The future of more than 300 staff at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London is uncertain following the announcement that the five-red-AA-star, 216-bedroom hotel will close on 1 September to undergo a major refurbishment.
It is expected that the property will reopen in summer 2020 after a significant remodelling of the 17-storey building that will involve the introduction of more suites and the reduction of keys from 216 to 188.
Interior design company 1508 London, which is currently working on the development of the Old War Office in Whitehall into a Raffles hotel, will oversee the transformation of the Knightsbridge property.
A spokesperson for the Jumeirah Carlton Tower said that it was "unable to confirm the redundancy scenario" for the 315 staff, while it explored "all options to support our employees and ensure a smooth transition".
The spokesperson continued: "We are in the business of hospitality and therefore our colleagues are our most important asset…The process for closure is currently under discussion and of course our colleagues are being considered and consulted in this, and we will explore all options available to us and them. In line with our hallmarks, during this time our colleagues will be treated with respect and integrity at all times."
The Jumeirah Carlton Tower is currently being run on an interim basis by Ian Richardson, general manager of nearby sister property, the 88-bedroom Jumeirah Lowndes hotel.
Previous general manager Luc Delafosse left the hotel in January after 14 months in the position. Delafosse also held the position of regional vice-president for Europe, a position that has not yet been filled.
José Silva, chief executive of the Dubai-based Jumeirah Group, described the renovation of the hotel at "a significant investment" which will "contribute greatly to the repositioning of Jumeirah globally". He added: "A priority is to ensure that the new Jumeirah Carlton Tower will continue to be a cornerstone for the local community as well as an undisputed leader in the luxury hospitality world."
The Jumeirah Carlton Tower originally opened with 315 rooms in 1961 as the Carlton Tower and at the time it was the tallest hotel in London. Commissioned by Cadogan Estate, it was then owned by the Hotel Corporation of America.