June 25, 2018

The Principal York Hotel

The Principal York Hotel - Blog Review

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I was when an email from The Principal York fell into my inbox, inviting me for a night's stay and afternoon tea. As a third year student at the University of York, I've passed by their grand facade countless times but have never once set foot in it until now. 

Hold on to your seats and grab yourself a cup of coffee, this is going to be a long one.


Part 1: Entryway

Making our way for the first time through their lobby, the quiet opulence and ornate tapestries were so overpoweringly impressive, I've never felt more like a scabby little town mouse who's accidentally wandered into the Queen's private boudoir. Images do not do this place justice, for me, it really was a place you had to experience. From the smooth woodwork that wound around the central stairway, to the soft overhang of drapery that gave the rooms a delicate swathe of shadow, to the cushy, sink-y feeling of the carpets, there was something so sensual about the place (in the sense that it appealed to your five senses). 

As perhaps is customary but still paradoxically unexpected for a place like this, the service staff were extremely friendly and "down to earth". The lady at the receptionist was quick to welcome us with a warm smile, despite me and my roommate's obvious lack of impressive attire (I was in my usual uniform of casual tea dresses and she had just come from a University seminar). We were shown into what I was pretty sure was the largest and most opulent room at the hotel - The Principal Suite

Right as you open the doors you see amazing arched windows overlooking the gardens and the York Minster, to the left of you a modern bathroom of pale grey tile, and at the centre the comfiest looking bed you've ever seen. You will not believe how long we just ran around swooning - it was approximately 21 minutes (plus picture taking and calling of friends & family to boast of our unexpectedly good fortune). 

Part 2: Twilight Tea

We were treated to a complimentary afternoon tea at their Garden Room. They currently serve 2 different types of afternoon teas, the first being the traditional set with brewed tea leaves, and the second being served with cocktails, called the Twilight tea (which was the one booked for us). As we were both about 60 and sworn off alcohol since our days as Freshers, we opted for the "Virgin Blueberry Mojito" - which I must say was the highlight of our meal. Not only was it beautiful to look at, it was also the perfect blend of refreshing mint, berry, and pale fairy dust (I made that up, it was just really good okay). 

The rest of the meal went pleasantly as expected. There were cucumber sandwiches (standard), scones and clotted cream (of course), and a couple of cakes and sweet treats (which I have to admit, could be improved on but was nonetheless made enjoyable by the whole experience). It's not a remarkable tea set, though that might be because I personally find afternoon tea to be bland and needlessly expensive. However, I do find the setting of the Garden Room and the view overlooking the gardens to have made the whole afternoon quite enjoyable. If you're someone who likes afternoon tea, this will probably be your second favourite place in York (after Betty's of course).

Part 3: Breakfast and Check out

Breakfast was a hurried affair. Prompted by my early supervisor meeting that morning, I had to get up at 7 for their breakfast service. Drowsiness aside, it was probably one of the fullest breakfasts I've had since I began living independently as a student. We were seated at the Refectory Breakfast and Bar and welcomed with a complimentary buffet service with enough bacon, fresh fruit, and muesli to nourish our weary, student souls.


Final Thoughts

Staying at the Principal was honestly one of the best experiences I've ever had. It was hands down the most luxurious and extravagant hotel I've ever visited, rivalling even The Landmark London and Atlantis Dubai (which I actually have a very poor opinion of). If you ever find yourself in York, I would highly recommend staying at the Principal. As a local, I can tell you that the location is excellent as it's right next to the train station and just a 5-minute walk to town!

P.s. shoutout to The Principal's lovely marketing team for giving me this amazing experience I have never felt more like royalty in my life! :P

Photography and Editing by Hazel. In collaboration with The Principal York

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