My friend said come on over, I have a suite at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London – and this is the decider phrase – in the old wing. Well, I needed no further encouragement and quickly packed a bag and sped off towards this amazing property saved for the nation by Sir John Betjeman, bless his heart.
Being a suite guest meant unlimited access to the old wing to explore on your own, at your leisure and this is just what we did. There are 38 suites at the property, the Victorian decoration of Sir George Gilbert Scott lovingly restored and married with contemporary furnishings. It was everything I hoped it would be and more.
The building was saved by Sir John at the eleventh hour after he had led a public campaign to halt its destruction in the 1960’s when buildings of this size and extravagance was deemed outmoded and surplus to requirements.
With a Grade 1 listing granted in 1967, its immediate future was secured but it needed a knight in shining armour to restore it.
It was when the station was named as the new terminus for the Eurostar service that its future became brighter and that knight appeared in the form of the Manhattan Loft Corporation in the mid-1990’s.
The owning company’s courage in taking on this building is to be applauded as it took over a decade and hundreds of specialist craftsmen from all over the world, with English Heritage and latterly Marriott International, to overturn 70 years of neglect and realise this restoration in all its Venetian gothic glory.
This is where Harry Potter flew across the front of the building in his car in the Chamber of Secrets and where the Spice Girls filmed their first video Wannabe. Even Batman booked in! So if it’s good enough for them, why not come here and stay the night to experience this hotel for yourself or simply book in for a historical tour at just GBP20 per person?
Double rooms start at around GBP250 per night with a junior suite starting at GBP525 with access to the amazing club lounge The Chambers. Rates are subject to change. To book a historical tour, call +44 (0) 208241 6921. Group sizes are up to a maximum 15 people.Contributor & photographer: Sue Lowry
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