A couple of years later, I found myself in Regent's Park Open Air Theatre watching Lord of the Flies on a balmy summer evening.
It's glorious again today as I enjoy panoramic views of London from the roof bar of The Standard Hotel. I only checked in a couple of hours ago, but already I feel at home, which is something I never expected. Having passed the building many times over the years, I could never have imagined the bohemian wonderland that awaits inside. If ever a building embodied the old adage 'never judge a book by its cover', it's The Standard.
Housed in a brutalist office block built in 1974 that was once the headquarters of Camden Council, the exterior gives little away on the two minute approach from King's Cross station, but while the outside is grey and bland, inside an explosion of turquoise, fawn, browns and rustic reds wrap you in a warm hug as funky jazz, straight out of an episode of The Persuaders, make it feel you've been dropped into the middle of the Sixties' adventure series.
Throw in a laid back, friendly, yet always attentive welcome, which sets the tone for everything that is to follow, and this really is chillsville.
Budget or boutique
The Standard boasts 266 rooms ranging from their snug Cosy Core rooms to terraced suites, some with outdoor balcony bathtubs, prices start from £199 a night.
In my Junior Suite, floor to ceiling windows ensure I have only the most stunning views of the ornate St Pancras hotel and station opposite. Unlike residents on the floor below, who have balconies, my bathtub was sat a few feet from my incredibly comfy bed and fluffy down pillows. I made a mental note to pull the curtains before using.As with all rooms in the hotel, the spacious Junior Suite comes with TV, Bluetooth speakers, custom Craig Green robes, access to the 24 hour gym and free WiFi. The Standard is also a pet friendly hotel so bring your pooch. You can even have a Peloton bike delivered directly to your room on request.
Wining and Dining
Spoiled for choice best describes the hospitality offerings available.
Decimo nestled on the tenth floor is accessed via a glass lift that ascends the outside of the building, this is where Michelin-starred chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias mixes his love of Spanish and Mexican cuisine to produce an inventive and stylish tapas-style menu, which waiting staff are more than happy to explain. Rustic surroundings and views across London make for a magical setting.
On the ground floor, The Double Standard, an American/British bar and restaurant where the focus is on small and large plates of what can best be described as good old fashioned comfort foods. Check out the hot dog sliders and macaroni cheese, sometimes it's the simple things in life that are the best. This is also where breakfast is served, assuming you haven't chosen to have breakfast in bed.
Finally, head to the roof bar for cocktails, wines and fizz, with hot dogs, nachos and snacks to keep hunger pangs at bay as you take in the amazing aerial views of King's Cross, the ruddy Gothic revival architecture of St Pancras and, off in the other direction, the spread of the Capital from St Paul’s to The Shard, The Gherkin and beyond. Make sure to book your 90 minute slot in plenty of time to avoid disappointment.
Worth Getting Out Of Bed For
Going back to 'books and covers', check out the Library Lounge, appropriately housed in what was once part of Camden Library back in the building's Council days. The perfect place to chill with friends over tea, coffee, a beer or a glass of wine, or on your own, there's plenty of reading material to choose from.
Entertainment comes in many forms at The Standard, there's everything from The Chessidency, every other Tuesday night, bring your own board and pieces, to Drag Bingo on a Wednesday evening, plus much more check www.standardhotels.com/happenings for details.
Guest Book Comments
Over the years, I have reviewed more London hotels than I can remember, including three in the immediate vicinity of The Standard. Of them all, The Standard is the one I'll be booking a return visit to. Some buildings just give off good vibes - this is one of them.
Rooms at The Standard, 10, Argyle Street, London, WC1H 8EG, start from £199, book on +44 (0) 203 981 8888 or [email protected]