Admiralty Arch, one of the most iconic buildings in London which was used by Sir Winston Churchill, Lord Mountbatten and Lord Hailsham among other influential figures, has revealed that 12 top hotel operators are now interested in managing the new hotel and spa, along with serviced residences and private members’ club.
Located on The Mall in St. James’s in the heart of London, and regarded as the gatehouse to Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch was built in 1910 as a working monument to the British Navy and a memorial to Queen Victoria. It was designed by the leading architect of the period, Sir Aston Webb, who, among many other grand projects of the time, was responsible for renovating the façade of Buckingham Palace itself. Admiralty Arch helped to link Buckingham Palace, The Mall and Trafalgar Square.
Admiralty Arch, a Grade 1 listed building, is now being restored by Prime Investors Capital which has been awarded a 250-year lease by the UK Government to convert the building into a 100-bedroom hotel, spa, private residences and private members’ club.
Up to four exclusive serviced residences are being created and will be available for sale. Owners will enjoy an exclusive piece of British history, as well as prime property. The residences saw great political and naval leaders including Sir Winston Churchill, Lord Mountbatten, Lord Carrington and Lord Hailsham live and work. Each residence comprises several suites, six-metre-high ceilings, intricate crests, original fireplaces and fittings from the Edwardian era.
There are incredible views from the residences of The Mall, Trafalgar Square, St. James’s Park and Buckingham Palace.
All residents will have access to the luxury amenities offered by the hotel inside Admiralty Arch; a 24-hour concierge service and security; private off-road valet parking service; private entrance and lift to the residences; and a lifetime membership to the private members’ club.
Each serviced residence will include several suites, depending on the final design, and owners will be able to influence superficial design aspects and interior aesthetics. The Historic Apartment will be a three- or four-bedroom duplex apartment; the Nelson and Palace Apartments will be two- or three-bedroom apartments; and the Admiral Residence a five- or six-bedroom apartment.
Overseeing the restoration is renowned interior decorator David Mlinaric, who has worked on the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum and British Embassies in Paris and Washington among many other high-profile projects; and architect Michael Blair of Blair Associates, responsible for the unique renovation of luxury hotels The Connaught and Claridge’s, and for unique stores including Christian Dior.
David Mlinaric commented: “The intention behind the interior design is to answer, and where needed for the new purpose, enhance Sir Aston Webb’s distinguished, Edwardian, classical architecture and in so doing, to present a series of traditional, English rooms. The decorations are more colourful and more in keeping with late 20th-century and early 21st-century taste. The furnishings are a mixture of antique and contemporary for reasons of styling and comfort. In this way, it will be quite unlike any other London hotel.”
The advisory team also includes Ramon Parajes, the former Managing Director of the Savoy Group; Hugh Henry, the cofounder of design firm Mlinaric, Henry & Zervudachi; Andrew Damonte, who worked alongside the decorator Piers von Westenholz on the restoration of Dumfries House and Dr John Robinson, a leading British architectural historian and Officer of Arms.
Historians have identified how the area was redesigned as part of a Palace-supported campaign to replan London’s ceremonial centre in the late 19th and 20th centuries. European nations vied with each other to build grandiose capital cities that symbolised their wealth and overseas power, especially true in Britain where the navy was in its supremacy.
Dr Robinson commented: “Sir Aston Webb’s great achievement was to design a traditional triumphal arch which also contained a large office/residential building. The grandeur of the architecture is matched by the ingenious plan which turns the axis from busy Trafalgar Square to the ceremonial tranquillity of the Royal Park and the approach to the palace.”
An extraordinary team of British artisans is now working on restoring Sir Aston Webb’s designs and creating the future hotel rooms and designs for the serviced residences including Linley, George Spencer Fabrics, Arthur Brett, Soane Britain, Collier Webb and Chesney’s.
Rafael Serrano, founder of Prime Investors Capital, commented: “We have created a dream team of architects and artisans to care for this historic building which has been part of the fabric of British royalty, politics, history and culture since the 1900s. It is an honour but also a challenging responsibility to be entrusted with Admiralty Arch, which has always been a symbol of British social and political power and which has witnessed coronations, royal weddings, grand state occasions and presidential visits. Now it is entering a new, exciting phase as we transform the building into the finest hotel and residences in London. We have already started the phased development hiring hundreds of traders and craftsman and we look forward to opening to the public, welcoming local neighbours, London residents and visitors from all over the world.”
The operator of the hotel is expected to be chosen in 2017, now that building work and the restoration of Admiralty Arch is underway.