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The historic building once used by agents is opening as a luxury hotel

2023-09-01 07:37:00, Kuriozitete CNA

The historic building once used by agents is opening as a luxury hotel

It has been hidden from public view for over a hundred years. But in a few weeks, the former Old London War Office, Whitehall will finally open its doors after a multi-million dollar transformation.

Formerly the home of operations to military leaders such as Winston Churchill, it has returned as the UK's first Raffles Hotel, with luxury rooms starting at £1,100 (about $1,392) per night. With 120 rooms and suites, a 600-person ballroom and the first Guerlain spa in London, Raffles London at The OWO, a collaboration with the late French architect Thierry Despont, is one of the most anticipated hotel openings of this year. the year.

The building is thought to be where British writer Ian Fleming came up with the idea for the James Bond spy novels while working as a British naval intelligence officer.

"007" fans may recognize some areas of the property, which has been used as a filming location in recent films in the franchise such as "Spectre" as well as older ones such as "Octopussy" and "Licence to Kill."

But why has it taken the Raffles hotel brand, founded by Armenian hoteliers the Sarkies Brothers in 1887 and named after Sir Stamford Raffles, considered the founder of modern Singapore, so long to come to the UK capital?

Originally completed in 1906, the historic building has undergone an eight-year renovation that saw hundreds of workers prepared to restore historic elements, including oak planks and hand-laid mosaic floors.

And according to Jill O'Hare, director of sales and marketing for Raffles London, there has been as much restoration as there has been construction during the extensive process of transforming the historic building into a luxury hotel.

The grand red-carpeted marble staircase with the original logo from the Old War Office is one of the original Edwardian features within the property and definitely one of its most attractive and Instagram-friendly features.

The historic building once used by agents is opening as a luxury hotel

A large custom-made chandelier hangs above it, while a stunning gold French clock hangs on the wall.

The original cobblestones have been carefully removed, restored and returned to the inner courtyard, which separates the hotel from the 85 residences that make up the building.

Meanwhile, Spies' one-time entrance, previously used by agents, is now the main entry point for residents of Raffles-branded luxury homes, where prices for a two-bedroom flat start at around $11.48 million.

While there are countless nods to the building's history everywhere you look, including military button curtains, the hotel also includes modern touches, such as en-suite rooms with TVs.

The hotel's five heritage suites consist of the two-bedroom Churchill Suite, formerly the Army Council Chamber, and the one-bedroom Granville Suite, named after renowned Polish agent Christine Granville (aka Krystyna Skarbek), with a large bathroom complete with a tub and a custom built shower.

Raffles is known for its impeccable service and the team at Raffles London say they are pulling out all the stops to ensure the hotel, which has a 24-hour valet service for its suites, lives up to its longstanding reputation of the brand.

The building itself includes three bars and nine restaurants, with five including renowned restaurants by Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco based in the hotel.

The historic building once used by agents is opening as a luxury hotel

A rooftop restaurant and sake bar by Japanese chef Endo Kazutoshi is slated to open on the property later this year.

Meanwhile, the Guerlain spa, which spans four of the hotel's 14 floors features nine treatment rooms including a salon, beauty treatment areas, couples' suites and a 20-metre swimming pool, a vitality pool and steam and sauna rooms.

The hotel's stunning ballroom, which can be booked for parties, weddings and corporate events, is already in high demand.

The historic building once used by agents is opening as a luxury hotel

While Raffles London is one of a number of new hotels launching in London this year, including The Peninsula London and Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, Leboeuf thinks the building's location and history set it apart.

Although Whitehall, which stretches from Trafalgar Square to the Houses of Parliament, is known for government buildings rather than luxury hotels, the opening of London's five-star Corinthia Hotel on Whitehall Place in 2011 has brought about a change in that. front./ CNA

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