Canfranc Station Reborn as Five-Star Royal Hideaway Hotel
The historic Canfranc Station in Spain, once an opulent rail hub and attended by both the King of Spain and the President of the French Republic, has been reborn as the five-star Royal Hideaway Hotel. With 104 rooms, a wellness spa, and a convention centre, the hotel transformation has been met with enthusiasm by locals and is now a top destination for railway and history buffs.
Architect Thomas O’Hare, who first stumbled across the abandoned rail hub a couple of years ago and vowed to return upon completion, is now on vacation with his family at the hotel. He describes the exterior to CNN Travel as “very grand and certainly gives the impression of travel from a different time.” O’Hare and his family are spending their days skiing in Candanchu, one of the oldest ski resorts in Spain, which neighbors the hotel.
Due to its border position between France and Spain, ownership of Canfranc Station was originally shared between the two countries. The Barcelo Hotel Group collaborated with the local Aragon government in Spain on the hotel regeneration process, and the hotel is now owned by the government.
Canfranc Station is being renewed in order to honor its past, while at the same time opening a new era for the station and the surrounding area. Hotel manager María Bellosta tells CNN Travel that “special attention has been paid to every detail” of the regeneration project in order to avoid “losing an iota of its personality and enormous legacy.”
ILMIODESIGN, a design studio based in Madrid, created the interior design of the hotel to evoke the 1920s through its fabric, decor, and staff uniforms. It also includes specific nods to the historical, cultural and social heritage of Canfranc Station.
The hotel is a reminder of the station's legacy, with Ramón Javier Campo Fraile, writer behind the project heraldo.es/canfranc, telling CNN Travel in 2017 that “in the first years of the world war, from 1940 to 1942, thousands of Jews fled by train from Canfranc to Lisbon and the United States” and that “the Germans controlled the traffic of gold [and tungsten] and they also lowered the French flag.
0. “Abandoned train station transformed into spectacular hotel” erienewsnow.com, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.erienewsnow.com/story/48394211/abandoned-train-station-transformed-into-spectacular-hotel
1. “Abandoned train station transformed into spectacular hotel” CNN, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/canfranc-station-hotel-opens/index.html