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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.