A beacon of style and old world elegance, the Great Northern Hotel is a the perfect bolthole in the heart of King’s Cross
Words Catherine Hales
The Great Northern Hotel was first opened in 1854 during the golden age of steam and railways. It was designed by renowned Victorian architect Lewis Cubitt (who also designed King’s Cross Station) and retains its Grade II listed façade; the inside, however the epitome of understated luxury. Dark wood panelling and creamy leather banquettes reminiscent of an old fashioned first class compartment on a steam engine characterise the reception and the railway theme is carried artfully throughout the rest of the interior design.
Plum + Spilt Milk is the hotel’s exceptional and stunningly designed restaurant; the brainchild of Mark Sargeant, it specialises in simple, seasonal fare, cooked creatively and is worth a visit in and of itself. I am lucky enough to go for dinner and am treated to tangy crab with avocado followed by tender, succulent Goosnargh chicken. For pudding I can’t resist the Plum + Spilt Milk, named after the restaurant: bittersweet plums served with a sugar-encrusted block of deep-fried milk custard. Heaven.
I am put up in a Cubitt room; this boasts views out over St. Pancras as well as elegant olive coloured walls offset by the walnut furniture. I am also delighted to discover a pantry just outside of my room which is fully stocked with cakes and tea of every description. Although a clear choice for travellers, the hotel has a romance and charm that makes it a perfect weekend getaway for couples.
King’s Cross has undergone a wave of regeneration that has made it a destination not just for people catching the Eurostar. St Pancras itself is home to shops including Fortnum & Mason, Jo Malone and Whistles and the King’s Cross theatre is currently home to The Railway Children, a magical production for both adults and little ones alike.