In October, I stayed at The Standard Hotel’s London location — which opened in the summer of 2019 and was the chain’s first venture outside of the US.
The boutique hotel line is known for its modern, artistic, and whimsical high-class flair.
I arrived just after London instated a 10 p.m. curfew to help quell the surge in COVID-19 cases. But luckily, I was still able to spend my time exploring the funky hotel.
Read on to see how my stay went.
It took me about an hour to get to the hotel from the airport
I arrived at the hotel on a typical rainy London day after about an hour-long drive from London Heathrow International Airport.
If you’re traveling light you can also take the Underground from Hatton Cross Station to King’s Cross/St. Pancras Station, which is located just across from the hotel. The public transport route also averages about an hour, but at least you don’t have to deal with traffic or road construction.
I made my booking through an online travel agency because it was cheaper than the typical rate offered on the hotel’s website.
Through that agency, I booked a single room for £140 a night (about $186), which also included breakfast. In contrast, the hotel’s website was offering a single room for $201 a night (excluding breakfast).
Check-in was easy, but I wasn’t sure I was cool enough to stay here
Checking in was seamless and easy. The lobby was well decorated, and one of the receptionists offered to help take my bags up to my room.
Everyone was polite, but there was a bit of a too-cool-for-school vibe. For a moment, in my jet-lagged state of mind, I wondered if I was even cool enough to be staying here.
My single room — and everything in it — was super small
The single room was tiny, but the desk looked out on King’s Cross station, which was a nice touch.
I’ve noticed that most hotel rooms in Europe are smaller than their American counterparts, but I appreciate that they’re designed to efficiently use the space.
This was the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on
The bed also looked small, but it was one of the most comfortable things I’ve ever slept on. The pillows had the perfect amount of fluff and the sheets were divine.
There was also a convenient lamp mounted right above the head of the bed.
The room was stocked with drinks, snacks, and toiletries for purchase
The room also featured a fully stocked minibar with your run-of-the-mill spirits, Red Bull, and Coca Cola. It also contained artsy sparkling water to keep the cool-factor from going unnoticed.
The snacks were a mix of extravagant and ordinary.
You could grab a bag of M&M’s or a can of Pringles, or you could munch on gourmet popcorn that looks like it may cost more than your lunch.
I thought this balance of childhood favorites and high-priced fare perfectly summed up the millennial experience.
There was also an array of nonedible items for purchase in the room. If you forgot your toothpaste, the hotel’s got you covered (if you’re willing to pay).
The purchasable amenity items also included condoms, CBD gummies, and travel adapters.
Though these touches were nice and well-thought-out, the prices seemed to match the intended high-end audience. A staff member told me that the majority of the hotel’s guests are tech-company employees traveling on business during the week and hip, eccentric artists types on the weekend.
The tiny bathroom had a hip, 1970s vibe
The small bathroom felt bigger because of the trippy tiles, which made me feel like I was being transported back to the 1970s while showering and brushing my teeth.
The shower featured Davine’s products, and since I’m a sucker for sustainable beauty brands, I was pleased. Everything smelled great and left my hair shiny and smooth.
The elevator was definitely an architectural highlight
After taking a moment to freshen up after my red-eye flight to London from the US, I made my way downstairs to explore.
The design of the elevator reminded me of what it would feel like to stay in a luxurious Ripley’s Believe It Or Not-themed hotel for a night.
I couldn’t explore London because of the curfew, so I decided to wander around the hotel
I started by heading to the Library Room and Garden.
As a book lover and a fan of ambient lighting, I was not disappointed. The dimmed room was filled with a variety of tropical plants and shelves of books, featuring genres from psychology to religion.
Given the restrictions, the bar in the area was closed, but it looked clean and futuristic. I half-wished I could’ve ordered a coffee and spent the rest of the evening reading.
The area also had a recording room for the musicians and podcast hosts that frequent the hotel.
Though I didn’t inquire about details, the sound room is available to rent out whether you’re staying over at the hotel or not.
