh towels daily and not a daily cleaning service. There is a washer and dryer at most locations and you can call for any bigger needs that arise.

We do love to make recommendations about the area and we reach out to let guests know about events going on in town. We are local and we love the area and we know the area. We want to help. Our staff is your on-the-phone concierge.


Hotels are generally in a centralized location that make getting around easy. Homes are found throughout the area. I’ve heard it akin to living like a local. Getting a taste of what it feels like to live in the area without the added responsibility of “real life”. That can mean a bit of an extra drive to the aquarium or museum. If you want to be next to or above the restaurant, a hotel will generally fit the bill. If you want to be in the woods, or on the mountain, or on the river you can choose a home. That is not to say that we don’t have homes in town. We do. There are various locations to suit the guest. The question is what do you want to be near. Do you want city or country? Views? Privacy?

The Space

It is a room versus a house. While traveling alone, I tend to stay at hotels. It is easy to find a hotel name that I recognize and its spot on a map. With family or friends, the vacation home, or “Airbnb” (the Qtip or Kleenex of the short term vacation home world) that works best. We want a kitchen and bedrooms and a den/living room. We certainly don’t cook every night. We’re on vacation for Pete’s sake! But, the nights we sit on the deck and have a communal meal are nights that the hotel does not compare.

Hotels have amazing common spaces, as I mentioned earlier. But it is YOUR space in a vacation home. It is your common space that you share only with the folks you are with. The deck on the edge of a mountain or the kitchen where you have some wine with friends while making a meal, are yours alone. Being in a home is unique and, true, it has its quirks. The dishwasher may need an extra push to close, or you’re in a wooded area where the occasional spider makes its appearance. If you want a place that is without these idiosyncrasies, a hotel is probably more to your liking.


The average room rate for a downtown Chattanooga, three to four star hotel on a Friday night in November is $210. You should also consider the cost of parking and eating out for all of your meals. Staying in a hotel adds up. In a vacation home, that kitchen I keep talking about is stocked with kitchenware and has the space to cook meals when you choose to stay home. If you want a slow morning, you can make some coffee and breakfast and find your space on the deck or the couch or in the hot tub – no getting ready to go out needed.

I’ve been lucky enough to stay at some great hotels and some amazing vacation homes. While I love to take the elevator down to the lobby to grab myself a coffee and scone from the coffee purveyor and I smile and nod at all of the other guests before heading back up to my room, it is the homes that really hold the memories for me. The beach trips where my dad would stand on the porch of the house and ring a bell to let the beach goers know that the lunch spread of fresh sliced tomatoes, corn on the cob and barbecue was waiting for us. The condo for my college graduation or the cabin for my son’s first ski trip. Being able to sit around a table or in the den on couches with my friends and family laughing or just watching a movie. That’s what pictures I hold in my mind.