St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London

100% love it
Taking the Marriott into the 19th century with panache and style
After decades of anticipation and nostalgic pining, in May 2011, London finally got one of its decaying Victorian jewels restored to something akin to its original glorious gothic grandeur. Perched above St Pancras international train terminal, the Marriott-run Renaissance is the worthy reincarnation of the mid-1870s Midland Grand Hotel, designed by George Gilbert Scott (1811-78), whose CV also includes the Albert Memorial and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The gothic detail overwhelms you like few London hotels. There are 245 rooms, 20% of which fill the original Midland building in traditional style, while a newly built wing houses the remaining rooms, all decorated with a modern Marriott touch. The stylish, dark and casual in-house BOOKING OFFICE bar and restaurant — so named because of its location in the station's old booking hall — serves modern European food and also operates the adjacent and more relaxing and naturally lit HANSOM LOUNGE — a former taxi rank where afternoon tea and all-day coffee-etc is served. The bar doesn't shut until 3am. There's also a rooftop oasis serving food and drinkees. High-brow chef Marcus Waring has set up shop in the GILBERT SCOTT — a sprawling and gorgeous Victorian room serving fine dining. And a smaller bar at the front offers and excellent tea-scones-jam-and-cream deal. Outsiders can catch a glimpse of the hotel's breathtaking staircase, but its upper reaches are accessible to only hotel guests and those taking one of the weekday organised tours.