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News release - Issued by The Principal York

The Principal York Awarded Best Hotel Interiors in the UK

The Principal York, formerly The Royal York Hotel, has been awarded ‘Best Hotel Interiors’ in the UK, according to a national accommodation ranking.

York’s historic grand lady, which reopened on 1st November 2016 following a sensitive £20million refurbishment, has been crowned at’s 2017 Simply The Guest Awards.

The Principal York joins 24 other hotels across the country to be recognized as one of the UK’s best hotels thanks to the magnificent restoration of the historic railway hotel. The Principal York’s lobby, reception, Garden Room, entrances and corridor spaces, as well as all 159 bedrooms and suites, were revived by interior architects Goddard Littlefair as a paean to Victorian grandeur.

Now in its fifth year,’s Simply The Guest Awards are the only hotel industry awards based exclusively on genuine guest reviews and feedback from customers who have stayed at the property.

A modern and softer interpretation of a country house, The Principal York combines historic architectural detail with all the comforts of the modern day. Interesting antiques and unique artworks of bye gone York Races or images from royal historic society gatherings in York feature at the hotel giving a strong sense of local character. Once a stopover for Queen Victoria en route to Balmoral, the first-class hotel can be reached from London’s Kings Cross Station in less than two hours.

The Principal York’s new accolade follows a series of award wins since its regeneration including a Gold Award at Hospitality Interior Design at the London Design Awards 2016. The hotel recently enjoyed double success at the Visit York Tourism Awards, where it won both Conference Venue of the Year and the overall Hotel of the Year crown. The Principal York was also shortlisted twice over for the refurbishment of its public spaces at the EHDAs (European Hotel Design Awards) at the end of 2016.

The Bonham in Edinburgh, part of The ‘PRINCIPAL’ family – a collection of historic landmark hotels in UK city centres to which The Principal York belongs, was also awarded by as the UK’s Best Boutique Hotel.

Richard Mansell, General Manager at The Principal York said: “We’re beyond delighted to be named as having the UK’s Best Hotel Interiors – not only is it a win for the hotel but also for the city of York and tourism in the region.”

Goddard Littlefair Director and Co-Founder Jo Littlefair added: “Our overall ambition was to breathe life back into every artery of the hotel’s interior. Giving a nod to tradition and heritage, but also creating a tremendously warm, light and welcoming contemporary environment for guests.

“We were briefed to reinstate the hotel’s essential character and to pay respect to its original architecture, whilst at the same time ensuring a feeling of comfort, restfulness, so that The Principal York was once again a true destination hotel.”

Originally opened in 1878 as The Station Hotel, The Principal York is a magnificent Grade-II-listed hotel situated just outside the Roman walls of one of Britain’s most notable cities. One of Britain’s greatest examples of Victorian railway hotels, The Principal York features an impressive Italianate façade of Scarborough brick and Tadcaster stone designed by architect William Peachey.

The Principal York is also home to The Refectory Kitchen & Terrace, the hotel’s restaurant, housed in a conservatory-style dining and adjacent to the restaurant, the lively Chapter House Bar that serves local craft beers, spirits and cocktails. The hotel’s elegant Garden Room, next to the main lobby and its sweeping grand staircase, is where guests can enjoy traditional British afternoon tea whilst looking out across manicured lawns to York Minster in the distance.

With a purpose-built events centre, The Principal York offers ten meeting and event spaces as well as a gym and indoor pool.


The Principal York

Station Road, York, North Yorkshire YO24 1AA
+44 (0)1904 653 681

For press enquiries please contact:

Louise Greenwell
Tel: +44 (0) 7872030630

Notes to Editors

Principal is a collection of city-centre hotels based in landmark buildings in exceptional locations across the United Kingdom. The distinctive heritage and resulting relationship between the properties and their surroundings are the cornerstones of the Principal brand. Each of the hotels has a story to tell—of its history, its design and architecture, its quirks and characters, and its role in shaping the city and forging relationships with local partners, whether corporate or creative. From the elegant Georgian townhouses that form the core of The Principal Edinburgh George Street (formerly The George Hotel) to the clock tower that’s synonymous with The Principal Manchester (formerly The Palace Hotel) and its history as the headquarters for the Refuge Assurance Company—Principal Hotels define their cities and neighbourhoods.

The Principal portfolio also includes Principal Partners—iconic hotels that will join the brand over the course of 2017, among them The Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow; The Hotel Russell in London, which is currently closed and is due to reopen next summer as The Principal London; and the former Martins Bank, which will open as The Principal Liverpool in early 2018.

The creation of Principal is a part of Starwood Capital Group’s rebranding of its portfolio of U.K. hotels under the new name of THE PRINCIPAL HOTEL COMPANY, comprising PRINCIPAL in city centres, and DE VERE—modern, country estate hotels, with mansion houses at their heart, mixing leisure with market-leading conference facilities. The De Vere brand is scheduled to launch in spring/summer 2017, following an investment of more than £50 million.

The Principal Hotel Company, which owns and operates over 40 landmark buildings across the length and breadth of the U.K, received an investment in excess of £200 million following the acquisition of Principal Hayley by a controlled affiliate of Starwood Capital Group in 2013, and the subsequent acquisition by controlled affiliates of Starwood Capital Group of De Vere Venues, Four Pillars, the Townhouse Collection and some individual, strategic assets.