History, romance and art were the perfect cultural ingredients for a careertraveller city of London adventure. Approaching this architectural masterpiece from Kings Cross St Pancras station was enough to captivate the children, who thought they were visiting a “royal museum!”
Entering the grand lobby, an eclectic fashionable mix of glamour, business and leisure within a railway station was enough to wet my “Tintin-like” thirst for travel and adventure with an extraordinary classical and contemporary twist.
Luxurious seating and tasteful Christmas décor encompassed a rainbow assortment of “ Alice in Wonderland” patisserie delights, which artistically displayed, echoed hints of Lewis Carroll’s “Mad Hatter Tea Party”. Sensational!
Encapsulated in a stylish station of eighteenth century Butterley ironwork, Edward Gripper bricks of Nottingham and original tall glass ceiling, we began to unravel the Renaissance story. Buzzing with activity this hotel provided us with a historical playground from which to indulge and appreciate 5 star hospitality of an intriguingly discrete nature.
Momentarily suppressing my Tintin urge to explore gave us time to flirt playfully with the exquisitely fresh and child friendly pastries with intense gusto. Delectable!
Fuelled with cake and notably freshly squeezed juice and caffeine of a detectable refined Arabica bean, we began our historical tour of Renaissance with hotel historian Royden Stock, an impressively informal and entertaining tour guide.
Gothic archways and the most strikingly majestic staircase, lit by cathedral – like cast iron windows, bewildered the children and dazzled the adults. A spiral “stairway to heaven”, spanning four levels, became a pilgrimage as we observed the spectacular vaulted ceiling displaying nine panels.
Discovering eight contained figures of the virtues designed by Edward William Godwin with the ninth depicting the Midland Railway armorial device felt like “hidden treasure” and gratified my investigative impulses, with of course Snowy in tow!
The Sir George Gilbert Scott sitting room was a reflective step back in time, epitomising historical features of the Victorian era such as the “Gillows”mirror restored by Lincoln university, Friedrick Sang scheme ceiling from 1873 and original pine floor, cleaned and sanded. All restored in their natural glory justified the hotel’s name Renaissance or “rebirth” and it’s iconic reputation across the globe, making our tour rather special.
In true reporter style, I was keen to capture a further essence of this titanic hotel, which with 245 bedrooms, including 38 grand suites, was befitting of royalty, giving careertraveller mischievous thoughts of a return stay before catching the Eurostar to Brussels. Formidable!
One glance of the Booking office was enough to justify a gin fizz cocktail and extra -ordinary bar snacks which oozed originality, sophistication and detail; haggis bonbons and truffle and parmesan chips. A revived version of the bygone station café with it’s high ceiling, dim lighting and 29m-long bar captured the final ingredients of a sensationally unique city adventure of travel, hospitality and culture, all in the confines of a beautifully restored 18th century aristocratic hotel. Truly educational and “museum-like”.
A special thanks to the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel for providing superb hospitality and restoring the natural heritage of this magnificent building. Travel will never be the same again!