As such an icon of the North, it always surprises me quite how easy and quick it is to get to Manchester from way down here in London. I set off on this journey last week to rediscover the delights the city has to offer after new openings and multi million pound renovations of Principal’s favourite spots. After a mere two hours on the train I arrived, ready for my northern adventure. As a city that boasts rich historical culture, easy access and a wide variety of event spaces, not to mention music, football, shopping, vibrant bars and restaurants, old school boozers and the creative arts scene…… Manchester is often top of the list when we look for an alternative UK destination to London. The architecture is a hotchpotch of towering Victorian buildings, such as old mills and vast factory spaces, with a peppering of modernism which only adds to the effortless charm and charisma of this city.
First stop: The Palace and a cool million
A suitably impressive terracotta grade 2 listed building stands majestically against the Manchester skyline. Not one to wait for an official launch, I was able to gain early access to look at the magnificent changes following a multi million pound refurbishment, and with this level of investment, I was expecting big things.
First Impressions: Vintage fun and games
On approach the building takes your breath away as you’re greeted by a doorman donning a tweed flat cap and waistcoat and invited in to their newly renovated entrance hall; and what an entrance hall! High ceilings and marble floors create a striking airy space with the help of an intricate glass dome ceiling feature. Towering pillars to the left lead you into ‘The Refuge’ by Volta, their new art deco style bar and restaurant with interiors reminiscent of the 1920s golden age with a modern edge. The entire hotel oozes opulence, tying in chic and quirky features such as retro telephones in hotel rooms, and vintage suitcases dotted about their soft seating areas; there’s even a vintage games room that backs onto the newly developed outdoor terrace. As I (reluctantly) left this designated fun room, I gained access to their main conference and event facilities.
Event Facilities: Vast, grand, lavish
First off were The Whitworth rooms, a large open plan space that can be whittled down to three smaller rooms with the use of soundproofed dividers. Double height windows run along two walls to allow for natural light, and a full bar can be opened or closed depending on your needs. These rooms can also be used in conjunction with their largest space the grand Ballroom on the lower floor of the hotel. With the ability to host up to 1000, this vast space boasts being the largest single event space in any hotel in the North, and combines many original features such as wooden panelling and ornate pillars, with an injection of modernity in the understated yet elegant grey and white paint work. Other features include a stage, a private bar and a dedicated private entrance from Waterhouse Way for a real sense of exclusivity. Finally, the lavish ‘Directors Rooms’, the grandest rooms in the whole hotel, are brimming with ornate detail and architectural craftsmanship. They lend themselves to smaller, more intimate events, and are certain to create a lasting impression.
The Rooms: Trunks, armoires & indulgence
Guests will relish in the luxury and comfort of any one of the 271 rooms on offer. The rooms all subtly nod to the ‘golden age of travel’ with packing trunks and armoires featuring in many of the rooms. Neals Yard products line the bathroom shelves ready to make your guests feel special and indulged, a feeling that resonates through every corner of the hotel due to countless details that have been thoroughly thought out to restore this beautiful building to its former glory.
The Verdict: What a transformation…..
The Palace has been restored to a smart and sumptuous hotel, both practical and plush. The stylish quirks ensure a warm welcome within the impressive structure, with original features in place to remain in keeping with the building’s significant history. In terms of event space, there’s bound to be something to suit your numbers and your needs.
If Manchester is on your mind for your next UK event, call us on +44 (0) 207 485 5500 to discuss how we can help you, and stay tuned to find out about the rest of our Manchester rediscovery …! #ExploreWithPrincipalLondon