I’ve lived in London now for close to a decade and I can remember details of my first day in this city as clearly as if it were yesterday. One detail in particularly will always stay crisp – London’s most romantic structure, the old Victorian hotel at St Pancras station. When I first laid eyes on it, it was in need of great restoration and completely shut off from the general public. It was waiting for someone with enough money to restore it to it’s former glory. In my mind I pictured it as a grand hotel where every last detail is brought back to life for visitors of London to enjoy. I waited and waited and every morning I looked up and smiled at my secret love in London and wondered who would one day see the potential here. Then one morning a sign went up signalling the beginning of a project! Renaissance Hotels by Marriott had decided to give this massive property another chance at luxury. It was becoming a hotel and residence property.
I’d been waiting for the right moment to visit the hotel and to finally see my dream property from the inside out. I think I was a bit scared of being disappointed so I held off on a visit. Then the Marriott pr team got in touch and invited me for a day at the spa and dinner in the Old Booking Office. It was time to swallow my dream expectations and take the plunge.
The day arrived and I stepped off the train at Kings Cross and walked down the road until I was standing in front of the imposing structure. I waved hello to my old friend, took a deep breath and stepped in. The entrance was grand and I felt as if I was climbing aboard the deck of the Titanic, only this piece of history was updated with modern touches such as required handicapped ramps and 21st century fixtures. So far so good. I took an immediate left at the entrance to head down to the basement for my spa visit. Now while I am supposed to be taking a tour of the hotel on a separate visit, I did cheat and sneak a peak at the grand staircase… Truly a step back in time but I’ll save that for another story on another day.
Now on to the Spa. Mr ffg and I were in for a treat this afternoon. We had been offered a sampling of what a couple could expect on Valentine’s Day here at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. As the two of us have been so stressed lately, we really needed some help (a banker and a blogger/marketing director don’t find much time to relax in this day and age). So first up was a couples massage.
We changed into big lovely robes that were warm and inviting, slipped on some hotel slippers and locked away our “real world” clothes for the afternoon.
The massages went a long way in making me forget that I had ten deadlines to meet the following day. Pair that with the champagne, chocolates and strawberries that were served in the relaxation room directly following the massage and I think you’d be safe to say I was in heaven. The afternoon seemed to move at a snail’s pace yet was over all too soon. After we’d maxed out on relaxation in the relaxation room, we moved into the pool area. Rather than lounging on the inviting poolside chairs, we slipped right into the warm water. The lights are dimmed and the air is comfortably warm. Everything about this room reminds me of a roman bath from the tiles to the atmosphere. I lapped it up…and no, I don’t mean I swam laps. I lounged back and had the bubble button on repeat for about an hour.
Then I glanced down at my watch and discovered we were running late for dinner.
It took all the energy I could possibly find to get out of the pool, head to the changing room and ready myself for a big meal. Mr ffg and I headed back upstairs to the ground floor and made our way across the lobby and into the Booking Office.
One of the wonderful features of this hotel is the way in which old and new are brought together so spendidly. The Booking Office is a perfect example of this. They have turned the ticket desk area into one of the longest bars in London full of lovely bubbles and cocktails galore! They have also dotted tables around the gigantic room to allow for fine dining and cocktail hour amongst friends. It was a lively atmosphere and was made even more interesting by the open windows that allow visitors to overlook St Pancras station in action. You feel as if you are a traveler yourself.
The menu offers a wide selection of food that will satisfy most palates. We choose to try basic staples on the menu as truly this is sometimes the best way to judge a highly marked restaurant. Basics are so often forgotten and allowed to be that, just basics. However, the Booking Office gave us a nice surprise with our basic choices. Our antipasti starter was delicious from start to finish with only the best cuts and freshest pieces of meat. My burger was one of the most tender and sweet I have ever tasted and the boy’s chicken pie was an instant hit (I’m no expert when it comes to pie…unless you’re talking southern apple…then I could tell you a thing or two). For dessert I thought I’d try something completely new and ordered the butterscotch Eton mess. Of course as soon as Mr ffg’s apple and berry crumble arrived I instantly had food envy.
As we finished our last bites we looked at each other and laughed. Neither of us wanted the day to end. It was romantic, relaxing and deliciously filling.
London, England NW1 2AR
- Phone: +44 20 7841 3540
- *** FFG was a guest of St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel for the day***