When visiting the Great Northern Hotel, Claire Gratzke discovered a gem
that encompasses the vibrant atmosphere of a city centre hotel, mixed with
the charm and beauty that is expected of a luxurious five star retreat.
King’s Cross naturally conjures up images of a hustling and bustling train station, filled with commuters travelling to and fro. You would not think that a plush, boutique hotel stands tall between station and city, offering a haven of calm for those seeking rest between trips, or proudly as a stand alone, destination hotel.
Upon entering the Great Northern Hotel, there is an immediate sense of being transported back in time. The doorman with his cape and top hat, the low hanging atmospheric lights and wood panelled walls all convey a more opulent time gone by. But that by no means implies passé. The hotel, though steeped in history, has been designed to the highest spec and sits extremely comfortably in the twenty-first century.
The Great Northern Hotel was originally built in 1854 to serve the customers of the Great Northern Rail Company and was the first of the world’s great railway hotels. It was a high class and glamorous hotel in its heyday but, rather sadly, over the years it fell into neglect and has been closed for 12 years prior to re-opening in the spring of this year. The hotel has undergone a comprehensive £42 million renovation by Jeremy Robson over the last five years. The building was taken back to its brick core and has been returned to its former glory.
The hotel has a sense of timeless elegance, with a hint of modernity, and many thoughtful touches and small innovations, all which give a nod to its heritage. From the railway signs leading to the rooms to the bedside tables modelled on old fashioned vanity cases which the genteel would take on their travels, every detail has been impeccably considered.
All rooms are beautifully designed and appointed and have high ceilings, an abundance of natural light from large “six-over-six” windows and a confident colour palette. Use has been made of natural materials, such as the Black American Walnut which runs throughout the hotel, and the highest quality fittings and fixtures have been specified, with almost all furniture being made by expert artisans to bespoke designs.
There are three room types, each with its own distinctive character. We stayed in one of the Cubitt rooms, named after the hotel’s original designer Lewis Cubitt. It features high ceilings and four large twin-sash windows which flood the room with daylight.
The Cubitt rooms have an olive green and cream palette, with the Black American Walnut wood featuring as the flooring which is inlaid with luxurious deep pile carpet.
All bedrooms feature complimentary high speed wi-fi and TV, movies and a selection of playlists which make for a very tempting night in.
The bathrooms are well proportioned and have a sense of understated quality and attention to detail. The delicious toiletries from Malin + Goetz include rum body wash, peppermint shampoo and cilantro hair conditioner, all of which left me feeling glossy from head to toe.
The rooms are also exceptionally quiet by virtue of the extensive sound proofing undertaken as part of the renovation, which has an astonishing effect as you watch the world rush by outside below in complete silence.
The”home from home” pantries on each floor, to which guests have unlimited access, offer smooth Nespressos, homemade cakes & cookies, and iconic candies, which is a truly unique feature for a UK hotel.
We didn’t stock up on too many freshly baked pantry delights, as we were dining in the hotel’s Plum + Spilt Milk; an exquisitely designed restaurant. The evening ended with the most delicious cocktails in the GNH Bar, which is widely regarded to be one of the most glamorous railway bars in Europe.
The hotel itself is simply amazing, but what truly made my stay was the friendly and impeccable service. The staff were so attentive, without being intrusive, and made this luxury 5 star hotel really feel like a home from home.
GREAT NORTHERN HOTEL, KING’S CROSS ST PANCRAS STATION, PANCRAS ROAD, LONDON, GREATER LONDON, N1C 4TB
020 3388 0800 / INFO@GNHLONDON.COM