The Standard London is the cool kid in the all-American high school movie. They don’t hang out with the jocks and the cheerleaders (too vapid) or the nerds (too awkward and unworldly). Leaning against the lockers on the opposite side of the road from the bustling complex of Kings Cross and Coal Drops Yard, The Standard London is the kid wearing orange ombre sunglasses, who has embraced a sort of neo-Seventies aesthetic and casts nonchalant glances in the direction of nearby Camden, Fitzrovia and Shoreditch, as though casually appraising the other high school cliques. A converted Brutalist former town hall annexe, design has played a key role in shaping the achingly hip vibe of this hotel. Each of the public areas, from the lobby to the restaurant to the rooftop bar, has a distinct eclectic style, with the kind of bold colours that might be considered oppressive if you’re the kind of person who thinks royal blue is a bit daring for a throw cushion, and featuring décor that is at once very curated and seemingly thrown together. The Standard London kid is wearing odd socks, but both socks match the rest of their outfit. And they’re made of sustainable bamboo.
Check in was easy, straightforward and sprinkled with the sort of light banter that tells you the hotel is trying to appeal to younger people by not taking itself too seriously. Not a problem for me, I like it like that, as long as the service is still top notch – which it was throughout our stay. Our room was a junior suite which, as I fully expected, had a few cute little twists to make it stand out. The bed was huge, a full 2m2, and with just the right amount of support for a perfectly comfortable sleep, although I have yet to find a hotel that doesn’t supply me with giant marshmallows as standard instead of something firm to rest my head upon. The view from the floor to ceiling windows was captivating; watching the bustle of London from a tall building – junior suites are situated on The Standard London’s 9th floor – is a treat I always enjoy, especially as the dusk comes and the city begins to twinkle…
The design of the room continues the American-influenced casual chic. A leather-cushioned booth reminiscent of a California diner sits in one corner of the room, complete with couple of retro welcome snacks in stripy paper bags. There is also a minibar that their website describes as ‘overstocked’ – this is no exaggeration, there are full bottle of spirits lined up ready for you to shake up a perfect getting-ready cocktail (at a supplement!). The website also mentions a ‘bespoke robe’, which in our opinion was something between a tatty rug and a straightjacket, but I suppose design is a subjective thing… However, the delight of popping a robe and some tunes on to get ready is clearly well appreciated here; there is a large and luxurious bath in the main room, as well as an enormous walk in shower in the spacious bathroom (separate toilet with its own door noted and appreciated!).
We happened to be dining out, but the hotel also contains a Spanish-Mexican restaurant, Decimo, accessible by a uniquely funky exterior lift. A ground floor bar, Double Standard, provides a more casual dining experience and the Library Lounge, converted from the Camden Council Library again evokes a sort of seventies aesthetic with the bookshelves retained, a booth for the in-house radio station, Sometimes Radio, and lots of brown leather furniture. A visit to this little hidden gem, once we returned from dining, felt like walking into a hippy university time-warp, stepping over the tangled limbs of young people wearing mismatched prints who were sleeping on the chairs while their friends debated philosophy. But The Standard London is by no means dated – this is the high school kid that transcends social groups. While a debate raged in the library, a well-known UK grime artist was holding a private party upstairs, so we were directed to Sweetie, the 10th floor bar, for a nightcap before heading back to the room.
After a pleasant sleep, we negotiated the ordering system to enjoy breakfast in the room – a service which was only available by consulting the menu on the TV, then ordering by phone, rather than completing the usual card the night before. Breakfast was excellent, with a menu of American diner classics such as pancakes, eggs and Latin influenced twists, and eating it at our own little diner booth was quite fitting with the all-American ambiance. Coffee was hot and bitter, as it should be, and certainly gave us the pep we needed to extricate ourselves from the delightfully comfortable room and back into the intensity of our London lives.
The Standard London is, without question, the cool kid that we all want to befriend. They are lively and yet easy-going, they’re running their own radio station (and, lets be honest, probably saying things that we’re not always cool enough to get) and their interest in local cultural events and trends means they could get you invited to all the best parties.
The Standard London is the kid who plays by their own rules and everyone loves them for it. They’re the only one that can put on a song that everyone likes at a party. They’re too cool to care what you think about their hair. We all know by now that it’s not who you sit with at lunch that makes you cool, and if you’re expecting to catch cool from a hotel, you’re almost certain to be disappointed. The Standard London will, however, meet all your requirements while looking fabulous, make you smile with their cute personality and make sure you’ll be making all your other friends jealous before you get home.
The Standard London
10 Argyle Street