The Principal London
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
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Grande dame turned glamour girl in the heart of bookish Bloomsbury, with a destination bar and sea-centric restaurant
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
I had a wonderful stay at this historic property. I visited it for the first time. The team and outlets are outstanding. Cocktails at Fitz are delicious and the bartender knows his cocktails and history. I also had the pleasure of dinning at Neptune for two nights and the food was wonderful, also Omar over at the Palm Court restaurant was amazing. He gave us the full rundown on all of the hotels food options when we arrived. Room service was splendid and i had a lovely coffee from Burr & Co that came highly recommended by the locals. The location was my other favorite part. Just a short walk from the British museum, and the Piccadilly line. The rooms were very well appointed the decor and style is stunning. Not to mention the exterior of the building. It's majestic!
Only good things to say about this beautiful hotel. Warm and friendly smile/welcome on arrival from Doni made us feel immediately at home. Our room was very clean, quiet and comfy.Fitz bar had good atmosphere and breakfast was excellent. Catered for my coeliac allergy with no problem ... With attentive, friendly service. Domi checked us out.... Again met with a lovely smile. Will definitely return.
There is a lot to like about the hotel. Great architecture, nice rooms, free mini bar in the higher level rooms, turn down service, great coffee bar, many restaurants. But it just lets itself down. Service is never quite right or great one day, out to lunch the next.
Right next door to Russell Square tube station (which has to be said is a pretty average station with lifts from train to street or a lot of steps), close the British Museum, one stop or a 15-20 min walk from Kings Cross, close enough to walk to Charing Cross etc. Would happily stay here again but would look at other places first.