Raffles set to launch first London hotel and branded residences in 2022

Nisha Ramchandani
Published Tue, Jun 15, 2021 · 07:01 PM

THE iconic Raffles brand will make its debut in London come 2022, with a luxury hotel in the Old War Office building, even as the first Raffles-branded residences in Europe are launched for sale.

Completed in 1906, the landmark property in the heart of Whitehall has been home to monarchs such as Henry VIII, in addition to serving as the office of leaders such as former Prime Minister Winston Churchill. More recently, the property made appearances in the acclaimed Netflix drama series, The Crown, and in a number of James Bond films.

Prices for The OWO Residences by Raffles, as they are called, start at £5.8 million (S$10.85 million) for the two-bedroom units. These homes are part of the Old War Office building, where the luxury hotel will be developed.

Marketing agent Knight Frank said that the two-bedroom units range in size from 1,400 square feet (sq ft) to 3,000 sq ft. The biggest units are the two penthouses on the seventh floor and two duplex units, which come with a terrace; each duplex unit spans over 4,000 sq ft.

Accor-backed Raffles Hotels & Resorts has been appointed to operate both the luxury 125-room flagship hotel and The OWO Residences by Raffles, which has 85 units. Other facilities include nine restaurants and bars and a spa.

The 760,000 sq ft property was acquired by the Hinduja Group, a conglomerate, and Spain-based OHL Desarrollos from the UK's Ministry of Defence in 2014, reportedly for some £350 million. Headquartered in London with offices in Mumbai, the Hinduja brothers have a net wealth of some US$15.3 billion, Forbes reported.

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After being closed to the public for over a century, the historical property is being redeveloped. The owners have roped in experts such as Historic England and Museum of London Archaeology as well as EPR Architects. New-York based designer Thierry Despont has been tapped as the interior designer for the hotel.

Nicholas Keong, Knight Frank's head of residential international project marketing, said: "The OWO Residences by Raffles' iconic position in the capital, directly opposite the Horse Guards, will appeal to buyers in Asia."

He added: "Steeped in British history, the Old War Office, when completed in 2022, will be a brand-new destination for London and offers a truly unique opportunity for buyers in Central London. It will be difficult to replicate."

Adjacent to the 57-acre St James's Park, The OWO is walking distance from Buckingham Palace and The National Gallery, as well as popular shopping precincts such as Regent Street and Bond Street.

Raffles Hotels & Resorts started out with the Raffles Singapore, home of the famous Singapore Sling cocktail, in 1887. Singapore's Grand Old Dame, which was declared a national monument in 1987, underwent an extensive restoration in 2017.

Elsewhere in Europe, there are Raffles properties in France, Poland and Turkey.


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