London — the bustling metropolis that effortlessly blends history with contemporary flair — is home to a myriad of hotels catering to every traveller’s needs. There are the fancy, ‘old-money’ places in Mayfair and Soho where the lobbies could double as palaces. Then you’ve got the big name chains: The Langham, the Four Seasons. On Southbank, where museums and Borough Markets are, you’ll find boutique, slightly quirkier hotel options, and then, of course, tucked behind Oxford Circus in Marylebone, there are the historic buildings transformed into luxury rooms. You won’t find a shortage of places to stay in London, but I want to turn your attention to a new corner of London, experiencing a renaissance — Kings Cross.
The formerly abandoned rail hub, Kings Cross, has been reborn into a shopping, dining, and all-round destination of its own in the heart of London. Today, you’ll find posh supermarkets hiding in converted train sheds, designer shopfronts, game-changing restaurants, and no shortage of landscaped green spaces.
Sound intriguing, right? It’s a place for architecture lovers, shoppers, foodies, families, solo travellers, and just about anyone. And we know just where to stay to be in the thick of the hum.
The Standard, London
The Standard, London, which opened in 2019, is hard to miss when you emerge from the chaos of the Kings Cross St. Pancras Station. Occupying a brutalist building with a bright white facade carved to look like netting and an even more eye-catching red pill-like elevator, the hotel is perfectly positioned on the doorstep of London’s coolest refreshed neighbourhood.
If you know anything about the Standard Hotel, you might know about its party vibe. They always seem to be on the cusp of the next big thing, with a signature edgy atmosphere and outlandish decor. This isn’t your average Marriott or Conrad hotel brand. It stands on its own reputation. So here’s why we love it so much.
Whether you’re on a budget or have room to play, The Standard, London offers ten pod-like room types to suit every budget. On the lower end are train-carriage style singles, like The Single, with a raised platform bed facing wall-sized windows with views overlooking Kings Cross. This room might be small, but it’s just as colourful and injected with amenities as the higher-end rooms. Expect fancy sheets, fluffy down pillows, Bluetooth speaker and a minibar loaded with snacks.
The Junior Suite Terrace provides guests with an outdoor bath, city views, and dreamy Californie-modern interiors. You can even ask to deliver a peloton to your room. There’s also a complimentary sneaker cleaning service. For something bigger, we suggest the King of Kings, with big windows, a big bed, a day bed under the window for people watching, and a deep soak tub fit for a king.
Remember we mentioned the party vibe? If you take the elevator to Sweeties, a discotheque late-night cocktail bar and lounge, we’re sure you’ll be feeling the music all night long. Open at various times of the day, Sweeties boasts an evolving DJ lineup featuring local and international talent. The menu leans toward playful drinks and encourages misbehaviour. Think boozy, sweet cocktails pumped full of everything from gin to mezcal. It’s the perfect late-night spot to spend a night out without having to leave the hotel.
A Spanish Affair
The Standard, London has several food and beverage options for guests, but Decimo is a cut above the rest. Helmed by Michelin-starred chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, expect vibrant plates stacked with paper-thin slices of jamon Iberico, charred sourdough accompanied with bright dips, and tacos with a twist. Did we mention it has a view? Whether you’re in the mood for a long weekend brunch, a salty, sweet late-night snack, or a nice dinner, Decimo is sure to deliver on all your Spanish cuisine cravings.
A Garden Meal
Isla is the hotel’s funky, ground-floor restaurant, which also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, although the menu focuses on small, veggie-forward plates, with a long list of minimal intervention wines. Grab a seat on the garden terrace, weather-proofed; we might add, because it is London after all, and start your day with a breakfast designed entirely by you. The breakfast counter has a selection of slices of meats, fruits, yogurt, cereal, bacon, and every other usual breakfast item you crave.
For lunch and dinner, the menu moves into a raw bar with local seafood on platters. There are also several flatbreads stuffed with Calabrian salami, smoked salmon, and more if you need a quick fill-up. For mains, find pasta, cornish red chicken with vegetables, and a rib eye with bone marrow and shallot sauce, if you need something bigger and more formal for the afternoon.
Chances are, you’ve never paid attention to a hotel library before. Fair enough, they’re usually either a corner of shelving and books or a drab room filled with books that are of no use to you. Though, you’re going to want to spend an hour or three in this library. Flush with colour and funky furnishings, the library in The Standard, London, is more like a colourful, book-filled heaven you might spot scrolling through Pinterest. The chairs vary from timber to leather-covered armchairs. The books range from science and religion to architecture and philosophy. There are lounges to sink into with a book or a cocktail. Yes, they serve cocktails in this library and food too.
There’s a sound studio where you might find someone recording something and enough lush plants to keep the space feeling lively and relaxing. It’s a great place to get some work done, although, be warned, laptops are banned after 6 pm, and we don’t mind that rule.