Starwood Capital launching Principal, a luxury hotel brand

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The Principal Manchester is scheduled to open on Nov. 1.
The Principal Manchester is scheduled to open on Nov. 1.

Starwood Capital is launching a luxury hotel brand in the U.K. called Principal.

The brand, which will be formed out of what’s now known as PH Hotels, will specialize in updating “grande dame” hotels in cities, said Starwood Capital (no affiliation with Starwood Hotels & Resorts).

The brand will launch Nov. 1 with the Principal Manchester. The former Palace Hotel is comprised of three adjoining buildings built between 1895 and 1932, and features a 217-foot clock tower and a lobby with a 1,300-pound bronze horse sculpture. The hotel will have 270 “loft-style” rooms.

The property was originally built as the headquarters of the Refuge Assurance Co.

The Principal York will open at the former Royal York Hotel after that property completes its restoration. The 155-room hotel will have three acres of private gardens as well as the Chapter House bar.

The Principal Edinburgh George Street will open in what was formerly the George Hotel. The property, comprised of five Georgian townhouses built in 1775, has 250 guestrooms.

Next year, Principal will rebrand Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel and London’s Hotel Russell. Each hotel will occupy a “landmark” building and will include a bar and restaurant that will cater to locals as well as hotel guests, and a “corner shop” that sells goods for the rooms’ mini-bars.

Starwood Capital is spending 150 million British pounds (about $196 million) in capital improvements to launch the brand.

PH Hotels will be renamed Principal Hotel Co. The company includes more than 40 U.K. properties that Starwood Capital took over when it purchased Principal Hayley in 2013. In addition to the new Principal brand, it will include De Vere’s “modern, country estate hotels.” Starwood Capital acquired De Vere in 2014.

Starwood Capital is led by CEO Barry Sternlicht. His company launched the 1 Hotels eco-luxury and Baccarat ultra-luxury brands last year. He is credited with launching the W lifestyle brands when he was CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

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