"Too beautiful, and too romantic, to survive", said the poet John Betjeman, when the Midland Grand hotel shut its doors in 1935.
What he didn’t say was that it didn’t have enough rooms with toilets – the more prosaic reason for its decline. More palace than hotel, the Gothic shell dominated the north London skyline for the next 75 years. This spring finally sees its reopening as The St Pancras Renaissance. Rooms have been lavishly refitted, and visitors can partake of the Ladies Smoking Room – once the only place in the city where women could publicly smoke – or take a turn on the dramatic grand staircase.
How do I make it happen?
The St Pancras Renaissance hotel is located on Euston Road, minutes from Euston and King's Cross St Pancras train stations (rooms from £190; marriott.co.uk). Dine beneath the 22-carat gilded cornicing in The Gilbert Scott dining room. The classic British menu is the work of Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing (mains from £15; thegilbertscott.co.uk). Be sure to pay a visit to the British Library, just around the corner from the hotel. A new exhibition explores the history of the census (bl.uk).
Another London hostelry, this one on a much smaller scale, opened this month in Clerkenwell. The Zetter Townhouse has 11 rooms and two suites designed by Russell Sage tucked in Georgian conversion behind The Zetter Hotel.
The Dylan Amsterdam refurbished 10 rooms and unveiled their new Dylan Thomas Suite in April, and will be soon launching a restaurant boat on the Keizersgracht canal, Vinkeles on the Water.
Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge in Kruger National Park just completed a design overhaul of all the lodge's suites and interiors, and introduced a new day bar and lounge where high tea is served.
In time for the summer season, Brick Bistro on Nantucket opens 29 April in the historic Jared Coffin House with a menu heavy on the local fish, mussels and lobster.