I love a fancy hotel. I think years of camping and allocation-on-arrival packages as a bairn have made me truly appreciate luxury spots like The Principal Hotel Manchester.
We decided to kick off our October break to Malaga a day early for two reasons;
- we had a super early flight from Manchester airport and a 1.00am drive from Durham didn’t sound appealing, and
- because we had an indoor sky diving experience at iSky at the Trafford Centre to use up from Christmas 2018 and it was just about to run out.
Because it was a Sunday evening, we got a really good price at The Principal Hotel Manchester. Smack bam in the centre of the city and only 20 minutes from both the Trafford Centre and the airport.
I’d seen blogs previously about this place and it looked incredible. A luxury hotel to enjoy drinks, food and a good night’s kip before jetting off – ideal!
Where is it?
The Principal Hotel Manchester is located on Oxford Road. Now, I don’t have the best geography knowledge of MCR but I knew this was a good start.
Whilst we were quite content in enjoying the hotel itself, if you were to stay and venture out into the streets of the city, this is a really good base. It’s a couple of minutes from a train station and has NCP parking literally on the next street (Whitworth Street).
The parking, if you get it validated by the hotel, costs £20 for 24 hours. The reception staff also very kindly validated ours so that the couple of hours we’d been parked up before leaving to go skydiving were free.
Oxford Road is a huge stretch of Manchester offering an impressive, and diverse, range of bars and restaurants. No matter what tickles your pickle, I’m pretty sure you could find yourself a spot along this street.
What’s the hotel like?
The entrance to the hotel is stunning. Grand, ornate and really quite breathtaking. The Victorian building is Grade II listed and was originally built for the Refuge Assurance insurance company in 1891.
There’s little references to it’s original occupiers throughout the hotel, and the architecture and period features have been restored beautifully throughout.
The reception area is huge with a glass dome roof. We were welcomed by a concierge and checked in swiftly by polite and friendly staff.
What about the rooms?
We had a standard room for the evening and it was all we needed for our short stay.
Modern, clean and spacious with those tiny hints of grandeur and the hotel history that made it feel very special.
Complimentary popcorn, Green & Blacks chocolate and premium brand tea and coffee is available to help yourself to. But if you fancy more snacks, or to top up your minibar, head downstairs and take your pick from this selection…
The bathroom was gorgeous too. And pristine. Stocked with high-end toiletries, fluffy towels and complimentary bath robes, it had everything you could possibly need.
Apparently, no two rooms are the same in this hotel which, despite its size, shows the thought gone into making each guests’ stay unique.
How was the food?
The Refuge by Volta is the hotel’s resident bar and dining room. Described as British ingredients inspired by global travels, it has a real varied menu of small plates and sharing platters.
Because it was Sunday, however, the only thing on our menu was the roast. You can imagine just how thrilled I was.
My favourite meal of the week, and The Refuge serve it up until 9.00pm for those who’ve only just managed to crawl out of bed in search of a hangover cure.
Whilst slightly on the pricey side (£17 per person), but probably about average for the city, the food was delicious. Which we knew it would be. There was still people queuing up for a table after 8.00pm.
Instead of starters, we decided to spend the money on three sides for £12. Expensive I know, but when you see Pigs in Blankets on a menu and it’s not Christmas, you get them regardless.
We chose the pigs, bacon, sage and onion stuffing balls and some creamy mash.
The vibe in both the bar and restaurant is exactly what you’d expect from a hotel of this calibre. Pretty chilled and very cool with the clinking of glass and a low hum of conversation flowing throughout both areas.
And with cosy yellow lighting, vast ceilings and big leather chesterfields, relaxing with a drink has never came so easy.
Our stay at The Principal Hotel Manchester was cut far too short when we had to leave at 4.00am to head to the airport. But it was the absolute perfect way to kick off our holiday.
The check-out was as simple as dropping off our key and reception is manned 24/7 so it was lovely to still have some smiling faces wave us off so early in the morning.
It’s probably worth mentioning here that the service was fantastic throughout our short stay. Everyone was pleasant and helpful and although we didn’t need much from them, I got the impression that nothing would be too much trouble.
Unfortunately we had to pay a small fortune for an airport breakfast because it was so early, but if you want to check out the what the breakfast options are like at the hotel, head over to Stephanie Fox Travel who reviewed her time at The Principal too. And it’s also perfect for families with older children, North East Family Fun have listed 10 reasons why – take a peek!
We were very lucky and got our standard guest room for £93 a night, but prices can be as high as £200 on a weekend. I’d honestly say however, as a treat, I’d definitely return and pay this price. It just feels special and would be a lush little way to celebrate a special occasion. Still worth keeping an eye out for a bargain though…
The Principal Hotel also have venues in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and York to name a few. Next time we’re off on a weekend away, I’ll definitely check out this hotel chain.
And just in case you were wondering how ridiculous we looked during our indoor skydive, here you go…
Tell me your favourite luxury hotel for a relaxing getaway in the comments…
Lots of love, LB x