Content and Editorial Director
The idea of sleeping in a train station might not sound appealing. But did you know that there are stunning stations across the country where you can spend the night in absolute luxury? These opulent stations have been converted into upscale hotels. And in some of them, you can even stay in a swanky sleeper car.
The Chattanooga Choo Choo, Chattanooga, Tennessee
This gorgeous station, designed in the Beaux-Arts style, was saved from the wrecking ball in 1973 by a group of local businesspeople who were inspired by the song "Chattanooga Choo Choo." Almost half a century later, the Choo Choo is still chugging along, providing travelers with beautiful and comfortable accommodations in unique rail cars and traditional hotel rooms. Recently acquired by Life House Hotels, the property is set to debut a new look soon, with a wine bar, 40-seat cinema, a recording studio and revamped suites inside their historic Pullman train cars.
St. Louis Union Station Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri
This National Historic Landmark has almost 600 rooms and suites, but still retains the elegance and luxury of a bygone era. The stately Headhouse Grand Hall lobby is an awe-inspiring ode to Americana, with a contemporary twist. Features include a sweeping archway (The Whispering Arch), gold leaf and fresco designs, mosaic pieces, stained glass windows and a 65-foot-tall domed ceiling. In 2019, two new attractions joined the hotel at the station. The 200-foot-tall Wheel, an observation wheel with 42 climate-controlled gondolas, and an aquarium that is packed to the gills with 13,000 animals. Some of the hotel rooms even overlook the massive aquarium.
Union Station Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee
Prepare to fall in love the second you enter this stunning property. Nashville’s 19th century Neo-Romanesque train station has an atrium lobby with a 65-foot barrel-vaulted ceiling made of stained glass, bas-relief angels and gold medallions, There’s even a turn-of-the-century arrivals board behind the check-in desk. This 125-room hotel with lavish rooms and suites is located in downtown Nashville (aka Music City, USA).
Central Station Hotel, Memphis, Tennessee
In the heart of the thriving South Main district, with some rooms overlooking the Mississippi River, the old-school vibe of this property is the epitome of cool. The station, built in 1914, has been meticulously converted into a music-oriented 123-room hotel. Guests can listen to a daily curated playlist on the EgglestonWorks speakers, available in every guest room and handmade in Memphis. Soaring 12-foot ceilings and oversized windows in the guest rooms hint at the building’s former life, as do the original neon signage in the lobby, the arrival and departure letter board in the grand ballroom and the waiting-room pews that sit at the entrance of Bishop, the hotel’s brasserie.
Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown Union Station, Indianapolis, Indiana
This three-story hotel located in the historic train shed of Indianapolis’ Union Station, done in Romanesque Revival style, was built on top of the station’s first eight tracks. Only three tracks are still operating today. It offers 273 rooms and the opportunity to spend the night in one of 26 authentic Pullman train car sleepers from the 1920s. The sleepers are on the hotel’s second floor, making it one of the only hotels in the world that houses train cars inside its physical structure.
Central Station Hotel, Scranton, Pennsylvania
Something elegant in Scranton? That Scranton? You bet. Originally built as an opulent French Renaissance-style train station in 1908, the pride of Scranton and one of the country’s most beautiful terminals was converted into a 146-room hotel in 1983. Fortunately, many of the historic building’s glamorous design elements were kept, including mosaic tile floors, the exterior eight-foot-tall bronze clock, a Tiffany stained glass ceiling, rare Siena marble walls and 36 Grueby Faience tile-panel murals depicting bucolic landscapes.
The Crawford Hotel, Denver, Colorado
The Denver Union Station, originally built in 1881, underwent a $54-million renovation in 2014. Included in the renovation was the creation of The Crawford Hotel, a 112-room property located above the still-operating station. Many of the hotel rooms were repurposed from existing structures and feature historic design elements. For example, the third-floor rooms were previously offices, and old safes are built into many of the walls. Rooms on the fourth floor occupy attic spaces, so they come with exposed bricks and massive wood beams. The station’s Great Hall serves as the public lobby of the hotel, and has 2,300 plaster columbines (Colorado’s state flower) and 1,200-pound chandeliers, which are recreations of the originals from a century ago.
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