Sunday Times Style Grand Reopening of The Principal Manchester Hotel

The Principal Manchester Hotel

The highly anticipated Principal Manchester Hotel had its grand opening last night with a special event hosted in association with Sunday Times Style.

The iconic Principal Manchester Hotel (formally known as The Palace Hotel) has been given a £25m revamp by its new owners Starwood Capital to restore the hotel to its former glory.

To mark the grand opening, Sunday Times Style put on a special “Northern knees-up” event on 3 November. More than 100 guests were invited to a champagne reception and three course dinner in the new Refuge by Volta restaurant, followed by an exclusive after party with music from Mark Ronson, Horse Meat Disco, Sink the Pink and UnaBombers.

Standing 66m high over the Manchester skyline, the Grade II listed the hotel has a history dating back to 1890, when it first opened as The Refuge Assurance Company headquarters.

As part of the refurb, many of the hotel’s original Victorian features, such as the elegant glass-domed lobby and iconic clock tower have been retained, while the décor in the public areas has been refreshed to give it a new classy, modern edge.

A newly commissioned sculpture of a horse takes centre stage in the hotel’s reception area while the hotel’s bars and restaurants have been modernised to make them into vibrant “social centres”, including the new Refuge by Volta, a 10,000 square-foot restaurant in partnership with Volta restaurant in West Didsbury.

With its 30ft-long granite bar, a winter garden housed inside a glass atrium, large den and gallery wall that runs the entire length of the grand room, Refuge by Volta certainly stands out. The 139-cover restaurant with an open kitchen, booths and a private dining room has 18 ales on tap, as well as a great cocktail list.

Unfortunately, accommodation was full on the night so I was unable to take any photos of the new rooms but it is believed that all of the rooms have been remodelled from top to bottom to create 271 loft-style bedrooms and suites. Designed by award-winning architects at Michaelis Boyd, the interiors of the refurbished bedrooms make full use of the building’s architectural heritage, and also boast new bed linen, smart TVs, free WiFi and a tuck box of treats.

The hotel’s meeting and conferences rooms have also been refreshed as part of the £25m revamp with 17 meeting rooms offering full AV, with capacities from four to 1,000.

The city centre hotel is one of 40 hotels acquired by Starwood Capital since 2013 in an attempt to attract foreign travellers seeking venues with a sense of history.