Hotel Review: St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, King’s Cross in London
Travel writer Christopher Roser finds the Marriott St Pancras Renaissance London, one of the capitals grandest hotels, delights with its spectacular setting, history and impressive spa and restaurants.
Stepping inside the hotel set high above London’s St Pancras International station is to enter a sensory and spectacular world with one foot in the Victorian past and another in the future. One foot outside the door of the Neo-Gothic hotel bar and you are directly on the St Pancras concourse.
Perfect for an autumnal London luxury city break or as an overnight base from which to head to Paris, the St Pancras Renaissance is located in the regenerated King’s Cross area that boasts al fresco restaurants, bars and the wide open space of buzzing Granary Square.
The hotel is within easy access of Bloomsbury, Soho, the Royal Opera House, the British Museum, Covent Garden and numerous other city attractions.
Designed by the prolific George Gilbert Scott, who designed Glasgow University, the Albert Memorial and the Foreign Office, and opening in 1872, the former Midland Grand Hotel reopened as the St Pancras Renaissance after a lengthy renovation in 2011. The glorious Neo-Gothic architecture and interiors were lovingly restored.
The hotel is a riot of marble, intricate Victorian stencilling, gold leaf and dramatically carved stonework with breathtaking features such as the gorgeous, spiralling Grand Staircase with it’s extraordinary fleur-de-lis wallpaper and cathedral-like sky-blue dome painted with stars. It comes as no surprise that the hotel has been used as a setting for numerous films.
Past a noticeable security presence at the door, the casual reception is located in The Booking Office, which also hosts the hotel’s main cocktail bar. Check-in was fast, efficient and a friendly concierge was at hand to answer any questions we had. Before we were escorted to our suite we were explained the impressive facilities on offer at the hotel: several bar, four restaurants, a spa, an indoor heated pool and a gym.
The hotel has an impressive 12 categories of rooms in two different wings. Our junior suite was in the 38-room historic Chambers Wing overlooking the main concourse of the station. A long, slightly intimidating corridor brought us to the room. It was large and roomy with original features of a vaulted ceiling, fireplace gothic windows with a view over the station covered by heavy curtains that blocked out the light and the noise from the bustling exterior.
The comfortable queen sized bed comes with 300-count Egyptian cotton line sheets and is the centrepiece of the room looking onto a heavy ornate mirror and an expansive 37-inch flat-screen TV. The spacious Carrara-style marble bathroom comes with an extensive range of REN products. The deep bathtub even has a novelty rubber duck.
Alternatively the modern 207-room Barlow Wing of the hotel has interconnecting room options. The gargantuan Royal Suite has a dining area seating up to 22 guests.
Rooms in the Chambers Wing include a full breakfast and exclusive use of the Chambers Club. The private members Chambers Club is a pleasant, relaxed place to unwind. There is lots of comfortable seating and snugs. You are attended by attentive staff all day. Guests have access to a complimentary English afternoon tea, evening canapés and a pretty extensive complimentary bar.
There are four restaurants on site: The Booking Office Bar & Restaurant; Hansom Lounge, MI + ME and The Gilbert Scott Bar and Restaurant. A great place to relax with a pre-dinner cocktail is The Hansom. The Gilbert Scott Bar and Restaurant is acclaimed Michelin-starred Chef Marcus Wareing’s grand dining restaurant showcasing the finest British seasonal produce.
The autumnal menu includes punchy starters of chargrilled octopus, braised fennel and ‘Nduja ragù or duck liver parfait, black fig and toasted brioche.
Tasty reasonably priced mains include Isle of Gigha halibut, piperade and dandelion to organic Cornish lamb rump, baby beetroots, chimichurri. For special events or occasions, the Gilbert Scott’s Private Dining Room, leading off from the adjoining George’s Bar, can accommodate up to 18 guests. The Chef’s Table located at the centre of the restaurant can seat 10.
For casual dining the Booking Office has a contemporary restaurant and bar perfect for those on the move and also boasts a range of traditional English ales. The new MI + ME is situated on the concourse and serves burgers, fries, salads and milkshakes.
Located in the hotel’s former steam kitchens deep underground, the Spa is surrounded by carefully restored Moroccan-style Victorian tiles. Gothic windows let in the streams of sunlight from above. Outstanding features of this serene Spa include a eucalyptus steam bath, gym and a stunning 36-foot-long mosaiced pool.
Herbal teas and snacks are on offer. The Spa has five treatment rooms including one couple’s suite. Spa packages on offer include a ‘spa journey’ series including ‘Africa’ and ‘an English Garden’ using Aromatherapy Associates products.
Rooms from £275 per night
Address: Euston Road, Kings Cross, London,NW1 2AR
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7841 3540
Main image courtesy of Ioana Parov Photography