The Principal London opened its doors today, following an extensive restoration to restore the grande dame to its former glory, paying homage to its illustrious history.
The landmark building, which overlooks London’s Russell Square, was originally designed by Charles Fitzroy Doll in 1898. In its new guise as The Principal London, it boasts 334 bedrooms and suites, ranging from City singles and guest rooms to 39 suites, including the two-bedroom Principal suite, which enjoys views of Russell Square and connects to a one-bedroom suite. Lead designers Tara Bernerd & Partners have worked with the Principal in-house team to design the interiors of the rooms, in keeping with the heritage of the building while reflecting Bernerd’s signature mix of contemporary layers on top of original, listed features. Custom-made beds and furniture, and ceramic and marble bathrooms provide a feeling of elegant luxury.
Not simply a place to stay, The Principal London also offers a range of distinctive places to eat and drink, acting as a living room for Londoners and guests alike.
Opening over the course of May and June, on the lower-ground floor, will be eight additional meetings and events spaces which can accommodate up to 100 delegates. All have been designed and decorated to create a tranquil and professional atmosphere, with wooden panelling and natural light. The eight meeting rooms nod to the location’s literary luminaries; Carrington, Grant, Eliot, Moore, Forster, Keynes, Bell and Woolf.
Due for completion early summer is the hotel’s original grade II listed ballroom with its own private entrance on Bernard Street. As part of the £85 million refurbishment the ballroom has been carefully restored and is set to become a sought after Central London venue, with double-height ceilings, original features including ornate cornicing and windows that stretch the entire length of one wall, with a mezzanine gallery that overlooks the main room. It will hold up to 450 delegates for a reception and 260 guests banquet-style.
The new meetings and events spaces are equipped with the latest AV and IT to support delegates’ and event organisers’ every need. The hotel’s offer is in line with the group’s market-leading Smart Space concept, comprised of nine service features which together are designed to offer a highly responsive, personalised meetings and events service. Covering everything from a live availability booking service to truly tech-savvy support, with up to 1GB super-fast Wi-Fi, interactive displays and an on-site team of friendly experts to help overcome any tech issues a client may face.
In addition to the meetings spaces, the hotel hosts a range of breakout areas, bars and restaurants which provide delegates with alternative places to dine, work or relax.
Fitz’s cocktail bar (named after Fitzroy Doll and designed by Russell Sage Studios with a glitter ball hanging from the ceiling) is decorated in sumptuous fabrics, dark wood panelling and includes original features such as the large fireplace with stained-glass window above it.
Neptune an all-day dining restaurant from chef Brett Redman and his restaurant partner Margaret Crow will seat 120 guests and feature an innovative approach to the classic oyster bar and a new style of British caviar service, swapping out traditional blinis for freshly made waffles with house cultured jersey cream. The menu is seafood-focused, but Brett’s signature wood-fired cooking will also be on offer in an extensive a la carte menu. The oyster bar located at the centre of Neptune’s dining room will serve a variety of oysters and shellfish from small niche growers around the UK.
Burr & Co coffeehouse and bar will be open from 7am serving Caravan coffee, tea, pastries and breakfast items to eat in or grab-and-go, while the all-day menu includes soups, salads and sandwiches. With its own entrance on Russell Square at the corner with Bernard Street, Burr & Co. is the perfect place to meet friends, or to catch up on emails and grab a great cup of coffee.
Paul Walters, General Manager of The Principal London, comments, “The restoration of this stunning grande-dame hotel will provide visitors to London – and Londoners themselves – with a new destination that celebrates the splendour of the original hotel but re-imagines luxury for the 21st century. Bloomsbury is one of London’s most inspiring neighbourhoods, and I am convinced that our beautiful hotel will bring a renewed spirit of energy, independence and creativity to the area.”