The Grande Dame Of Bloomsbury
‘Grande Dame’ is a title used only for a handful of hotels, suggesting a certain scale, longevity and luxury, you never hear Travel Lodge referred to as ‘the grande dame of Charnock Richard Service Station’. The Principal London, however, has achieved Grande Dame status even before it opens in early 2018.
Originally the Frederick Hotels Company, the Bloomsbury hotel opened in 1898 and the terracotta building dominates the eastern side of Russell Square. It lived up to the grande dame title throughout the twentieth century, the dining room was famously a near identical copy of the one on the Titanic (designed by the same architect, Charles Fitzroy Doll), the Bloomsbury group flitted around it and the Russell Group of universities are named after the hotel, which was previously called Hotel Russell. Principal have taken all this history, and added something special of their own with a total revamp returning the grande dame to it’s palatial glory.
At centre of the redesign the magnificently restored Palm Court will stand out an oasis in the city, a period masterpiece brought back to life for today, along with The Principal London’s grand ballroom, by Tara Bernerd & Partners along with Russell Sage Studio who are noted for their contemporary interior designs. They’ve strived to both pay homage to the hotel’s history while providing ‘stylish form and function for the modern traveller’.
The Principal London aims to provide an eating, drinking and meeting hub not only for guests but for Londoners with a variety of areas set aside for drinking, dining and partying (now we’re talking our language!). Neptune is a restaurant in partnership with three-time Bib Gourmand winner Brett Redman and stylist-turned-restaurateur Margaret Crow and will bring the informal vibes of their Borough Market gastropub Elliot’s.
Cocktails will be flowing over at Fitz’s, designed to conjure the spirit of Jay Gatsby and the with of Dorothy Parker in a hedonistic whirl and with the potential to be one of London’s most promising cocktail bar openings of 2018. Coffeehouse Burr & Co. aims to be an independent alternative to the brutalist Brunswick Centre next door, and will convert into a wine bar by night.
All in all, it sounds like Principal London really has owned the title ‘Grande Dame’.
The Principal London: Opens 2018, 1-8 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, WC1B 5BE, www.phcompany.com