Let me start by explaining that I met my wife working in the beautiful St Pancras Chambers back in the 1970's when the building was being used as offices and it holds many great memories for us both. It was with some excitement that we chose to celebrate the night of our 31st anniversary back here for the first time together last week.
We checked in early afternoon and were told that we were staying in the newly built part of the hotel behind the historic building - it was explained that there are only apartments and suites where we worked. Ho-hum, disappointing but no fault of the hotel, indeed there was a plate of cakes with 'Happy Anniversary' painted on the plate in chocolate in our 7th floor room, a lovely touch. The room itself was better than average but maybe not quite 5 star, although it boasted a large LCD TV and a very comfortable bed with luxurious cotton sheets, there seemed to be something missing. I certainly didn't like the fact that I couldn't open the window for some fresh air and hoped for a separate shower and bidet in the bathroom - maybe I expect too much.?
After enjoying a wonderful meal in Mayfair we then enjoyed a generally good night's sleep (apart from the lack of air) and wandered down to breakfast at about 10.30. This was very disappointing. We were shown to a table fairly quickly and the buffet breakfast was pointed out, we ordered coffee and had to wait between 10 and 15 minutes for it to arrive. We helped ourselves to the hot breakfast and were very disappointed by the quality of the bacon which was only streaky and 70% fat and somewhat congealed. The scrambled eggs were even worse, a gloopy mass of porridge like substance which we avoided like the plague. On the upside, the cumberland sausages were excellent.. I asked the girl who seated us if other eggs (or breakfasts) were provided as we hadn't been given any sort of menu and she said "You have to pay for different breakfasts, only the buffet is included in your rate" and "you could have ordered poached or fried eggs". As we had to wait so long for our coffee and I had already started eating I declined, choosing to ignore the rather testy remark about paying for a different breakfast - as if one couldn't afford to pay more at the rates charged for rooms at this place.!
After breakfast we wandered around the parts of the old building that one is allowed to roam (unfortunately neither my or my wife's old office were open to the public) and reminisced about our times working in such a beautiful place and not appreciating it. It has hardly changed, I understand that English Heritage were very tough about changing too much so it has really had a good clean up and restored to something like it must have been when it was originally a hotel dating back from 1873.
I can understand why this place is such a draw, it is built right on/next to the superbly crafted St Pancras International Station with direct trains to Paris and Brussels and beyond. It also gives one a chance to wonder at the revitalised, almost fairy tale building that was the Midland Grand Hotel.
It was disappointing to us for personal reasons but I'm sure that won't (and probably shouldn't) put anybody off. They really need to sort out those breakfasts though..
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