After having a quick look around the Great Northern Hotel in King’s Cross, London, following a big refurbishment earlier this year, we knew a return ticket was in order to see how things were working out with the impressive railway-themed venue – a throwback to the glory days of train travel. The Great Northern Hotel is part of the King’s Cross concourse, across the road from St Pancras Station, and is another excellent example of the huge regeneration efforts in the area. In contrast to the red brick of its neighbour, the GNH has a demure grey stone façade which perfectly represents the upmarket – but not snobby – atmosphere to be found inside.
While the rooms are great, the good news is that you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy the best features of the hotel. You don’t even need to go inside for one of our favourite bits – the snack kiosk carved out of the concourse-side wall. Serving up a selection of filling light bites, your food comes in a train friendly bag – perfect for eating on the hoof if you’re running late for your connection. If you’ve got a bit more time to spare it’s well worth taking a load off in the decadent main bar, which features live DJ sets at the weekend but is low-key enough for informal meetings over some breakfast. We love the little snug arranged as a mezzanine above the bar – dark varnished wood makes a welcome comeback here and, equipped with its own phone and service bell, it’s ideal for a little conference before your attendees return to their far-flung offices. If your breakfast meeting is more of a post mortem of the previous night’s escapades than a discussion of budget strategy, GNH Bar’s Bloody Marys may well save your day.
Upstairs is the Plum and Spilt Milk restaurant, its cuisine overseen by Mark Sargeant (as is the whole of the hotel’s output), the eccentric name referring to the colour scheme which again recalls the upmarket railway experience of yesteryear. There’s a lovely little cocktail bar perfectly positioned for an aperitif before heading into the main dining area, which displays the hotel’s attention to detail, such as the hand-blown pendant lights and the mismatched vintage cutlery.
All things considered we reckon this hotel is certainly deserving of the name Great, and more than that, it’s a benchmark for the rest of the King’s Cross development.