After nearly two decades of having only bats, rats and the occasional tramp as inhabitants, the former Midland Grand Hotel beside London’s St Pancras station is at last about to open its doors to paying guests.
Re-christened the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London . The restoration of the grand Victorian-Gothic structure cost more than £150 million, but it looks to be money well spent.
Most of the architecture’s detailing has been painstakingly preserved. Sir George Gilbert Scott’s wide stone cantilevered staircase – down which Sarah Miles and Dirk Bogarde swept when filming The Servant – has been sandblasted, so it looks like the inside of a snail’s shell, and its intricate balustrade polished. The arched forecourt on which taxis previously parked has been artfully covered to create the reception area, and the adjoining old ticket hall, with its dark- panelled walls and soaring church-like windows, is now a bar. The only new rooms are the 189 bedrooms in the extension to the rear, and bathrooms for the 38 Victorian suites in the original building.
For more information: www.marriott.co.uk