St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel

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Template:Infobox hotel The St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel is a hotel in the English city of London, forming the frontispiece of St Pancras railway station. It opened in 2011, but occupies much of the former Midland Grand Hotel designed by George Gilbert Scott which opened in 1873 and closed in 1935. Between 1935 and 2011, the building was known as St Pancras Chambers and was used as railway offices.

The upper levels of the original building have been redeveloped as apartments by the Manhattan Loft Corporation, and retain the St Pancras Chambers name.<ref name=mlcspc>Template:Cite web</ref>

The Midland Grand Hotel

In 1865, the Midland Railway Company held a competition for the design of a 150-bed hotel to be constructed next to its railway station, St Pancras, which was still under construction at the time. Eleven designs were submitted, including one by George Gilbert Scott, which, at 300 rooms, was much bigger and more expensive than the original specifications. Despite this, the company liked his plans and construction began.<ref name=urban75>Template:Cite web</ref>

The east wing opened in 1873, and the rest followed in Spring 1876. The hotel was expensive, with costly fixtures including a grand staircase, rooms with gold leaf walls and a fireplace in every room. It had many innovative features such as hydraulic lifts, concrete floors, revolving doors and fireproof floor constructions, though (as was the convention of the time), none of the rooms had bathrooms.<ref name=urban75/> The hotel was taken over by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1922 before closing in 1935, by which time its utilities were outdated and too costly to maintain, such as the armies of servants needed to carry chamber pots, tubs, bowls and spittoons.<ref name=urban75/>

Use as offices

After closing as a hotel, the building was renamed St Pancras Chambers and used as railway offices, latterly for British Rail. In the 1980s it failed fire safety regulations and was shut down.<ref name=urban75/>

The exterior was restored and made structurally sound at a cost of around £10 million in the 1990s.<ref name=urban75/> In 1996, the music video for the Spice Girls' "Wannabe" was filmed in the entrance and main staircase of the building. In 2003, the television series Most Haunted Live broadcast a live event from the building, the theme being "Peril in St. Pancras".

Reopening as hotel and apartments

Planning permission was granted in 2004 for the building to be redeveloped into a new hotel. The main public rooms of the old Midland Grand were restored, along with some of the bedrooms. In order to cater for the more modern expectations of guests, a new bedroom wing was constructed on the western side of the Barlow train-shed. As redeveloped the hotel contains 244 bedrooms, 2 restaurants, 2 bars, a health and leisure centre, a ballroom, and 20 meeting and function rooms.<ref name=urban75/>

At the same time, the upper floors of the original building were redeveloped as 68 apartments by the Manhattan Loft Corporation.<ref name=mlcspc/>

The St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel opened on 14 March 2011 to guests; however, the formal Grand Opening was on 5 May - exactly 138 years after its original opening in 1873.

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References

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