With its 1,630 guest rooms, the Royal National is undoubtedly at the forefront of the Imperial group when it comes to number of guest rooms, and is a sizeable competitor in the British capital, since very few establishments can boast such a large number of rooms in a single hotel. Of course, this 'factory-like' aspect may well feel intimidating to those looking for a small or moderate-sized establishment, but the hotel does enjoy a prime location and offers attractive rates that are certainly much sought-after in this city!
This hotel review is a translation from the French by the agency Traductéo.
Facing a small area of greenery, the Royal National Hotel stands just 10 minutes from St Pancras International station, which is a significant advantage, as this is the point of arrival and departure for the thousands of European travelling on the Eurostar. This part of the city is currently undergoing a major transformation and an increasing number of stylish hotels are opening their doors in the King's Cross area. As a result, you'll find countless restaurants, shops, and pubs in the vicinity. The Royal National is also within walking distance of several key attractions, such as the British Museum and 'Little Italy'. There is also the advantage of being just a stone's throw from Russell Square station on one of the city's busiest underground lines, the Piccadilly Line, which provides direct access to Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, and Hyde Park Corner.
A member of the Imperial London Hotels group, guests staying at the Royal National share its facilities (which include a bowling alley, beauty salon, swimming pool, etc.) with its sister hotels, though most of them are located in the Imperial hotel just opposite. The various hotels in the group also share a shopping centre where you'll find a hairdresser, a bank, a Chinese herbalist, and newspaper stands. In addition, the hotel is accessible to guests with reduced mobility.
The scale of the Royal National is such that it has had to be split into 2 parts: the northern part and the southern part, which houses the reception. The latter will make you feel as though you are entering the main hall of a train station. Its dimensions (and, of course, the hustle and bustle of the place) rival those found in any seaside resort hotel, or even Saint Pancras itself! Fortunately, you'll soon find your way around upstairs, but don't be surprised to come across piles of dirty bedding or towels in the corridors. Despite its size, the establishment is sorely lacking in the amenities department: a shop, a business centre... Some entertainment is provided by external companies but your best bet is to use the facilities at the nearby Imperial hotel.
With a grand total of 1,630 guest rooms, the Royal National can be forgiven for not being full to capacity every night! The rooms here come in 4 categories, namely single, twin, double, and 4 quadruples, and although over half of them have been renovated, the decor isn't that much more contemporary. The management has gone for a 'So British' style of decor, from the bedspreads and curtains to the blue carpets, and all of the rooms are furnished with wooden furniture (desk, chairs, bedside table, etc.) and come with a phone, a fairly dated television, tea and coffee-making facilities, and a bathroom with neon lighting, a large bathtub, and a couple of bars of soap. The bathrooms are tiled throughout and accessed via a sliding door. If you need to leave valuables in a safe place, ask at reception, where safe deposit boxes are available for the token sum of 85 pence per day.
The hotel has 3 restaurants each offering a different flavour, from north to south! If curry and spices are right up your street, head to the Indian restaurant (where you can order à la carte or from the 3 course set menu), but for something more British, including an à la carte menus, try the traditional London Pub. There is also the Pavilion Self-Service Restaurant, which serves a variety of salad items and hot dishes as a buffet and is more like the canteens you might remember from your childhood than a hotel restaurant; the decor and general concept here are very friendly though. Guests can dine at any of the restaurants of the other hotels in the group, and the good news is they're all next to each other!