An iconic Old War Office building in Whitehall in central London will be transformed into a unique hotel and deluxe residences, Raffles Hotels & Resorts announced in a press release on 19 June (Monday).
In a partnership with the Hinduja Group and Obrascon Huarte Lain Desarrollos (OHLD), the Raffles Hotel in London, under AccorHotels Group, will be the heart and soul of this exciting landmark destination.
Completion is expected in just over three years.
Steeped in history, the first Raffles Hotel was opened in 1887 in Singapore, named after the British statesman and founder of Singapore, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. Raffles was celebrated by Nobel Prize winner, Rudyard Kipling in his 1889 book, From Sea To Sea and in 1915 Singapore’s most famous cocktail, the Singapore Sling was created at the hotel.
The Grade II listed Old War Office, with its 1,100 rooms across seven floors, and two miles of corridors, was completed in 1906.
It was the office to many of the United Kingdom’s most important and influential political and military leaders of the twentieth century, notably Sir Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Lord Kitchener, Herbert Asquith and T.E. Lawrence.
It was also the haunt of the British Secret Service who had their own, more discreet entrance.
Close to 10 Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, the Old War Office was bought by Hinduja Group and OHLD in December 2014 following a public bid.
Planning permission was granted for a multi-purpose development including 125 rooms (of which 40% are suites), 88 private residences, restaurants and other amenities.
Commenting on the new partnership, chairman and CEO of AccorHotels, Sébastien Bazin 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.
“This is a significant step for Raffles and a strategic addition to the Group’s Luxury portfolio. We remain committed to providing guests with unparalleled service and experience,” he added.
The Hinduja Group’s co-chairman, Gopichand P. Hinduja said: “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.”
President of the Hinduja Group, Sanjay G Hinduja said: “We are delighted that after the completion of the Grade I listed building in Carlton House Terrace, we can now apply this valuable experience to a greater challenge and create what will become the most iconic place in London.”
Chairman of Grupo OHL, Juan Villar-Mir de Fuentes said: “The OHL Group is extremely proud to be part of, in partnership with the Hinduja Group, this exciting project which, reinforced with the Raffles brand, is now fully aligned with OHL Desarrollos’s strong commitment and strategy to develop unique projects around the world.”
Top image features Old War Office building in Whitehall in central London. Photo courtesy of AccorHotels Group.