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PRINCIPAL Manchester

Manchester, United Kingdom
  • Overview
  • Accommodations
  • Amenities
  • Activities
  • Dining
  • Location

Designed in 1891 by Alfred Waterhouse, the famed architect behind London’s Natural History Museum, The Principal Manchester had its beginnings as The Refuge Assurance Company. Today, its central city location is a boon for savvy travelers hoping to sightsee – yes – but also infuse their stay with a chic sense of place. Within the listed Victorian Gothic Revival façade, guests are welcomed to 270 pleasingly outfitted bedrooms and the popular Refuge by Volta restaurant.

The Principal Manchester is a member of PRINCIPAL, a collection of city-centre hotels, based in landmark buildings in exceptional locations across the United Kingdom. Each of the hotels has a story to tell – of its history, its characters, its architecture and its role in shaping the city.


All 270 bedrooms of The Principal Manchester combine elegant design and custom period detailing – from wood paneling and fireplaces to tiled brickwork – that create a spacious and warm retreat for family and friends in the heart of the city. For maximum space, one may opt for a suite, with even more historic details and loads of space, including some with separate bedrooms and living rooms. Brand-new beds, 300-thread-count linens, fluffy towels and Principal bathrobes are a dream. Each room is stocked with a complimentary box of treats, as well as fresh milk and mineral water in the refrigerator.


Recognized by its iconic clock tower, Principal Manchester is full of perks, including a brand-new destination bar and restaurant, a florist shop at the hotel’s entrance, the Corner Shop in the lobby (with reasonably priced snacks and drinks to take with you and a lovingly curated collected of Manchester souvenirs), fast and free multi-device WiFi, Smart TVs, a Virtual Newsagent with almost 100 newspaper and magazines that may be downloaded and read at no charge and 24-hour access to an onsite fitness center. Groups are welcomed into the ballroom (the largest single event space within a hotel in the northwest of England), 16 quirky yet opulent meeting rooms, new meeting menus and breakout rooms complete with a larder of treats.


With The Principal Manchester as a fashion-forward homebase, guests may easily access all that Manchester has going on – and that’s a fair amount! There’s a legendary live music scene here, as well as countless independent record stores to browse. Shop in style at Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. The city’s art museums regularly boast exhibition by acclaimed artists, from Andy Warhol to Cornelia Parker. Several festivals light up the streets each year, including the Manchester Jazz Festival and Manchester Literature Festival. Plus, one can thumb through tomes at the world’s oldest public library, discover the subterranean WW II-era tunnels beneath the city, view Egyptian artifacts at the Manchester Museum and shop and dine at The Quays. Of course, there’s football to watch – both Manchester United and Manchester City.


In a city renowned for its live music scene, it’s only fitting that this hot new hotel’s restaurant would be the brainchild of DJs-turned-restaurateurs Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford. Previously of the award-winning Volta, the dining duo has created a sought-after gathering spot in The Refuge. Stay all day, from coffee to cocktails, at the Public Bar. Or share globally inspired small plates at the Dining Room. The Winter Garden is a lovely choice for afternoon tea and elegant evening cocktails.


The Principal Manchester is located on Oxford Street directly opposite the Manchester Oxford Road rail station, with access to South Manchester, the North of England, Blackpool, Preston and Leeds. Manchester Piccadilly is the city’s main station and is a ten-minute walk from the hotel; it services London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and more. The Manchester International Airport is a 20-minute drive.