THE Old War Office (OWO) of Britain’s World War II era prime minister Winston Churchill is all set to open its doors to the public this month as a brand-new luxury hotel in the heart of London, after a multi-million-pound makeover in keeping with its historic setting by the Hinduja group.
The Indian-origin conglomerate and the UK’s richest 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 official opening of Raffles London at The OWO, developed in partnership between the Hinduja Group and French multinational hospitality group Accor, is now set for September 29.
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 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 Sbastien Bazin, Accor chairman & CEO.
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.
“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.