The historic Old War Office building in London’s Whitehall is to be converted into a luxury hotel.
Raffles Hotels & Resorts, which runs the famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore, is to open a 125-room property in the building as part of a wider development which will include 88 private residences, restaurants and other amentities.
Many of the UK’s most important and influential political and military leaders were based at the War Office including Sir Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Lord Kitchener, Herbert Asquith and T E Lawrence.
The building, which opened in 1906 close to 10 Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament, was also the haunt of the British Secret Service which had its own discreet entrance.
AccorHotels, which acquired the luxury brand last year as part of its $2.9 billion purchase of Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, confirmed it had secured a long-term management contract from India’s Hinduja Group and Spanish developer OHLD.
The Grade II listed building with 1,100 rooms across seven floors and two miles of corridors, was acquired by Hinduja and OHLD from the Ministry of Defence in 2014 for £350 million after a public bid and recently won planning consent for a multi-purpose development.
The conversion work is expected to be completed in just over three years, according to AccorHotels.
From a single hotel, Raffles Hotels & Resorts has become a chain of 11 properties in locations including Paris, Istanbul and the Seychelles. Further hotels are under development in Warsaw and Jeddah.
Hinduja Group co-chairman Gopichand 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.”
AccorHotels chairman and and CEO Sebastien 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.”