Hotel Russell

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The Principal London Hotel
Hotel Russell on Russell Square, London - April 2007.jpg
General information
Location Russell Square, London, UK
Coordinates 51°31′22″N 0°07′30″W / 51.5227°N 0.1250°W / 51.5227; -0.1250
Opening 1898
Management InterContinental Hotels Group
Design and construction
Architect Charles Fitzroy Doll
Other information
Number of rooms 334

The Principal London Hotel is a historic five-star hotel, located on Russell Square, Bloomsbury, in the London Borough of Camden. It was known for much of its life as the Hotel Russell and is set to be renamed Kimpton Fitzroy London in late October 2018.[1]


"Lucky George"

The Hotel Russell was built in 1898 by the architect Charles Fitzroy Doll. It is distinctively clad in decorative thé-au-lait ("tea with milk") terracotta and was based on the Château de Madrid on the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. Its restaurant, which was named after the architect but has since been renamed Tempus, is said to be almost identical to the RMS Titanic's dining room which he also designed.[2] Also in the hotel is ‘Lucky George’, a bronze dragon on the second floor stairs. An identical copy was on the Titanic.[2]

Known for its palatial design, the hotel's fixtures and fittings included £25,000 worth of furniture, an ornate Pyrenean marble staircase and an interior sunken garden. Each room was fitted with an en-suite bathroom, a great innovation at the time.[3]

A sister hotel by the same architect, the Imperial Hotel, was also built on Russell Square, but was demolished in the late 1960s.[4]

The life-size statues of four British Queens - Elizabeth I, Mary I, Mary II and Anne - above the main entrance were the work of the sculptor Henry Charles Fehr. The façade, by Doll, incorporates the coats of arms of the world's nations as they were in 1898 in the spandrels of the first floor.[5]

The hotel was one of the few that were not taken over by the War Office during the Second World War. It survived the war largely intact, but the magnificent dome that stood on the roof was badly damaged in an air raid of 1941 and not replaced.[5]

The Russell Group Universities is named after Hotel Russell, where the first informal meetings took place.[6]

The hotel reopened as The Principal Hotel London on 16 April 2018 after an extensive renovation by the Principal Hotel Company.[2] That company was sold to InterContinental Hotels Group in 2018, and the hotel will be renamed again in October 2018, becoming the Kimpton Fitzroy London.[7]

See also[edit]



  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c "'Titanic' hotel to celebrate £85m relaunch in Bloomsbury". Evening Standard. 15 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Decorative Stones in the Hotel Russell, Russell Square" (PDF). University College London. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  4. ^ Hobhouse, Hermione (1972). Lost London ([1st American ed.] ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. p. 207. ISBN 9780395135211.
  5. ^ a b "Hotel Russell, Russell Square London". Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  6. ^ "Four universities join elite Russell Group". BBC News. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  7. ^

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