New York’s super-trendy The Standard has come to London with a dash of panache, a splash of respect for the Seventies — and a much-needed sense of humour.
The brand new hotel occupies the brutally ugly former Camden Town Hall Annexe building — which looks like a cross between a nuclear reactor and a Merchant Navy ship — just across the road from St Pancras station, and it does so with huge aplomb.
The Standard name is upside down on the sign outside the building, which is appropriate given that The Standard aims to turn hospitality on its head.
The ex-Camden Town Hall Annex on Euston Road has been transformed into a swanky new hotel called The Standard, London. The telephone box-style lift, pictured, zooms straight to a 10th-floor restaurant
The Standard, London, is located opposite St Pancras International railway station
There are four young things on reception, all clearly hired for their looks as well as their organisational skills.
Nothing new there, but one of them goes out of her way to explain all the different room options, starting with Cosy Core (£199), with no windows, to full-blown suites with outside baths. We opt for a King’s Standard on the 7th floor and get a sideways view of St Pancras.
There’s kitsch aplenty, with retro taps, patterned bedspreads, a drinks trolley straight from the set of Abigail’s Party, a wraparound sofa and a canteen-style table like the ones in Sixties Wimpy Bars. My wife is not great with modern, but even she admits ‘this is fun’.
Street-facing bar Double Standard. The Inspector’s wife described the hotel as ‘fun’
At Isla restaurant, pictured, The Inspector tries Jerusalem artichoke with ‘grains’ and Swiss cheese, ‘which are all sensational’
The food and beverage options come courtesy of top chef Adam Rawson
The main space downstairs is kitted out like an old-fashioned library, complete with ladders to reach the upper shelves. At one end is a bar that wants to be a pub. Double Standard is its name.
I’d be happy to eat here, but my wife likes the look of Isla, just off the library.
‘I’ll have the No. 59, please,’ she says when ordering her main course — before I warn her that the 59 is the price of a beef chop, not its number on the menu.
The Standard aims to turn hospitality on its head, writes The Inspector. Pictured is the reception desk
Groovy: The eye-catching bathroom belonging to a superior room
There are 266 rooms in total, costing between £199 and £1,000-plus, and 42 design styles. Pictured is a superior room
The Standard, High Line, hotel in New York’s trendy Meatpacking District. It is famous for its floor-to-ceiling bedroom windows
The Standard London, 10 Argyle St, London, WC1H 8EG. Visit standardhotels.com; 0203 981 8888. Doubles from £199 room only.
Dishes are mainly for sharing. We have three or four, including Jerusalem artichoke with ‘grains’ and Swiss cheese, which are all sensational.
The music is a little loud, courtesy of two chaps spinning discs in a DJ booth. But it’s all delightfully uplifting.
At breakfast, we expect everyone and everything to be hung over. Not at all. The service is low-key, gentle, diligent. I go for the ‘artichoke hash’, a most extraordinary breakfast option, saved by the little poached egg sitting on top.
To be different is easy, but to be different with such style is an art.