4.5
Very Good 369 Reviews
Jetsetter Approved
This Hotel meets our standards
This hotel meets our standards, but we haven't stayed yet

What We Love

  • The restored 1898 façade with its terracotta thé-au-lait tiles
  • Sipping tea—or champagne—in the lush Palm Court
  • Kicking off the evening with inventive cocktails in the funky, fin-de-siècle splendor of Fitz’s Bar
  • Bath products from The Perfumer’s Story in guest rooms

What To Know

  • The most recent overhaul was masterminded by fashion designer-turned-interior designer Russell Sage and “The Princess of Posh” Tara Bernerd
  • Charles Fitzroy Doll, the hotel architect who lent his name to the in-house bar, also designed the first-class dining room on the Titanic
  • Deluxe Rooms overlook the gardens in Russell Square

Amenities

  •  Bar
  •  Concierge
  •  Free WiFi
  •  Gym
  •  Handicap-accessible
  •  Parking On Site
  •  Pet-friendly
  •  Restaurant
  •  Room Service
Disclaimer: This content was accurate at the time the hotel was reviewed. Please check our partner sites when booking to verify that details are still correct.

Overview

Grande dame turned glamour girl in the heart of bookish Bloomsbury, with a destination bar and sea-centric restaurant

The Lowdown

If Virginia Woolf and Oscar Wilde and collaborated on a hotel, the end result might have resembled this Grade II-listed landmark on Russell Square. Its central Bloomsbury location would surely have appealed to the former, while its style could have been plucked straight from the latter’s famously flamboyant playbook. The Principal’s 19th-century facade—balconies, copper-tipped turrets, ornamental tiling—oozes Neo-Gothic glamour while common areas, courtesy of a two-year makeover, are equally theatrical, from the moody and marble-paved lobby to the eye-popping ballroom and decadent cocktail bar draped in plush fabrics and Wilde-worthy ostrich plumes. The muted décor of the 334 guest rooms is more restrained but still sumptuous thanks to marble baths, custom beds topped with 300-thread-count linens, and a bevy of original architectural features. Many also feature a curated selection of books—an appropriate perk in this literary neighborhood.

In the Area

Although known for its leafy squares, Bloomsbury is also ground zero for London’s museum buffs and book nerds. After all, it’s anchored by the venerable British Museum and haunted by the ghosts of the literati (most notably Woolf and her Bloomsbury Group buddies). Skoob Books is nirvana for bibliophiles, but if its labyrinthine stacks seem too daunting, Persephone Books, tucked amid other compelling shops on Lamb’s Conduit Street, is a boutique-y alternative. Leaf through your purchase nearby at The Lamb, a classic pub with literary cred (Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes were once regulars).

How to Get There

The Principal London
1-8 Russell Square, Bloomsbury
London, WC1B 5BE United Kingdom

Reviews

4.5 Very Good 369 Reviews
Got the wow factor!! Modern twist on a luxury hotel from a bygone era...
Reviewed 1 day ago

Loved this hotel. Have stayed in a number of hotels in London of the years but this is by far my new favourite. From the moment you walk up the steps from Russel Square there is a feeling of luxury, almost like stepping back in time to the Great Gatzby 1920's era. The social hour in the bar was a great idea and good to meet some of your fellow guests. Room was a reasonable size, very comfortable with a huge walk in shower. Hotel was very quiet, staff were very friendly and exceptionally helpful throughout my stay. Tube station is about 100m away round the corner, Looking forward to staying here again very soon.

1st class restaurant service
Reviewed 2 days ago

I took my new wife to this restaurant for breakfast during our honeymoon. It was a fabulous culinary experience! . Everything was perfect, from the decor and setting to the food but especially the service from our NZ waiter (Azzan?) who could not have been more charming or helpful. We would go back again just for his service.
Highly recommend

A beautiful hotel but need to work on the house keeping service
Reviewed 2 days ago

Stayed here for 12 nights on my first stay in London. Front desk service was great but the same can't be said for the house keeping. There were instances when they forgot to replenish the toiletries items on a few occasions and rude behaviour on our last night when they knock fiercely on our door to do house keeping. Hot water was cut off on one morning too. Room service food was also not up to expectation.

5 Star Decor, 3 Star Service/Customer Experience. Inconsistencies Spotted Everywhere.
Reviewed 3 days ago

We stayed here for 7 days 6 nights at the superior room with breakfast. We may not want to return next time when we come back to London. We feel like the hotel is still under soft opening and not ready to deliver top notch customer experience.

Strengths
-Wonderful location at the heart of London
-Great breakfast (food quality, not the service)
-Very new and nice interior design
-Staff at the main door were helpful and friendly and greeted customers cheerfully.
-Free wifi , strong signal

Weaknesses
-the staff at the front desk who helped with our check in was not professional enough - took our credit card twice to do the deposit transaction. And she did not proactively brief us on the breakfast arrangement - i had to call on the next day morning to sort out.

-Inconsistent housekeeping standard:
every time when we returned to our room, we always wonder what will be missing in the room. There is a tuck box with complimentary popcorns and chocolate and the 2 bottled water and the milk in the fridge are also free. They were filled up randomly during our stay - very often the chocolate was not replenished, sometimes bottled water are not refilled, tea bags are not replenished. I am not sure how many sample checks were done on the rooms tidied up on a daily basis, it seems to me except on day 1, all other days we have something missing in the room.
The little square towels on the sink were not provided for 2 days. The vanity kits (cotton buds and cotton pads) were not provided for 2 days.
We called for toothbrush and toothpaste once we checked in, we were given only 1 set.So the staff had to return and get us one more set.
The staff put the toothpastes and my teeth aligners IN the glass in the toilet so that he/she could put the vanity kit at their "standard" position. Honestly I do not expect those will be put in the glass for mouth washing.

Breakfast - we were free to choose Neptune (order from the menu) or Burr & Co (casual, buffet style).
Neptune has great decor. On day 1 it was a weekday, everything was nice, food portion was big. We returned on the next day - the same set of Butcher's breakfast came with fewer tomatoes, bacons and the beans were missing - we had to ask for the beans. On the 2nd last morning before we left, it was a Sunday morning and it took us more than 40 minutes to have a table (we first arrived at 10:15am) and more than 45 mins to have our food so we had our breakfast almost at noon. The staff in the suit offered us champagne and later a complimentary afternoon tea but we turned it all down - we did not want something extra, we just need our breakfast served at the right time!
The restaurant is clearly understaffed especially on a Sunday morning - the hotel should put extra resources in recruiting enough pair of hands! The experience on Sunday morning was worse than those at a 3 star Inn!

Burr & Co breakfast - we were showed our table and we returned with plates of food from the buffet table, another couple claimed our table was theirs. The staff mistakenly offered our table to another couple who came in later than us.
We understand it was a busy Saturday morning but if the hotel did not have enough staffing pls do not take so many external customers! Also, why didn't the hotel set up a form of system or procedures to identify tables that have been taken? Such as a card? or make sure coffee or tea will be served first? Any 3 star hotel in Japan handled this better than this so called luxury hotel in London!

If you don't expect good service, you can consider this hotel given its location and the decor. Don't expect any true 4/5 star experience!

Lovely coffee stop
Reviewed 4 days ago

We stopped off here when looking for a quiet coffee stop. We enjoyed our drinks In the lobby area and could admire the beautiful hotel environment. Staff were very friendly too. Really good hot chocolate.