Dragging my Dunlop suitcase around a deserted Argyle Square, my hopes of a glamorous staycation were depleting quicker than a 6am pasta delivery in the height of the pandemic. Why? It didn't look like the kind of place you'd find a 4-star boutique hotel. One knock on a discreet and glossy black door, however, resulted in a very quick recovery.
The Gyle is penned as a heritage-listed Victorian townhouse that’s inspired by the Scottish Dukes of Argyle and has plenty of history under its belt. The area was London’s largest ash dump in 1831; bombed in the 1941 Blitz, and now? It’s making history once again, opening one of the coolest boutique hotels in King’s Cross.
Like that loud friend in your group (we all have one), The Gyle has a whole lot of personality. With a door knocker that’s a replica from the one at No 10 Downing Street, it makes a strong impression way before you set eyes on its whimsical indoor theming. Made up of 33 rooms, each one slightly different in design, we were given the key card to the feature king that comes with a vaulted bathroom. Each room comes with its own tablet to control in-room technologies, and after checking in (and starfishing on top the crisp white sheets), I found my way to a letter from Mr Archibald Campbell - the fictional home owner of the residences, welcoming me to not only call him ‘Archie’ but to treat the place as my new home-from-home. Cute.
Scottie dog cushions, tartan throws and other bits and bobs (think a repurposed airline trolley for bathroom storage and buckets of coal - don’t worry, I’ll explain later) tied the room in with the general theming of the hotel but it’s the vaulted bathroom that scored this staycation a dazzling 10/10. Possibly one of the bougie-est bathrooms going, it had underground heating that quickly warmed up the pads of your feet and a sunken bath with a rain dance shower big enough for two.
The Gyle has a lucky-dip approach in its design, taking inspiration from both its Scottish and Victorian roots. Located beside the Coal Drops Yard, you’ll find anything from miniature buckets of coal in your room to cast iron coal covers acting as your coffee table and repurposed Scottish airline trollies as a means to store toiletries. This thematic grandeur really comes to life, however, when you visit The Toast Lounge; a dramatic social setting for guests to eat, drink and socialise in. Like stepping into the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz, everything was OTT. The ceiling was a replica of a freshly mown lawn with a dramatic earthquake light fitting and the feature wall directly opposite the green-hued lit bar was plump with glowing green moss, steel trinkets and cylindrical-shaped pieces of chopped wood. The best bit? The swinging chair that dangled from the rafters above.
Only opening after the pandemic The Toast Lounge unfortunately, but understandably, had decided to press pause on their cocktails to focus on the spirits menu. Packed with accessible gins, whiskies and the odd rare serve, we went for the Dalmore 18 years old (£17) and the Cadenhead’s Gin (£11) with tonic. The whisky was a peaty number and came served in dainty glassware that propped itself up on three miniature legs. Fast forward to the next morning, we swapped fancy whisky and gin glasses for unlimited cups of coffee and a complimentary International breakfast. Mini golden croissants, slices of cheese and meat, and a refreshingly cold yogurt and granola mix with fresh berries and nuts set us up before we retreated to our bedroom for a splash around in the tub.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Argyle Square has had a turbulent past, rising from ashes in 1831, surviving the Blitz in 1941, and fast-forward to the present day - opening a 4-star boutique hotel just before the world hit a global pandemic. If history is anything to go by, the area has a resilient nature and if we pair that with Archie’s hospitality, the unique rooms and brilliantly bizarre social space that is The Toast Lounge, I’m sure only good things are on the horizon for the new outpost from the St Pancras Hotels Group.
If you the look of like this, then check out our guide to more gorgeous hotels in London.