The Standard Hotel London is located opposite the imposing St Pancras Station and minutes from King’s Cross.
Recent heavy investment has transformed the area behind these nightclub stations into a hub for shopping, eating and drinking. There are probably more wine bars than pubs these days, plus a Nike and Carhartt WIP store, plus hip spots like Dishoom and Porte Noire, Idris Elba’s restaurant and wine cellar.
Why come here?
The company’s first hotel outside America found its way into a carcass of classic Brutalist architecture; Built in 1974, gray concrete and abstract shapes are juxtaposed against an eye-catching bright red giant pill-shaped elevator that sits outside the building.
After a painstaking renovation, the whole place looks like a 1970s fantasy of what the year 2022 might have looked like, fusing mid-century styles with modern chic and sensibility. The living room has lots of wood, funky fireplaces, and a library based on concepts rather than topics (chaos, science, or adult relationships, for example) — a nod to the old days building life as Camden Council Library. Standard hotels have a unique and very hip style that takes you to a much cooler world as soon as you step inside.
Once outside the ground floor, the interior can seem a bit labyrinthine and enclosed (there are few windows in the hallway). The designers lent to this and incorporated visual elements of the London Underground into the mix – boldly patterned dark carpets feature muted hues of purple and primary blue that roll through furniture and room interiors.
The hotel has 266 rooms and suites ranging from their Cozy Core, located inside the building and without windows (for those who like to stay up all night and sleep all day?), to terrace suites with outdoor baths overlooking the London skyline. Our room overlooked Euston Road, with huge curved windows, which meant both stunning views and a bit of nighttime noise – but hey, this is London.
Eat and drink
Decimo, located on the tenth floor, is the star attraction when it comes to food and views. Only accessible via the aforementioned Red Pill lift, it offers 360-degree views of London with some windows featuring specially designed glass to provide an enlarged view of the cityscape.
Upstairs, chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias built a temple to live fire in a killer space; it’s dimly lit, filled with plants and fireplaces, and has super-skilled staff serving fabulous food and drink. It’s a huge, ultra-hip restaurant and the scene is bustling with cool London kids – tables were emptied and filled until we left around 11pm.
But you’re here for the food, aren’t you? The wood fire is the MO in the kitchen – we ate the signature red pepper tartare alongside a tortilla made with ever-thin crispy fried potatoes, delicately marinated grilled monkfish, an Iberian pork chop blushing and ash-roasted leeks with romesco sauce (the crispy potatoes with aioli are a must).
The hotel has an amazing rooftop bar – you’ll want to visit in the summer, as it’s closed during the winter months to all but a few light smokers.
A bit more down-to-earth is Double Standard, the hotel’s bar and restaurant that does a killer burger and bottomless brunch. Any menu that features pigs in blankets year-round is a winner in our book. A third restaurant, Isla is the place for lighter protein/salad combinations and natural wines.
A little further behind King’s Cross, Granary Square is packed with fantastic dining options – modern Indian in the form of Dishoom, Spanish at Barrafina Coal Drops Yard, a taste of Oz at Caravan, Middle Eastern excellence Orient of Arabica and a Mexican Masterclass at Casa and Plaza Pastor.
What to do
If you’re looking for a party scene, the hotel has its own DJ spot, Sounds Studio, which hosts live sets and concerts. The lounge is one of those places where it feels good to have a 10 a.m. cocktail, sort of, thanks to the dim lighting, crackling fires, and buzzing tunes.
For a bit of culture, there are some fabulous museums nearby – the British Museum is a 15-minute walk away, while the lesser-known Wellcome Collection, a hub of science, medicine and art, is just around the corner. lies a little to the east, towards Euston station.
Coal Drops Yard, set behind King’s Cross, is full of fabulous shops. If you fancy a walk (or a boat trip), the Regent’s Canal is great to walk on a sunny day.
The Standard London, 10 Argyle St, London WC1H 8EG. Rooms start from £225 per night; standardhotels.com