This review experience of the Pullman London St Pancras Hotel is part of the “Our World Is Your Playground” project with Global Nomad and The Pullman Life Hub. Just like every review, though, I write what I like and no messin’about.Find Special Places to Stay in London
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes a good hotel after a busy few months of travelling and a number of nights spent in some good – and not so good – ones.
It’s easy to see what makes hotels interesting: history, design, architecture, and a good story. Something unusual, something that stands out.
Service, too, is reasonably easy to spot in advance, with clues from the website and social media platforms and responses to comments from customers.
But I think what’s hardest to spot from afar are the hotel basics that really matter: a comfy bed and a quiet night’s sleep.
There’s plenty to say about the Pullman St Pancras London Hotel, and I’ll say it in a minute, but the first thing to note is that it gave me some rest.
And I needed it.
I’ve stayed in some beautiful places lately but all had one thing in common: a lack of decent soundproofing.
Every lift ping that pung, every late night conversation. Every door slam and hoover and person sneezing and snoring next door. I’ve heard it all, and craved some quiet, some rest.
This London Pullman had none of that.
Silence. Peace. Only the soothing sound of distant sirens, the lullaby from any night in a big city.
What made it all the more surprising was that down in the lobby, the atmosphere pulsed. People swarmed in and out and through and beyond, a swirl of humanity that echoed the whirl of life in London itself.
They sat in curved white chairs with hooded parapets. They chatted amid cocktail recipes that glowed in the bar. They ate in the open-plan restaurant while chefs steamed and sizzled food in plain view of all.
And they read in the library, which brings me on to the next key feature.
Up on the 12th floor, where I stayed, the view was spectacular: the London Eye, the Gherkin, and if leaned far enough, the bulbous dome of St Paul’s and the shadowy spike of the Shard.
By the lifts, the windows showcased the gothic buildings that surround King’s Cross Station.
And also another red brick building: a squat, ugly one.
And that is the British Library.
Just as it’s a mistake to judge a book by its cover, so it turns out to be the same with buildings.
Inside the British Library, in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures section, lies free access to some of the greatest documents in the world – to anyone in the world.
Original drawings from Leonardo Da Vinci, Dürer and Michelangelo. Lyrics handwritten by the Beatles. Careful inky strokes from the work of Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare.
Footsteps away are holy texts from the Quran, the Gutenberg Bible and the Diamond Sutra (the world’s earliest dated printed book.)
There’s a letter from King Henry VIII and the infamous Anne Boleyn as well as criminal documents relating to the Guy Fawkes plot to blow up parliament back in 1605.
And it’s all just footsteps away from my bed for the night at the Pullman St Pancras Hotel.
Back in the lobby, I browse the cubic white bookshelves beneath the lights that hang like starbursts. Vintage Cocktails, The World Atlas of Wine, monochrome globes and a hardback title on Modernism Rediscovered sit next to classics like Homer’s Odyssey and The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Leaflets at the bar promise whisky tasting and music nights, while the restaurant pairs wine by the glass. Men in suits and women in heels arrive, chat, sip, check-in and depart in an open plan space that shows London at its best.
And so, back in the room, curled up on the powder grey window seat, I make myself a cup of tea. (And then coffee, don’t judge me, sometimes it’s hard to choose.)
Downstairs may highlight the thriving side of London but in my bubble of silver and mustard gold, I steal a quiet look at the world.
At the skyline of London, this city of my birth, this place of so many million people, of every nationality in the world.
This city I have visited so many times, and yet this place that always surprises.
And I wonder to myself what else there is out there that’s waiting to be found.
What I loved
Efficient check in/out with helpful service
Energetic open plan area taking in the library, restaurant, bar and reception desk. If travelling alone, this buzz gives a sense of life and if not, it’s a great place to meet.
Well equipped, decent sized gym that overlooks the King’s Cross Building and the British Library itself.
Calm colour scheme of silver and mustard yellow
Rich, flavoursome tuna steak in the salade nicoise at the Pullman’s Gold Arrow Restaurant.
Wine pairings by the glass allows perfect matching of wine with each course – another plus for solo travellers or indeed couples or families who have different preferences.
Excellent food restriction labels on menus.
International selection of food for breakfast.
Comfy bed! Quiet room! Don’t underestimate these things.
Frequent events such as whisky tasting and music nights.
Location: perfect for the Eurostar and indeed the British Library!
Free, easy wifi everywhere!
What to know
There’s a shower but no bathtub
Breakfast is really busy with quite a wait to be seated. Likewise, checkout at 9am gets quite congested.
Abigail King is an award-winning writer and author who swapped a successful career as a hospital doctor for a life on the road. With over 60 countries under her belt, she's worked for Lonely Planet, the BBC, National Geographic Traveller and more. She is passionate about sustainable tourism and was invited to speak on the subject at the EU-China High Level summit at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.Here she writes about food, travel and history and she invites you to pull up a chair and relax. Let's travel more and think more. Welcome!
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