Principal York

Photography by Gareth Gardner • May 30, 2017

Design firm: Goddard Littlefair, London
The details: Completed in 1878, the Royal Station Hotel in York, England, was considered one of the greatest railway hotels of the Victorian era. Starwood Capital recently acquired the heritage building for its Principal brand, which includes location-specific, city-center hotels in historic structures across the UK (the others are in Edinburgh and Manchester, with London set to open this summer). London-based Goddard Littlefair created a “restful and welcoming” interior that would respect its heritage, says Goddard cofounder Jo Littlefair, but with a modern, softer interpretation of an English country house—something “simpler and less twiddly,” she adds.

The duo also wanted to “reconnect the hotel to the softness of the external gardens,” Littlefair explains. To that end, the Garden Lounge, a long, elegant, light-filled space set with Chesterfield sofas, wing chairs, and marble-topped tables, where guests can have tea while gazing out onto manicured lawns leading all the way to York Minster cathedral, Littlefair insists, is “the best seat in the house.”