London is no stranger to razzle-dazzle hotels, but the new Raffles at The OWO, the brand’s first in the country, raises the bar for ultra-luxury stays in the UK capital, fusing sophistication, service and history at “possibly the most awe-inspiring hotel on the planet.”
History Reborn at Raffles London
From the grand staircase, elegantly wrapped around a breathtaking two-story chandelier to the oak paneling and mosaic-tiled floors, the developers of Raffles London at the OWO have spared no expense ( £1.4 billion) breathing new life into the iconic building, highlighting its pedigreed features features whilst transforming it into a luxuriously modern hotel, where top-notch service and refinement meet.
“Raffles seeks out astonishing settings for each of its properties, and Raffles London at The OWO offers this generously. The rich heritage of the city, as well as the Old War Office building, make London a natural home for the Raffles brand, which has long been synonymous with legendary service, glamour, art, and storied destinations,” added Omer Acar, CEO of Raffles and Orient Express, Accor.
Raffles at the OWO was reimagined by the family-run Hinduja Group in partnership with Accor Hotels, bringing Raffles Hotels & Resorts to the UK for the first time in its long and legendary pedigree.
“I am delighted to announce the highly awaited opening of The OWO. When we came to Whitehall, the team were blown away by the size and beauty of this majestic building,” said Sanjay Hinduja from Hinduja Group. “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.”
Added Sébastien Bazin, Accor Chairman & CEO, “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.”
Designed by British architect William Young, the Baroque-style War Office was built on the site of the Palace of Whitehall, home for centuries to English monarchs, including King Henry VIII. The landmark building was completed in 1906.
Influential political and military leaders, including Winston Churchill, Lord Haldane and T. E. Lawrence walked the corridors. The building also inspired author Ian Fleming’s James Bond series, and has featured in numerous Bond films. Today, the legacies of the Old War Office’s iconic cast of characters continue in the names of the suites and rooms.
Raffles London Rooms, Suites & Residences
There is perhaps no more posh place to rest your head than Raffles London at the OWO, where 120 spacious guest rooms and suites are embraced by the history of the 20th century and modernised with a contemporary interpretation of its classic Edwardian roots. The room design was masterminded by the late Thierry Despont, who previously transformed landmark buildings such as the Ritz Hotel in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York City.
It took about eight years to renovate the historic space, and guests in any room category can expect to be spoiled with plush linens, luxurious cotton slippers and bathrobes, WIFI, coffee and tea, and a minibar among other cozy comforts.
The most historically significant areas of the building are the Heritage Suites, former offices of influential political and military leaders, including Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and Sir Richard Haldane. A number of these suites will be available for exclusive reservations as ‘The Whitehall Wing’. This six-suite wing includes the historical Haldane Suite, which was once the office of the Secretary of State for War and was later used by Sir Winston Churchill. The wing can accommodate up to twelve guests , making it one of the largest luxury hotel wings available in London.
The OWO Residences by Raffles are the first Raffles-serviced residences in the UK and Europe, ranging from studios to five-bedroom homes. Owners will benefit from exclusive amenities and access to all the facilities of a world-renowned hotel on their doorstep without having to compromise on the highest levels of privacy and seclusion. In addition, two spectacular turret residences, elevated above the London skyline, offer an address like no other.
Eat, Drink & Be A Spy
Locals and out-of-towners can indulge at nine restaurants and three bars scattered around Raffles London at the OWO.
Notable is the hotel’s partnership with chef Mauro Colagreco, the acclaimed chef behind Mirazur on the Côte d’Azur, to create three unique dining experiences. At his signature restaurant Mauro Colagreco at Raffles London at The OWO, diners will witness the chef’s culinary genius and passion for sustainability through his commitment to sourcing local, seasonal ingredients, with a focus on the rich diversity of native British vegetables. Mauro’s Table, an intimate private dining space centered around an impressive table and backed by a dramatic show kitchen, will treat diners to a creative menu that traces the paths of English gardens with special attention to hyper-seasonal ingredients. Chef Mauro’s relaxed dining restaurant, Saison, puts a contemporary spin on the traditional hotel restaurant. True to its name, Saison reflects a philosophy and commitment to seasonal cuisine and will serve Mediterranean cuisine throughout the day including breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. This elegant dining room occupies a former library of the Old War Office.
Raffles London at The OWO will be home to two atmospheric bars. The Guard’s Bar and Lounge, featuring a thoughtful menu of 16 drinks, focuses on British ingredients intertwined with flavors from the East. Be sure to order the signature ‘London Sling’, a nod to the Singapore Sling, made at Long Bar at Raffles Singapore since 1915. Get your 007 on in the building’s former interrogation room, now The Spy Bar, a subterranean cocktail den like no other.
Further outlets at the hotel include The Drawing Room, a relaxed all-day dining lounge overlooking Horse Guards, and Pillar Kitchen, a wellbeing-focused outlet that will go beyond healthy food, tailoring meals akin to workouts by focusing directly on individuals’ specific needs.
Situated in the main courtyard at The OWO, Café Lapérouse is primed to radiate Parisian charm. Offering show-stopping signature dishes in a striking architectural pavilion, the restaurant will accommodate 80 diners. A prime location at the heart of The OWO ensures this will be a lively, sociable space from dusk until dawn. Milanese restaurant Paper Moon, set within one of the grand spaces of The OWO overlooking Horse Guards Avenue, will serve an eclectic selection of Italian favorites, daily aperitivi, and traditional cocktails with a twist.
Set to open within a few months is a rooftop restaurant and a sake bar by Creative Restaurant Group, led by chefPatron Endo Kazutoshi. Featuring panoramic views across Whitehall, The Mall and Buckingham Palace, the restaurant will be an ode to the traditions of Japanese cooking. In addition, the team will also launch a dedicated Sake Bar, situated on the ground floor of The OWO where guests will be invited to discover the diversity of styles and flavors of this alluring and uniquely Japanese tradition.
Making its UK debut, cult Milanese restaurant Langosteria brings the fashion-world haunt to London for the first time. Known for its impressive selection of signature seafood dishes, Langosteria brings the best ingredients from all over the world, combining Italian traditions with a contemporary international approach.
Spa and Ahhh
The Guerlain Spa at Raffles London is one of the largest luxury hotel spas in the capital, spanning 2,500 square metres spread over four floors, with a spectacular 20-metre swimming pool, nine exquisitely designed treatment suites, an extensive gym and movement studio by Pillar Wellbeing.
Raffles London at The OWO will be the new venue of choice for the city’s most important occasions – from glamorous weddings and history-making state dinners to larger-than-life business events and launches. With access via the exceptional Grand Staircase, the extraordinary Whitehall Ballroom offers capacity for up to 600 guests, complemented by an extensive pre-function space and dedicated meeting rooms, named Morse and Code, making Raffles London a spectacular stage for the most dazzling celebrations.
About Raffles Hotel & Resorts
Founded in Singapore in 1887, Raffles Hotels, Resorts and Residences are places where ideas are born, history is made and legends are created. At each landmark address, distinguished guests and residents find a world of timeless elegance and enchanted glamour, where gracious service knows no bounds.
Raffles at The OWO
SW1A 2BX London
BeSeeingYou In: London
Good to know: Several James Bond movies were filmed at The OWO, including Skyfall
WOW! Factor: It’s said that as many as 2,500 people once worked in the building.
Tip: The hotel is a short walk to many major London attractions.
All photos courtesy of Raffles London at The OWO
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