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“It's the little things that matter!!” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Principal London

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The Principal London
Ranked #434 of 1,086 Hotels in London
North Wales
Level Contributor
186 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“It's the little things that matter!!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 May 2014

We stayed here recently, as we were unable to book a room at our usual hotel, and this hotel had always looked very elegant and classy whenever we walked past it. We booked through a booking agency and got a fairly good rate.

On arrival our room was ready, even though we were early, and we we immediately offered an upgrade for £20 per night. We accepted, as good accommodation is important to us. Our room was on the first floor, facing the park and unfortunately for us, all the traffic. It was very spacious and well furnished, but unusually there was no double glazing and the windows were poorly fitting, as we found out later when the wind got up!! I bought earplugs after the first night!!

The room and bathroom were clean and the bed very comfortable but little things were missing. The hospitality tray was stingy, just a few sachets of boring beverages, the usual disgusting UHT milk but no biscuits!! There was a large dirty smear on the full length wall mirror, which stayed there for the three days we were there, and on returning from our first day out, my used glass was still on my bedside cabinet, complete with lipstick stains!!! Not major issues, but a lack of attention to detail.

We had lunch in the bar after we we checked in, which was a shambolic affair to say the least, although to be fair it was our waiter's first day!!! My Caeser salad came with anchovies, despite requesting for this not to be the case, this option is on the menu. It went back and they were simply removed, so their taste was still evident which made the dish very unpleasant for me!! My husbands soup was supposed to be tomato, but was such a strange browny colour and had no recognisable taste that it could have been anything!! Ordering our drinks was somewhat of a challenge also.

Breakfast was ok, but again there were signs that penny pinching was in place. One example being the size of the (cold) plates for the cooked breakfast, making it very difficult for anyone to pile up the plate. Another example was the hot beverages available. Tea and basic coffee were included in the price. Anything else such as hot chocolate or cappuccino were an extra £2.50. Also there was a daily cooked special available at a cost of £5.50 supplement if you were on a " breakfast included" rate. The choice was reasonable, although I would have liked some granola available, and some of the items on the cooked breakfast menu were not available. There were no mushrooms on offer at all whilst we were there. The staff in the breakfast room were pleasant enough, if a little over zealous at removing used plates, before both of us had finished, which I found a little annoying.

I feel that wifi should be freely available in a hotel of this size in Central London, but again it seems it's all about profit! When I asked about it at Reception, I was told that as I had booked through an agency I would have to pay, but I'd I'd booked direct with hotel it would be free!! That's extremely unfair and discriminatory!! I'm sure that the majority of bookings come via the various booking agencies these days, and the hotel should be treating all their guests in the same manner, however they have booked.

All in all, this hotel was ok, and we would stay again, but I'd be very concerned about the noise, as it seems from other reviews, that the rooms at the back have their own noise issues. If it isn't possible to have wifi in the rooms, I would expect free wifi to be available in the public areas.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SarkLover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bart L, Manager at The Principal London, responded to this review, 22 May 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for your review on Tripadvisor. I am sorry to read that you were disappointed with certain aspects of your stay with us.

I am pleased that you enjoyed the spaciousness and comfort of your room, however I am disappointed that the central London traffic was a disturbance for you. I only wish you had informed us about your concerns as we would have certainly endeavoured to rectify this for you.

Our Housekeeping team genuinely pride themselves on their high standards and I do apologise that the attention to details was missed in your room. Our Housekeeping Manger would like me to apologise to you on her behalf and has addressed this with her team.
We have a variety of teas including green teas and coffees, and will certainly take on board your comments regarding biscuits.

I am dismayed to learn of your experience in our bar and have personally addressed this with our team to ensure that this does not occur again.

Our Full English breakfast is freshly prepared each morning by our team of Chefs. The smaller plates are used for pasties and fruit whilst the larger ones are for the hot cooked food. I only wish you had informed us of this concern as we would have gladly assisted you. As our dishes are freshly cooked they are brought out and I am also sorry for the delay in receiving the mushrooms. We usually receive many compliments regarding your breakfast and extremely efficient team.

We are currently running a promotion in which guests receive complimentary wifi when booking directly with us. Please be assured that our wifi charges are in line with other leading establishments and do also offer our guests on hour complimentary as an option.

I am pleased that you enjoyed the cleanliness of our rooms and comfort of our beds and that you may be joining us again at Hotel Russell in the future.

Kind regards

Bart Luijk
Hotel Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,866 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Level Contributor
51 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 May 2014

Had all I could do to rate this hotel average. There are much better values in the same area. And then there was the marginal quality breakfasts, smokers congregating around the front door... seemingly all the time. Now I know this is a pretty common problem in Europe but come on folks. All in all mediocre and pricey.

