With its instantly recognisable facade, and clock tower, the imposing edifice of The Principal is a landmark of sorts on Manchester’s Oxford Street. The heritage-listed building dates back to 1890, when it housed The Refuge Assurance Company’s offices. Today, a swanky, restored hotel stands in its place.

What’s It Like

Stepping into the massive, cavernous lobby of The Principal Manchester is enough to send you on a flight of fancy. The space is bathed in a sense of heritage and quirky, modern elements add a touch of fun. As you walk through the corridors of the hotel, towards the room, the impressive tile work on the walls and floor are quite atypical of a hotel, but gorgeous all the same. The design of the building falls under the Gothic Victorian Revival genre and architect Alfred Waterhouse’s original design has been beautifully highlighted in the refurbishment by 3D Reid Architects and Michaelis Boyd.

Where Is It

A stone’s throw away from Manchester’s Piccadilly Station, and across the street from Oxford Road Station, the hotel enjoys a wonderful location in downtown Manchester. The main shopping and dining districts are a short walk away from the hotel and the city’s attractions are not too far.

Room Facilities

Following a massive refurbishment in 2016, The Principal Manchester houses 270 rooms across different categories. The rooms are discreetly tucked away from the energy and buzz of the lobby and are tastefully done, with highlight elements of the buildings heritage. Warm tones, soft leather and wooden elements characterise the rooms. We stayed in a Deluxe Room, with its gorgeous double-heighted window panels and gorgeous artsy elements. The plush bed and generous workspace is in addition to the Elemis toiletries, smart TV, complementary snack hamper and complementary still and sparkling water.

Restaurants and Bars

Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford (DJs turned restaurateurs) have collaborated with the hotel to create the trendy Refuge by Volta, spread across 10,000 sq ft. The Refuge by Volta is now one of Manchester’s hottest addresses, for its cafe, cocktail bar, winter garden and restaurant serving up an exquisite menu of sharing plates.

Meeting Facilities

The hotel is well-equipped to host the MICE market. Its ballroom, said to be the largest hotel ballroom in the region, can host up to 1,000 people in a seated format. In addition, there are 17 different conference and meeting venues, as well as private dining rooms, suited for all manner
of events.

Art connect

Don’t forget to stand under the massive cupola and get a picture with the giant horse installation, specially commissioned by the hotel.


Possibly one of the most desirable addresses in Manchester right now, this hotel is a great choice for a business and leisure traveller.

PRICE: Upwards of GBP 100/9,500

CONTACT: The Principal Manchester, Oxford Street, Manchester