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Raffles is all geared to mark its presence on one of London’s most renowned and noteworthy streets in its first-ever opening in the UK. Raffles London is set to open within the former Old War Office, at the junction of Horse Guards Parade and Whitehall. The first Raffles hotel in the United Kingdom will be opened by late 2022. This grand dame of hotels will not only maintain its status as a legend but also manage an exciting new chapter for itself with this British Reincarnation.
The Old War Office’s iconic location
The original building featured seven floors and was completed in 1906. It was designed by a British architect William Young, and the structure was a prominent example of Edwardian architecture. It was the epicentre for political activities and bore witness to world-shaping events throughout history. It also served as an office to iconic political and military figures like Winston Churchill, Lord Kitchener, T.E. Lawrence and David Llyod George.
The Old War Office is not just familiar to the local population, but it is also known internationally as it featured in several Bond movies like Octopussy, Spectre, A View to Kill and many others. The location even inspired Ian Fleming to write the James Bond series.
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When the historic Old War Office was sold on a 250-year lease and renovation plans announced in 2017, the news was met with much anticipation. Finally, after five years of work and dedication to this project, they will soon be achieving what many thought would take decades: A luxurious abode for luxury travellers far from its earlier military usage. The renovation aimed at restoring the original elements and the significant features of the building to maintain its authenticity, under the leadership of French architect Thierry Despont, known for his marvellous interior works at The Ritz, Paris.
Raffles London at The OWO
The new Raffles London will feature over 120 rooms, signature suites and 85 branded private residences. The former offices once used by admirals and generals will be transformed into primary suites. The best suites are positioned on the corner turrets from where guests can enjoy uninterrupted spectacular views of St. James’ Park.
The destination will house an extensive luxury spa and wellness space with an indoor pool and a separate vitality pool. The luxury hotel will also feature a ballroom with a seating capacity of over 600 people, grand in all its sense, reflecting upon all that Raffles embodies.
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The opening of Raffles London at The OWO is an awaited event and will very likely turn into the most sought-after dining destination as 11 restaurants and bars are all set to make their way here. Renowned chefs, their diverse culinary skills and dishes from all around the world will create the ideal luxury dining experience in the heart of London. The rooftop restaurants and bars will, with all probability, be the go-to destination for a night out in London. ◼
© This article was first published online in Feb 2022 – World Travel Magazine.