Hotels these days are really pushing the boundaries in terms of offering more services, outlandish design and mechanized service. I’m glad to say that Great Northern Hotel holds their standards to a high point, without sacrificing anything in the process. Now I know this might be getting a bit too far off base on semantics for an introduction. Yet, I’ve visited plenty of hotels of late where the staff seems terrified of the management (and thusly, me), hotels where I can get a loan for a new house with the remote on my TV and hotels where I feel like I need to know how to play a Theremin just to run the water. What do these places all have in common you might ask? They all strive to improve the guest experience, but all their excess, fail me. I think these people have forgotten that you come to a hotel to relax, not to feel like you’re washing your hands in a Bjork video. So I was relieved and impressed to see that The Great Northern Hotel’s efforts to maximize comfort did just that, without clutter. When I walked into my cozy room, I was happy to see that there was nothing inundating about it. The decor is low key yet elegant, but more subtle. This is the theme throughout the hotel. There was something very warm and peaceful about the pale green walls in the Cubitt Room and the re-occurrence of that color in the bathroom is a nice touch. There are three room styles at GNH: Cubitt, Wainscott and Couchette. The rooms are not large however they are designed in a way that’s not stuffy.
Walking around the hotel I talked with a few of the staff of varying positions. I was pleased to see consistency in the balance of personable and professional. I really dislike being in a place where the staff is on edge or discouraged from engaging with the guests. When I met the managers, both day and night, I could see how the tone was so appropriate. For such a simple thing, so few people really get this harmony right.
My bed was a deluxe dream castle composed of fine linens, soft pillows and a fluffy down comforter that seemed to breathe with me as the short night shed its cloak. As much as I feel like sleep is in itself kind of decadent and I really don’t do a lot of it. So it felt fantastic waking up after 5 hours and feeling like I’d slept for 5 days. But then who would want to sleep the morning away when a sumptuous breakfast was waiting in the hotel’s restaurant Plum + Spilt Milk? The hotel’s restaurant also features lunch and dinner with excellent menu options and gorgeous decor.
Located right within St. Pancras International, the hotel is located at the gateway to Europe. When GNH first opened its doors in 1854, the passengers of London flocked. The hotel stood at the centre of London’s revolutionary new age of steam and GNH is actually considered to be the world’s first ever railway hotel. Refurbishment took place over the last few years and the hotel re-opened it’s doors in April 2013.
Another great touch to mention is the fact that there are pantry rooms located on every floor of the hotel. The pantry includes a selection of coffee, teas, cake, and magazines.
Great Northern Hotel, you get it in so many ways and I thank you for getting it. After staying at resorts that feel like Hemingway’s estate sale and hotels that look like house-of-the-future mockeries, you at long last have delivered an escape from both hectic city life and the hospitality industry’s theme excesses. I look forward to seeing you again very soon.
Great Northern Hotel Kings Cross St Pancras Station, Pancras Rd, London, Greater London N1C 4TB http://www.gnhlondon.com/