The capitals of the world all have their iconic hotels—the ones you love and trust, where a meal by a Michelin-starred chef and a punctual turndown are as surely guaranteed as swanky toiletries and can’t-do-enough service. Outside of the capital, things can get a bit trickier, which is why the new Principal Hotel group is jolly handy when it comes to a UK staycation. With three properties so far—in Manchester, York and Edinburgh—the group is quickly establishing a reputation for delivering an elegant and relaxed stay inside architectural landmarks. Take the Principal Manchester: set in a Victorian Gothic Revival building designed by Alfred Waterhouse (the man behind the Natural History Museum), the proportions are spectacular, and thanks to a light-touch restoration they have created something equal parts punch and proper (there’s a complementary tuck box in every room full of vintage sweet-shop treats, as well as a check-out list reminding you to steal what’s left of the Neal’s Yard toiletries). Downstairs there’s a Winter Garden (yes, this is as lush—literally—as it sounds), and The Refuge by Volta restaurant and bar is already so popular with the locals that getting a table isn’t a sure thing—which is just how we like it.