Inside The St Pancras Hotel

I watched the redevelopment of St Pancras and its hotel first, when I was a regular traveller through the Eurostar station, and then later, when I was walking past the building site on my way to writing sessions in the British Library, I would pause to read the anecdotal history printed on the hoardings, and peer at the photos of the transformation under way.

Ever since they removed the barriers and scaffolding, and swept away the construction detritus,  I’ve wanted to see the interior, to see the over the top Victorian gothic arches and painted walls and ceilings for myself.  Could they be as lavish and as unashamedly grandiose as they said?

I’ve never had the confidence to simply walk inside the lobby to have a look.  I need to have a real reason before I can do it with any confidence.  Without a genuine ‘cover story’ I’d have to imagine, in a ridiculous ‘method’ sort of a way, a background sufficient to convince myself that I had a reason for being there.  And really, that would be a little bit excessive, to create a whole alter ego, with a more active social life and and better hair and shoes, simply to have a look inside a hotel, wouldn’t it?

So instead, I’ve waited for an opportunity to go there with friends.

A birthday celebration presented the perfect chance; we met in the Gilbert Scott bar, and dined in the restaurant.

It satisfied on all counts.  The interior is a riot of decoration, of  shining limestone pillars, gothic arches and rose windows, of highly patterned and satisfyingly echoing hallways, of high painted ceilings and lightshades fashioned like brass bells.

It’s all priced on the steep side, but the food was delicious and the service genuinely charming and well informed (with a (very helpful) tiny hint of going off script with a telling pause that would have satisfied even the most die hard Pinter fan, when asked for a pudding recommendation), and our waitress had the most fascinatingly perfect eyes and eye lashes any of us had ever seen.

I’m going back…….

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