With the champagne bar, stylish restaurants and top-end shops at St Pancras rail station, you could almost wish for delays on the Eurostar. Now there's another excuse to linger with the opening of the Renaissance hotel in the iconic Victorian building next May.
The redbrick Gothic hotel, saved from demolition in the 60s after a protest led by Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman, has been restored by teams of hundreds of experts craftsmen and painters and is set to open on May 5, 2011, exactly 138 years after its doors first opened in 1873.
Its famous forecourt will be showing off gold-leaf ceilings, while eagle-eyed visitors might recognise the sweeping staircase with its 50ft windows from the Spice Girls video for Wannabe. Even if they don't want to admit that.
Some of the historical original rooms have been renovated, in the £150 million overhaul, including the Ladies Smoking Room, the first place in Europe where it was acceptable for women to smoke in public – although not any more!
There's 245 rooms, including 38 Victorian bedroom suites and a newly created extension Barlow House.
The new Booking Office Bar & Restaurant has been created in the old ticket hall, and there'll be another restaurant headed by a celebrity chef, who's still to be announced.
Throw in a luxury spa, barber's shop, ballroom with space for 350 and a private club, and it's a definite contender for being the most glamorous way to catch a train.
Quick facts: For more information or to book for dates from May 2011, visit www.stpancrasrenaissance.com or call 020 7841 3540.