One night at The Principal, Manchester

One night at The Principal, Manchester | Joseph BurrowsAs you’ll know, both Rhianna and I were recently nominated for Best Lifestyle Blog at the Northern Blog Awards. Since the ceremony was being held at The Principal in Manchester, it only made sense for us to treat ourselves to a night of luxury in the hotel!

A central point for the city

Manchester is one of those sprawling cities, which can feel impossible to tackle for those who aren’t familiar with it. The Principal is one of the easier places to locate, particularly since its clock tower is such a recognisable figure in the Manchester skyline. Formerly The Palace, The Principal is a stunning building which has recently undergone a £25 million refurbishment. The hotel is literally across the road from Oxford Road Station and perfectly situated for anyone spending a night at the theatre. Since it was such a nice day when we arrived, we decided to make the short walk from Manchester Piccadilly, which surprisingly took us no more than 10 minutes.

First impressions count

Upon arrival we were greeted by a doorman and a beautiful shop selling fresh flowers. Rather than get distracted by the beautiful flowers, we went straight inside to check in. The lobby for The Principal is without a doubt one of the grandest rooms I have ever seen. The building date backs to the late 1800s, so it’s unsurprising that the rooms have high ceilings and plenty of character – the most notable aspect of the lobby being the giant cast-iron horse.

One night at The Principal, Manchester | Joseph Burrows
One night at The Principal, Manchester | Joseph Burrows
One night at The Principal, Manchester | Joseph BurrowsWe went to check in, but unfortunately our room wasn’t yet available. Rather than leave us waiting with our bags, the team very kindly offered to take our bags up to our room for us – a small hitch which was dealt with very nicely. After grabbing a few photos of the lobby (we’re bloggers, can you blame us!?) and taking a brisk walk down the road to get our bearings, we returned to finish checking in.

When we arrived in our room, we were surprised (and concerned) to find that our luggage wasn’t there waiting for us. We immediately went back down to reception, but when we asked where our bags were, they didn’t know. After running around for 5 minutes, they worked out that they’d sent our bags to the wrong room, and reassured us that our bags would soon be with us.

Unfortunately, it took 30 minutes and a phone call for our bags to show up, arriving just before 4pm without so much as an apology for the inconvenience. Not only had our luggage been sat in a random room for an hour, we were running out of time to get ready, which wasn’t ideal. We made a complaint to the manager, and although they apologised with a bottle of fizz, I don’t feel like the issue was handled well. First impressions count, and this certainly soured our experience.

Our room

One night at The Principal, Manchester | Joseph BurrowsAfter our initial hiccup, it was time to settle in and enjoy our room. The rooms at The Principal in Manchester are stunning. High ceilings, huge windows, and beautiful furnishings give the room a real contemporary and stylish feel. The attention to detail was fantastic, with goodies located in a tuck box, whilst the fridge and kettle were placed in a giant fold-out suitcase.

One night at The Principal, Manchester | Joseph Burrows
One night at The Principal, Manchester | Joseph Burrows
One night at The Principal, Manchester | Joseph Burrows
One night at The Principal, Manchester | Joseph Burrows
One night at The Principal, Manchester | Joseph Burrows One night at The Principal, Manchester | Joseph BurrowsAlthough the bed was initially comfy, I did find it quite stiff and I didn’t end up getting the best night’s sleep. Whilst I didn’t find the mattress comfy, Rhianna loved it – although she found the pillows too flat and small considering the size of the bed.

One night at The Principal, Manchester | Joseph Burrows

The morning after

Breakfast was included in the price of our room, but we didn’t get chance to try it out since we made plans to go to brunch with a friend. It’s a shame, since we didn’t get chance to check out The Refuge, which looks like it has an amazing space. Plus, if the breakfast is anything like the meal we had at the Northern Blog Awards, then you’d certainly be in for a treat! If we stay again, we’d definitely make sure we checked out what the breakfast menu had to offer.

What’s the verdict?

The Principal in Manchester is absolutely stunning – there’s no denying it. But after the issue with our bags, and the way it was dealt with by staff, it definitely didn’t feel like the luxury experience we were hoping for. A night at The Principal certainly isn’t cheap, and with that you’d expect a certain quality of service, which from my stay I can’t guarantee you receive.

Would I stay again? Probably. Would The Principal be top of my list? Maybe not.


What do you think of my stay at The Principal in Manchester? Have you stayed before, or are you considering staying? Let me know in the comments!

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  • I love this type d of posts. A bit of history, wonderful pictures and a honest review. Too bad that the service wasn’t as it should be. I don’t think that I’ll ever stay at a place like this. Not only because of the price but also because I don’t spend enough time in a hotel to make it worth it. When I get the chance to travel I tend to use every spare moment to sightsee.

  • I love how honest this is! The photos look absolutely amazing, but service is definitely key especially when things go wrong

    Abi | abistreetx