Qatar-based developer Qatari Diar has acquired the former U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square for an undisclosed amount with plans to convert the building into a hotel. The real estate developer and investor is a holding of parent company Qatar Investment Authority, Qatar's state-owned holding company.
The future luxury hotel, which U.S. President Donald Trump ostensibly canceled his London visit over, will be operated by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.
The new Rosewood will be the hotel group's second hotel in London and sixth in the continent. It will join the existing The Rosewood London in the High Holborn near Covent Garden.
The upcoming Mayfair district hotel will have 137 guestrooms and suites, five restaurants, a spa, a ballroom and six retail spaces following the conversion directed by U.K. architect Sir David Chipperfield. He will maintain the original façade of the embassy designed by Eero Saarinen in 1960. The companies haven't set an opening date for the hotel yet.
President Trump cancelled a visit to London in response to the sale, claiming that the U.S. signed a "bad deal" to move its embassy out of the Grosvenor Square location. Trump originally planned to cut the ribbon for the new U.S. Embassy during its debut London's Nine Elms neighborhood. However, the president put the blame on the Obama Administration for “having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for ‘peanuts,’ only to build a new one in an off location.”
The new Grosvenor Square hotel is part of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts' goal to double its portfolio of 21 hotels in 12 countries by 2020. The group's development pipeline currently has 16 hotels in development, including the Rosewood Edinburgh and the Rosewood Vienna slated to open in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Rosewood's current inventory in Europe includes the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Italy and the Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel in Paris, which reopened last year after a renovation. Hong Kong-based New World Development acquired Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which was founded in Dallas in the 1980s.
Meanwhile, Qatari Diar's European division in London has additional development projects in its pipeline, including a residential development at the Chelsea Barracks site in Belgravia, the mixed-use development Southbank Place in central London through a JV with Canary Wharf Group and the apartment rental complex East Village & Elephant Park through a JV with Delancey and APG.