A recent truism: London excels at happening flagship hotels while the rest of our cities fall behind. It was so, but no longer. New York hotels supremo Barry Sternlicht is rolling out his new brand, Principal, and David Taylor, formerly GM of two innovative London addresses, Hoxton and Edition, is in charge. The results are impressive, not least in Manchester where the former Palace Hotel, which began life in the 1890s as the landmark HQ of Refuge Assurance, has been given a massive injection of life. Now the former typing pool is Refuge, a fabulous, fluid all-day space for eating, drinking, meeting, work and play, curated by Mancunians Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey. The bedrooms make the most of the original features, but best of all is Principal’s attitude to hospitality, interest in the building’s history and the commitment to the local community. A fabulous new hotel for the city. Doubles from £119.
Name to Know: Front of house director, Adrian Wright, who can mostly be found entertaining guests in the hotel lobby. He is all seeing, all knowing and a pleasure to meet.
See: Manchester International Festival – as the official hotel partner, you might find they can help with tickets to sold-out events. It’s still all about who you know.
Eat: The Refuge menu is inspired by The Unabombers global DJing trips, with a particular focus on small plates.
Buy: Rare and original vinyl from Piccadilly Records – a treat to visit in itself.
Want to find out more? Visit the hotel's website.
Back to all Great British Hotels