Old War Office in London may become Raffles hotel

Is Raffles set to make its London debut? It certainly appears that way.

The historic Old War Office, once the center of operations for Winston Churchill during World War II and owned for years by the UK’s Ministry of Defence, was purchased nearly two years ago by Obrascon Huarte Lain Desarrollos in a joint venture with the Hinduja Group for £350 million. The deal was finalized in March of this year, and the property is expected to be converted into a luxury hotel and 50 branded residences—but no brand has officially been named yet.

Sources have suggested to Bloomberg that the completed hotel will operate under the Raffles brand. A spokesman for OHL said no final decision on the operator of the hotel has yet been taken, while officials at Accor and the Hinduja Group declined to comment.

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The building is a natural pick for the luxury brand. At 110-years-old, the neo-Baroque structure currently has more than 1,000 rooms across seven floors. It is located right in the historic center of London, close to Buckingham Palace, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Downing Street and the London Eye. It is also a few blocks away from several Tube stations and Charing Cross Station, making it a good fit for transient guests.

The Raffles brand was acquired by AccorHotels earlier this year as part of the $2.9-billion acquisition of FRHI Holdings Ltd., the owner of the upscale Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel brands.


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