Raffles Hotels & Resorts, the top luxury brand of AccorHotels Group, has announced the signing of an historic partnership with the Hinduja Group and Obrascon Huarte Lain Desarrollos (OHLD) to transform the iconic Old War Office building in Whitehall into hotel and deluxe residences in London. The Grade II listed Old War Office, with its 1100 rooms across seven floors, and two miles of corridors, was completed in 1906. It was the office to many of the United Kingdom’s important and influential political and military leaders of the 20th 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 its 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 per cent are suites), 88 private residences, restaurants and other amenities. Completion is expected in just over three years.
Commenting on the new partnership, Sébastien Bazin, chairman and CEO, AccorHotels 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.”
Gopichand P Hinduja, co-chairman, Hinduja Group, 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.”
Sanjay G Hinduja, president, Hinduja Group, commented, “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.”
Juan Villar-Mir de Fuentes, chairman, Grupo OHL, added, “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.”