wall of tiles dining room manchester

Finding Refuge in Manchester

On a rainy Saturday morning in January recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a few blogger friends who also happen to be local to Manchester. Our venue of choice was Refuge, inside the Principal hotel on Oxford Road.

refuge in the principal

I’d been hearing loads of great things about the rejuvenation, and lets face it completely brilliant restoration job, that was going on at the former Palace hotel, now renamed The Principal. The downstairs hotel bar and restaurant area had been taken over by local types, DJ pair The Unabombers, who have a smaller venues in West Didsbury and Chorlton.

greenery the 2017 colour of the year in full effect

It’s fair to say we were blown away by Refuge, its an interior bloggers dream. The space is in sections, a public bar, dining room, a private dining space, a den (great for parties) and my favourite the Winter garden (afternoon tea anyone).

The building itself is a Manchester icon and was previously the home of Refuge Assurance Company from the late 1800s right through to the mid eighties when they moved out. The building was near derelict when it was finally converted into a hotel in 1996. It became the Principal in late 2016.

wall of tiles dining room manchester

It has all my favourite things inside Refuge- amazing tiles, vaulted ceilings, lots of wood detailing, a great amount of natural light supplemented by  indoor light that is sympathetic  to the space, hanging plants and peacock chairs.

brilliant manchester bar

January can feel a bit gloomy and it was good to hear similar feeling from my chums, “Not enough daylight to get good photos”, was the general gripe about the weather. But being in Refuge we couldn’t put our cameras down! Blogging can be quite an isolating job at times so its good to get out and do real life meetups with those that “get” you. And it felt like a real refuge from the weather, and from January itself whilst inside.

hanging plants manchester garden

We even managed to bag a look at a couple of the hotel rooms too which have also been renovated. I love how throughout the renovations (of both the hotel and the bar/restaurant) they mixed old and new. Vintage and modern it is such a great way to respect the past but also look towards the future and modern life as it is now.

stunning hotel and venue manchester heritage

Have you visited Refuge or the Principal yet?

Big shout out to the ladies – all ace interior bloggers and worth checking out if you don’t already.

24 thoughts on “Finding Refuge in Manchester”

  1. Such an amazing place and it was so nice spending a little time with like-minded folk who were oooh-ing and aww-ing as much as I was! Sorry to have missed the bedrooms so I’m pleased you shared those 😉 xx


  2. this place is so perfect because it does a great job at combining classic pieces without being predictable. I am not into predictable design anymore. I want something that gets me thinking and out of my comfort zone. Although this place has some “obvious” choices, I also think it makes a wonderful job at integrating opposite styles. I mean, look at those peacock chairs next to the more modern gray ones!!!! What a wonderful thing! Thanks for sharing.


  3. Its simply stunning! As you say an Interior Bloggers dream, that floor and those green sofa against it – just perfect.

    The rooms too simple, showing off just beautiful pieces, what a lovely place to meet up xx


  4. Never been to Manchester but I’m hearing so many great things about it, I really must make some time this year. This venue is stunning (and that parquet floor!)


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