The Old War Office (OWO) of Britain’s World War II era Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the heart of London will be inaugurated as a luxury hotel on September 26. Multinational conglomerate the Hinduja Group and Raffles Hotels & Resorts have jointly restored the property.
“When we came to Whitehall, the team were blown away by the size and beauty of this majestic building,” said Sanjay Hinduja, who has overseen the project. “No expense has been spared in bringing it back to its former glory and paying homage to its heritage, whilst breathing new life into it. Along with Raffles London at The OWO, we hope to create a legacy that is both timeless and unsurpassed,” he said.
The Hinduja Family had acquired the landmark building on Whitehall, opposite Downing Street, over eight years ago and tied up with Raffles Hotels to transform the building into an extravagant hub complete with luxury residences, restaurants and spas.
The Old War Office, originally completed in 1906 and designed by British architect William Young, was formerly the site of the original Palace of Whitehall. The building has since witnessed world-shaping events while influential political and military leaders like Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George held office in the UK. Its grand architecture has also made the building a backdrop for James Bond films and, more recently, ‘The Crown’ Netflix series.
“Everyone at Accor feels honoured and privileged to be part of this historic project that has surpassed all expectations – truly a legend in the making and possibly the most awe-inspiring hotel on the planet,” said Sébastien Bazin, Accor Chairman & CEO.
“Together with the Hinduja family, we proudly invite locals and travellers alike to experience this extraordinary hotel as well as the authenticity and graciousness of Raffles, one of our most prestigious brands in one of the world’s greatest cities,” he said.
As part of the renovation with the help of hundreds of artisans, the historic interior elements have been restored, including delicate hand-laid mosaic floors, oak panelling, glittering chandeliers, and a magnificent marble staircase. The OWO features 120 guest rooms and suites, signature dining experiences by chef Mauro Colagreco, entertainment spaces including a grand ballroom.
The most historically significant areas of the building include the Heritage Suites, former offices of the influential political and military leaders associated with its history.
A number of these will be available for exclusive reservations as “The Whitehall Wing”, a six-bedroom suite occupying the west wing of the building which can accommodate up to 12 guests – one of the largest luxury hotel wings available in London.
“At Raffles London, the history of the former Old War Office lives on, through its splendid architecture, carefully chosen interior design and expansive Heritage Suites. We are excited to provide guests with the highly personalised and intuitive service for which Raffles is known the world over. Visitors will be spoiled for choice with the eclectic array of world-class restaurants and bars in an unrivalled location,” said Philippe Leboeuf, Managing Director of Raffles London at The OWO.
The transformed OWO also houses 85 Residences by Raffles as part of the building’s reimagining as a new culinary district for London, complete with nine new restaurants and three bars, including a rooftop with panoramic views onto Buckingham Palace.