As if responding to the extravagant Victorian brick construction of St. Pancras Rail Station across the street, the mid-century Brutalist civic building that has been renovated as The Standard Hotel appears to be all oblong windows and curved concrete at first glance. But on further inspection, a single wink of color in the form of a glass elevator pod enclosed in a red teardrop beckons visitors passing by on the Euston Road. That’s just the beginning of the geometric mod shapes and 1960s-space-age design that awaits within.
The American design hotel brand, Standard International, is known visually for its nod to the psychedelic, futuristic ‘60s as well as its regular social events that draw as many locals as hotel guests, but The Standard’s first location outside the US takes that playful spirit and infuses something earthy and more practical to it. Rooms with light wood floors and trim give a solid and spacious feel, a nice counterbalance to the curves and concrete outside – and in the “Cosy Core” rooms in the hotel’s interior, those features make clever use of the windowless space.
Rooms come with cloud-like bedding and soothing plant life as a given, designed around the building’s special curves and outlets. A breakfast nook facing the City of London skyline and oversized bathtub next to the bed (or built into a window-facing terrace) are sexy yet practical, both made for socialising in the comfort of your own party of two. Thoughtful extras like heavy-duty rain macs, a fully-equipped shaving kit and a wireless bluetooth speaker make guests feel right at home. Pets, and even kids, are also welcome.
Public space in The Standard is just as enticing and eclectic, offering London residents a trio of new culinary options. The ground-floor lounge and restaurant, Double Standard, incorporates a fairly extensive lending library of books on topics ranging from philosophy and sound design to gardening and biographies, all amidst warm lamps, fireplace corners and a seasonal outdoor garden to keep things cosy as well as fresh. The menu contains equal parts veggie, fish and meat options. The retro Euston-street-facing bar, Isla, serves up cocktails in an upscale ‘40s diner, and that peppy “red pill” elevator visible from the Brutalist exterior takes guests to the 10th floor, where a faux-desert oasis, complete with cacti, hosts DJ’ed parties, special events and big city views. Whether you’re just visiting or a central-city Londoner, The Standard will surely send you back in time over and over again.
From US$195 per night / standardhotels.com
From the concierge
The British Library
Among London’s prestigious museums and galleries, the British Library rarely receives a mention, but for those curious enough to visit, pleasant surprises await. More than London’s largest lending library, the building curates exhibitions on literature and culture and displays ancient manuscripts like Magna Carta and Shakespeare’s first folio. Perfect for academics, bibliophiles and casual visitors alike.
Dishoom at Granary Square
A recent redevelopment around Regent’s Canal in a former industrial shipping hub has become the heart of the King’s Cross neighborhood. One of its most popular restaurants, tapas-style Dishoom, serves sophisticated Indian dishes with a British fusion flair and an alcohol-free cocktail menu every bit as extravagant as the one with booze.
Architecture walking tour
St. Pancras Station, a Victorian masterpiece built in 1868, is a jewel of the London railway system, filled with sculpture and artwork as impressive as the building itself. Monthly guided walking tours by New London Architecture Tours and Open City Tours share the building’s history and introduce visitors to other creative redesigns of 19th century industrial workspaces around St. Pancras-King’s Cross.