Remember when train travel was a romantic affair? Unless you’re over 80 years old, probably not, but to give you a taste of what it was like in the good old days, it’s our pleasure to reintroduce The Great Northern Hotel between St Pancras and King’s Cross stations, London.
This traffic-stopping early Victorian giant of a building aims to “evoke the glamour of rail travel form a bygone era”, and God knows we need some of that, as anyone who’s strayed too far from the Virgin franchises will surely attest. While the regional railways are wheezing, threadbare and clapped out, the Great Northern is more like an immaculately restored locomotive in a museum display, each vintage part lovingly dismantled and scrubbed to a gleam with a toothbrush before reassembly. If the façade of the 1854 hotel is impressive, the interior is doubly so; this is period bling, an ostentatious show of wealth that displays every penny of the £40 million renovation budget. The public areas are dripping with chandeliers, cased in polished metal and upholstered in leather, and the guest rooms, though slightly more bashful, continue the First Class feeling. With nostalgia as good looking as this, who needs progress?