Global private investment firm Starwood Capital Group has unveiled new UK hotel brand Principal.
The collection of city centre properties is part of a rebranding of the group’s portfolio of UK hotels, following a period of acquisitions over the last few years.
This included the purchase of the Principal Hayley Group in 2013, followed by the acquisition of De Vere Venues, Four Pillars and The Townhouse Collection.
The Principal brand will initially launch with three properties in November – The Principal Manchester (formerly The Palace Hotel), The Principal York (formerly The Royal York Hotel), and the Principal Edinburgh (formerly The George Hotel).
These will be joined by “Principal Partners”, described as “iconic hotels that will join the brand over the course of 2017”, including The Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow, and The Hotel Russell in London (which is currently closed and will reopen next summer as The Principal London).
Signature features of the Principal offering will include “a brilliant bar and restaurant that resonates with ‘locals’ as much as it does with hotel guests”, vintage letterboxes in the lobbies, a “corner shop” selling treats and essentials, and a tuck box of complimentary snacks.
Announcing the new brand Barry Sternlicht, Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group said:
“At the heart of a great business is a unique and authentic story. Our people and our buildings have great stories to tell, and these stories differentiate you from the competition, giving your guests and your staff something to cheer about.
“Reviving these historic, grande-dame hotels is a truly great story— they are spectacular buildings in which we can create dynamic scenes. The story of each hotel, its amazing history and architecture is the opposite of the mass-produced chain hotel, and provides us with a canvas on which to curate a unique sense of place.”
The rebranding exercise will see Starwood Capital’s portfolio of over 40 UK hotels sit under the new name of The Principal Hotel Company, comprising of Principal properties in city centre locations, and the De Vere brand focusing on “modern, country estate hotels, with mansion houses at their heart, mixing leisure with market-leading conference facilities”. The latter will relaunch in spring / summer next year.
Starwood Capital created the Starwood Hotels and Resorts group in 1995, acquiring the Westin and Sheraton brands and launching W Hotels, before exiting its investment in 2000.
The group also owns the Baccarat Hotels and Resorts, and 1 Hotels brands in the US.
The website for Principal will go live along with the official launch of the brand in November – until then more information is available at principal-hayley.com.