About St. Louis, St. Louis Union Station

Union Station Recognized by Architectural Digest as “Spectacular Train Station Hotel”

Photo: Debbie Franke/Hilton Hotels & Resorts

When the transcontinental railroad system first opened in 1869, there was nothing quite like it. Connecting America’s West Coast to the eastern seaboard, the monumental tracks ushered in a golden age of railroads. Over 150 years later, train stations turned into hotels keep this spirit of exploration alive. Though cars and planes have aged society out of the generalized need for trains, the infrastructure for these rail cars remains a stunning human creation. With many built between 1880 and 1920, the stations prominently display many of the more intricate and ornamental aesthetics of the era, like Greek and Roman revival, Art Deco, and French Renaissance. And by transforming these incredible structures into hotels, not only is a building saved from demolition or abandonment, but the beauty and vibrancy of a bygone era is preserved. Here, AD visits six stunning train stations turned into hotels that showcase the lasting impact of reimagining and reusing.

Photo: JJ Withers/Getty Images

The Crawford Hotel (Denver)

Denver Union Station is known locally as Denver’s living room, which makes it easier to proclaim The Crawford Hotel, located just above, as the city’s bedroom. The original Denver Union Station opened in 1881 and at the time was the largest building in the West. The original structure was demolished in the early 20th century, and a beaux arts station was built in its place where the hotel currently stands. The Crawford is named after Dana Crawford, a member of the Union Station Alliance, who was instrumental in revitalizing the building in the early 2000s. Book now.

Photo: Debbie Franke/Hilton Hotels & Resorts

St. Louis Union Station Hotel (St. Louis)

Conveniently located in downtown, the St. Louis Union Station Hotel sits within the city’s old union station. Designed by German-born architect Theodore Link, the Romanesque revival building first opened in 1894 and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970. Though it closed as a railroad station in 1978, it was reimagined into a mixed-use complex by HOK and reopened in 1985. Now it encompasses a 539-room luxury hotel, which is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection; among its many standout features is the 65-foot barrel vaulted ceiling in the Grand Hall. Book now.

Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The Union Station Nashville Yards, Autograph Collection (Nashville)

Located in a central part of the country, the historic Union Station in Nashville was once an epicenter of cross-country travel. Today, the Gothic-inspired building houses a boutique hotel just a little over a mile north of the iconic Music Row. Inside, guests are transported back in time through many retained architectural and aesthetic details including a 70-foot barrel vaulted lobby ceiling, 100-year-old stained glass, and gold ceiling medallions. Book now.

Photo: Manolo Yllera

Canfranc Estación, a Royal Hideaway Hotel (Canfranc, Spain)

After being left abandoned for years, Canfranc Estación, which sits in the Aragon valley, reopened as a luxury hotel at the start of 2023. Though technically in Spain, the station is near the French border, which prompted both the king of Spain and the president of the French Republic to attend the inauguration ceremony when the building first opened as a train station in 1928. Originally designed by ​​Fernando Ramirez de Dampierre, even before its hospitality transformation, the building was popular among photographers and other tourists eager to peek at the abandoned masterpiece. Book now.

Photo: IHG Hotels & Resorts

Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown Union Station (Indianapolis)

As the world’s first planned Union Station, Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown Union Station honors its pedigree through a very literal interpretation. Here, guests have the opportunity to forgo traditional hotel rooms and sleep in old Pullman train cars. And since operating trains still pass through the station, the slight hum of wheels on tracks make the experience that much more authentic. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and features many stunning elements including original terrazzo floors and over 3,000 square feet of stained glass on the ceiling. Book now.

Photo: Ryan Stoney, courtesy of Radisson Hotels

Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Scranton (Scranton)

Perhaps best recognized as the location of the fictional Dunder Mifflin in The Office, the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel proves there’s more to the city than just a pop culture reference. Set in a 1908 French Renaissance–style train station, the hotel spans over 23,000 square feet, holds 146 rooms, and welcomes guests with stunning marble columns and a Tiffany glass skylight in the atrium lobby.

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