London department store to become UK's first Six Senses

The 110-room Six Senses London is due to open in 2023. Photo credit: IHG

The United Kingdom is slated to get its first Six Senses hotel. The former Whiteley's department store in West London's Bayswater neighborhood—a building that dates back to 1863—will be adapted into a luxury hotel due to open in 2023. 

In addition to 110 guestrooms, the Six Senses London will have a wellness club, a pool, a spa and coworking spaces as well as 14 branded residences.

The redevelopment of Whiteleys is headed by a Meyer Bergman-advised fund, with residential real estate developer Finchatton as development manager. In collaboration with British architectural firm Foster + Partners, the building will become a mixed-use development. The original Grade II façade, central courtyard and dome will all be preserved, as will the internal staircase (modeled on the La Scala opera house in Milan) as the centerpiece on the ground floor of the hotel.

Inspired by the building’s origins, the interiors of Six Senses London will be designed by AvroKO in conjunction with executive architects EPR, balancing "nostalgic nods to classical detailing and art deco along with modern streamlining." Contemporary art from British artists will be on display throughout the hotel. The lobby will include biophilic elements such as live plants and reclaimed wood furniture. 

Whiteleys takes its name from entrepreneur William Whiteley, who opened his first drapery shop in Westbourne Grove in 1863. A little over a decade later, the shop had grown to a department store described as “an immense symposium of the arts and industries of the nation and of the world.” The store was redeveloped in the 1980s into a shopping center with a cinema and bowling alley. It subsequently closed in December 2018 as its popularity diminished.