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“A beautiful old lady in sad disrepair.”

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The Principal London
Ranked #447 of 1,069 Hotels in London
San Francisco, California
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“A beautiful old lady in sad disrepair.”
Reviewed April 22, 2007

This is the second time I have stayed at the Russelll Hotel. This a 120+ year old massive Victorian edifice is impressive on entry in a disheviled "Miss Havisham" sort of way. The property has changed management over the last few years with several half hearted renovations. One gets the idea that maintaining this big ark probably overwhelmed them. It now run by an outfit taht specializes in running old castles and "classic"properties but they don't seem to be faring much better. The exterior is impresssive and the lobby boasts a palatial stairway with Chandeliers and marble attesting to its past granduer. Unfortunately no-one has figured out how to clean the marble. Once you get past the ersatz modern reception area, into the tiny lifts, and upstairs the attraction fades. The upstairs hallways are dark and musty smelling with radiators and fire extinguishers hanging at strange hanging about like an old rooming house. The rooms are small, clean, and reasonably comfortable with nicely restored baths. Nothing is really wrong, but at 300.00 USD+ per night one expects more of a 4 star property even in ultra expensive Bloomsbury. The eastern European staff struggles with English but makes an effort to be freindly if not warm. It is a shame. This place could be a real stunner if they tried. The "Virginia Woolf" Lounge is advertised on the net but has been closed for years. The club lounge bar is pleasant albeit somewhat threadbare. A special note: this place takes the prize for Internet usery. 1.00 USD (PER MINUTE!) for in-room web conectivity. Fortunately there are several coffee shops with wireless in the area and a very nice internet shop (Rex) right down the street.. Add in a annoying old man trying to take pictures of everyone leaving the and its really not much of a deal..

  • Stayed April 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank MizunguhowRU?
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Southampton
1 review
Reviewed April 3, 2007

Arrived hotel with Superbreak reservation, no record of my booking, after some time with no apology, found a room which was for a disabled person, low sinks, no bath,no view except noise from outside aircon machines for the whole hotel.Breakfast good excellent manager.hotel has a great location nr British Museum, good eating at Brunswick shopping area just behind hotel. Would I go back maybe?

  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank nic0la7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cheshire
Level 4 Contributor
24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2007

Its in a decent location, handy for the west end and shopping/museaums. Its generally quite friendly, not too formal.

Rooms do vary. I've had two doubles ranging from very nice modern decor, to homely slightly worn (but acceptable). Decent beds in both cases.

Breakfast is a very pricey, i'm not sure it's worth the £15 or so! You have to queue up for a small table and we didn't get any tea (despite asking many many times) the last time.

However, i'd happily go back there, so that says something.

ALSO - plenty of free Wi-fi access floating around when i was there.

  • Stayed April 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank DeepFish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jamesville, New York
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed March 22, 2007

The Hotel is in an excellent location with easy access to tubes, buses and just around the corner from the British Museum. The public rooms are minimal. The room I shared with my husband for several days was adequate--small, double bed, no drawers and few hangers. Nothing to put a suitcase on. The airconditioning system worked but in mysterious ways. I moved to a smaller room when my husband went home. It was a very thin slice of a room with a barely adequate, squishy bed. The room had two floors with a winding staircase connecting the lower bathroom, closet and desk area to the bedroom itself. Completely inconvenient for a woman to drag a large suitcase down a narrow staircase! The bags had to occupy the one chair and small surface in the bedroom. No drawers. The bath downstairs was excellent, clean, spacious and had a wonderful shower. I asked twice to have someone explain the airconditioning system icons but I got no help and had to wear my coat in the room much of the time. I asked for a wakeup call for my departure. No call. The staff was young, not very knowledgable. It is a lovely old building but the prices are very high and the value not very good . London is an extremely expensive place to visit but so exciting and vibrant that one hardly minds!

  • Liked — location
  • Disliked — unprepared staff, attention to room amenities like hangers, drawers
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Anglophile38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed March 21, 2007

I liked staying here as it is close to the tube and a Tesco which is a mini market. The one problem I encounted on my stay that the afternoon concierge could not help us w/ all of our luggage so we took them up, but even b/4 this my colleages had a problem w/ their reservations which it took a while for them to get their room. Later I needed a sewing kit and it took 3 phone calls to have somebody bring me one and last we need it taxi service to the airport and the same concierge was no where to be found and we called constantly to the front desk and it took a while b/4 we could talk to anybody. We did get our taxi on time and the concierge in the morning a very sweet old man help us w/ all of our bags, he was great. Overall the rooms are nice and small but very clean.

  • Liked — Location and the beds are very comfortable.
  • Disliked — No help w/ the bags w/ the afternoon concierge.
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank GranadaHills2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brunei-Muara District, Brunei Darussalam
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed March 14, 2007

Myself and my husband stayed in the Russell for 3 nights in March, We had a great room 128 with a balcony it was very comfortable.
Breakfast was lovely and there was no queue when we were there although we did have to wait for fried eggs for all of 4 minutes (nothing).
When we previously visited London we stayed in a hotel in Great Russell Street, part of a chain of hotels and the Russell beat this hotel on all accounts.
Great hotel and will definately be going back.

  • Liked — Great Location and interior
  • Disliked — Room service changing the room at 9pm at night
  • Stayed March 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank BHoody
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed March 12, 2007

This is actually a decent hotel that is let down badly by the standard of the rooms. I stayed here a few years ago but was told it had been re-furbished.

The public areas are very pleasant. The lobby is very Grand and check in was simple and quick.

The dining room is similarly impressive. Breakfast was on the better side of average efficiently served by very freindly staff.

The downside still seems to be the rooms. My small, single room was clean but extremely tatty - it really was student bedsit standard. A bed that should have been scrapped years ago, emulsioned woodchip wallpaper with huge air bubles and bits missing and all the skirting boards chipped back to bare wood. Very dingy with a depressing outlook into the inner quadrangle.

You can usually get in here when all the other hotels in the area are fulll - I guess this tells its own story. Its a shame because it has the potential to be much better. There are far better hotel rooms available in the area

Stayed March 2007
Helpful?
2 Thank mike2016852
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Principal London

Property: The Principal London
Address: 1 - 8 Russell Square, London WC1B 5BE, England (Formerly Hotel Russell)
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > London > Bloomsbury
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#285 Family Hotel in London
#300 Luxury Hotel in London
#346 Romantic Hotel in London
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Principal London 4*
Number of rooms: 373
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are delighted to present The Principal London which will open in stages throughout the course of the summer, and will fully launch in September 2017. The Principal London is an iconic establishment nestled in the heart of the city. Whether you wish to indulge in a spot of shopping or want to host a conference at one of London's most exclusive addresses, The Principal London is the perfect base for business or leisure. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Russell Hotel London
Hotel London Russell
Russel Hotel London
The Principal London England

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