Hotel Francés El Ferrocarril

This hotel was located next to or in front of the Paradero de Sabanilla (Sabanilla Terminal, currently Calzada de Tirry), covering numbers 38 and 40, and later extended to 36, 42, and 44.

The first reference to this hotel dates back to 1861 and, on January 7, 1863, La Aurora del Yumurí announced the opening of a hotel, property of Mrs. Hipolita Durant, called El Ferrocarril, across the street from the Havana and Matanzas way stations.

The only information, good or bad, about the quality of its services was offered by Samuel Hazard, an American traveler who visited the city in 1868: “[…] It is rather good in what has to do with rooms and meals, but it is placed in a bad spot, in a dusty street facing the station and with a machine repair shop two doors away; to this we must add that it is situated in the new and low part of the city, far from the Main Square, the Promenade, the Theater and so on […].”

Recently arrived in Matanzas, misled by the owner who coaxed him, yet guided by his trust in French restaurants, Hazard went to the hotel. However, disenchanted, he left for the Leon de Oro.

Regardless of the diversity of views, rise or decline in business, personalities or personages, they all convey a favorable or unfavorable image of hotels, depending on the times.

After closing for a short period, the hotel reopened its doors around July 1st to July 12th, 1896, and was considered antique and famous, popular and superb.

Its owners, Alvarez and Cia-Industriales, decided to keep the name their predecessors had so adequately given it, and by the end of the 1896, they celebrated Christmas marking an event which favored the facility from the very beginning: the inauguration of the bridge currently known as Calixto Garcia, which facilitated the passage of the population to the hotel.

Once in the twentieth century, 1905 starts with a new owner, Jose Alegret, and a new business competitor, the Hotel Paris, located next to it and on the same street. This development sealed its lot. By 1913, it was operating as a café-restaurant and inn.

The building is still in use, currently a family dwelling. Due to the multiple modifications, it is not feasible to study its ground plan and although we cannot affirm that it was built for a hotel, it is very possibly it was.

Both in the directories and in the press it generally appears with the name Francés. Today it maintains, on its façade, the iron elements that supported the sign announcing or identifying the hotel.