I spent half an hour browsing the selection of books, but I tried not to touch anything too much given the ongoing pandemic.
After I was done taking a look around, I pulled a book out and spent a bit of time reading.
Next, I went in search of some good food
Though the bar in the library was closed, the hotel’s Double Standard restaurant was open. The restaurant has a nice outdoor patio, which wasn’t very crowded on the Wednesday evening I visited.
I took a look at the menu in the very dim lighting and ordered the crusted halibut.
The food came out quickly, and the breading on the halibut was perfectly crispy.
The juice from the grilled lemon added the perfect amount of citrus to the dish, and I knew I would finally be able to get a good night’s sleep after a day of jet lag.
I also caught a photo of the bavette steak which looked equally appetizing.
After finishing my meal, I realized I was pretty much the only one left in the dining room. I took a moment to admire the unique, carpeted walls — because who doesn’t love a bit of shag? — before heading back to my room.
There were plenty of fun trinkets and things available for purchase in the lobby
On the way up, I stopped by The Standard Shop, which had even cooler trinkets than the tray in my room.
A few products, like CBD gummies, caught my eye, but I was too tired to actually figure out how to go about buying something from this mysterious window near the elevators.
After an amazing night’s sleep in the heavenly bed, I was ready to explore the hotel gym
I woke up the next morning well-rested and madly in love with the quality of the mattress and sheets.
I checked out the gym, which was small but well-equipped with workout basics — as well as fancy Peloton bikes. Peleton shoes can be provided upon request.
Day 2 of my stay was all about eating well
The second day of my stay was heavily centered around food.
Since I was in London, I ordered an English breakfast, and it did not disappoint.
The roasted mushrooms and tomatoes were perfectly seasoned and cooked, and the server even threw in some butter and jam with my sourdough toast.
In the evening, I took the red, bubble-like elevator up to Decimo — the Michelin-star, rooftop restaurant at the hotel — and enjoyed the view of King’s Cross station.
The chic and refined atmosphere of the restaurant made me excited to try the food.
Decimo is typically packed, and it’s difficult to get a reservation according to the hotel staff. However, given the pandemic and the current city curfew, it was a lot less busy than usual.
There were a lot of delicious-sounding options on the tapas-style menu
The menu featured little bites, tacos, and small plates of vegetables or meats, all designed for sharing. And the drink menu was much more extensive than the food one.
Since it was just me, I opted for three small plates.
I started with the roasted red-pepper dip, which was the perfect balance of tart and sweet.
Next, the waiter brought out the roasted leek with romesco sauce. The sauce on the side was the perfect complement to the leek, but I could’ve eaten it plain because the chef seasoned it with great care and attention.
It was so delicious that I asked the waiter if the dish’s exceptional taste was due to leek’s being in season. He assured me that it was always this good, and that it’s one of Decimo’s fan-favorite dishes.
You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can never take Texas out of the girl — so of course, I had to order the restaurant’s cauliflower taco. The small tortilla came with smoky, cooked cauliflower topped with additional pickled cauliflower pieces.
My taco standards are high, so it wasn’t my favorite part of the evening, but I can honestly say it was the single-most unique taco I’ve ever tried.
When the dessert menu finally came, the crema catalana (which was basically a crème brûlée) caught my eye, but I didn’t end up ordering anything.
It also featured an item called “The Night Doesn’t End Here,” which is just a hotel room. So if you’re on a date and hoping to get some time alone, Decimo may be the perfect stop.
My stay was lovely, but I don’t necessarily think it was worth the price
The next day, I was scheduled to head out of London.
I loved The Standard Hotel’s bed and sheets, but I probably wouldn’t stay here again since there are cheaper options nearby.
And although I had high hopes for The Standard, current circumstances definitely put a damper on the atmosphere of this cool London gem.
When guidelines are able to be more lenient and everything is safer, I definitely hope to swing by to read in the Library Room or dine at Decimo — and, who knows, maybe I’ll be persuaded to get a room for dessert.