It’s not often that I book a luxury hotel for my travels because I like to keep my adventures as affordable as possible – the more I save the more trips I can go on! – but after months of being cooped up indoors amid a pandemic, I fancied a little slice of luxury for our first escape.
So at the end of July, Darryl and I made the journey up to York for a two day city break, which included a one-night stay at the majestic Principal York Hotel via Booking.com.
In this post I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the hotel and our short but sweet experience.
Read more: A Vegetarian’s Guide to Eating in York
An overview of The Principal York Hotel
As we drove up to this hotel, I was blown away by the sheer size of it. This late-Victorian building dates back to the 1800s and has the most beautiful gardens right at the front.
When you enter the hotel the decor is stunning. Panelled walls, a gorgeous fireplace, chandeliers, perfectly placed ornaments and luxurious sofas – you really are met with luxury from the get go.
The hotel appears a little older and creakier the more you explore, but it’s to be expected when it’s over 200 years old!
The location of The Principal York Hotel
I booked The Principal York Hotel primarily for its location. Right next to York train station and just minutes by foot from the centre, it’s in the perfect spot to soak up the city without trekking for miles or forking out on transport.
This hotel completely overlooks the city of York too – so the higher you go, the better the view.
The rooms at The Principal York Hotel
There are plenty of rooms to choose from at this hotel, with everything from doubles and deluxes to superiors and suites.
We booked one night in a deluxe double for £170, which just happened to be top floor with views right across to the York Minster.
On entering the room, we were met by a gigantic bed with crisp linen, a spacious seating area with views out towards the city, a small dressing area and a large bathroom with a rain shower and dreamy bath tub.
I must say I was hoping for a bit of a fancy coffee machine rather than sachets and a kettle, and the room didn’t have any dressing gowns or slippers so we phoned down for these, however the bathroom did have a selection of gorgeous Elemis products to use during our stay.
The room itself was a little tired as it is so old, but it wasn’t significant enough to be a problem. I don’t typically stay in old hotels – they really creep me out! – but it was fun to try an entirely new overnight experience.
Our only complaint of the room was that it had no air conditioning system, and we were staying on the hottest day of the year so far. It was a pretty unbearable night’s sleep because of this, as the window only opened so much, but the temperature aside it was a really lovely room to spend a night.
Dining and amenities at The Principal York Hotel
As we were only there for one night, unfortunately we didn’t have tons of time to really make use of the hotel facilities. This included dining, as we only ate out in the city, however the Refectory Kitchen and Terrace looked like it would be great for breakfast or dinner.
That weekend, Thor’s Tipi Bar was actually hosting a summer event in the hotel gardens, so our original plan was to enjoy drinks outdoors (at 20% off due to being hotel guests). But the weather had other ideas, so as a storm rolled in we dived indoors to the incredible Garden Room to enjoy a drink.
Unfortunately after waiting for about 45-minutes to be served by the only barman in the Garden Room, we gave up and went back outside. This was a real shame because it was such a beautiful spot to enjoy a glass of something cold, but it seemed the hotel staff were inundated with non-guests also trying to escape the rain.
At one point we left to see if we could sit in the Chapter House Bar, but it was completely rammed, and we weren’t allowed to take drinks from there back to the Garden Room.
There were a fair few complaints from other guests about the lack of service – and the dismissive reception we received when we politely asked if we could order a drink after about 30-minutes – but they were clearly under unexpected pressure with juggling social distancing and too many people entering the hotel.
We did let reception know about this, which they apologised for.
The hotel also has a gym, heated swimming pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi (though the last three remain temporarily closed). Following their Covid-19 guidelines, we booked in to use the pool for an hour the next morning.
It was lovely to have a swim, especially after a restless night, though I was a bit disappointed with the pool. As pristine as it was, this part of the hotel felt like it could do with a bit of an upgrade given how luxurious the rest of the building is.
Final thoughts on The Principal York Hotel
Our stay was brief but I have no regrets about booking The Principal York Hotel. It is a magnificent building with tons of character, and the majority of the staff there were incredibly welcoming.
Heading to York soon? Consider booking The Principal York Hotel for your stay!
Read more: A Vegetarian’s Guide to Eating in York