Live up to the Hype or forget it.

Having worked with David, Sean and the team at Principal Hotels on several projects since it’s inception we have been talking about the plans for Principal London for the last few years. This glorious old dame of a building previously the Russel Hotel was being brought back to life using the blood, sweat and tears of the Principal team.

On it’s first week of trading I decided to pop in and say hello. The decor is everything I had hoped for and more, the renovation is sympathetic to the original building yet combines design touches make that you want to see more and find out where they sourced everything.

The #ihavethisthingaboutfloors brigade will have have a field day, it is simply stunning.

However as mentioned in my previous blogs great hotels are a reflection of the GM and service not just the decor. Lunch in Burr and co was a delight with my 16 year old asking me to make the tortilla and varied salads at home, it almost made eating healthily enjoyable. With Paul Walters and his team at the helm it is in safe hands, his eye for detail ensuring the hotel is perfect and finding the best team means the service was excellent. Not your typical five star, forget the stuffy approach this had traditional standards with a modern twist, the team were allowed to be themselves and add their own character and personality to their service rather than be prescriptive and process driven. Making them warm and attentive without being over bearing.

Annie who gave us a tour was knowledgable and enthusiastic about the hotel, the company and her team. I loved the way she commented on each new detail she had spotted. From pointing out the original 1898 stained glass windows to highlighting the features, she gave us a potted history along with the insider secrets for each area.

The Holborn / Russel Square area neither the City nor the West End used to be an area you needed to have an excuse to visit. Now we have several excuses with the Hoxton Holborn, The Rosewood, the soon to open L’Oscar and The Principal London I feel a bar crawl coming on.

I will probably start in The Principal at Neptune and have a few Oysters, tour the area then finish in the wonderful gentleman’s club atmosphere of Fitz’s knowing that the service will be everything I hoped for distinctive, intuitive and warm.

Has it lived up to the hype, you bet. One of The Principal Hotel values is to be Local at Heart, so all I can say is welcome to the neighbourhood this area will be my new local thank you.

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