Britain’s Old War Office reborn – Raffles London at The OWO
Opening next winter, Britain’s historic Old War Office, the iconic Whitehall building inhabited by Britain’s most famous statesmen and spies, from Winston Churchill to Ian Fleming, will become the landmark Raffles London hotel & new epicentre of the epicurean scene. This architectural masterpiece, located at one of the most powerful addresses in the capital, will be reborn as The OWO – a new destination of sophisticated hospitality for Londoners and visitors alike. With gracious service synonymous with the Raffles brand and a timeless ambience, Raffles London at The OWO will set a new benchmark in hospitality.
Raffles Hotels & Resorts are delighted to announce ‘Raffles London at The OWO’ opening next winter, a grand new hotel in the landmark Grade II* listed former Old War Office on Whitehall. The building will open to the public for the first time, having undergone a monumental transformation to create 120 rooms and suites, 85 unique branded residences and 11 destination restaurants and bars, and a destination spa and health club in partnership with world-leading beauty and wellness brand GUERLAIN alongside movement and nutrition experts PILLAR. Located at one of London’s most historically significant addresses, the UK’s first Raffles hotel will feature signature restaurants from chef Mauro Colagreco and will be home to a rooftop restaurant and bar with panoramic views across Whitehall, The Mall and on to Buckingham Palace.
The Old War Office, originally completed in 1906 and designed by British architect William Young, has stood witness to many world-shaping events. Grand in both size and stature, the interior proportions reflect classic Edwardian architecture. During the careful and sensitive ongoing five-year renovation, the building’s key features have been completely restored whilst respecting its legacy. The family run Hinduja Group, at the helm of the redevelopment, has been passionately committed to the meticulous restoration of the heritage features of the building since its acquisition in 2016. Hundreds of artisan craftspeople have been commissioned to restore the historic interior elements including delicate hand-laid mosaic floors, oak panelling, chandeliers, and a magnificent marble staircase.
Raffles and Hinduja Group have brought together a team of exceptional industry talent including interior design by famed designer Thierry Despont who brings an impeccable pedigree for transforming landmark buildings including The Getty Centre, Maison Cartier, The Carlyle and the Statue of Liberty. Despont is known for his sensitive reimagining of spaces with history and heritage at their core. At the helm of the opening is Managing Director Philippe Leboeuf, a French national who is returning to the capital bringing expertise from some of the world’s most notable and historic hotels.
Stephen Alden, CEO of Raffles Hotels & Orient Express said: “The launch of Raffles London at The OWO is a singular moment for the London hospitality scene as the Raffles brand arrives in the city. We are so proud to be part of the magnificent five-year transformation of the historic Old War Office building. We have a world-class team to oversee the opening, in whose hands I’m confident that the Raffles experience of London, for our residents, guests and visitors alike, will be unforgettable.”
Key suites at Raffles London will be situated in the building’s most storied rooms – formerly offices of influential political and military leaders including Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and John Profumo. Some of the most sought-after suites will be located in the building’s corner turrets, from which guests will enjoy unparalleled views over Horse Guards and the stunning 57-acres of St. James’s Park. The Old War Office inspired Ian Fleming to write the famous James Bond series after working as key liaison officer between the War Office and Britain’s Naval Intelligence Service. The building went on to feature in various Bond films, including Skyfall, Spectre, License to Kill, A View to a Kill, Octopussy, and most recently, No Time To Die.
The OWO will become a new epicentre for the capital’s dining scene with an eclectic collection of 11 restaurants and bars led by world-class chefs and restaurateurs, including three unique dining experiences from chef Mauro Colagreco. Drawn from dynamic culinary hubs across the globe, each has been invited to create a dining experience like no other.
Exclusive to Raffles London, the first GUERLAIN branded spa in the capital will offer a holistic well-being experience, with a focus on restorative wellness and active training. The GUERLAIN Spa is situated at the heart of the building and spans four levels, offering a personalised well-being experience led by forward-looking heritage brand GUERLAIN and world-class movement experts PILLAR. Exclusive to Raffles London is a signature treatment and wellness menu created by GUERLAIN, in addition to PILLAR’s bespoke training, nutrition and recovery programme.
The GUERLAIN Spa at Raffles London will feature nine treatment rooms including a barber & salon, beauty treatment spaces, GUERLAIN boutique including High Perfumery collection as well as a separate VIP area and two couple suites.
The active wellness spaces, driven by PILLAR, comprise an extensive gym and yoga studio, juice bar, striking 20m swimming pool complete with a vitality pool and steam and sauna rooms.
One of the UK’s most anticipated openings, Raffles London at The OWO will create a brand-new destination for Londoners and travellers alike in one of London’s most influential boroughs.
Facts at a glance:
- Address: Whitehall, London SW1A 2EU
- Opening next winter
- 120 rooms and suites, designed by Thierry Despont
- 85 Raffles branded residences, designed by 1508 London
- 11 restaurants and bars led by world-class chefs and restaurateurs including three unique dining
- experiences by chef Mauro Colagreco
- Dedicated wellness concept with GUERLAIN Spa and active wellness offering by PILLAR, and
- indoor pool
About Raffles London at The OWO
Opening next winter, Raffles London at The OWO will host London’s first Raffles Hotel, a prestigious new hotel in a landmark Grade II* listed building on Whitehall. Situated at one of London’s most historically important and powerful addresses, the building has undergone a monumental transformation comprising 120 rooms and suites alongside 85 spacious private residences. Visitors will be able to visit 11 destination restaurants and bars, including a grand space on the building’s rooftop and three unique dining experiences by chef Mauro Colagreco. At the helm of The OWO project is the Hinduja Group, an international multi- billion-pound turnover business with experience in restoration and renovation of historic buildings and Onex Holding, a private investment group with a strong track record of developing and operating strategic and critical infrastructure. theowo.london
Raffles Hotels & Resorts boasts an illustrious history and some of the most prestigious hotel addresses worldwide. In 1887, Raffles Singapore set the standard for luxury hospitality, introducing the world to private butlers, the Singapore Sling and its enduring, legendary service. Today, Raffles continues this tradition in leading cities and lavish resort locales, enchanting travellers with meaningful experiences and service that is both gracious and intuitive. Connoisseurs of life choose Raffles, not merely for its aura of culture, beauty and gentility, but for the extraordinary way they feel when in residence with Raffles. Each Raffles, be it Paris, Istanbul, Dubai, Warsaw, Jakarta or the Seychelles, serves as a venerated oasis where travellers arrive as guests, leave as friends and return as family. Raffles is part of Accor, a world leading hospitality group consisting of more than 5,200 properties and 10,000 food and beverage venues throughout 110 countries.