Raffles Hotels & Resorts has confirmed that it will be transforming the iconic Old War Office building in London Whitehall into a luxury hotel.
The hotel will be the first hotel in London for the Raffles brand, which started life in Singapore in 1887 and today numbers 13 hotels worldwide. It is being developed in partnership with Indian conglomerate Hinduja Group, which acquired the property for £350m in 2014, and Spanish developer Obrascon Huarte Lain Desarrollos (OHLD).
Planning permission was granted for a multi-purpose development at the site, including 125 rooms (of which 40% are suites), 88 private residences, restaurants and other amenities. Completion is expected in just over three years.
Raffles was bought last year, along with sister brands Fairmont and Swissotel, as part of AccorHotel’s acquisition of parent company FRHI Holdings.
The Grade II-listed Old War Office has 1,100 rooms across seven floors and two miles of corridors. It was the office to political and military leaders of the 20th century, notably Sir Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and Lord Kitchener. It was also the haunt of the British Secret Service.
Sébastien Bazin, chairman and chief executive of AccorHotels, said: “I am delighted to announce this long-term management contract with the Hinduja Group and OHLD. This is the start of an important partnership for Raffles Hotels & Resorts and will create a new and vibrant landmark for London.”
Gopichand P Hinduja, the Hinduja Group’s co-chairman, added: “Our new partnership with Raffles Hotels and Resorts is a significant milestone in our vision to transform the Old War Office into London’s finest luxury destination. Raffles brings a unique understanding of British heritage and tradition that will help revive this great British landmark.”
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