This is the big news in London, not the referendum whose results we shall not know till tomorrow evening: the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, a gorgeous, late Victorian building, between St Pancras Station and the British Library, saved in the sixties through the tireless work of the great Sir John Betjeman, has officially reopened after many years of renovation and reconstruction. More on the Conservative History blog.
11 thoughts on “St Pancras Renaissance Hotel”
Victorian art is usually awful, but they did very well with architecture. And it got better the more grandiose it got. Plus they spread it all over the world-look at Bombay’s Victoria and Churchgate Stations.
I might add that Manhattan has wonderful (and plentiful) 19th C. architecture between 14th St.and Canal St.
Thanks for posting this.
victorian architecture is ok, but it’s overly fussy and mostly brick. give me the Georgian architecture of Bath, any day. oh to own a townhouse on the Royal Crescent.
Seeing as the developers, architects and designers are two American firms (Marriott and Manhattan Lofts), I wonder if the Brits would ever restored their landmark on their own.
I found the photos of the interiors at dailymail, and I have to agree with some of commentators (those with taste and sense of proportion): the furnishings, everything beyond restoring painted ceilings and woodwork, is drab and below the standard for this price range hospitality establishment.
I am saying this as a designer with 3 “W” hotels and 2 other in my portfolio.
As to late Victorians, and their architecture and interiors…personally, they disgust me: they are everything that was wrong with British Empire, a quintessence of ornately decorated toothless and thoughtless Nothing. But I can understand some customers might love it exactly for those qualities; and I learned to serve the customer.
Tayana, you will be glad to know that there is a W hotel now in Leicester Square. Maybe you should have worked on it – it looks utterly ghastly and tacky.
Tackier that this? Hard to imagine.
Besides, I know the Design Director at Starwood Hotels who owns W: she is a British subject just like you are, albeit of Pakistani descent. She was promoted into position 2 years ago.
Thanks for the dailymail link, Tatyana. Fussy it may be, but what would have been in its place? The thing I miss was NY’s Penn Station:
Oh yes, Renminbi, absolutely; I, too, miss this classical beauty.
So much of Victorian creations, especially English Victorians, are simply garden follies. A fairy tale architecture, far removed from any sense of proportion, elegance (which defined as “minimum detail for maximum effect”), truth and – frankly – common sense, that famous English common sense. A fairy tale could be cute and pink, like Disneyland princesses and unicorns – or scary and cruel, like Grimm Brothers’ or [real, not Disney’s] Andersen’s books. Or Dracula stories. There is also an element of uncontrolled boasting – like Albert memorial -no wonder it’s the same deranged architect – particularly funny, as the “mighty and powerful” British Empire proved to be a Colossus on the legs of clay.
Actually, I can tolerate American Victorianism much better than English one – exactly because here it is limited to a fairy tale fantastical aspect (see Poe, Allan; Adams family and Gotham stories). It does not carry elements of real leach-like monarchy, colonial snobbery, excess, reveling in stolen goods, hypocrisy and moralizing, wounded pride and above all – plain bad taste.
Actually, these two words – tacky and ghastly – describe it pretty well (thanks, Helen. Unwittingly, you found the right expression. Probably projection, and uneasy conscience – just like your beloved Victorians).
Renminbi, you ask what would have been in its place? Oh, I would leave it be. It is, too, a memorial of a kind. Something people should see to appreciate clean elegance of minimalism, ether classical or contemporary. It is part of urban history, of mosaic. I would restore it and also produce interiors very much fitting to the spirit and letter of the ghastly victorian times. No jacuzzi and latest technology-toilets: I would give them their historically-accurate ones with the tall pipe and a handle on a chain. No refrigerators and no “fusion cuisine”. Let them eat kidney puddings, the heavier the better. I would even house a couple of families of bats in the sagging beams – for authenticity. And employ a short stout actress as a ghost of their idol Queen…
What on earth has the nationality of the Design Director of the Starwood Hotels has to do with anything, Tatyana? I had not quite realized how much you hate Britain, all things British and how little you understand Victorians. I am sorry. It distorts your judgement. Because the Leicester Square W is tacky. Expensive tacky. No big deal – it’s not in a particularly attractive part of London but it will not survive. And nobody will bother to resurrect it once it has fallen on bad times.
Hilarious, these temper tantrums and impotent rage of a fake-British snob.
I thought you luuurved Pakistani women and their taste! At least you did when I pointed to you on insane quantity of them on streets in Kensington.
I thought you will be pleased to learn one of the people you so approved of is promoted on the same principles you share – and the result of her supervision is right there, up to your nose. Enjoy!
If one has a good case, there is no need to personally attack someone who disagrees with you.
Exclusively in retaliation, Renminbi. I never attack first.
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