Room Tip: Get a corner room they have quite lovely window seating. It's not much but if you have to stay h...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Michael C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bart L, Manager at The Principal London, responded to this review, 22 May 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for your review on Tripadvisor. I am dismayed to learn that you did not enjoy your stay as much as we had anticipated.

We pride ourselves on high standards and endeavour to ensure all of our guests are comfortable and relaxed throughout their stay.

Breakfast is extremely popular at our Hotel and we receive many compliments regarding the fresh variety of dishes available to our guests.

The designated smoking area is located just to the left of the Hotel and we do inform our guests of this. Our team also do politely remind guests of this should they see guests in the area, however I will certainly reiterate this to all of our teams.

I am pleased that you enjoyed the corner room with the lovely window seating and do hope that we may have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Hotel Russell in the future.

Kind regards

Bart Luijk
Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hull
Level Contributor
26 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 May 2014

Can't fault our one night stay. Check in was fine and the room was comfortable and larger than most London hotels. Breakfast had a good selection and they were quick to move any used plates etc. every member of staff, including the cleaners, said "hello" as I walked by.

Discovered the hotel by chance but now my choice destination in London!

Room Tip: Stayed on the 5th floor and requested a view of the square
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank loofaman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bart L, Manager at The Principal London, responded to this review, 22 May 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for your review. We are absolutely delighted that you had a wonderful stay with us at Hotel Russell.

We genuinely pride ourselves on our high standards and our team endeavour to ensure all of our guests are relaxed and comfortable throughout their visit with us.

We are so pleased that we are now your choice of destinations in London and do hope that we may have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Hotel Russell in the not too distant future.

Kind regards

Bart Luijk
Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
95 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 May 2014 via mobile

I stayed in rooms on the sixth and seventh floors.

No sound insulation so very disruptive noise from the corridors. No double glazing so noise from the back and front. Not much sleep and awful shower. No bath. Tiny rooms. Very expensive bar. All the staff I met were foreign and didn't speak English very well. In all ,a poor, uncompetitively priced experience.

Stayed May 2014, travelled on business
Helpful?
4 Thank Oguh_56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bart L, Manager at The Principal London, responded to this review, 22 May 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for your review. I am dismayed to learn that you were disappointed with certain aspects of your stay with us.

Our corridors are usually very quiet as they are carpeted and we have not encountered any similar concerns, however will take your comments on board.

The 6th and 7th floors are also extremely quiet due to the high level, however I am sorry that you found this a disturbance.

Our showers are extremely powerful, and we also have the option of a bath if requested. Due to the shape and age of our building we have a variety of different rooms, each decorated to a high standard. We do have more spacious superior rooms and do hope that you may have the opportunity to experience this in the future.

Please be assured that our bar prices are in line with other leading hotels within the area.
We are extremely proud of the rich diversity of our Hotel and I am surprised that you found our team could not converse with you.

I do hope that we may have the opportunity to provide you with the exceptional service we are so well known for at Hotel Russell in the future.

Kind regards

Bart Luijk
Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these London hotels

London, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 May 2014 via mobile

This hotel refused to give me a break when I had to cancel my trip due to serious medical treatment complications which interfered with my ability to cancel the reservation. Most hotels would charge 1 night as a fine but not this one. It cost me over $1000 for nothing which I do not think is a reasonable solution. I would never recommend a hotel with this attitude to anyone!

Stayed April 2014
Helpful?
6 Thank HEATHER L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bart L, Manager at The Principal London, responded to this review, 22 May 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for your review. I am dismayed to learn that you had to leave unexpectedly and do hope that the situation is now better.

As highlighted to you, as per the terms and conditions that you accepted your particular booking was non-refundable and non-cancellable.

We understand that on the rare occasion this does occur and do hope that you are happy with the resolution which has been offered to you in the spirit of goodwill.

Kind regards

Bart Luijk
Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Level Contributor
38 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 May 2014

We chose this hotel for its proximity to our son's college dorm in London. Even though it was a little over our budget at £249 per night, the pictures on the booking engine made the rooms and hotel look so impressive that we decided it might be worth the splurge, especially since we were only spending one night there. The minute we walked in to the hotel at close to 11pm, we realised it was a mistake. The dingy, dark lobby, no bellman, smelly carpets and worst of all, curt and unreasonable front desk staff were just the beginning of bigger disappointments to come. They gave us a room on the first floor,facing the hotel's noisy generators. The room's carpet smelled old and damp as did the hallway leading to the room, so we decided to try and crank open the windows. As we pulled back the curtains, we were shocked to discover the tiniest three excuses for windows, which did not have the provision to be opened. We managed with some difficulty to slide them open, upwards by exactly half an inch. The only saving grace was the size of the room and bathroom, which were both pleasingly large by London city standards, and the tea/ coffee maker in the room. TV and pillows were tiny, linens and towels were decent, a/c was noisy but worked( yes we had to turn it on because of the windows) and no bathrobe or slippers were provided. When we were checking out, we overheard the check-in staff offer other customers upgrades, options of rooms styles, floors..etc. None of which was offers to us just the night before. A week before our arrival the hotel sent us an offer for an e-standby upgrade for which we applied happily. Somehow this offer was not available to us when we checked in, nor would they allow us a check-out later than 12noon. I can't help but believe that this might have been because we booked the room through a booking engine and not directly through the hotel's website.

