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.

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  1. January 22, 2017 / 4:44 pm

    Oh wow, stayed at the Palace Hotel a number of times over the years, the re-vamp looks amazing. Definitely inspired to arrange a return visit!

  2. January 22, 2017 / 5:09 pm

    The food at Refuge is incredible. A new favourite of mine for sure! Totally agree about the interior, just stunning.

  3. January 23, 2017 / 10:05 am

    I am most certainly going to visit this place next time I’m in Manchester! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. January 23, 2017 / 10:09 am

    Such a stunning space! Will have to check it out for sure xx

  5. January 23, 2017 / 10:37 am

    What an amazing space, so glad we got to visit it together and I’m looking forward to another trip there sometime soon! X

    • Susie
      January 25, 2017 / 11:05 am

      Me too- lets involve cocktails next time

  6. January 23, 2017 / 11:47 am

    Wow, it looks stunning! Love the sofas and those gorgeous floors.

  7. January 23, 2017 / 1:11 pm

    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

    • Susie
      January 25, 2017 / 11:04 am

      Hey lovely! Yes it was such a enjoyable few hours- next time cocktails x

  8. January 23, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    What a stunning place. Hotels can be so inspiring – I want all of those tiles just for starters! x

    • Susie
      January 25, 2017 / 11:03 am

      Tell me about it! When shall we move in?

  9. January 23, 2017 / 5:39 pm

    Wow what a stunning place. Must remember to go and take a look the next time I am up in Cheshire visiting my parents.

    • Susie
      January 25, 2017 / 11:03 am

      Yes! Take them for afternoon tea!

  10. January 23, 2017 / 8:53 pm

    Those tiles are incredible!

    • Susie
      January 25, 2017 / 11:02 am

      Such and inspiring spot! Thanks Kat x

  11. January 23, 2017 / 11:02 pm

    It’s beautiful, I love all the old tiles!

    • Susie
      January 25, 2017 / 11:01 am

      You’d love it here x

  12. January 24, 2017 / 7:17 am

    Oh gosh it is gorgeous!

  13. January 24, 2017 / 6:28 pm

    Looks lovely!

  14. January 26, 2017 / 12:32 am

    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.

    • Susie
      January 26, 2017 / 9:45 am

      Hi Mila! Yes I love the mixing that occurs here. Much more exciting than sticking to one style

  15. January 26, 2017 / 10:49 am

    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

  16. January 27, 2017 / 11:30 am

    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!)

    • Susie
      January 29, 2017 / 1:09 pm

      Yes you must Tiff!

  17. handmade mosaic tiles
    February 6, 2017 / 2:22 pm

    Fabulous one! I`ll try to visit this one if i manage to come to Manchester.