To be included in Principal’s collective, a hotel needs to be in a city centre and be based in a landmark building. Photo: supplied Principal design.
New Yorker Barry Sternlicht formed the hospitality giant Starwood Hotels and was its CEO for 10 years, creating W Hotels and instigating several other landmark innovations, earning him the moniker of King of Hotels. Now his vast global private investment company, Starwood Capital, is making its mark on the UK hotel scene, taking over significant and historic city properties in need of TLC and bringing them back to life under a new hospitality brand, Principal.
The first three, in Manchester, York and Edinburgh have just opened with Glasgow, Liverpool and London following next year.
The criteria for a hotel being included in Principal’s collective are that each should be a city-centre hotel based in a landmark building in an exceptional location somewhere in the UK. In line with those, the first three properties are The Principal Edinburgh in the elegant Georgian townhouses that were The George Hotel, The Principal Manchester, formerly The Palace Hotel housed in the historic headquarters for The Refuge Assurance Company and The Principal York, a Grade II, 1878 Victorian magnificence lovingly restored.
Each property has had millions thrown at it under the steerage of cutting-edge architects and designers before reopening as a Principal.
They all also have 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 is a partnership with the team from Volta, Manchester Restaurant of the Year 2015.
Throughout 2017, 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. In 2018, the conversion of the former Martins Bank will add Liverpool to the portfolio, as well as The Bonham in Edinburgh and The Met in Leeds.
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