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A Rich History of Hospitality

During the Civil War our corner of East 10th Street was home not to a hotel, but to Fort James, a large stone fort that protected Chattanoogans in those years of strife.

Decades later, during the city’s Dynamo of Dixie boom, German immigrant L.A. Hirtzfield was commissioned to design a 16-bed hotel. The Colonial Hotel opened in 1909, and later became the Stone Fort Inn, harkening back to its historical past.

Story Continued

A Rich History of Hospitality

While the name has changed over the course of a century, the brick-and-limestone structure stood through the Roaring 20s and the Great Depression, Civil Rights movements and Cultural Revolutions, hippies and disco. And, of course, Chattanooga’s struggles and successes and very own renaissance.

As the hotel has changed hands, its face has changed too, along with the furniture, décor, curtains and rugs. What has remained are the spirit and character, the charming quirks and creaky floors. Our mid-century modern reinterpretation of the space has ushered in color and life, with a touch of old Hollywood glam, to playfully mingle and contrast with its historic allure. While we’ve reimagined the old hotel, its foundation is still here, beautifully intact, and we plan to keep it that way.

Meet Our Staff

  • Seija Ojanpera

    Seija Ojanpera


    Seija is a traveler at heart, and she fulfilled a lifelong dream when she opened The Dwell Hotel in 2016. Driven by a profound appreciation for luxurious comfort and functional, beautiful design, she single-handedly reimagined one of Chattanooga's most charming and historic spaces. The result: a hotel, restaurant and cocktail bar that set a new standard for sophisticated hospitality.

    Seija has worked in the service industry, in one capacity or another, since she was 15. Her professional background spans many roles and many regions, from Costa Rica to New York to Italy. Her love of adventure is equal only to her love of Chattanooga, and she's thrilled to invest her experience and passion into this corner of the city for many years to come.

  • L'Erin Chidester

    L'Erin Chidester


    Affectionately known as the "house mom," L'Erin oversees the operations of The Dwell Hotel and is here to make your stay a memorable one. She has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, including eight years spent at the former Stone Fort Inn. L'Erin is an expert event planner and a manager in the truest sense of the word, ensuring that our staff and services exceed the expectations of every guest, every day. This place would not be the same without her love and passion for this business, and specifically this place.

  • Nick Cook

    Nick Cook


    As our Concierge & Event Manager, Nick is a friendly resource for our patrons. He is a Chattanooga native, and knows who's who and where's hot in our vibrant and growing city. Do yourself a favor and reach out. His services are complimentary, and will make your visit to Chattanooga one to remember. Get the inside scoop and make the most of your stay!

  • Hardin Wade Cowan, Jr.

    Hardin Wade Cowan, Jr.


    A native Chattanoogan with a worldly palate, Chef Hardin brings his considerable experience in the restaurant world to the diners at The Dwell Hotel. His formative culinary years were spent studying and working in New York City, after which he was ready to return to his Southern roots.
    He seeks to create food that is comfortable yet chic, in an environment that is inclusive yet stimulating. Chef Hardin is also a huge fan of the ever expanding Chattanooga food scene, contributing his time and energy to many local events and causes.

  • Nicole Jatho

    Nicole Jatho


    Though a Chattanooga transplant, Nicole has roots that run deep in our town. She is a master of the cocktail and a familiar face in our bustling food and beverage scene. Starting out as Bar Manager of Matilda Midnight, Nicole has already grown with The Dwell and she now oversees our entire food and beverage program. Solarium Café is newly established since March of 2018, and Nicole has developed and overseen the killer new menu. Come see her in action. Come be wowed by her awesomeness.

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120 E. 10th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402


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