For its first hotel outside of the States, The Standard has spared little expense. A bold-coloured, confidently designed and head-spinningly varied take on your traditional British hotel, this 266-room mecca of elaborate cocktails, pastel shades and balcony baths is the most exciting thing to hit London’s tourism scene in years.
So bright was the tempting beacon of The Standard — and so good were the things we had heard — that Gentleman’s Journal upped sticks for a staycation earlier this year. Here’s what we thought…
Where is it, and what is it?
Other than Oxford Circus, there is no London thoroughfare that lends itself to tourism as well as Kings Cross. With travellers from the furthest reaches of Britain, France — and now The Netherlands — flooding into the capital, this is prime real estate for a prime hotel. And, going toe-to-toe over the road from the intricate orange St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, you’ll find The Standard sitting pretty (in a very concrete-y Seventies way) plum in the middle of WC1.
But The Standard hasn’t thrown it back with its architecture. Rather, the retro appeal is purely coincidental, as the hotel has set up shop in the former Camden Town Hall Annex. The 1974 Brutalist building has been meticulously restored, and a bright red external pod lift slides up and down its side like a can of Coke in a vending machine.
As soon as you step inside the ‘lobby lounge’, the building’s previous life hits you in the face. In a nice, but not subtle, nod to its former use, a carefully curated library pays homage to the bureuacratic roots of The Standard — with titles from dog ownership manuals to the Karma Sutra lining the rolling shelves. But there’ll be time to browse those later — first it’s time to check in.
What can you expect from 11 types of room?
Oh yes, you read that correctly. The Standard offers a whopping 11 different types of accommodation — in an impressive range of colours, themes and sizes. They start with the single — why do more hotels not offer single rooms? — and whizz up through Queen of Queens, Double Standard, King of Kings and Suite Spot until you reach the Suite Terrace; an envy-inducing penthouse perched atop the hotel and boasting its own bar.
But perhaps the most impressive concept at The Standard is their Cosy Core option. A room in the centre of the building, it comes without windows — an idea that, at first, seems strange. But once you see these secluded spaces, lush oases filled with foliage to make up for the lack of view, you’ll understand that they are an escapist masterstroke.
Every room features Italian sheets, Bang & Olufsen wireless speakers, custom Craig Green robes and overstocked minibars (that’s a good thing). We especially liked the Scandinavian raincoats hanging in the wardrobe of our King of King’s room — a very London-appropriate touch.
Just how good are the dishes and drinks on site?
Of course, it’s not all about the encyclopaedic menu of room options available. If you manage to make your way to the lifts — you really might need a map, especially if you’ve been at the minibar — there’s a wealth of eateries and bars to be explored under The Standard’s vintage-styled roof.
Isla is helmed by London’s own Adam Rawson and offers a seasonal menu of light fish and natural wines. Inspired by the wild islands of Britain, it’s a perfect spot for an al fresco meal, weather permitting — although there’s always those raincoats. Michelin-starred chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias is also about to throw open the doors of Decimo, a Mexican restaurant serving up aquachile (Mexican ceviche), vegan paella and a new take on tacos with a dramatically different tortilla.
But the jewel in the culinary crown must be the Double Standard bar. It may be glitzy, but it’s unpretentious, and friendly bar staff serve up Stateside diner-inflected dishes alongside draught beer and classic cocktails. With its neighbourhood street-facing space, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d landed in the US — and even more so after several of their top notch Old Fashioneds, or Aviation Gin Negronis…
The Standard Hotel, London
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