Tourists make the pilgrimage to King’s Cross every day to take photos at Platform 9 ¾, the secret platform from which students can catch the Hogwarts Express, but far fewer of them are aware of the hidden gem that is the Great Northern Hotel.

Seemingly nestled in a corner of Kings Cross Station, just across the road from the Eurostar entrance of St Pancras International, The Great Northern Hotel is so centrally located that rushing travellers with their noses to the ground can easily miss it. If they were to look up for just a moment however, they would notice just how grand and beautiful the GNH building is, and how quintessentially London it feels.

The Renaissance Hotel across the road is famous for its beautiful architecture, and The Standard, located on the Euston Road, is seen by many as a hot, hip destination in London. However, GNH deserves to be noted in its own right as a rather special luxury location, especially during the festive season. Designed by Victorian master builder Lewis Cubitt, it first opened in 1854, but has since been carefully refurbished to make it one of the finest luxury boutique hotel spaces in London.

I went to visit the hotel to experience the Christmas season myself, and I must confess that having worked in offices around King’s Cross for eight years, I had been one of those rushing passengers with my nose to the ground. While I had noticed the stylish GNH Bar and Terrace with its blend of Belle Epoque style and Art Deco design, I hadn’t actually entered the building.

Great Northern Hotel

When I did, I was in for a treat. Walking around the Terrace which has been decorated with fir garlands and Christmas decorations, I found the door to the hotel and was first struck by how calm it felt, immediately tucked away from the bustle and bedlam of the street level. The room itself where I was staying was extremely comfortable, peaceful and carefully put together with all of the features one would expect from a boutique luxury hotel. My favourite detail was the wonderful view of the famous St Pancras Clock Tower which was perfectly framed in the window from where my head rested on one of the pillows.

Dinner at the RAILS restaurant in the hotel was also a delight. The entire floor felt spacious and striking, beautifully designed, with all the art and lighting adding to the atmosphere that made us want to settle down and spend a very long time there. The service was faultless, the menu diverse and the food which came was both hearty and delicious. I went for the Grilled Swordfish Salmoriglio which did not disappoint, and my companion opted for the Braised Ox Cheek and we shared a number of sides which left us feeling more than satisfied.

After dinner the Little Bar at RAILS offers an alternative place to have a drink without having to leave the hotel and the whole space felt bright and fresh in the morning for breakfast which matched the level set by dinner with yet another strong menu of breakfast options which came served exactly as we requested. It really is much more than a stopover hotel at a train station and it felt like the most natural continuation of my day would be to step across the road and onto a Eurostar to Paris.

Great Northern Hotel

During the festive season the hotel and restaurant offer more than just an impressive festive menu. GNH also hosts festive activities including a gingerbread decorating and mulled wine workshop at GNH’s Bar & Terrace. There is also a luxury wreath-making class in collaboration with expert florist, Roseur.

The hotel is hosting New Year’s Eve celebrations with an impressive four-course menu alongside a live acoustic jazz trio, including vocals at RAILS Restaurant on 31st December and special festive hotel packages are available for stays on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve which are available through the Marriott website.

I left the hotel feeling like I had uncovered something wonderful which had for so long been sitting right under my nose, and I can only recommend the experience highly.

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Pancras Rd, Kings Cross, London N1C 4TB; Great Northern Hotel