This magnificent, Grade-II-listed hotel, boasting beautiful gardens and views over York Minster, was originally one of Britain’s greatest Victorian railway hotels, housed in a purpose-built building in yellow Scarborough brick by architect William Peachey and first opening its doors in 1878. After the hotel was acquired by Starwood Capital, Goddard Littlefair was commissioned to redesign its public spaces, as well as all 155 bedrooms and suites.
Our overall ambition was to breathe life back into every artery of the hotel’s interior, Goddard Littlefair Director and Co-Founder Jo Littlefair explained, giving a nod to tradition and heritage, but also creating a tremendously warm, light and welcoming contemporary environment for guests. We were briefed to reinstate the hotel’s essential character and to pay respect to its original architecture, whilst at the same time ensuring a feeling of comfort, restfulness, so that The Principal York was once again a true destination hotel.
The central design concept was to create a modern and softer interpretation of a country house, featuring over-scaled furniture, combined with a light and soothing colour palette, featuring a gentle and fairly neutral base with softer highlights in shades such as eau de nil and lavender.
Interesting and unique art and antiques give the interiors a sense of heritage and character, whilst traditional, high-quality materials, including linen, leather, wool and linen velvet express both comfort and authenticity. The furniture throughout is bespoke. This ensures a unique environment and is part of the Goddard Littlefair design approach, looking to create as many bespoke items as possible, so that they are always designed with the exact location, function and end-user in mind - and also embody a certain location-specific exclusivity.
For the suites and bedrooms, the throws, in a beautiful soft wool, were bespoke-designed for the project and supplied by Bute Fabrics.
Photography by Gareth Gardner