Opened in 1873, the magnificent Midland Grand, which overlooks St Pancras, one of the world's great railway stations, its redbrick and turrets made it easily recognisable on the London landscape.
However, it lasted as a hotel only until 1935 when it was converted into offices. In 1988, it was abandoned and left as an empty shell.
But, in 2000, plans came into being to restore St Pancras station to its former glory after it took over from Waterloo station in being the departure and arrival point for trains going to and from Paris and Brussels. So, the Midland Grand hotel would also be restored to its former glory.
So an army of craftsmen and painters moved in, recreating gold-leaf ceilings, ornate wall murals and the spectacular grand staircase.
The hotel went through several changes in its refurbishment, but many of its original features were kept, including the Ladies Smoking Room, the first place where it was acceptable for women to light up in public.
Now fully restored, the hotel, now known as St Pancras Renaissance, will officially open on May 5, 138 years to the day since it originally opened.
One of the its biggest draws will be The Gilbert Scott Restaurant, run by Marcus Wareing and straddling the original entrance hall and coffee room.
But if you would like to stay in this beautiful hotel, you will need to be prepared to pay quite a lot of money - the CHEAPEST rooms will cost £300 a night.
Is this the most beautiful hotel in the world? First look at stunning London landmark after £150m restoration and a brush with the bulldozers
By Liz Hazelton
27th March 2011
For years it has stood empty, its echoing corridors and soaring arches crumbling gently to dust.
But the hotel Sir John Betjeman once described as 'too beautiful to survive' has now been restored to its former gothic glory - twinned, of course, with the super-slick accoutrements of 21st century travel.
St Pancras Renaissance - formerly the Midland Grand - is already an iconic London landmark, a fairytale fantasy of redbrick and turrets overlooking one of the world's great stations.
Spectacular: The grand staircase of the St Pancras Renaissance in London is one of the most stunning areas of the building
Transformed: Designers have blended modern facilities with the building's original design (top) while the redbrick edifice has been restored to its former glory
Add to this a £150million decade-long transformation, a restaurant run by one of Britain's top chefs plus an in-house spa, and you've got the makings of something rather special.
The hotel will officially open on May 5, 138 years to the day since it threw open its glamorous halls to an awe-struck public for the first time.
It was built by Sir George Gilbert Scott, the leading Victorian architect whose signature style was gothic revival at its most lavish. He created a labyrinth of sumptuous colour characterised by an obsessive attention to detail.
Tragically, the original incarnation of the hotel only last for 62 years before closing in 1935. It was then converted into offices and was only saved from demolition by the intervention of Betjeman and protests from a public very attached to the hotel's distinctive edifice.
But the victory was a temporary respite. In 1988, it was abandoned, the doors shut on the golden age of railways and their palatial hotels.
Luxury: One of the rooms at the St Pancras Renaissance which includes original features
Elegant: The building has been described as 'too beautiful to survive' and only narrowly avoided being demolished in the 1960s
Languishing in a derelict hinterland, it seemed only a matter of time before the bulldozers once again loomed large for the Midland Grand.
Then a minor miracle happened in the unlikely shape of Eurostar. By 2000 plans were afoot to transform the now dingy station to its former glory with continental trains relocated from Waterloo.
The Midland Grand would also be restored. An army of craftsmen and painters moved in, recreating gold-leaf ceilings, ornate wall murals and the spectacular grand staircase.
The Manhattan Loft Corporation, which is responsible for the renovation, has also kept many of the hotel's historic features intact, including the Ladies Smoking Room, the first place where it was acceptable for women to light up in public.
But there have been some changes. Many of the hotel's rooms are housed in an extension tacked on to the property.
Gleaming: A hallway (top) includes murals, a highly decorative ceiling and specially designed light fittings. The hotel's spectacular facade is characterised by redbrick and turrets
The ticket office has become The Booking Office Bar and restaurant while a swimming pool and spa sit in the basement.
For many, one of the Renaissance's biggest draws will be The Gilbert Scott Restaurant, run by Marcus Wareing and straddling the original entrance hall and coffee room.
A stay at the hotel, run by Marriott, does not come cheap - rates are from £300-a-night and soar to stratospheric prices for one of the bigger suites in the original building.
And whether this modern incarnation of Gilbert Scott's masterpiece really is too beautiful to survive, is anyone's guess.
Abandoned: a black and white photograph of the deserted hotel taken in 2002 (top). The decay is far more visible in one of its corridors
Landmark: The hotel pictured in a painting by John O'Connor in 1884