Just recently I went to London for a fair and combined business with pleasure. London is one of my favourite cities in Europe mainly because of its class, heritage, buzzing vibe and fashionable atmosphere. I found the perfect combination of these features in the 2 hotels I stayed in during my city trip.
Although the St. Pancras Renaissance and The Mandeville Hotel are both very classy, luxurious, elegant, have a lot of history and are very British, they are quite different. And while they are only 3 km’s apart they are both located in unique but different neighborhoods.
Let me show you what exactly makes these hotels unique through many of my personal pictures, and a few of the hotel’s, so you can see for yourself why I can highly recommend them for your next visit to London.
Did you ever stay at a hotel that makes you feel like a princess, that looks like a fairy tale and has a must stay once in a lifetime reputation?
The St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel is definitely one of those.
There is a reason why many movies like 1 of the Harry Potter films, Batman, 102 Dalmatians and several other classics are filmed here! Also many might know the iconic Grand Staircase as the backdrop to the Spice Girls’ video of their debut single ‘Wannabe’.
The hotel is recently owned by the Marriott Group, who lovingly renovated it with an elaborate budget, maintaining its historic charm but also updating it to its present grandeur. Making it once again one of England’s most prestigious facilities, which offers 5 star luxury in an iconic heritage building with great historic importance.
But the hotel first opened as a Midland Grand Hotel in 1873, after Midland Railway ran a competition for the design of a 150-bed hotel because they wanted to add lustre to its soon to be completed St Pancras station. The competition was won by Sir George Gilbert Scott who submitted an extensive and grand design in Gothic Revival styled architecture. The hotel’s design is known as one of the finest examples of this type of architecture in Britain till date.
The Victorian décor was already extravagant for that time and luxurious with extensive decoration in gold leaf and open fires in every room. And with its opulent details and decorative wallpaper throughout the hotel it oozed elegance. Luckily most of these details have been unveiled and restored again today.
Unfortunately in 1922 the Midland Railway was forced into grouping with other railway companies and so the hotel became the property of London, Midland & Scottish Railway until its closure in 1935.
The fascinating story of the hotel’s demise and revival can also be experienced during a 90 minute guided tour through the most spectacular parts of the building, such as the iconic Grand Staircase, for a small fee if you are not staying at the hotel yourself.
Situated in one of London’s most exciting and upcoming neighborhoods King’s Cross the hotel is surrounded by eclectic restaurants and bars and located right next to the big railway station and gateway to the Eurostar trains.
Unique features of the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel
- Iconic building with 245 rooms and suites and an impressive façade with gorgeous Victorian and Gothic architectural elements,
- The hotel offers excellent service with a warm welcome in an iconic grand lobby, and of course free Wifi everywhere in the building,
- There are many amenities in the rooms such as free coffee and tea facilities, luxurious bedding, safe, mini bar, climate control and air-conditioning,
- Next to the normal rooms the 38 Chambers suites are highly recommended, set in original Victorian rooms with high ceilings, marble fireplaces and bathrooms,
- With a Chambers Suite access to the exclusive Chambers Club is included, here breakfast, refreshments and snacks are provided throughout the day in a more quiet and private setting,
- The hotel offers a multitude of venues available for meetings and events in several different settings and sizes,
- The extensive hotel spa has 6 treatment rooms, a Victorian tiled relaxation pool with hydro loungers, a traditional sauna, steam room and a relaxation lounge with a personal Spa Butler for every guest,
- And the hotel serves excellent breakfast, has 2 great restaurant options and a Classic Afternoon Tea is served every day in the Hanson Lounge, situated in the main lobby.
The former ticket hall of St Pancras Station was transformed into the Booking Office Bar & Restaurant. Here you can admire the Gothic grandeur of the iconic high ceilings, original railway station details and red brick walls and arches, while enjoying drinks at the 29 meters long bar.
During the day breakfast and lunch is served here, as well as drinks and a casual dinner in the evening. We had a wonderful 3 course dinner here which is highly recommended. The food is excellent and the atmosphere buzzing with friendly service.
The hotel’s Gilbert Scott Restaurant offers a more distinguished option in a stunning setting as well. With a menu served by the team of a Michelin-star chef, this British brasserie and bar offers a selection of nostalgic British classics with a modern twist.
Although I adored the architecture and history of this fairy tale hotel I was also happy to add a completely different night’s stay to my London getaway at:
The Mandeville Hotel in Marylebone
Located only 15 minutes away on the other side of London city centre the surroundings are quite different and this hotel has a whole different vibe.
While being a heritage hotel it is also full of contradictions: quirky yet elegant, modern yet classic, wonderfully quiet, yet centrally located, The Mandeville Hotel represents British class so well, while being surrounded by the most famous shopping areas and iconic attractions of London.
The hotel is set in one London’s favourite listed buildings, and used to be a townhouse of London’s aristocracy in the 1800’s, and later home to legendary musician Sir Paolo Tosti.
Upon arrival I immediately fell in love with the elegant white façade, stunning but classic British lobby and the combination of original English décor, furniture and styling combined with fashionable and sometimes hysteric wallpaper designs used throughout the building.
All rooms and suites are elegant and classy, styled by leading international designers, but the offering of the ‘Riviera Rooms’ truly add an extremely fashionable and couture element to the hotel, which is a definite must experience while there!
Maison Christian Lacroix has entirely decorated the 5th floor of the hotel with their renowned fabric and wallpaper collections, offering 4 different room types. Each room is unique, with its own theme and design, showcasing its own story of the wonderfully decadent French Riviera. I had the pleasure to stay in the ‘Jardin Exotique’ room, which was a great match with my taste.
Unique features of The Mandeville Hotel
- Small-scale boutique hotel with beautiful authentic façade and 142 classy rooms and suites in a historic mansion,
- Centrally located near a variety of attractions, but still in quiet en relaxing surroundings,
- The service is excellent, and the concierges always willing to help with directions, and go out of their way to help you, offering many tips and extra’s,
- There are several amenities in the room such as free coffee and tea facilities, free Wifi, HD TV, safe, mini bar, air-conditioning and very comfortable bed,
- The hotel serves excellent breakfast and is one of London’s favourite afternoon tea spots, famous for its Vintage and Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea,
- And the hotel’s restaurant Reform Social & Grill is set in beautiful British décor, with an extensive bar and offers relaxing dining throughout the day.
About the surroundings
The Mandeville Hotel is perfectly located just behind Oxford street, the most famous shopping area of London and just around the corner from iconic Selfridges. The classy shops of Bond and Regent Street are just minutes away and the beautiful galleries of the historic Wallace Collection and Wigmore Hall, as well as Mayfair’s galleries and London’s iconic Theatre District are all within walking distance. Also the best bars and restaurants are just outside the hotel, as it is surrounded by many hipster venues and located amidst the most buzzing streets of London.
The perfect location for fashionistas, culture seekers and food lovers alike. Here’s a small impression of the hotel’s surroundings:
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Would you choose to stay here during your next London city trip, and which one is your favourite? Always love to hear your opinion, just leave a comment below!
For more hotel inspiration in the best locations in- and outside Europe, with many of my personal pics and experiences, you can go to my Unique Hotels page.