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The Principal, York
Overshadowing York station, this striking building used to be the Station Hotel: big, Victorian and inelegant. Since becoming a Principal Hotel, it's been transformed into a sleek and graceful affair, all gossamer greys, silver-framed mirrors and velvet soft furnishings, while still keeping the high ceilings, pillars and grand windows of the original design. The 155 - yes, it's big - rooms are understated and smooth affairs, some in a new wing, the best with Minster views. There's a stylish drawing room - perfect for afternoon teas - and a surprisingly industrial, refectory-style restaurant. The basement leisure centre is fine if a little dated. York and all its attractions are within walking distance.
We like being close to York's historic and cultural attractions - and tea rooms! - but without being in the midst of the tourist throngs.
The Principal is right by York station, just outside the old city walls and 10 minutes from the popular Shambles shopping area.
By car: the hotel is 40 minutes from Leeds, 1 hour 30 mins from Manchester and 4 hours 10 mins from London. There is private parking on-site costing £15 per day.
By train: London Kings Cross to York takes around 2 hours. The station is a 1-minute walk from the hotel. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
A true all-rounder, its convenience and range of bedrooms works for individuals and couples, friends and families on a city break or travelling through. We love the contrast between the elegant Garden Room - perfect for afternoon teas - and the buzz of the restaurant.
Service & Facilities
Despite its grand size, the hotel has a warm and welcoming feel. Dogs are spoilt with beds, bowls and treats waiting in the bedrooms.
- Indoor pool
- Free Wi-Fi
Some rooms overlook the station - which might work if trains are your thing! - if not, try for a garden view (includes some entry-level rooms) or, the best, a Minster view. Instead of the standard mini-bar, rooms have a tuck box which has locally made products including crisps and chocolates.
Guest Room, The Sidings Guest Room, Single, Urban Double, Standard, Accessible, Sidings Double, Double with a View, Superior, Deluxe, King Superior, King Deluxe, Junior Suite, Suite
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with rainfall shower, Elemis toiletries
Food & Drink
We love the buzzy atmosphere in The Refectory, with its exposed-brick walls, glass roof and industrial lighting and glimpses of the comings and goings at the station opposite. Breakfast is a lingering affair where you may be tempted to go back for second helpings.
The Refectory Kitchen & Terrace: 1 AA Rosette, Yorkshire produce, traditional British dishes, steaks, pizzas, small plates, sandwiches. Open every day for breakfast and dinner. Mains from £11.50.
Chapter House: wines, craft beers and classic cocktails, bar menu showcasing local produce.