Artful lodger: The former Hotel Russell gets a makeover by Tara Bernerd

Facade of the Principal London hotel on Russell Square
Gables in the Dutch Colonial revival roofline on the building’s Russell Square façade
(Image credit: press)

When Hotel Russell opened in 1898, its grand silhouette caused such a stir that not only did its Russell Square neighbours rush to copy its distinctive light terracotta façade, but the owners of the RMS Titanic also tapped the hotel’s designer, Charles Fitzroy Doll, to create their ship’s dining room. 

Happily, the Grade II-listed building survived the intervening century rather better, and is just emerging from a lavish overhaul of its interiors. 

Designers Tara Bernerd and Russell Sage have modernised the 334-room pleasure palace, now renamed the Principal, with a dose of creamy drapery, tufted fabric, and artwork that is intended to evoke the Bloomsbury neighbourhood’s artistic and literary heritage. The restored Palm Court is once more a light-washed eyrie, while chef Brett Redman’s Neptune restaurant sports a raw bar as well as an aquatic menu speckled with Exmoor caviar, Isle of Mull scallops, and cured chalk stream trout served with mole-spiced beetroot.

Custom-designed chandelier and cast-iron panels at the Principal Hotel, London

There is a 200-kilo custom-designed chandelier in the hotel’s entrance. There are 30 bespoke cast-iron panels surrounding the entrance lobby fireplace

(Image credit: press)




1-8 Russell Square


Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.