COVETED Magazine has been in London developing a city guide to show you the best hotels around the city.
One of the hotels that we definitely covet is the stunning Renaissance Hotel St. Pancras, placed in the “cathedral of railways”. Once you arrive into the entrance, you can understand all the history behind that imposing building.
The story of how it came into existence is just as extraordinary. It is the tale of a true renaissance; of a national treasure that was almost reduced to rubble but that is today, once again, the pride of London.
Renaissance Hotel’s story begins in the 1860s, when the thriving Midland Railway, which connected the industrial heartlands of the East Midlands and Yorkshire with London, took the decision to construct its own line into the capital, rather than share tracks with other companies. It chose the unprepossessing district of St Pancras, on the northern side of New Road (later Euston Road) as the site for its new terminus.
For the station building, which would be erected around William Barlow’s spectacular single-span trainshed structure, the Midland selected the designs of George Gilbert Scott, the prominent ecclesiastical architect who had recently picked up the commission from Victoria to create the memorial in Hyde Park to her late husband, Prince Albert.
Barlow’s plans included a large luxury hotel that would extend the St Pancras frontage westwards along Euston Road. Scott’s designs made the most of this huge canvas. Drawing inspiration from Sir Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin’s Gothic Revival Palace of Westminster.
He envisaged a building that was as imposing and ornate as the Palace, but strongly influenced by the softer, more colourful Venetian Gothic, championed by the noted critic, John Ruskin. Scott, in the face of criticism, held that he was creating a new style entirely rather than reviving one, maintaining that his designs ‘performed loyally and willingly to the habits of the age’.
He promised his client a station that would eclipse every other terminus in the city and he actually made a stunning, timeless and one of the best hotel’s architecture COVETED have ever seen so far.
Having witnessed the inventive use of brickwork on his European travels, Scott was eager to make red brick the signature material in his new creation – red brick whose manufacture in the Midlands was creating new wealth in the region.
In the Dining and Coffee Room (now The Gilbert Scott Restaurant), pillars of polished limestone lined the walls, their golded capitals carved with conkers, pea pods and bursting pomegranates.
The Signature Suites
St Pancras Chambers comprises thirty-eight suites. While every room showcases a perfect execution of contemporary style with Victorian features, transporting guests to a bygone era, the signature 6 are truly unique:
The Haywood Suite The Haywood Suite offers a thoroughly contemporary take on its Victorian surroundings with a strikingly elegant interior. The suite is named after James Haywood, the pioneering engineer who designed the glass roof canopy of the Lobby and Hansom Hall. The sumptuous bedroom is interconnected with a wonderfully atmospheric living room with the ability to link through to additional bedrooms, if required.
The Sir George Gilbert Scott Suite The design and heritage of Sir George Gilbert Scott Suite is completely unique. The living room of the suite is the only room in the hotel that is exact to its Victorian design. Every aspect, from the ceiling, the floorboards, the wallpaper through to the mirror, have all been restored to their 19th Century splendour. Furniture pieces, such as the dining table that seats eight, have been chosen to be perfectly in keeping with the historic surroundings.
The Sir John Betjeman Suite As the saviour of St Pancras Chambers, it is only fitting that a signature suite should be named in his honour: Sir John Betjeman Suite. With floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, including the beautiful oriel window, the suite is engulfed in natural daylight, highlighting the stunning original cornicing and other Victorian design features. The suite is completed by a bathroom with stand-alone bath framed by another feature window.
The Queen Victoria Suite Generously proportioned and sumptuously designed, the two-bedroom Queen Victoria Suite is an excellent option for guests with children or parties of friends. A beautifully appointed living space offers a dining area as well as a kitchen and guest bathroom.
The Grand Staircase Suite The Grand Staircase Suite is truly unique and features an original staircase dating back to the 19th Century that glides up through three levels. The suite comprises the bedroom and the most luxuriously spacious en-suite bathroom with a wetroom and bath. Leading up from the bedroom is a living room and reading area on the two consecutive floors above.
The Royal Suite The Royal Suite, located on the exclusive second floor of the hotel, is a breathtakingly opulent space occupying 248m² (2,668ft²). The area, previously the original hotel’s Venetian Ballroom, has been masterfully designed to accommodate two deluxe bedrooms (one double, one twin), as well as the glorious master bedroom which features a walk-in wardrobe and roll-top bath. The Royal Suite also offers a guest bathroom, kitchen and an exceptionally atmospheric living and dining area that can host seated dinners for up to twenty-two guests.
Films / TV that were shot in the hotel include:
The Servant (1963)
The Secret Garden (1993)
Gulliver’s Travels (1996)
102 Dalmatians (2000)
The Fourth Angel (2001)
Bridget Jones Diary (2001)
From Hell (2001)
Nicholas Nickleby (2002)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Batman Begins (2005)
The Other Man (2008)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)