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Since I moved here, I had never really thought about a London staycation before. However, when The Gyle London invited us over for a little midweek escape from the rigours of everyday life, we couldn’t say no to this wonderful opportunity (it’s particularly easy to say yes when you’ve spent most of your time in the past couple of months sitting at home, waiting patiently for the end of a global health crisis). Moreover, my office is my living room and working from home makes it extra hard sometimes to switch off after a stressful day.
So why not escape to a different place in my own city? A change of location makes it so much easier to stop caring about the flood of incoming emails or open points on my to-do-list and spending the night in a new surrounding almost feels like a small adventure. Two weeks ago, I took some much needed time off with my boyfriend and we spent our Wednesday night in a surreal townhouse in a real London square.
A surreal townhouse in a real London square
We love a place with character, and The Gyle definitely doesn’t disappoint. The name Gyle refers to the square it sits on (Argyle Square), named after the Dukes of Argyle who had been landowners in the area in the past centuries. The hotel is housed in three heritage-listed Victorian townhouses situated in the colourful Borough of Camden, just a few minutes by foot from Kings Cross station (should you change your mind last minute, look for Platform 9 3/4 and jump on the Hogwarts Express!).
The square has quite an interesting history, as it’s been London’s largest ash dump in 1831 and got bombed during the Blitz in 1941. Some might even dare to say The Gyle is standing within a minute Space-Time wormhole created by accident in 1881 when some scientists messed up electromagnetic fields during secret experiments at the Pancras Gasworks. Truth or myth? Go and find out yourself.
1. the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.
As soon as you enter The Gyle, the rigours of everyday life seem to vanish and you can immerse yourself in a whole new world. There are millions of quirky details to look at in every corner of the hotel, and once the friendly staff tells you about the history and curiosities of The Gyle, all the details come together and make sense – the Scottish (because it is situated on Argyle Square) and Victorian roots, coal (which was once stored nearby) and the supernatural (space-time-rift). Everywhere you look, small lovely details are paying tribute to the hotel’s roots and the history of the place it stands.
Dark’n’Stormy in the TOAST Booze and Breakfast Lounge
The ceiling in the TOAST B&B Lounge is covered with lawn through which a seismic crack emits lighting effects, while you’re walking on an image of the sky reflected in Loch Fyne. This is a symbolic pathway between the 19th and 21st century and connects The Gyle to the industrial past of the St Pancras area (coal furnaces and gasworks).
After enjoying a couple of delicious drinks in the Toast B&B Lounge – B&B stands for Booze and Breakfast by the way – we made our way back to our room downstairs to enjoy what we believe was the most special part of our stay: a long and hot bath in the sunken bathtub! But first, let me show you the stylish room we stayed in:
Feature King with Vaulted Bathroom
The 33 rooms at The Gyle are truly unique and look super stylish with solid oak flooring, vintage mirrors, Scottish textiles and metal industrial lamps. You can check in and open your room via an app on your phone which makes the whole check-in process a lot less complicated and a tablet on your bedside table allows you to control all in-room technology.
If you look closely, you’ll find so many more quirky details in your room: An original Victorian cast-iron coal hole cover serves as your coffee table and an old airline trolley houses your bathroom toiletries.
Soak yourself silly in the sunken bathtub
Now here comes the highlight of our little staycation at The Gyle: the vaulted bathroom with its sunken tub and rain-dance shower is truly an eyecatcher and especially on a rainy day the perfect place to escape London weather and pamper yourself. Flickering candlelight, a glass of champagne and some old-school R&B turn this place into something very special. Can it get any more romantic?
Lazy Thursday Mornings
We had taken the liberty of not setting an alarm so we woke up when we wanted and had a late breakfast. It was really hard to get up as the beds are so cosy and the room doesn’t let a lot of daylight in (the vaulted bathroom rooms are on a lower level). We chose fresh watermelon juice & creamy cappuccinos and got served granola yoghurt, fruits and homemade bread & croissants that came fresh out of the oven. Yum!
Would we go again?
Definitely yes. All in all, our stay at The Gyle was lovely, but as always, too short. I would recommend spending at least two nights to fully enjoy the benefits of their unique vaulted bathrooms. The hotel is such a great starting point for city explorations, no matter if you’re coming from abroad or you’re on a little London staycation. All staff was extremely welcoming and they explained quite a few interesting facts about the hotel’s background to us as well.
If you’d like to plan your own little escape from the real world,
We received a complimentary stay at The Gyle London, however, all words, opinions, and photos are my own.