Great Northern Hotel, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, London
What We Love
- Jetsetter 2015 Best of the Best Finalist: Best Business-meets-Pleasure
- All rooms include access to pantries stocked with British candy and cake
- Handy panels with continental electrical outlets and USB ports in all rooms
- Excellent room service fare from Plum + Spilt Milk
- Resident DJs in the GNH Bar Wednesday to Saturday
- READ MORE: How to see London for free
What To Know
- Despite being next to King’s Cross Station and just off one of London’s busiest roads, the rooms are surprisingly quiet
- Free WiFi
- Tons of free in-room movies, TV channels (including Sky Sports) and preloaded playlists
- Eurostar trains to France and Belgium depart from nearby St. Pancras station
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Room Service
Originally built in 1854 by engineer Lewis Cubitt, the Great Northern Hotel is a revamped railway hotel on the edge of King’s Cross Station. Opened in 2013 after a four-year renovation, it scores high on the hip-hotel-o-meter with its gorgeous rooms, sultry wood-paneled cocktail bar and a best-of British restaurant helmed by a Michelin-starred chef. The sleek check-in area is strung with Art Deco chandeliers, and vintage travel posters dot the walls. It’s a glam take on the golden age of rail travel.
Bed & Bath
The 91 guestrooms have beautiful dimensions, with high ceilings and floor-to-ceiling double sash windows (excellent at keeping the traffic and train noise at bay). The rooms are split into three categories: Couchette, the smallest, are styled like railway sleeper carriages, with cozy leather banquettes. The top-floor Wainscot rooms are decorated with walnut paneling, and the Cubitt rooms have an olive and cream color scheme, giant mirrors and bedside tables inspired by ladies’ vanity cases. They all feature Hypnos beds (supplier to the royal family) and handy amenities including free in-room movies, superfast WiFi, music playlists and Malin + Goetz toiletries in the white-tile bathrooms.
All rooms feature access to a pantry stocked with British candy (rhubarb and custards, jelly babies), cake, fruit and drinks, and there are magazines and local guides to flick through as you make a cuppa. Downstairs, Plum + Spilt Milk (named for the dining carriages in the Flying Scotsman trains that departed from King’s Cross) is presided over by Mark Sergeant, who picked up a Michelin star at Gordon Ramsay’s Claridge’s. Tuck into classic British dishes like Dorset crab and beef wellington and sip a post-dinner drink in the Snug, an intimate wood-paneled den, or the chandelier-strung GNH Bar, which opens directly onto the station concourse.
In the Area
The revitalized King’s Cross neighborhood is home to a number of top bars and restaurants. Walk behind the train station to Granary Square for the pick of the bunch; Caravan is an industrial-chic all-day dining spot in a converted grain store; Bruno Loubet’s Grain Store sits just next door and serves an eclectic brasserie-style menu spanning everything from Polish pierogi to Vietnamese salads; and Shrimpy’s is a hipster hangout in a former gas station that dishes up signature soft-shell crab burgers. The area is very well connected for travel to just about anywhere in London — and even Paris (the Eurostar train departs from St. Pancras Station). But there’s plenty to see within walking distance: stroll to Camden and Regent’s Park via a pretty canalside route, head to Islington to browse the boutiques along Upper Street, or you can walk to the British Museum in about 25 minutes.
How to Get There
My daughter and I were in London for several days and chose to stay here because of its close proximity to St. Pancras International. From the moment we arrived, the staff went out of their way to make sure our stay was perfect.
We had a very early morning excursion and needed to safely get to a location across town at 5 AM. They arranged for a car and driver to pick us up at the front door. We needed an ATM, and they literally walked us outside to show us where the nearest one was located.
Our room was bright, quiet, spacious and very comfortable. We had a hot water issue in our room, and it was addressed immediately. There was coffee, tea, and sweets in the pantry at the end of the hallway 24/7. Numerous restaurants, wine bars etc. within walking distance.
We would not hesitate to stay here again. Great location, great accommodations, and phenomenal staff.
I stayed here because I had a 3 night stay in London arriving into Euston via Eurostar and leaving via Kings Cross, so the location was perfect. A London-based friend of mine also suggest this as one of her favorite Marriott-family hotels, so I booked 3 nights. Unfortunately, I had to leave after one night due to horrible wifi performance (which makes doing conference calls for work and with customers from my room almost impossible; had to use my cellphone instead).
The building itself is a historic hotel from when British railways were expanding. It has been nicely restored, with a lot of attractive design touches, but there's also an unfortunate result -- the rooms tend to be small, and even the larger rooms such as I had are inefficiently laid out (there's a large hallway/foyer taking up about 20% of the entire room, and then due to how furniture is arranged, the free space is blocked by furniture in the main room, and the bathroom needs to use double-doors due to lack of clearance). There are some other minor annoyances (there is no 230v power next to the bed, although there is USB), but the furnishings are high quality and it's exceptionally quiet for a room in a city hotel.
Front desk was pretty unhelpful when I initially reported the wifi problem, and after 3h of a scratchy conference call I'd decided to check out and go to a different London hotel. Front desk initially charged me for an extra night on top of the one I'd stayed as an early-checkout penalty (and declined to tell me her name, which I was going to mention in email as 'X told me ...'), but it appears they changed their mind on that after speaking with the manager and after I'd emailed my ambassador (one of the perks of spending 100+ nights in Marriott properties each year, and well worth it when things go wrong.)
Overall, I'd probably not stay here in the future due to the wifi and staff issues, although it is a beautiful property.
The access to the hotel is not the easiest and signage could be clearer.
The reception staff were friendly and helpful and offered us an upgrade, but the room we were given appeared to be the same size as the one we booked. The door into the bathroom is quite inadequate - badly fitting wood framed glass panels. This is a design issue rather than a construction or maintenance issue. It would seriously deter me from booking again if all rooms are the same design.
The provision of the refreshments area at the end of the corridor was very good and useful after a long journey. The bed was comfortable with plenty of pillows and the air conditioning was effective.
There was no discernible noise from either of the two adjacent railway stations so the room was excellently soundproofed.
This place is quite expensive for what you get - even for London