A derelict train station in Spain once called the ‘Titanic’ of railway stations has been reborn. It is now destined to be one of the world’s most visited 5-star hotels. When it opened in 1928, the Canfranc International station in Spain became the second largest station in Europe. With a dramatic mountainous background and a stylish beaux arts façade, it became an instant hit. Ten times bigger than St Pancras Station, it linked the French and Spanish Pyrenees with a five-mile cross-border tunnel.
With 365 windows and a 790ft platform, it looked impressive, but because the French and Spanish railway gauges were different widths, passengers had to change trains at the station. Because of this, far less traffic operated through this station. It finally closed in 1970 when a train derailment damaged a key bridge in France.
A stylish new hotel
The massive station laid in disrepair and was dubbed the ‘Titanic’ of railway stations until hotel chain Barcelo decided to renovate the building and open it as a five-star hotel.
It has recently reopened as the Canfranc Estacion, a 104-room hotel that celebrates the golden age of travel. But it also boasts a spa and indoor pool. Visitors from around the world can now enjoy a stay in this marvellously lavish building.
You enter through a grand main lobby with the rooms, bar, restaurants, spa and swimming pool situated off the lobby behind mirrored doors.
Food for thought
The food offering here is first class and you can even dine in two converted railway cars that look like the Orient Express.
Expect Michelin-style food with some of the best cuisine from both France and Spain. As well as the railway cars, you can also eat at the El Internacional restaurant.
Look out too for the beautifully designed cocktail bar. Designed in corals and blues, it boasts William Morris wallpaper.
In an homage to the station’s rich history, the bedrooms are decorated in sage green and dark blues and are very reminiscent of cabins on the Orient Express. Prices for a double room start at £149, with a junior suite costing £305 for a one-night stay B&B.
To book see Barcelo.