Once buzzing travel hubs, train stations have witnessed a decline in their traditional role. With creativity at the forefront, many of them have been repurposed into impressive hotels — and below are some of our favorites.
Canfranc Estación, a Royal Hideaway Hotel (Canfranc, Spain)
Located in the Aragonese Pyrenees Mountains on the border of France and Spain, this train station bears historical roots: In WWII, it served as a transport point for those seeking to escape Nazi-occupied Europe. Abandoned in 1970, it reopened this year as a five-star hotel. A refurbished palatial beaux arts-style building with 104 rooms. From common spaces to accommodations, a stay here feels equanimous to a scenic, luxe train ride: rooms are redolent of the Orient Express, with aquamarine glass tables that pay homage to the Pyrenees’ lakes, alongside sage-green and midnight-blue headboards resembling the fabric of an upscale railway car.
Crawford Hotel (Denver, CO)
The Crawford Hotel sits on top of the iconic Denver Union Station. Dubbed “Denver’s Living Room,” the hotel takes on a French “Beaux Arts-style facade,” supplemented with extraordinary elements of original Greek and Roman architecture. Tall ceilings and ornate chandeliers characterize the edifice’s grandeur. Room walls wear Colorado-based artwork, displaying silhouettes that contrast against a Western-tinged background. This historic center houses not only the Crawford Hotel but also places to dine and shop.
Tokyo Station Hotel (Tokyo, Japan)
The Tokyo Station Hotel is the only hotel on the list that connects to a working train station. Overlooking the Imperial Palace, the building encapsulates a European aesthetic that testifies to Tokyo’s former epochal praise for Western-style architecture. Guestrooms have classic European decor, high-vaulted ceilings, and windows encircling the station’s cupola domes.
The Union Station Nashville Yards (Nashville, TN)
Situated in the heart of Nashville, The Union Station at Nashville Yards is the perfect place to discover the city’s vibrant culture. This gothic-style station has preserved its stunning allure, flaunting 65-foot-tall vaulted stained glass ceilings embellished with impressive chandeliers. Commissioned art by Tennessee artists decorates the walls of the lobby and the rooms,
Kruger Shalati (South Africa)
Set upon a historic railway bridge with an unparalleled vantage point over the Sabie River, Kruger Shalati is a unique hotel offering an unmatched design: It has 31 rooms, consisting of 24 Train Carriage Suites and seven Bridge House Suites suspended over the resident river. Inside the train, floor-to-ceiling windows grace all sides, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the stunning natural surroundings from anywhere. One of the hotel’s key attractions is its deck, where an overhanging pool invites guests to relax while observing the wildlife along the riverbank below. This setting delivers luxury and comfort as well as an immersive experience in nature’s embrace.
The Hotel Chalet (Chattanooga, TN)
Formerly known as Hotel Choo Choo, The Hotel Chalet is a luxury hotel between the Tennessee River and the Appalachian Mountains in Chattanooga. The hotel offers a unique way to lodge: beautifully restored sleeper cars and suites housed within train carriages. The rooms reflect the charm of vintage train travel while still offering modern comforts. The hotel’s culture encourages guests to foster a spirit of adventure, which is evident in its array of excursions designed to explore the outdoors of its surroundings.
Central Station Hotel (Memphis, TN)
Beside the Mississippi River lies the Central Station Hotel. Located in the former Memphis Central Station, this building has morphed into a boutique hotel that pays homage to the golden age of rail travel. The lobby emulates early 20th-century charm, featuring velvet furniture and brass accents. The rooms are modern and include artwork that narrates stories of where the train historically stopped, from Chicago to Memphis and New Orleans. Musical touches adorn the hotel, with a daily curated playlist for guests and a wall made of speakers.
St. Louis Union Station Hotel (St. Louis, MO)
St. Louis Union Station Hotel, a former bustling train station dating back to the late 1800s, has been reborn into an impressive hotel. This 539-room boutique hotel (yes, it’s on the bigger side, but we promise it feels boutique) preserves the original Romanesque architecture of the erstwhile station, featuring glazed terracotta bricks and stained glass windows. The hotel blends the historical station’s blueprint with midcentury-style rooms. Beyond lodging, Union Station boasts exceptional attractions, including a Ferris wheel, an aquarium, and a mall.