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St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London

Romantic gothic grandeur at London's gateway to Europe

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First impressions…

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This red-brick Gothic masterpiece stands proud at the entrance to St Pancras Station and Eurostar’s lavish new terminal and has long been a London landmark. Originally designed as the Midland Grand Hotel by Sir Gilbert George Scott in the 19th century, it fell into disrepair and finally closed in 1935. It lay idle until the Manhattan Loft Corporation bought it six years ago, cleaned it up and gave it a £200 million restoration. The result is jaw-droppingly splendid on a scale rarely seen in London.

Room for romance…

We stayed in room 172, part of the Chambers Club, which is a sort of posh hotel-within-a-hotel only accessible with your room key. Benefits include butler service and a plush lounge, reached via a grand spiral staircase, where breakfast, canapés and afternoon tea are served. Our room was decorated in cool neutrals and sumptuously furnished, including a giant king-sized bed swathed in soft white linen and carpet you sink into. The highlight of the marble bathroom was the REN toiletries in large bottles and a disc showerhead so powerful it felt like a thalassotherapy spa treatment. The room’s pièces de résistance, however, were its soaring ceilings and windows, which were the tallest we’d ever seen and caused my partner to repeat, “they don’t build them like this any more,” every time we opened or closed the giant curtains. As part of a hotel tour, I also popped my head into the Royal Suite, which boasts three bedrooms, a dining table to seat 20, private kitchen and butler, which you’d more than expect for £10,000 per night. There are also 207 more budget-friendly rooms in Barlow House, a modern extension to the original hotel.

Food for thought…

Dinner in the Booking Office was a treat. Subdued lighting, original wood panelling and a buzzy bar make this a really great place for a romantic evening. The menu was surprisingly simple, inexpensive and delicious; think sausage and mash or fillet of seabass for under £18. For a more decadent, formal affair book a table at The Gilbert Scott, a Marcus Wareing restaurant.

Fall in love with…

So much! The impressively long, spacious corridors built to be wide enough for two Victorian women wearing ballgowns to pass each other; the sweeping central staircase below an ornate ceiling, where the Spice Girls filmed their Wannabe video; the basement spa’s beautiful original tiles, which give it a Moroccan vibe; the four daily tours run by an in-house historian and the exclusiveness of the Chambers Club. And finally, the fact that you can fall out of your vast bed straight onto a Eurostar to honeymoon in Paris, makes this the ultimate first night hotel.

We wish we loved…

The George Gilbert Scott Suite, which has been furnished to look like an original Victorian suite, right down to the £48,000 hand-painted wallpaper copied from a panel found in the room. It’s impressive, but a little too museum-like to be romantic and sexy.

Go there

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Chambers Club rooms from £650 plus VAT, including breakfast, internet, butler service and lounge with all day food and drink. Rooms in Barlow House from £300 plus VAT, room only. The hotel is also licensed for weddings. 020 7841 3540; marriott.co.uk.