I’d been looking forward to having some time off over Bank holiday weekend for a while. Sometimes you just need to switch off from the everyday life and be totally taken care of. So we decided to take a little road trip to York and check out the newly renovated Principal Hotel.
The Principal is conveniently situated a stone’s throw from York railway station. When I say a stone’s throw, I mean you could literally pick up a pebble and flick it out of the hotel’s restaurant window to hit the building it’s that close!
This is perfect for anyone visiting from London, Edinburgh or indeed everyone arriving by train to York. However, the Principal also has free parking available for guests if you’re coming here by car, which is exactly how we pulled up on a balmy summer’s eve for our stay.
The Principal has recently undergone a multi-million pound renovation and was renamed from The Station hotel to The Principal in 2016, however the owners have retained all of the building’s original architecture and charm while modernising the rooms. They have also stylishly used the original Victorian features to retain the hotel’s classic and luxury heritage, as well as playing on their proximity to the station with antique suitcases and trunks decorating the lobby and lounge areas.
A hotel porter took our bags up to our room while we went to check out the well-equipped gym, pool and spa area in the basement of the hotel. But as we had dinner reservations in The Refectory restaurant in less than an hour’s time, we decided to head up to our Deluxe Double room.
Ascending a truly grand staircase to the first floor, our room was truly a sanctuary in the city. We stayed in a deluxe double room at the end of the corridor. The rooms at The Principal are sumptuously furnished to the highest standard. The bed was an enormous king-size, made all the more comfy with the generous pile of pillows, cushions and delicately soft sheets.
I loved all the little touches and amazing attention to detail there was, such as the little tuck box filled with Yorkshire made snacks and tea, Elemis beauty products and the most gorgeous vintage red phone on the bedside.
The renovation has also meant the rooms are more technologically equipped, with conveniently located charge and plug points on both bedside tables and just outside the bathroom (no awkward leaning to see in the mirror when I curl my hair!).
We then went down for dinner at The Refectory restaurant in the hotel. As it was such a beautiful summer’s eve, we sat near the patio doors and ordered a Frosé cocktail (think frozen daiquiri but with rosé wine! LUSH) and perused the new summer menu. Of course, the menu is typically Yorkshire with produce sourced from local suppliers. There are however some very interesting fusion twists, such as the Lemongrass, carrot and ginger soup and Spiced Yorkshire lamb rump, sweet and sour relish, capers, potato fondant, red wine sauce.
I ordered a sea bass ceviche to start, which was served with a delicious wine pairing of Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc. James had a delicious smoked salmon, avocado and pink grapefruit salad also paired with the New Zealand Sauvignon. The starters were delicately presented and perfect for a light summer’s eve.
For our mains, we ordered the spiced Yorkshire lamb rump and the Sirloin steak. Both cuts of meat were tender, the type that melt on your tongue and make you close your eyes and sigh with delight. I highly recommend trying the lamb when you visit here – it’s truly unique dish with some very interesting spices and flavours.
Our mains were paired with a Cantena Appellation Malbec and the Battle of Bosworth Pinot Noir.
After a delicious dessert of petit fours (because I was so full even my dessert stomach couldn’t take any more food!), we retired to the adjoining bar where we reclined in large, comfortable armchairs and listened to the hugely talented live musicians that sang and played for our exclusive pleasure (and that of the other patrons!).
Our stay at The Principal was a charming experience from the moment we made the reservation to well after we’d left to explore the fascinating city of York. Drawing on its Yorkshire heritage in terms of decor and food, it was a delight to also be treated with friendly, accommodating smiles by all the staff and made to feel entirely at peace. I am now highly recommending a stay here to all of my friends, even though Leeds isn’t all that far away!
If you’re looking for a British city escape, then York really does have it all – but a stay at the Principal will truly seal your weekend with complete contentment.
To find out more or check out prices, click here for The Principal’s website.