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June 23, 2024

London’s Old War Office in Whitehall is now a luxury Raffles Hotel

Schenelle Dsouza
Restoring historic buildings and turning them into luxury hotels is a popular trend in the hospitality industry. And UK’s former Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill’s Old War Office is the newest project in town. Located in Whitehall, London, the new Raffles London at The OWO, is slated to open later this month.
Raffles London at The OWO
Photo Courtesy: Raffles Hotels
The UK government sold the 580,000sq. ft. property to the Hinduja Group in 2014 for a shiny price of £1.2 billion. The Group worked with EPR Architects and New York-based designer Thierry Despont to transform to the iconic British landmark into a state-of-the-art Raffles hotel. But that will be only one half of the building as the other half will include lavish private residences.
Raffles London at The OWO
Photo Courtesy: Raffles Hotels
“When we came to Whitehall, the team were blown away by the size and beauty of this majestic building. 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,” said Sanjay Hinduja, who has overseen the project.
A page in history 
Raffles London at The OWO
Photo Courtesy: Raffles Hotels
British architect William Young built and designed the Old War Office back in 1906. It was formerly the site of the original Palace of Whitehall, where Henry VIII and other monarchs resided before the disastrous fire in 1698. There are more than 1,000 rooms in the Old War Office building, with corridors running almost two-and-a-half miles. These remain largely unscathed despite being destroyed eight times during World War II.
Raffles London at The OWO
Photo Courtesy: Raffles Hotels
Apart from housing significant political personalities, the building also served as a base for secretaries of the state including John Profumo, Lord Kitchener and PM David Lloyd George to name a few. If the architecture of the building looks familiar, it is because the building served as a backdrop for several James Bond films and, more recently, The Crown on Netflix.
Raffles London
Raffles London at The OWO
Photo Courtesy: Raffles Hotels
The building has undergone an eight-year renovation. Hundreds of artisans worked on the project to restore historic elements like the oak panelling and hand-laid mosaic flooring. The new building will comprise a Raffles hotel and a selection of private residences. The hotel section will include about 120 guest rooms ranging from small deluxe rooms to lavish suites. The Whitehall Wing, which is a six-bedroom suite, can accommodate up to 12 guests. It is one of the largest luxury hotel wings in London.
Raffles London at The OWO
Photo Courtesy: Raffles Hotels
Additionally, there are nine restaurants and three bars as well as three exclusive dining venues by acclaimed chef Mauro Colagreco. The Guerlain Spa is where guests can indulge in some luxury treatments in any of the nine treatment rooms. Other amenities include a 20m indoor swimming pool, a vitality pool, and a sauna.
Raffles London at The OWO
Photo Courtesy: Raffles Hotels
“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. 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,” said Sébastien Bazin, Accor Chairman & CEO.
Private residences by Raffles London
Photo Courtesy: Accor
Private residences by Raffles
Private residences by Raffles London
Photo Courtesy: Accor
There are 85 private residences, two of which feature four statesman-like turrets, each individually designed by 1508 London. The apartments begin at £5.8 million for a two-bedroom residence and operate on a ‘price on application’ basis. The residences are all contemporary, lavish spaces with restored mosaic floors, dramatic archways and baroque-themed decor. As for Churchill’s old room, that is now a stunning floor-to-ceiling, oak-panelled suite, which will be available for private dinners.
Private residences by Raffles London
Photo Courtesy: Accor
Private residences by Raffles London
Photo Courtesy: Accor
“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.
Private residences by Raffles London
Photo Courtesy: Accor
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Schenelle Dsouza

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