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
We booked two rooms for our party of four in early June. The trip advisor reviews rate this hotel as a 5 star. We feel that 4 stars is a more realistic rating. The high price for the room probably reflects the hotel's location not the amenities. The room although small would have been adequate but for the poor lay out. As other reviews have noted, the bathroom door is glass and the person sitting on the toilet (no more than 2-3 feet from the bed edge) can be seen and heard by anyone in the room, Although the bathroom was well appointed and clean it is poorly designed. I understand that many hotels in the UK do not provide a hard-wired hair dryer socket in the bathroom but because of the poor layout of this room and the lack of a table we had to use the electrical outlet in the dimly-lit entrance hall using the luggage rack as a table. Located in the entrance hall to the room is a small utility area that houses a bar fridge and a coffee counter with what can only be described as the tiniest coffee maker/cup set-up that would discourage even the most addicted morning coffee drinker. Of course you could always go down the hall to the communal pantry and make yourself a coffee (some in the pj's) but that seems to me more reminiscent of a no-frills 2 star not what I was expecting from a 5 star. The room we stayed in had no closet just a hook on the wall in the entrance hallway with 3 coat hangers available for both of us. Since the room is quite small there was no other area where we could put clothes including no dresser or shelves for any kind of storage. The bed was comfortable with good bedding. We noticed numerous stains on the carpeting and curtains which is really unacceptable for a 5 star hotel. The reason I give this hotel a 4 star rating is because of the efficient and competent hotel staff, the location, and the historical beauty of the building. I think because of the ill-conceived room layout, lack of closet/table and woefully inadequate in-room coffee/tea facilities the room rates 3 stars. For the above reasons I do not feel this hotel is good value for the price and needs some work to deserve a 5 star rating.
This hotel was perfect for us as we were taking a train out in 2 days. A plus is the underground access also to get to anywhere in the city. That was the good part. Honestly this was the smallest Marriott we have stayed in... and we have been to 52 countries. There was just enough room to walk on each side of the bed and a little bit more in front of the bed. One chair and a small table. The “closet” was a few shelves that could hold a few folded shirts and maybe you could hang a couple of jackets. Luckily we used points and I didn’t have to pay for it. The refreshment room had some coffee and tea but most items were out. I am sure they have bigger rooms according to the fire map, but we got stuck with Harry Potter’s bedroom under the stairs.
(To Travel Is To Live)
The food was fantastic. And best of all, if you're gluten free this place is a must! The rooms were very comfortable and had plenty of space relative to many of the other hotels I've stayed at in London. I also really enjoyed the complimentary mini-kitchens they had on the halls where you could grab a complimentary snack.
Stayed overnight while we travelled back home via Asia and Eurostar'd out of London - cannot beat the location and fabulous hotel and historic features. Reception staff we pleasant tho a little uncoordinated. Very pricey, typical London and would stay if we were travelling out of St Pancras station again - cannot beat the location :)
Great boutique hotel conveniently located steps from King's Cross and St. Pancras stations. Rooms definitely are small but the service from the staff is great. Highly recommend this hotel for short stays in London, especially if using the train or tube while there.