Established in 1898 with the completion of The Principal London (formerly The Hotel Russell), Principal is a collection of city-centre hotels based in landmark buildings in exceptional locations across the UK. Their distinctive heritage and the relationships that they have with the neighbourhoods and cities in which they are located are the cornerstones of the Principal brand – from the elegant Georgian townhouses that form the core of The Principal Edinburgh (formerly The George Hotel) to the clock tower that’s synonymous with The Principal Manchester (formerly The Palace Hotel), and its history as the headquarters for The Refuge Assurance Company. Each of the hotels has a story to tell – of its history, its design and architecture, its quirks and characters, and its role in shaping the city and forging relationships with local partners, whether corporate or creative.
Over the course of 2018, the brand will grow to include Blythswood Square and The Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow; St David’s Hotel in Cardiff; The Hotel Russell in London and The Roxburghe in Edinburgh. Along with the conversion of the former Martins Bank in Liverpool, The Grand on Colmore Row in Birmingham as well as The Met in Leeds.
A particular feature of the group is the creation of destination bars and restaurants in partnership with leading chefs and restaurateurs: Colin Fleming (ex. Tom Kitchin and Martin Wishart) oversees The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen at The Principal Edinburgh. In York, The Refectory Kitchen & Terrace and Chapter House bar were conceived in partnership with Des McDonald (The Ivy, Scott’s Holborn Dining Room); and in Manchester, The Refuge Dining Room and Public Bar has been created in partnership with the team from Volta, Manchester Restaurant of the Year 2015.
Other touch points include vintage letterboxes in each lobby; a ‘corner shop’ selling treats to stock the mini bar as well as essentials that guests might have left behind; a tuck box of complimentary snacks, plus fresh milk and mineral water in the mini bar; and a fully fledged Concierge to guide guests to hidden gems and must-see shows alike.