Last Updated on November 20, 2022 by Suzy
It was that time of year again when we have our annual weekend break in York. It’s becoming a winter tradition and it’s a weekend away that I really look forward to. There is just so much for families to do in York and after three weekends there over the past 3 years we still haven’t done everything.
This year we were very lucky to be able to stay in the wonderful 4-star hotel, The Principal York. The hotel is located in the city centre next to the train station. It is just a short walk to the shops and all the attractions, making it a perfect base for a stay in York.
*Disclaimer. We received a complimentary stay in exchange for an honest review
The Principal York has 155 elegant and very comfortable bedrooms. The exterior and even the interior ooz Victorian grandeur. Yet it still feels modern and very sumptuous. The hotel has recently been refurbished by the award-winning interior architect Goddard Littlefair. Previously known as the Royal it was originally built in 1878 and refurbished in 2016. It looks like it was refurbished just last year.
Review of The Principal York Hotel
Myself and my son arrived at the hotel by car. They have a relatively large car park on-site which is charged at £15 per 24 hours. It was then just a short walk to reception. We were quickly greeted by a friendly and helpful member of staff. They even had our room ready at 9:30 a.m.
You can even see York Minster from reception, along with the rooms that face that way. My Mum then arrived by train and we freshened up in our bedrooms.
The hotel also has extensive gardens which would be lovely to sit out and enjoy a drink or some food in the warmer months. We took the lift straight up to our rooms and it was only later that we discovered just how stunning the hotel really is. Although brief glimpses of the vast Victorian staircase and one of its many chandeliers did hint at how wonderful the interior is.
My son and I were sharing a superior twin room. It certainly had the wow factor when we opened the door. The thing that struck me the most was just how wide our single beds were. Normally I struggle to sleep in a single bed but this felt and was really big. There was even room for my son’s teddies without the risk of them falling out. They were also incredibly comfy and just perfect for my injured back.
The interior of the room was neutral and modern yet still feeling Victorian in style. It was a really good size with plenty of storage. There was a laptop-sized safe and a fridge with complimentary water and milk. No UHT with your tea or coffee in this hotel!
We even had a ‘tuck box’ with crisps, chocolate and things to make hot drinks with. We also had a hairdryer, plenty of clothes hangers, robes and slippers, iron and board and even an umbrella in the wardrobe. There was also a smart TV in our room and the hotel has free Wi-Fi throughout.
We had an en-suite shower room. It had a large walk-in shower and some very soft white towels. There were the usual complimentary shower gels and shampoos.
Facilities at the Principal York
Sadly, we didn’t have time to make use of the leisure facilities at the hotel. There is a fully equipped gym, a 13m swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam and sauna room. The hotel also has treatments available. We did walk past the staircase down to the gym which is lined with wonderful old Victorian tiles.
The Refectory Kitchen & Terrace is the main restaurant at the Principal York. This is where you have your breakfast in the morning and they also serve food at lunchtime and in the evening. There is an outdoor terrace area which faces towards the train station. We decided to eat here in the evening and we were all very pleased with our food. I opted for a steak and the red wine jus was just heavenly.
The breakfast consisted of a cold and hot buffet. They had cereals, fresh fruit, toast and some wonderful-looking pastries. The hot food had sausages, bacon, two types of eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, beans and even porridge.
The chapter house is the hotel’s bar where they serve classic pub-style food. We struggled to get a table in here but we were glad we opted for the more laid-back terrace restaurant.
As it was too busy in the Chapter house we decided to have an evening drink in the Garden room. This is where you can enjoy a fabulous-looking afternoon tea (they even have a version for kids!). It was my favourite part of the hotel. The room is enormous with a ceiling higher than our house and all manner of comfy seating.
The decoration is certainly that of a 5-star luxury hotel and there was so much to look at and discover. They even had some complimentary games. We didn’t need to entertain the little one though as one of the members of staff gave him a wonderful Principal hotel sticker book.
Rooms at the Principal York Hotel start at £139 per night ( incl VAT). The breakfast is not included, it costs £15.95 per person, fully inclusive. We absolutely loved our stay and it was certainly the highlight of a great weekend in York. The hotel is part of the IHG® Rewards Club.