The Principal Manchester Hotel Review: February 2018
A landmark location within Manchester city centre, The Principal Hotel presents Victorian decadence and grandeur. This terracotta grade II listed building shapes Manchester’s skyline with its unmissable iconic clock tower.
First opened in 1890, as The Refuge Assurance Company Headquarters, the Principal Hotel has a rich historic past. The extravagant entrance with high steel gates, trio lit lighting, topiary planters, gold engraved Principal signage and flags flying proudly, prepares guests to step into a breathtakingly opulent lobby.
The stunning sculptured horse stands proud in reception and provides a talking point for sure. The breathtakingly beautiful sky dome dominates divinely with style and grace.
Sympathetic, yet extensive renovations reflect and retain the original features and historical charm by combining contemporary and traditional to create an eclectic, quirky and unique space for guests to embrace and enjoy.
Quirky additions are not just lost spaces but are useful, such as relaxed seating area’s to perhaps read a book, people watch or catch up online with their free, superfast Wi-Fi. The royal mail box is not just there to look pretty, but saves you heading out to post your mail on those days you simply want to stay and play in the hotel without going out in the city hustle and bustle. The glass cabinet is a shop where for a reasonable price you can stock up on essentials and treats for your Tuck box – yes you heard right, Tuck Box, but more about that later.
Warmly welcomed we headed on up to room 326 our home away from home. Again, the room was synonymous with the communal hotel areas with “useful” and “stylish” being the theme. Kitted out in tan leathers, wood details, Manchester city prints, steel light features, mixed with simple linens along with a flat screen television on an extendable bracket for optimum viewing and a bedside area that had a handy plug socket to charge all those much-needed tech gadgets.
Simply stylised decor, along with quality furnishings such as a traditional solid wood wardrobe and the tan seating chair all complimented each other well. A well-appointed tea tray is provided, with cool branded Principal mugs and a tasty tuck box, that includes an assortment of snacks, which guests are free to Tuck into free of charge! Fancy a refill, well remember the lobby store, just head down and fill up your stock, with prices from as little as 30p per item which for a hotel of this standard is incredible value.
The bathroom is well presented in clean tiling with a shower over bath feature, a heated towel rail, the mirror cleverly pulls out to enable an easy beautify process and the excellent Elemis toiletries are much welcomed.
Dinner can be had in Refuge by Volta, a restaurant located on the lower level of the hotel, which also features a gorgeous garden for pre/post dinner drinks and a sociable area to enjoy some tasteful DJ beats. “Come as you are” is the Refuge Mantra, so dress down or glam up, you decide.
Beautiful brilliance awaits you with open bulb lighting, high ceilings, cosy upholstered booths, industrial exposed features, tastefully tiled backdrop wall with signage reading ‘The glamour of Manchester’ which strikes the perfect balance and brings together Manchester industrial past with Manchester’s glamorous present.
DJs Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford, owners of Volta have took residence, I knew that there would definitely be style, but on first glance of the menu, I was perhaps guilty for thinking that there may be a lacking in substance, when it came to the food offerings, but my thoughts were unfounded and I was in for an evening of mouth-watering foodie delights which have been inspired by their global travels.
Sensational small plates including the Cheese Board with British cheeses with a selection of biscuits and chutney, olives, Heritage tomato and red onion salad, Daal Makhani, Chargrilled cauliflower, caraway and pomegranate, the brilliant Beetroot pakora with tamarind ketchup, Kale with Parmesan and Fries, made the most perfect little palate pleasers.
Things got even sweeter with the non-alcoholic ‘brambly’ apple and Designated mule mocktails. Along with a sheer dipping delight dessert, an old-fashioned chocolate fondue with fresh fruit and sweets – a fun experience and nice to share between two.
Our lovely server, even let us take some of the Glamour home, as she presented us with a lovely card with a very touching personal message inside regarding something, that I mentioned about the beetroot pakoras, which shows engagement and a genuine interest to connect with the customer and provide a personalised service.
Bedtime was bliss, a relaxing sleep was had, waking up refreshed and ready for the day ahead. A call down to reception the previous night arranged breakfast in bed. Providing an ideal opportunity to see room service standards and an excuse to enjoy a lazy leisurely breakfast in the privacy of our beautiful room.
Both the hot English and Vegetarian breakfast along with toast, tea and orange juice tasted yummy. Continental was a delight and the muffin was lush –we should have ordered two!
Want glitz and glamour without a pretentious attitude? ‘Come as you are’ and the Principal team will host you with some Manchester charm and style.
Thank you for reading 😊