Five-star hotel The Principal London
opened its doors this week, taking over the rather special Grade II-listed building in Russel Square that used to be Hotel Russell.
£85m was needed to bring this Victorian grande dame back to life. A whole lot of Royal Doulton terracotta stone was brought in to repair its striking exterior, while indoors, Russell Sage Studios and Tara Bernerd & Partners have added ‘contemporary layers’ to the building’s restored, listed features. In that sense, it reminds us of the ritzy retro-modern interiors you’re used to in somewhere like The Ned or The Ivy.
You’ll have to wait until May for the hotel’s meeting spaces to open up on the lower-ground floor, though. We’re told to expect eight wood-clad, naturally lit spaces that will accommodate around 100 delegates in a ‘tranquil and professional atmosphere’.
Shortly after that, the hotel’s original grade II-listed ballroom will reopen too. The 260-seat space will offer double-height ceilings, pretty original features and windows that stretch the length of one wall – not to mention a mezzanine gallery and private entrance.
While the whole thing might look like something out of a fetching period drama, the AV and IT kit is being touted as cutting edge: 1GB wi-fi and interactive displays are some of the features promised.
Got a client to impress over lunch? Book a table at the hotel’s star restaurant, Neptune, also set to open in May – its towering seafood platters and oyster bar won't disappoint. For semi-private dining, look out for Neptune’s curtained-off booth, which can seat up to eight guests. Prefer a drink? Try Fitz's cocktail bar for sophisticated serves and a touch of Gatsby glamour.
Although exclusive hire of the restaurant and bar is not available just yet, we're told it won’t be off the table for long, so watch this space.