There is plenty around for couples at the moment with Valentine’s Day getting into full swing and proving that you really can put a price, or at least a gift receipt on love, but what about the rest of us?Spabreaks.com Editor Bonnie Friend visited the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel for the kind of decadent treatment that can only be truly appreciated in that ultimate city luxury … time alone.
You know you are somewhere very special when the elevators benefit from flattering lighting – such is the case at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Characterised by its position inside the international train station, what seems like a peculiar location for a luxury hotel transpires to be the sort of romantic element that 1940s romances are made of (evidently I am not the only one who thinks so if Paul Day’s imposing statue is anything to go by).
All gothic arches and distinctive two-tone brick work, Sir George Gilbert Scott’s architectural masterpiece has been opulently renovated to tread that all too tricky balance between contemporary design and staying true to a building’s historic significance. Rooms utilise ultra-modern furnishings and colours against original fireplaces, high ceilings and lancet arches … plus The Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ video was filmed in the hallway in 1996 – no doubt the cherry on their heritage cake.
The subterranean location of the spa is key to its appeal as appropriately, it transports you to another world – one with mood lighting, aromatic smells and a Moroccan ambience. There is a gym, saunas, and a steam room, and I say without undue hyperbole that in the cavernous vault that was once the kitchens, the sapphire blue relaxation pool is as inviting as it could possibly get. When it comes to having a treatment the experience is equally opulent – treatment beds take on a whole new meaning as they are complete with duvets, so at 9 am on a Monday morning when I sat down to have one of the most decadent manicures around (their Angel Hands treatment), it did occur to me that the only thing missing from the equation were my pyjamas.
Back above ground, The Booking Office Bar is the sort of environment where you expect people to carry utterly inconvenient but incomparably stylish Louis Vuitton luggage and possibly to be waiting to meet handsome strangers identifiable by red roses. Overlooking the train station, once again high ceilings and original architectural pieces prevail alongside light bites (truffle fried chips, cheese on toast, mini smoked salmon bagels) and Victorian punches. For more substantial meals, The Gilbert Scott restaurant under the direction of esteemed chef Marcus Wareing offers an array of quintessentially British classics.
As already identified, the location of the St Pancras Hotel is one of its unique assets – situated in the station itself, it adds that excitable buzz that signals travel’s afoot … plus it is seriously convenient whether you are visiting for business, pleasure or before casually hopping on the Eurostar to Paris.
What’s The Verdict
It has been suggested that the building itself is one of the most culturally romantic in London, and the spa certainly adds to that sense – with the treatments menu itself being written as the diary of a Victorian lady recounting her global exploits in all their cinnamon infused glory this is a place that celebrates the best of travel in defiance of a world of budget airlines and cost cutting travel options.
– The treatment that you want on any particular day can very much depend on your mood at that time, so as all treatments are an hour, in an innovative twist St Pancras allow you to book treatment time, and then decide on the day what you want to have with the help of a therapist.
– Don’t let the transient location fool you – this is a very popular venue – so make sure you book your treatment time in advance rather than simply dropping by on the day.
– The spa really is a world away from the buzzing city above, so to really relax leave some time for the relaxation lounge where the little details including tea served in peacock blue fine china make you feel utterly decadent and encourage you take the time out that is hard to find in a buzzing metropolis.
To book the Angel Hands Manicure as part of St Pancras’ ‘One For The Ladies’ package visit Spabreaks.com or contact 0800 043 6600.
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