Located between Kings Cross and St Pancras stations, the curved brick building of the Great Northern Hotel was the world's first great railway terminus hotels, boasting high ceilings and sweeping corridors. It was originally completed in 1854 by renowned Victorian designer; Lewis Cubitt, however, despite its Grade II Listed status, the building fell into disrepair from 2001 when works took place to the adjacent Kings Cross underground station.
In 2009 the lower floors of the Great Northern Hotel were adapted to form an arcade out of 70% of the ground floor to improve access to the new station mainline station concourse behind the hotel. These works entailed lowering the ground floor (and the basement floor to maintain basement headroom) and the replacement of much of the ground floor load bearing masonry walls.
In April of that year, Ramboll was appointed Jeremy Robson's Ram Group to design a follow-on refurbishment of the building as a luxury 5-star boutique hotel, providing both structural and services engineering.
Accommodating the plant and services appropriate to this upscale hotel, within the constricted ground floor area, posed an interesting challenge, one requiring a great depth of understanding of the existing building. Previous work to the lower floors obstructed service routes and there was a requirement to bring all external rainwater into the building above the first floor.
In order to meet sustainable servicing requirements for the plant and distribution within the limited and obstructed ground floor areas, close coordination between structural and building services engineers facilitated the planning of dedicated service routes around and through the structure. A new roof deck provided accommodation for a plant deck, which was formed between the existing pitched roofs for concealment from the ground. The remainder of the plant was installed within the light wells in the basement and covered by reinforced concrete slabs, and a small dedicated plant area within the basement.
In order to retain the character and appeal of this 19th Century hotel, a sympathetic approach was adopted for the construction, with minimal structural intervention and a detailed façade survey that informed the façade restoration.
Additionally the introduction of two new lift shafts and levelling out of split-level floors improved disabled access.
The hotel now sits as an exquisitely executed contemporary version of its former self, with 91 acoustically soundproofed rooms, three luxury bars and a destination restaurant, Plum+Spilt Milk, headed by Michelin Star winning celebrated chef, Mark Sargeant.
The Great Northern Hotel has received much international acclaim since re-opening in 2013. It features in the hugely influential Condé Nast Traveller Global 100 Hot List, the Daily Telegraph named it as one of the UK's Top 10 Hotels and Plum +Spilt Milk has been listed in Tatler's prestigious Best UK Restaurants Guide since 2014.