A Worldly History 3


In May of 1984, Ronald Reagan stood behind a podium, a mass of balloons his colorful backdrop, and welcomed crowds to the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. The international event hosted participants from 22 countries and attracted over 11 million visitors during its six-month run. The city, steeped in Southern hospitality and outdoor beauty, has since awaited a more abiding attraction to draw visitors.

With the recent addition of THE TENNESSEAN Hotel, which sits on the grounds of the former World’s Fair, it feels like Knoxville has come full circle. The first of its kind, THE TENNESSEAN promises a personal luxury experience when guests stay in any of its 82 rooms. The elegant decor is complemented by a list of world-class amenities, including tailored concierge services, a personal butler, and products from the leading UK brand Molton Brown.

“I am a Knoxville native, and I wanted to bring a special kind of hotel to our city,” says Nicholas Cazana, THE TENNESSEAN Hotel innkeeper.

The hotel is a celebration of Tennessee and its third largest city, Knoxville. “In our design process, we wanted to pay homage to the history of our city by incorporating elements of East Tennessee,” Cazana says.

The Tennessee River is a major theme that travels and bends its way throughout the hotel’s rooms and lobbies: the plush carpeting reflects the rippling river water, while large-scale maps detail the blue river’s journeyed path. A particularly beautiful representation can be found in one of the lobby’s bookshelves, where the books are arranged so that their spines bring to life the varicose ramblings of the river.

“Local project designer and architect McCarty Holsaple McCarty, Inc. also helped bring our vision of incorporating the state throughout the hotel to be a genuine representation of our name,” Cazana adds.

Even the most simple of design elements in the hotel’s luxurious rooms are a tribute to this side of Tennessee. “When faced with the decision of how to source the furniture, I decided to have the pieces made locally with Hackney Furniture to support our state’s economy and to ensure a piece of Tennessee was integrated into every room,” Cazana says.

It’s not just the decor that’s homegrown. At The Drawing Room, the fare is local, seasonal, and threaded with Knoxvillian influences. Harkening back to an era when visitors were greeted with grace and cordiality, this upscale space promises sophisticated Southern comfort by way of the fare and craft cocktails. The Drawing Room also offers Knoxville’s largest selection of Tennessee small batch whiskey, a true local tradition.

As Knoxville continues to define itself as a destination, the hotel helps enhance the city’s reputation, giving overnight guests a more authentic stay with a personal luxury flair. Many locals and city officials are hopeful that THE TENNESSEAN will become a draw for outdoor enthusiasts and foodies, visiting fans of the Tennessee Volunteers, and convention center attendees, which is connected to the hotel by a covered walkway.

“There has never been anything like this before in East Tennessee,” Cazana says. “The hotel has attracted new visitors and boosted tourism to our city, while also giving locals a nice place to have small plates and drinks or even take a staycation for the weekend.” Laced with local flare, THE TENNESSEAN is a tribute to the history of Knoxville and a promise of its future.