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Principal Hotels launches Applause Rewards for its new UK city centre brand

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Applause Rewards is a new UK hotel loyalty scheme launched by Principal Hotels.  It is worth signing up if you are an occasional guest at Principal or De Vere hotels in the UK.

Principal Hotels is a new UK city centre brand backed by Starwood Capital, the original backers of the Starwood group.  (This new company is not linked to SPG in any way.)  They own a number of UK city centre hotels which will be slowly upgraded and rebranded as Principal as improvements are made.  De Vere, the edge of town meetings-led brand is under the same ownership and will be relaunched later this year.

Principal Hotels

The current Principal hotels are:

Principal Edinburgh (ex George, picture below)

Principal Manchester (ex The Palace Hotel)

Principal London (opening this Summer, ex Hotel Russell)

Principal York (ex Royal Station Hotel)

If you ever had a bad experience at any of the hotels above under their old names, don’t worry – Principal seems to have invested a lot of money in bringing them up to modern standards.

This article from The Caterer has an interview with the founders and is a good overview of the fresh approach they are bringing to their hotels.

Principal Edinburgh George

Applause Rewards

Applause Rewards has been set up as a reward scheme to cover the Principal properties and De Vere.

As you would expect from a very small chain, the benefits of the scheme are focussed more on rewarding you during your stay than offering you future benefits after a number of visits.

As a member, you will receive:

A 10% discount on all bookings, increasing to 15% after nine stays

£5 credit toward food or bar bills on every stay

One hour late check-out guaranteed

Instant check-out with bills viewable online

It is, as far as it goes, an OK package and you might as well sign up if you will be staying at any Principal hotel.  My only issue is that, assuming you are travelling for business, all of the benefits go to your employer.

There is nothing in it for the guest, unless they are on a strict per diem for food and drink which would give the £5 credit more value.  If you were being mercenary and your employer allowed it, you would be better off booking via and getting a credit in Rewards towards a free night.  I explained why I recommend Rewards in this article.

You can learn more about, and sign up for, Applause Rewards on the Principal website here.

Hotel offers update – August 2022:

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Want to buy hotel points? Hilton Honors is offering an 80% to 100% bonus when you buy points by 18th September 2022. The annual limit is doubled to 160,000 points plus your bonus. You can buy here.

Comments (5)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Andrew says:

    “Principal” has been going for around a decade hasn’t it?

    The Palace Hotel was probably the worst 4* hotel in Europe – it wouldn’t take much to improve it. The George was quite prestigious 20 years ago when it was the hotel of choice for our “senior management” in Edinburgh whilst we ordinaries stayed in the Carlton Highland (now Hilton).

    I last stayed in the Royal York around 2005. It had a few oddities. The generously sized basement rooms had opaque windows – it was only in the morning it became obvious that they faced onto a noisy ramp in the internal courtyard that serviced the kitchens. The 4th & 5th floor tower rooms weren’t serviced by a lift, so it was drag the luggage up the stairs – that may well have changed now of course.

    It’s all part of the hotel merry-go-round where a hotel is refurbished, changes brands, is allowed to fade, switched to a “lower brand”, transfers to a different brand, degrades then is finally refurbished and rebranded again.

    • Rob says:

      The name has been around, yes. If you read The Caterer article you will see how they came to use it.

  • RussellH says:

    As a very, very young child I was completely amazed to discover that there was a hotel in central London (at the time I thought that hotels were at the seaside) and even more amazed to see that it was named after me!

    I definitely feel a part of my past life disappearing with the refurbishment!

  • Mark says:

    The Principal branding seems very generic.

    Given that they have bought existing hotels it would seem better to rename them along the lines as “The George, a Principal Hotel”.

    I wonder what name they give the Roxburgh Hotel in Edinburgh (in the Caterer article it is listed as being as a partner) as it has entrances on George Street (the other end from the Principal [ex George Hotel {long ex-Intercontinental}]) and could be easily confused it would need another name than Principle.

    The Roxburgh seems to be undergoing a large refurbishment not long after being refurbished, and reflagged, to become a Crowne Plaza in 2013.

  • David says:

    I’ve just checked out of the Principal Manchester, having arrived feeling apprehensive as a result of two previous visits over the past ten years when it was dull, dark and tired, I have to say I was impressed. The bedrooms are gorgeous and the restaurant space where breakfast is served stunning.

    I like their anti-penny pinching approach. I was there for a conference, and the free ‘tuck box’ concept went down a storm. For the price of a kitkat and a penguin, they won a lot of people over and created a talking point amongst delegates (many of whom were overseas and I suspect had never had a penguin before)!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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