This April, the Great Northern Hotel, London’s first railway hotel, re-opens for the first time in almost 12 years following a comprehensive £40 million renovation programme. Occupying a prime position between King’s Cross Station and St Pancras International, the busiest rail transport hub in Europe, the privately owned Grade II listed building has been thoughtfully restored by owner-operator Jeremy Robson of Ram. The Great Northern Hotel actually forms an integral part of King’s Cross station, with the signature dome of the new Western Concourse designed to fit the crescent shape of the hotel itself and is also just 18 metres away from the main Eurostar entrance to St Pancras International.“The restoration and re-opening of the Great Northern Hotel has been a dream of mine for many years. I saw the quality in the original architecture and realised what a careful renovation could contribute to the major regeneration being undertaken at King’s Cross. The hotel has an enchanting beauty and enjoys the most spectacular of locations in one of London’s most exciting neighbourhoods. I wanted to re-create something of real and lasting value; a London landmark that would serve visitors and Londoners alike.” Jeremy Robson
Originally designed by architect Lewis Cubitt, the Great Northern Hotel opened in 1854 as the first of the new generation of Victorian railway hotels. Its Italianate, classical features are textbook examples of the early Victorian period. Reflecting its architectural heritage, the 91-bedroom hotel has been sensitively refurbished and its interior design exudes a timeless elegance with a hint of modernity. The intention has been to evoke the romance of rail travel from a bygone age and to preserve a sense of history and style. David Archer and Julie Ann Humphryes, co-founders of Archer Humphryes Architects (Hakkasan, Sans Souci Hotel Vienna), were commissioned to execute the concept and interior design of the hotel.
Leading international consultancy and construction company, Mace, acted as the hotel’s design and build contractor and also contributed to the funding of the project. Great care was taken to sympathetically refurbish the hotel’s original features and structures such as the façades, windows, lead-lined gutters, cast iron grilles and drainpipes. In regaining the lost stature of this charming building and returning it back to use after many years of neglect, there was much valued collaboration between English Heritage, The London Borough of Camden, the contractor, the owner and the design teams.
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