The American Embassy in London is poised to become a new luxury hotel, following an agreement by a Qatari real estate investment company to buy the iconic building for an undisclosed sum.
While Qatari Diar
With a Millennium and a Marriott already situated on Grosvenor Square, hotel companies interested in the prime site location are likely to include Hyatt, InterContinental, Taj Hotels, Jumeirah, Hilton, Starwood and Rezidor.
Converting the 600-room, nine floor embassy into a luxury hotel will be a major challenge for the developers, Chelsfield Partners. The listed status of the building, designed by American architect Eero Saarinen, will restrict any changes being made to the faÁ§ade, including the giant gilded eagle which hovers above the main entrance.
It will be some time before conversion work on the building can get under way as the new US Embassy - housed within a five-acre site in Nine Elms, South London - will not be completed until at least 2017.
Wandsworth Council, so far, has only granted outline planning permission for the new embassy, expected to cost around £500m.
By Janet Harmer
E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next hotel job here with Caterersearch.com jobs