Spectacular, both inside and out...
Stayed here for a few nights at the end of January. Initially checked in to the cheapest available room in the Barlow wing, which was pretty much a standard looking 4/5star room with all the usual facilities and scrupulously clean. All looked well for a pretty typical business 1 night stay... Then the missus called, her boss had asked her to get to London for the following morning... Well, there's a possibility for extending to a weekend here after we've both finished work, so I return to reception, speak sweetly to their excellent and approachable staff and extend my stay into the weekend and then for £100 extra per night upgrade the room to a Chambers suite...
And WOW... there's nothing ordinary about the Chambers wing. Our suite overlooked the Eurostar platform and was a great size with a dreamy comfy bed and beautiful quick filling bath, free of a tapend.... Mmmmmm, a bath for 2!
Then there's access to the Chambers club, only offered to plats though, not golds, and the answer to the Gold lack of exec lounge access is easy to see, provided you understand the historical background here.
The hotel was opened to considerable acclaim in 1873 as the flagship property of the Eastern Railway company, built in the gothic style with no expense spared, but alas had obsolescence built into its structure with the lack of ensuite facilities only a few years before the invention of the flushing toilet that made chamber pots at top hotels a thing of the past. Within 20 years of opening the property had become irrelevant as a grand hotel and had instead become a financial albatross, that struggled gamely through the first world war but couldn't beat the depression in the 1930's, and closed down in 1935. After closure the building was used as railway offices and called "St Pancras chambers". In the 1960's it received the dubious honour of a grade 1 listing status which saved it from demolition but meant regenerating such a building would be murderously expensive and guaranteed it'd fall into disuse.
And so it proved, for decades.
In order to make the horrifying economics renovating a grade 1 listed building work, it was necessary to convert a part of the building to that most precious of London Real Estate... luxury apartments! Originally the figures indicated 20 such apartments were needed to make the economics stack up, but it quickly became apparent that the renovation costs were going to be far higher than originally budgeted and as the bills expanded so did the numbers of apartments needed to keep the project solvent. Eventually the development turned into 68 luxury apartments, called "St Pancras Chambers". And purchasers of true luxury apartments expect "owners facilities". St Pancras leases offered access to an internal gym, parking and a members club, the "chambers club", managed and run by the hotel. Chambers owners pay a subscription for access to the club so overcrowding and feeding scrums mustn't occur. It also had to be something more than an ordinary exec lounge, hence the "Chambers Club"
And the Chambers Club is certainly no ordinary exec lounge! Though beer and wine choices are restricted they're good quality and served all afternoon and evening till 11:30pm. The breakfast is wider than any exec lounge I've been in, as is the afternoon tea selection and evening canapés. This is a truly exceptional lounge and although it gets busy there's always a table available, even at its busiest.
In order to maintain this accessibility there has to be a restriction on numbers. There's 68 Chambers apartments eligible to join, and of course the occupants of all 38 of the Chambers hotel rooms eligible to use it, and they almost certainly will! Adding plats to the mix helps support the numbers making sure it's seldom deserted but never overcrowded, which leaves gold members out in the cold.
Now, location. Nope, there's no denying, unless you're going on the Eurostar, this hotel ain't close to much. But if you are going by Eurostar and you have Lounge access, whether as a Plat or because you've upgraded to a chambers room/suite, then you'll have access to the excellent Eurostar transfer service offered exclusively by the hotel. Advise the Chambers club concierge the night before your departure, turn up half an hour before your train and the concierge will speed you through the checkin process and accompany you and your luggage to your Eurostar carriage. It is the best way to start any international journey!
But what if you're just at the hotel as a London visitor? Well as I said before, it's not close to much, except St Pancras underground which means you're right on top of the tube which will take you anywhere around London quickly and conveniently. And make no mistake, in a city like London, wherever you stay it's not close to everything, so proximity to the tube is much more important than any other location, and hence the St Pancras hotel could scarcely be better located to explore all London has to offer!
So to Plats I'd say this place has a simple free upgrade policy to the best available Barlow room. The inclusion of club access makes this a really good option, but for Golds, well I'd say you'd be missing a key part of the St Pancras experience without access to the club and there are many options in London that include exec lounge access to Golds.
But to anyone thinking of upgrading, the Chambers Suite I stayed in was keenly priced, the same suite I paid £300 night for was £560 night at its cheapest at Marriott.com. The suite itself was wonderful and very comparable to my favourite splurge destination, Claridges. So for those wanting a chambers room (which includes club access) I'd say go for it, for I can make no greater compliment than to add that next time I'm splurging in London the Ren is going to make that choice really tough.
Date Stayed: September 2014