About Us

Dahlonega: a Cherokee word meaning "golden"

The Dahlonega Square Hotel & Villas are the golden dreams of Johnny Ariemma and his family. When the entrepreneur and his wife, Catherine, moved their then young family to Dahlonega, Georgia in 1996, they dreamed their daughters, Sarah Beth and Caroline, would grow up in a loving southern town founded upon solid principles and faith. Dahlonega became that place. 


Ariemma restored his first villa, The Historic Dahlonega Square Villa (ca 1880) on South Park Street in 2007. Due to the overwhelmingly positive success of the original villa, he built two villas on Choice Avenue in 2010. In 2012, he added two more villas on Choice Avenue, for a total of five villas. In 2013, Johnny and Catherine purchased the old McGuire House, which had been vacant for seven years. Johnny's vision was a small boutique hotel with a Victorian lobby to compliment the 1880 house. The Dahlonega Square Hotel officially opened in February 2014.

The last property the Ariemma's restored is The 1888 House, known to many in Dahlonega as the Higgins House for the last owners of the home.  This property took a year and a half to restore is now Dahlonega's premier events venue.


Oldest daughter, Sarah Beth, a 2012 graduate of Georgia College, was instrumental in helping to get the villas finished and The Dahlonega Square Hotel up and running.  Youngest daughter, Caroline, graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Communication degree with a concentration in Public Relations in 2013 and came to work in the family business in 2014, as Sarah Beth headed to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue her writing passion. Caroline manages the properties that became a reality because of such a need for quality hotels and event spaces in this charming vacation and wedding destination town.  In 2014, Catherine Ariemma who oversees the team at DSH, joined the family business after retiring from Lumpkin County High School where she taught social studies.


Maria Sonora joined the team in 2015 as head of housekeeping and is invaluable! She oversees all aspects of housekeeping and is assisted by Maria Bazan, who joined our team in 2018 and by Jessica Ramirez, who joined us in late 2020. In 2016, Sarah Beth returned to the team and heads up hospitality and coordinates events at The 1888 House. January 2019, Ginna Bennett joined the team. Ginna received her bachelors degree from The University of Tennessee at Martin. Ginna is our resident artist and coordinates our Paint 'n Sips, Paint 'n Tea, and our most recent events - Wine and Cookie Decorating -  held at DSH and at The 1888 House. In 2018 we added Kaya Wines to our DSH Wine Tasting Room.  Ginna is our Tasting Room Manager.  Liz McClain joined our team in January 2020.  She is a graduate of the University of North Georgia and hails from Waycross, Georgia.  In addition to assisting with events at The 1888 House, Liz, is also invaluable in the office and tasting room.

In 2015, Katelyn Copeland, a graduate of Truett McConnell College with a degree in Marketing, joined the team as the business' marketing coordinator and was tasked with developing DSH Transportation. Kate purchased DSH Transportation in December 2019. Her business is thriving and we are proud to continue to offer transportation services via our website to hers.


And then there is Pip, our hotel cat!


Owners, Catherine and Johnny Ariemma

Maria Sonora, Head of housekeeping.

Left to right: Kate Copeland, Caroline Werkheiser, Sarah Beth Wright


Ginna Bennett

Meet Pip!


 Pip is our loving hotel cat. He is a stray who had been abandoned and who "adopted" us in 2016. If you sit on the porch he will happily sit on your lap, if you like. **Pip does not come into the hotel.  He has his own heated condo and is fed twice a day.  He loves his guests!

Liz McClain