Underneath the neo-Gothic arches of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel by St Pancras Station, lies a magical winter garden….
Fitted out in the brand’s distinctive yellow tones, is the Veuve Clicquot Winter Terrace.`
Framed by two glittering Christmas trees…
And with a 50’s style retro Airstream serving as a bar.
You certainly won’t go cold with heaters and snuggly blankets available, all set against the backdrop of this gorgeous historical hotel designed by Gilbert Scott in the 1860’s. You may even recognse the facade for appearing in In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
There’s even special virtual reality bikes inside which allow you to feel like you’re actually visiting the champagne region.
As part of a collaboration with the hotel, I invited some of my favourite bloggers to the terrace to enjoy some bubbles and big dose of festive cheer! We kicked off with a tasting led by Lucy, the ambassador from Veuve Clicquot. Founded in 1772 Philippe Clicquot-Muiron, the more famous figurehead for Veuve Clicquot was Philippe’s son’s wife, Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin. Widowed in 1805 she took control of the company, the first woman to ever run a champagne house, and leading it to great success. The word ‘Veuve’ actually means widow and the house has been a pioneer in the modern production of Champagne with the invention of the riddling wrack.
The iconic Yellow label came about when Madame Clicquot was eating an egg for breakfast and admired the deep yellow of the yolk against the white. Her champagne would be as vivid as the contrasting of egg yolk and white – and yes the label does look orange but I assure you it’s yellow. The Brut Yellow Label champagne has been a symbol of the house since it’s inception and it was my favourite of the three we tried. I loved the silky finish and the notes of vanilla and brioche – plus there’s something so wonderful about drinking an ice cold champagne on a frosty night.
Veuve Clicquot Rich is a more playful fizz, created for cocktails and to be served over ice. I’ve had it as a summer drink before but I really enjoyed it on a cold day too, a high dosage make this drink sweeter and the recommended serving method is with one more ingredient such as cucumber, grapefruit or pineapple. I opted for cucumber which gave the drink the refreshing flavours of a G & T or Pimms.
And just before we tried the final variety…a Christmas miracle happened…
It started to snow…right there on Veuve Clicquot Winter Terrace at The St Pancras Renaissance hotel…
Ok, so maybe it was more snow machine than miracle but it really was quite wonderful. It even felt like real snow!
With the excitement of the snow over it was time to try the final drink, Veuve Clicquot Rich Rosé was a popular choice all around. It’s not something I’d think of doing myself but adding ginger to the drink really brings out the fruit flavour.
After our bubbles it was time for a little tour and to hear about the interesting history of The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Back in 1865 the Midland Railway Company held a competition to chose an architect to construct a hotel adjacent to the St Pancras station. George Gilbert Scott, a man with a history of designing churches, chapels and cathedrals was chosen and in 1876 the hotel, then known as The Midland Grand, was opened. Closing in 1935, the building was used as British rail offices until it reopened in 2011 as the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
The first stop on our tour was The Royal Suite, the room was originally the Venetian ballroom and is 248m² with a design fit for a queen! I actually stayed at the hotel about two years as part of a press trip and if you can’t quite reach the heights of the Royal Suite, I definitely recommend booking one of the Chambers Suites they have been beautifully restored whilst still retaining some of the hotel’s original features with views on to the Eurostar platform. Plus access to the VIP Chambers club.
Now for the big moment we’d been waiting for…
The Grand Staircase really is the pièce de resistance of the hotel, and you can really see George Gilbert Scott’s background is ecclesiastic design here. In fact the Midland Hotel was the only hotel Gilbert Scott ever designed but his other most famous London structure is Albert Memorial in Hyde Park
With the incredible vaulted ceiling and three stories of balustrading in wrought iron, it’s a true master piece. Rumour has it that it was actually built to be wide enough for two ladies in bustles to walk past each other!
But actually this is the most famous portion of the staircase in modern times, forming the backdrop to Wannabe, the first ever music video by the Spice Girls. Filmed in 1996, it was famously created in a single continuous shot and also included some of the corridors and rooms on the ground floor.
It was a seriously magical night full of festive surprises, great champagne and wonderful company in a truly beautiful hotel.
The Veuve Clicquot Winter Terrace is open at the following times: Wednesday – Sunday, 5pm – 10pm
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London
(0)207 841 3540
This gorgeous historical hotel hosted us for the event.