Room Tip: Ask for the modern rooms, ones preferably not on lower floors and not facing the the noisy cooling o...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank suzintheciti
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bart L, Manager at The Principal London, responded to this review, 22 May 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for your review. I am sorry to learn that you were disappointed with your stay with us.
We are extremely proud of rich heritage and I am dismayed that this was not to your liking as we receive many compliments on the grandeur of our lobby.

All of our carpets are cleaned on a regular basis and we have not encountered any similar comments in the past, however will certainly bear your comments on board.

Due to the shape and age of our building we have a variety of rooms each with its own individual style. For health and safety reasons windows are set to only open slightly. As per most establishments each room is equipped with an air conditioner for guests to find their optimum comfort temperature. Bathrobes and slippers can be given on request.

Please be assured that we ensure that all of our guests receive the highest possible standards and as upgraded rooms and late check outs are provided on availability.

I am pleased that you enjoyed the size of both your room and bathroom as well as the hot beverage tray provided.

I do hope that we may have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Hotel Russell in the not too distant future.

Kind regards

Bart Luijk
Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Furlong
Level Contributor
57 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 May 2014

The Hotel Russell, a historic hotel across the street from Russell Square in Central London, was decorated by the same architect who designed the first class lounges and dining rooms on the Titanic. It is a stately, ornate, and beautiful old building.
I found the rooms to be very small. Everything necessary was there but it was very tight. In my room the bed was actually a cot on wheels and rolled if I moved suddenly or leaned agains the wall. Because the bathroom mirror was heated (to banish steam) and the towel rack was hot, the room was quite warm.
I was told that they have installed a new hotel-wide wifi internet system with many hotspots to cover the whole building. I found the speed was so slow as to be virtually useless. 20 minutes to log on, another 10 to download e-mails, then a further 5 to open an e-mail. My outgoing e-mails, when I could get them to go, showed up in my outbox as having "no content." If you need the internet, find another way to get it. Even in their own "business center" in the basement, their hardwired PC's were faster but still ran only a bit faster than U. S. dial-up speeds. A further complication is that the wifi is free- but only sometimes. I never did figure out whether you get one free hour and then have to leave it alone for three, or if it was one and four. If you go over the limit the rate is steep for anyone paying their own way, about $25.00 per day.
The service, however, was spectacular and the employees were, without exception, helpful, polite and friendly. All the employees seem to be from the Continent but they were all happy to talk about their home country. The dining room waitresses at dinner deserve a special mention for their service and their welcome (Italy and Hungary). Even the maintenance staff were ambassadors for the hotel.
Hotel Russell is within walking distance of the Tower of London to the east and Trafalgar Square to the west, about a half hour or a bit more to each. Trafalgar Square leads to Buckingham Palace, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey and then you can walk back through Covent Garden, stopping at any number of restaurants along the way. The hotel is also about a 5-6 minute walk from the front door of the wonderful British Museum, offering many exhibits of world-class history and art. You can spend dinner hours touring the world in nearby restaurants (Turkish, Indian, French, Italian, etc.). There is a tube station around the corner from the hotel or at the Kings Cross railroad/tube station is about 15 minutes walk. Taxis flow past the front door, so getting around town is easy.
I wasn't paying the bill for my stay but heard the rate is steep but perhaps not out of line for this location. I would recommend it for anyone who does not rely on the internet and whose company is paying or for a couple looking for a nice hotel in Central London. Try to get a room on the quiet (back) side of the building but be aware that you are in the city and there will be some noise all night. This country boy jis' ain't used to all that durned racket.

Room Tip: Ask for a quiet room in the back, if you can.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank D J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bart L, Manager at The Principal London, responded to this review, 22 May 2014
Dear Guest

Thank you for your review on Tripadvisor. We are pleased that you had a enjoyable stay with us and enjoyed the hospitality provided by our team.

Our wifi is usually very fast and efficient and we have wifi points throughout the building. Please be assured that your comments have been taken on board. We provide our guests with complimentary one hour wifi which resets every 3 hours and has proven to be extremely popular. Guests who require this for the day have the option of purchasing a voucher, please be assured that our wifi charges are in line with other leading hotels in the area.

I am glad that you enjoyed the exceptional service provided by our team as well as the rich history and architecture of our building.

We do hope that we may have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Hotel Russell upon your next visit to London.

Kind regards

Bart Luijk
Hotel Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > London > Bloomsbury
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#285 Family Hotel in London
#296 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):
This place is temporarily closed due to renovation. 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

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