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This is my favourite hotel ever and I still have not stayed in it yet. I am saving it for a special day. This is one of the most beautiful hotels I have been in, and I have stayed in a lot ! But I have been wanted to do this tour for some time. And it was brilliant. I was so lucky that the day I did the tour I was the only one there – so I had a personal tour and it was amazing. Chris the guide had some much information and it was well worth the money.
The building was built in 1868 designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and opened as ‘The Midland Grand’. It opened in May 1873 and Scott himself remarked that the hotel was “almost too good for its purpose”. Sadly, by the 1920’s the hotel had lost its sparkle and by 1935, it had closed its doors and shut. During raids in World War II, the hotel was bombed three times within a month, but survived unscathed. After the war, St Pancras Chambers (as it was now known) was used as offices by British Rail and its hospitality business, British Transport Hotels. The biggest threat to the building was in the 1960’s when city planners wanted to abolish it. Sir John Betjeman called the plan to demolish St Pancras “a criminal folly”. He was successful in securing for it a Grade 1 listing in 1967, thereby ensuring its preservation. British Rail eventually abandoned the building in 1985, and it stood empty and neglected for almost 20 years. In the mid 1990’s St Pancras stations was chosen as the new terminal for the Eurostar.
Planning permission was granted in 2004 for the building to be redeveloped into a new hotel. The main public rooms of the old Midland Grand were restored, along with some of the bedrooms. In order to cater for the more modern expectations of guests, a new bedroom wing was constructed on the western side of the Barlow train-shed. As redeveloped the hotel contains 244 bedrooms, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, a health and leisure centre, a ballroom, and 20 meeting and function rooms. At the same time, the upper floors of the original building were redeveloped as 68 apartments by the Manhattan Loft Corporation and sold on the private market. The St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel opened on 14 March 2011 to guests; however, the formal Grand Opening was on 5 May – exactly 138 years after its original opening in 1873.
The tour lasted for just an hour and I was shown round most of the public areas of the hotel. Chris was a wealth of knowledge and he had answers for every question I had.
What I liked is that they managed to keep so many features from the original hotel. This is a non working original radiator from 1873.
And they still have the original tiles – it is such a beautiful building.
The room that I got to see was the Grand Staircase Suite.
The Grand Staircase Suite, featuring one of the hotel’s original staircases rising up through the split-level rooms, is a total unique experience. This room costs over £900 a night but is totally unique. I do not think my budget will stretch to this. I really can not wait to book this hotel. I have a date in mind and its going to be amazing !