The Principal Hotel


Location: Manchester

Client: Starwood

Date: 2014-present

SLHA Role: Historic Building Advisor

Architect: 3DReid

Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture undertook a detailed significance assessment of the Grade II* former Refuge Assurance building to inform the refurbishment proposals in 2014.

Since 2013, major investment into the Principal Hotel has transformed the former Refuge Assurance Building into a contemporary lifestyle hotel.

Our work revealed appropriate design parameters and the necessary evidence to justify a series of adaptations designed to improve vehicular access, guest connectivity, greater energy efficiency and increased revenue potential.

As part of these works, the Excalibur Building, designed by Stanley Birkett in 1932 to complement Alfred and Paul Waterhouse’s original building, has been reimagined on the Ground Floor Level; transformed from a formerly defunct casino room to one of Manchester’s premier conference venues.

These changes have allowed the entire hotel to be ‘re-zoned’ to house conference and hotels guests separately. Now, all conference functions take place in the Excalibur Building, without interfering the Hotel guests, in a standalone environment.

As part of these works, the external appearance of the building has been upgraded along Whitworth Street, with conference guests entering the building through the former Service Yard, now Waterhouse Way. This has reactivated a before unseen aspect of the building as a pre-function event space and courtyard.