Hotel Review: St. Pancras Renaissance London hotel


St Pancras Renaissance External

History: Although it opened three years ago after a painstaking six-year restoration project , the St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel boasts a very rich history, having first come into existence in as the Midland Grand Hotel in 1876. Shortly after opening, the Midland Grand quickly established itself as one of London’s leading and most expensive hotels, second only to The Langham on Portland Place in room rates. It enjoyed a period of great success until after the first World War, when it became too expensive to both maintain and heat. Another contributing factor to its gradual decline was the severe deficiency in bathrooms; only five bathrooms housing a total of nine baths were available to serve the three hundred bedrooms. When the hotel was first built the fact that it had bathrooms at all was a novelty in that era’s hospitality industry, since guests relied on chamber pots to answer the call of nature. In the early 20th century, a number of significant hotel openings  en-suite bathrooms became more and more commonplace.Unfortunately, what was considered innovative at its construction turned out to be the Midland Grand’s Achilles heel :  the thickness of the hotel’s floors which made it impossible to introduce the necessary plumbing in order to bring the hotel up to the standards of its contemporary competitors. In 1935, the Midland Grand Hotel, which in its heyday had hosted notaries such as Commodore Vanderbilt – who fell so in love with the station that he brought the concept back to New York and used it as a blueprint for the design of the original Grand Central Station –  Johnnie Walker (of scotch fame) and actress Marie Lloyd, was no more.

Location: The Midland Grand hotel’s legacy was revived in 1996 following the announcement of the new international station at St. Pancras international.when London and Continental Railways decided to restore and renovate. St. Pancras International . The opening of the St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel  on the 5th of May 2011 – exactly 138 years after the Midland Grand hotel – marked the completion of the redevelopment of the regeneration of St. Pancras International Station, one of Europe’s busiest transportation hubs.

A junior suite in the Chambers building with a view of St. Pancras Int'l's platforms.

A junior suite in the Chambers building.

The royal suite

The royal suite

Rooms: The 245-room hotel consists of a historic Grade 1 listed part – St Pancras Chambers – that houses 38 elegant and spacious Victorian bedroom suites and Barlow House, the newly created 120,000 square foot extension that houses the rest of the hotel’s rooms which is also Grade 1 listed because of its connection to the main Chambers building.

Booking Office Restaurant

Booking Office Restaurant

St Pancras Spa

St Pancras Spa

The Gilbert Scott Bar & Restaurant

The Gilbert Scott Bar & Restaurant

Other facilities: This is one of the areas the hotel truly excels in. The St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel offers a wide variety of facilities and services that one would be hard-placed to find in other hotels in the city. There is the Gilbert Scott Bar & Restaurant which is run by one of Britain’s most celebrated chefs, Marcus Wareing which occupies the original entrance hall and coffee room, the Booking Office  restaurant which offers classic British fare, Chambers private club which serves complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea/evening canapes and range of drinks, a 575 capacity event hall, a Gentleman’s Tonic Express barbershop which offers the modern man a traditional barbershop experience, a luxury spa, which includes a swimming pool and 6 treatment rooms and, as the only hotel in London with authorized security clearance, a Eurostar VIP transfer service.

A concierge waits to collect guests arriving with the Eurostar as part of the hotel's Eurostar VIP transfer service.

A concierge waits to collect guests arriving with the Eurostar as part of the hotel’s Eurostar VIP service.

 

Tripadvisor rating: 81%, ranked 175 out of 1076 hotels in London.

Grand Staircase_view down 4

Luxury Travel Beat blurb: This hotel is a trainspotter’s, historian’s and pop culture buff’s wet dream: It has rooms and suites facing directly onto the tracks –  though I wouldn’t recommend these if you like myself are a light sleeper, a rich history including being the first place in Europe where women could smoke publicly,  and has been a location for films such as Batman and Batman Begins and video shoots such as The Spice Girls’ inaugural hit ‘Wannabe’, which was shot by the Grand Staircase. Even ghost hunters can catch their thrills here, as both an Edwardian gentleman and an old woman in white have been seen outside the former gentleman’s smoking room on the ground floor and on one of the first floor’s corridors respectively.

Rates at the St. Pancras Renaissance London hotel start at  £250 in Barlow House. Rates in Chambers start from £410 and can be booked at www.stpancraschamberslondon.co.uk.
Fresh off the press this spring is The Last Hurrah package which is an experience for grooms and ushers on the eve of the wedding. The package includes: breakfast & style consultation for groom & best man; Savile Row bespoke trip; exclusive hire of Gentlemen’s Tonic and
traditional wet shaves for group; 3-course steak dinner in Booking Office; overnight accommodation in Barlow Twin Rooms (for ushers) and in a Chambers Junior Suite (for the groom); and cooked breakfast & cocktails for the group in The Gilbert Scott. The experience costs £395 per person
and is based on a minimum of 6 guests plus groom. It is available to book online, a minimum of 3-months in advance, via www.stpancrasrenaissance.co.uk (see the ‘Deals & Promotions’ section). 

 

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