Every hard working builder/landlord/designer/blogger need a rest every so often and although the H word is banned at Moregeous Design, a London break for a friend’s wedding last weekend was just what the doctor ordered. The ceremony was at Camden Town Hall and the soon-to-be happy couple were staying at the 5-star St Pancras Renaissance, an extraordinary Victorian building built by Midland Railway under the architectural guidance of Sir George Gilbert Scott and opened in 1873 as a hotel with 300 rooms and just 5 bathrooms, oh the queues! This year, after a ten year restoration and epic renovation costing over £200m, the hotel re-opened its magnificent doors to paying guests again, albeit this time with slightly more bathrooms.
How could we resist checking into a lobby which once had taxis screeching through it, walking down a staircase where The Spice Girls zig-a-zig-ahhhed whilst the building was in its 1980’s state of disrepair and where truffle chips are de rigeur in the cavernous Booking Office bar which once housed the ticket booths?
After a smooth and very friendly check-in I discovered our room didn’t have a bath, just a large shower. I’m a bit OCD about having an actual bath in my hotel room (partly due to my boringly inevitable aching back, partly due to my addiction to Lush bath ballistics) so apologetically rang down to see if we could switch rooms. Reception couldn’t have been more helpful, with an upgrade and by moving all our stuff whilst we sat comfortably in the bar, then finding us to pass on our new room card. Just lovely. And talking of sitting comfortably in the bar…. it was was time for a martini… 4pm on a Friday, that’s about right isn’t it?! With drinks accompanied by what had to be the most delicious chips we’d ever tasted, superbly crunchy, fluffy & light inside and with the sublime, delicate taste of truffles – heaven in a tankard 🙂
We had a little wander out into St Pancras Station, past Searcy’s champagne bar full of people sipping fizz whilst waiting for their Eurostar train to Paris and had food at Carluccio’s next to the imposing, romantic bronze statue by Paul Day, The Meeting Place, in fact I was looking right up at her spectacular bottom!
Then back through the security guarded door from the station into the hotel – makes you feel rather important, that touch 😉 – for more drinks. Mr M & Duffy fell for each other and Taz & I fell into a few large glasses of red wine.
In the 90’s there was a bar in central Manchester called Mash & Air designed by Marc Newson which was became pretty much a home from home for the first couple of years after it opened, me & my friends have some brilliant memories of the place. I even have a painting I commissioned a local artist to paint a picture of the building which hangs in my office and makes me smile every time I look at it. The service was fab, the staff couldn’t do enough for you, it was amazing fun & I never ever had a bad night out there. If you got a bit ‘tired and emotional’ you knew someone would pop you in a taxi and make sure you got home ok, not that I ever did, you understand.
The best compliment I can find for the St Pancras Renaissance, apart from that the bed was THE most comfortable sink-in-and-dream bed ever, is that it reminded me of Mash. I felt comfortable there, felt like I was cared for & cared about and felt that it really honestly mattered to the staff that we enjoyed our stay. That, so rare in the hotel & service industry in general, is priceless.
As was the fact I fell asleep on the hotel pillow chocolate and woke with it all over me and that amazing bed. Oh, the shame.