London has a plethora of traditional luxury hotels that is, frankly, without parallel. Within three years, too, it will have four examples of 21st-century openings (note that their exact names, key count and other details might well change before opening).
One, The Peninsula London, is a completely new-build, on the south-west edge of Hyde Park Corner. It already has a GM, Sonja Vodusek, a larger-than-life professional from afar on the borders of New South Wales and Victoria – she has relocated from Japan, where she made such an impression running The Peninsula Tokyo. In London, her hotel, scheduled for a 2022 opening, will have 189 keys plus a couple of dozen residences. Designer is the characterful Peter Marino, invariably glad in biker’s shiny black gear.
The other forthcoming London luxury hotels, still without GM appointments, are conversions. Let us consider them in alphabetical order.
Admiralty Arch, Waldorf Astoria London is an incredible use for the arch, at the south of Trafalgar Square, designed in 1912 by Sir Aston Webb as a memorial to Queen Victoria. Developers Prime Capital are currently excavating three new levels beneath the Mall: above ground level, the 100-room hotel will straddle both sides of the arch, with a restaurant at the roof, joint, level – look forward to unique views along The Mall to nearby Buckingham Palace, as you dine.
The Chancery, Rosewood, utilises the US Embassy, designed by Eero Saarinen and operational 1960-2018. Now the building, owned by Qatari Diar, will anchor the entire redevelopment of Grosvenor Square: lead architect of what will be a 139-key hotel with significant retail, is Sir David Chipperfield, with interiors by Joseph Dirand, restaurants by Tristan Auer and Melbourne’s own BAR Studio, and a spa by Yabu Pushelberg.
Currently called OWO Raffles London, this is the conversion of The Old War Office (hence OWO) designed in 1906 by architects Clyde Francis Young and William Young for the British Government. Now owned by London-based Gopichard Hinduja and his brother Srichand and by Spain’s mighty OHL developers – they who masterplanned Mayakoba on Mexico’s Riviera Maya – it will become a 125-room hotel with 88 residences. Today’s architects are EPR and interiors are by Thierry Despont.