As it’s the coldest week of the year, of course the boiler has spent three days making scary rattling noises before expiring completely. Until it gets fixed, it seems practical to spend a lot of time out of the house in warmer places.
On Saturday we went to the St Pancras Renaissance hotel. I’ve been dying to see inside since it opened.
The outside is this insane gothic wedding cake of a building. Inside it’s a huge hotel and apartments – apparently if you live in one of the top flats, you can order cocktails from the bar and have them sent up to you.
We just went to the lobby and had some tea and cake, and we probably could have bought a new boiler for what it cost (4.50 for a tea, although they forgot to serve it in a golden cup).
It’s a huge space with a glass roof and pale blue girders. It’s nice, but feels a bit too much like a hotel lobby to be super-glamorous. The bar is more buzzy, it’s in the old ticket booking office and a door leads directly out onto St Pancras.
I did enjoy the rather odd uniforms the female staff wear. Didn’t get a photo but they’re a cross between a 1950s wiggle dress and something a lady alien ambassador would wear on Star Trek.
I also popped into the British Library bookshop and bought a Herb Lester map of London. I love the idea behind these. For three quid you get a well designed, fold-out guide to a city, a nice object to hold rather than a boring old i-phone app.
This is the first one they issued, called ‘You Are Here‘, which is a guide to cafes, bars and tea-rooms in Central London that are ‘quiet spots to think’. Somewhere you can always find a seat to settle down and get some work done. Or just read a book.
I especially enjoyed their recommendation of the Garden Cafe at Regent’s Park- apparently the staff are so rude and the service so bad that hardly anyone goes there, and you can sit in peace for hours without being disturbed. Will have to try it out.
Anyway I recommend a trip to the Renaissance Hotel, overpriced tea and all.