Hotel Cleo Now Welcomes Guests on Gay Street

January 3, 2024

Again demonstrating that projects are sometimes worth the wait, the long anticipated (announced here in October 2021) Hotel Cleo opened its doors in the last hours of 2023. Announced a full two years, two months ago, it has been rumored to be elegant and beautiful, but had remained largely unseen until December. I took a walk around the new hotel with HD Patel, CEO of Ephant Group. Jim Turner, and Oliver Smith are the majority owners of the hotel.

The photos you see here, mostly provided by the hotel, show what I would find less possible to explain adequately. The hotel truly is beautiful and unique in the Knoxville market. The large rooms, many with private seating areas separated from the bedroom, feel more like a small, elegant apartment in the city than like a hotel. Care has been taken to blend the antiques and commissioned pieces with the feel and look of the old brick in the 1898 Hope Brothers Building. It’s easy to imagine the hotel always inhabiting the space which, in fact, remained empty for decades and well after downtown’s resurgence.