While Harry Potter’s famous platform nine-and-three-quarters is located in the adjacent King’s Cross Station, the superlative St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel has just as much fantasy about it. Built in 1873, the iconic building retains the original features of its gothic revival architecture, housing a luxury hotel ideal for international travelers, thanks to the Eurostar terminal within the train station itself. As close as you can come to staying in a castle in the heart of London, there’s no denying the tingle of nostalgia as you watch travelers come and go on the concourse from the window of your room.
Contemporary and sleek, what most rooms lack in original architectural details, they more than make up for in comfort and style. While some don’t tend to let in huge amounts of natural light, the rich colors and carpets provide a cozy environment. Some rooms come with interior windows which look out over the station concourse, which we find super-romantic.
YOU SHOULD KNOW If you’re worried about the sound of whistling trains departing right outside your window, rest assured that soundproofed windows keep things quiet.
The luxury of the bathroom tends to increase with the price of the room, which means suites, with their swirling marble goodness, are the pinnacle. Despite this, all bathrooms are well designed and feature showers and tubs.
Buttressed between red brick walls and decorative stone work, a vast atrium contains a lobby you’ll want to spend some time in. Broken up with sofas, armchairs, and rugs, the space is both welcoming and impressive.
Calling to mind an Arabian hammam, the intricate tile work in the underground lair that houses the sparkling pool is the ultimate in indulgent décor. Swim laps and gaze on all the geometric goodness.
Trains stations can bring on their fair share of stress, but you can unwind at the St. Pancras Spa, where a large selection of treatments and massages are available.
While it doesn’t do much in terms of visual stimulation, the gym has all the equipment you’ll need.
Dining options are numerous here, with four different establishments catering for all tastes. The Marcus Wareing operated Gilbert Scott Bar and Restaurant is the most exclusive, but we love the Booking Office Bar and Restaurant for its superb steak tartare, eaten in a great room with arching heritage windows that dwarf everything in it.
If you’re traveling to Paris by Eurostar, head for the upper concourse where the St. Pancras Grand Restaurant serves champagne and oysters at a long bar overlooking the trains.
Once again, either the Gilbert Scott Bar or The Booking Office are the most appealing places for a tipple, where cocktails and fine wines are the thing to order.
Ideally located for day trips out of London, the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel is equally well positioned for excursions within the city. The area has undergone significant regeneration over the past decade, witnessed in the Granary Square development and its shops, bars, and restaurants. Close to the sights of central London, the Kings Cross and St. Pancras Tube lines are on hand to whisk you to most of London’s most famous attractions within fifteen minutes.
Housed within an old Victorian warehouse, the Grain Store (10-minute walk) offers decidedly hip, high-end eating from chef Bruno Loubet. The no-bookings restaurant Dishoom (11-minute walk) is a London phenomenon, offering some of the best Bombay-inspired cuisine this side of, erm, Bombay. Order the signature dish, the house black daal, which is worth every bit of the hype.
If you like wine, you’ll love Vinoteca (5-minute walk) because it’s a cavernous bar dedicated to offering Londoners the best of it. After Champagne on the St. Pancras concourse and fine wine at Vinoteca, The Queen’s Head (8-minute walk), a cozy, traditional pub with an exceptional range of craft beer, provides a change of pace.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Bold and beautiful from the outside, the hotel is a striking monument that makes an iconic place to stay. The refined drinking and dining options match the gravitas of the classic station building, the rooms are sleek and spacious—and who could fail to fall for the platform views from their windows—and the ideal location even makes international rail travel a cinch.