Arrivals & Departures War office to luxury hotel: Raffles snaps up iconic London address

Photo of Angie Tomlinson

The former headquarters of Sir Winston Churchill, Lord Kitchener and even the British Secret Service will start a new life as a luxury hotel.

Churchill’s Old War Office in Whitehall will soon become a deluxe Raffles Hotel.

The Grade II-listed Old War Office, completed in 1906, has 1100 rooms across seven floors and two miles of corridors.

It has been the office to many of the United Kingdom’s most important and influential political and military leaders of the 20th century, including Sir Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Lord Kitchener, Herbert Asquith and T.E. Lawrence. It was also the haunt of the British Secret Service, which had its own, more discreet entrance.

The building is close to famous addresses including 10 Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

Raffles Hotels and Resorts’ parent company AccorHotels Group has signed a partnership with its current owners, India’s Hinduja Group and Spanish construction group Obrascon Huarte Lain Desarrollos, to transform it.

Planning permission has been granted for a multi-purpose development including 125 rooms (of which 40 per cent are suites), 88 private residences, restaurants and other amenities.

Completion is expected in just over three years.

The Raffles group’s history dates back to 1887 with its first hotel in Singapore. Today there are 11 properties, including in Paris, Istanbul, and the Seychelles. New hotels are being developed in Warsaw and Jeddah.

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