It’s not often that I check into a hotel without my ideal travel companion, Mr Silver, but this was an exciting one-off event. I’d been invited by Renaissance Hotels to celebrate their annual Global Day of Discovery, an event that encourages people to explore exciting and unique events in the cities that they visit.
That’s the thing I love most about having a blog, it provides me with new opportunities, ones that sometimes take me out of my comfort zone and lead me to experience things that I’d never thought of trying myself…sometimes I just need a push in the right direction.
On the Wednesday night I arrived at The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel; with it’s stately clock tower, exposed brick walls and archways it looks like a cross between a luxury hotel and Hogwarts. However, when you see the mixture of modern furnishings and Victorian architecture you can already see that there’s something really quite special about this hotel. I would be spending one night here as a precursor to the Global Day of Discovery before catching the Eurostar to experience the Renaissance Hotels in Paris and all the exciting events that they had laid on for us there.
The smooth and quick check-in took place in the stylish lobby with its looming high ceilings and plush furnishings and I was whisked up to my Chambers Junior Suite.
I walked in and saw my huge plush bed and beautiful floor to ceiling windows and I felt slightly sad that Mr S wouldn’t be joining me but at the same time I was quite excited to have this gorgeous suite all to myself.
I loved my room with it’s fabulous high ceiling and beautiful original carved marble fireplace and fittings…
Though without Mr S I did have to take a few mirror selfies…
And to make full use of all REN products available.
And a beautiful cashmere sleep mask from SPC collection.
I love a hotel with history and the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel has plenty! In the 1860’s, Midland Railway selected St Pancras as the district for its brand new railway terminus with William Barlow as engineer. Barlow planned to include a large luxury hotel as part of the station’s development and architect, Gilbert Scott’s grand and audacious design was chosen for what was to be The Midland Grand Hotel.
The hotel is so close to the station that it quite literally overlooks the platform and from some bedrooms you can witness the trains arriving.
The Midland Grand Hotel opened in May 1973 and guests enjoyed a fabulously lavish interior with 18ft high ceilings, neo-classical murals, huge fireplaces, gold leaf wallpapers and beautiful granite pillars. In terms of technology the hotel was ahead of it’s time offering ‘hydraulic chambers’ instead of stairs, an electric bell for guests to call for service and it was also the first hotel with real flushing loos! Throughout the years the hotel lost it’s sparkle and went into decline until it finally closed in 1935 and it was converted into offices.
However, the hotel was bought by Marriott, restored and reopened in 2011 retaining many of the original features from Gilbert Scott’s design.
My suite was located in the original Chambers building with access to the Chambers lounge, a private place where you can relax, do some work and most importantly…
…eat pick and mix!
Our night began in The Booking Office Bar, which was previously a St Pancras station ticket office…
I really loved that the bar had the feeling of a grand station cafe. The brown leather seating, brick work and view to the station platform added to the excitement and drama of the place and you could almost imagine yourself surrounded by fine Victorian gentleman and ladies.
Joining me on this Global Day of Discovery were four other UK based bloggers: Nicole from A Life Less Beige, Charly from Style the Natives, Danielle from Fashionista Barbie and Lucy from The Luxe Life. We were also excited that a contingent of French bloggers would be joining us for the adventure.
We given a delicious selection of food from the bar to try including stomach-lining mini burgers, flat bread pizzas, pulled pork croquettes and a more healthy array of salads to sample. Though we didn’t try it this time I’d highly recommend the hotel’s restaurant, The Gilbert Scott, named after the original architect. It’s a gorgeous British brasserie run by Marcus Wareing with a classic menu paying tribute to the hotel building’s history; I went for my birthday a couple of years ago and the food is amazing.
…just as I imagined the society folk did back in the days of The Midland Grand. Suitably satiated with delicious food, cocktails and champagne it was time to leave for our night out.
But we couldn’t leave witout a visit to the iconic centre piece of the hotel: the Grand Staircase. Gilbert Scott designed this sweeping staircase as a piece of Victorian neo-Gothic decoration with a dramatic double staircase and wrought iron balustrade climbing three storeys to a vaulted ceiling. Or you may recognise it as the location for the video of the Spice Girls first hit single, Wannabe. Channelling our best Posh Spice poses and pouts we got a group shot before heading for our night out in London.
All the activities on our itinerary had been organised by the hotels ‘Navigators’, a super-slick concierge team who find and suggest exclusive events for the guests. The London Navigator had arranged for us to attend a Sofar sounds event a ‘secret gig’ club which pops up in intimate locations about the city. Starting off in London, Sofar has now spread to 30 cities across five continents.
The gig took place in pop-up event space, Carousel in a the large basement below a pop up restaurant. To be honest, I wasn’t prepared for the fact we’d be sitting on a concrete floor but sometimes I do need to pushed out of my comfort zone and I started to relax and really enjoy the mellow songs of the five different acts playing that night. Rising star Andreya Triana was performing and I loved the haunting sound of her beautiful voice. The great thing about the event was the intimacy, we were able to see and hear the band properly and interact with them afterward.
After our fun night I starfished into my hugely comfortable and soft bed, to be woken by my alarm at 6.30…I was overjoyed to be able to use all the towels provided without facing the wrath of Mr S and after quickly getting ready, I headed down to meet the other bloggers.
A beautiful breakfast spread was laid out in The Chambers Lounge…but I didn’t have time to stop and stuff my face…I had a train to Paris to catch!
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
0207 841 3540
My stay, food and activities with the Renaissance St Pancras were all complimentary