I’m all for being a savvy traveller and saving money. In fact, the travel industry has evolved so much in the last decade that these days it’s not hard to travel the world on a shoestring budget and still live like a queen.
However, every now and then something comes along that’s generally worth the somewhat eye-popping price tag attached to it. Without a doubt, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, in my now hometown London, falls into this category.
Let me start by saying the hotel is quite the experience. An architectural beauty bursting with history, it was the talk of London when it opened in 1873, but closed in 1935 due to an economic downturn. Now fully restored to all its original glory, the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel has been hailed as London’s most romantic building, and it’s not hard to see why.
Step inside and you’d be forgiven for immediately forgetting you’re in London in 2016. Inside the hotel, with an air of old world glamour, it’s hard not to feel a strange sense of peace, as if all is right in the world. With ceilings so high they’re enough to send most guests into an agoraphobic shock, the hotel’s entire space is quite literally breathtaking.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel offers several options for accommodation. If you can afford it – or if you can wrangle an upgrade (good luck) to the Chambers Suites, you won’t be disappointed. Located in the original part of the hotel, the 38 Chambers Suites are beautifully restored and feature priceless views of St Pancras Station – home to London’s Eurostar terminal. The other choices range from a junior suite to The Grand Staircase Suite, which derives its name from the adjoining original 19th-century staircase, while The Royal Suite is literally fit for a queen and her party. Even if you’re not considering staying at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, it’s worth looking at these jaw-dropping photos of these suites.
Can’t splash that much cash? Don’t stress; the bedrooms in the newer Barlow Wing of the hotel are just as luxurious and well appointed, with many featuring views out over the stunning St Pancras roof – there are worse views in London to wake up to!
While the drink prices at the hotel are enough to give you a headache before the alcohol has even kicked in, I cannot recommend highly enough the breakfast at the hotel. Aptly called the Booking Office, the main restaurant at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel was the original train station’s ticket office. But don’t get too distracted by the incredible architectural details – focus on the task at hand: the food.
With a choice of à la carte or buffet, I’d opt for the buffet, which gives you access to the most mouth-watering array of options I’ve seen in a long time. Considering myself somewhat of a breakfast connoisseur, I really went to town on what would be better described as a banquet. Fresh smoothie shots, delicious strawberries and fruit, possibly the best homemade granola I’ve ever eaten, delicious pre-prepared eggs benedict, potatoes, bacon, and, if I’m being honest, more than one plate of pastries. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it. The icing on the coffee, bear with me here, was the signature chocolate logo that came out on top of my cappuccino. If that isn’t luxury I really don’t know what is. The restaurant is also open for all day dining and drinks; read the menus here.
If you’re not around for breakfast (not sure what you could possibly be doing that is more important), you can also lounge around in the lobby. Formally known as the Hansom Lounge (see lounging is encouraged here), this space used to be the cobbled driveway to the original station. The architecture alone is reason enough to enjoy this space. However, other reasons include the homemade cakes and quintessential afternoon tea.
Whether you stay at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel for a night, start your day off on a high note with the buffet breakfast, pop in for afternoon tea or stick your head in for a peek, there’s one thing you have to see. After admiring the building in all its grandeur from the entrance on Euston Road, take a left before you reach the Hansom Lounge. Here you will be met with the most beautiful staircase you’ve ever seen in your life. Yes, I realise that is a big call, and it’s one I’m prepared to make. Restored to its 1901 glory, the high-Victorian Gothic Grand Staircase alone makes it worth visiting St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. If you can, sneak up the stairs and look up at the roof.
Like something straight out of a fairytale, or more likely, a Harry Potter film, St Pancras Renaissance Hotel may be expensive, but it truly is one of a kind. It’s an experience you’ll treasure for life, making it worth parting with your pounds for this London luxury.
Have you ever been to St Pancras Renaissance Hotel? What did you think? What’s the best travel splurge you’ve ever made?
Find out more at St Pancras London.