The history of Principal London

Principal London occupies  the  eastern  flank  of  Russell  Square  in  Bloomsbury,  London’s  most  literary neighbourhood, and has just re-opened after a multi-million pound restoration.

Overlooking London's Russell Square, The Frederick Hotel Company’s Hotel Russell was completed in 1898. Based on the design of the 16th-century Château de Madrid in Paris, the exterior of the hotel is decorated with distinctive thé-au-lait ('tea with milk') terracotta. The hotel design was very well received in articles of the day, and it went on to have a great influence on the future appearance of the square's other properties - when their leases came up for review, they were extensively renovated with terracotta to bring one consistent style to the square.

hotel russell

The Frederick Hotel Company commissioned prominent architect of the day, Charles Fitzroy Doll, to bring this ambitious project to life. After an illustrious design career, he went on to become the Mayor of Holborn for two terms, as well as a being a Justice of the Peace in his home town of Much Hadham in Hertfordshire.

Partly in response to the success of the Hotel Russell, Doll received what would become his most famous commission: the RMS Titanic. The ship's grand dining room was based on the hotel's restaurant, and the Titanic also had an exact replica of ‘Lucky George’ - the hotel's bronze dragon, which can be found on the landing of the main staircase.

hotel russell - lucky George

The sculptor Henry Charles Fehr also designed life-size statues of four British Queens to sit above the main entrance: Elizabeth I, Mary I, Mary II, and Anne.

Lavishly appointed, the hotel was always intended to be a home to glamour and luxury. We've now restored this grande dame to her original glory – ready for many more guests to enjoy.