Main Photo: The very handsome Raffles London, ready to open in 2022
Date: July 2021
Location: The Old War Office, Whitehall, London, England, UK
Name: Raffles London at The OWO
Number of Keys: 125 rooms plus 85 residences
Seller: The UK Government. The Grade II listed Old War Office building, originally completed in 1906, is steeped in history. This architectural masterpiece has witnessed world-shaping events whilst influential political and military leaders including Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, and Lord Kitchener held office.
Buyer: The Hinduja Group and Obrascon Huarte Lain Desarrollos (OHLD), who started the project in 2016, seem on track to open in 2022.
Philippe Leboeuf has been appointed as managing director for the new Raffles London at The OWO, has been announced by owner of the hotel, Accor.
Leboeuf was most recently regional vice president of operations for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and general manager of the brand’s property in Paris, positions he held since 2013 and 2010 respectively.
Prior to joining Mandarin Oriental, he was general manager of Claridge’s in London for three years, and held various senior management positions in the luxury hospitality sector including with Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, The Carlyle in New York, Leading Hotels of the World and Hôtel de Crillon in Paris.
He will now oversee one of the biggest global openings in London in 2022. Raffles London will launch at The OWO, situated within the former Grade-II listed Old War Office building on Whitehall. It will be home to 125-bedroom and 85 branded residences, as well as a collection of nine restaurants and a spa.
The Hinduja family acquired the building in 2016, and has spent the last five years transforming the historic address into the new hotel.
“On behalf of the Raffles brand, I am delighted to welcome Philippe to our flagship location in London,” said Stephen Alden, CEO Raffles & Orient Express. “He is a true professional, well-known and highly respected throughout our industry, bringing a luxury pedigree and dedication to service excellence that our loyal guests, discerning travellers and local clientele will respect and admire.”
Commenting on his appointment as managing director of Raffles London at The OWO, Philippe Leboeuf said: “I am honoured to be appointed Managing Director of Raffles London at The OWO. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I look forward to making the vision a reality for a new unique destination for London which captivates everyone who steps through its doors, creating special memories for hotel guests, residents of the 85 Raffles branded residences, and visitors to the collection of nine restaurants and bars.”
The Old War Office, originally completed in 1906 and designed by British architect William Young, is steeped in history.
Formerly the site of the original Palace of Whitehall, home to Henry VIII and other monarchs, the building has witnessed world-shaping events whilst influential political and military leaders including Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George held office. It inspired Ian Fleming to write the infamous James Bond series after working for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Service.
It’s grand architecture has made the building a dramatic location in numerous Bond films, and more recently The Crown drama series.
The project has been designed by UK-based EPR Architects, with the hotel interiors designed by New York-based designer Thierry Despont, and the residences designed by 1508 London. The principal contractor is Ardmore Group, with Toureen Group completing the structural works, and structural engineers are Elliott Wood.
Over the next few years, Raffles will more than double its portfolio, opening new hotels in Dubai (The Palm), Bahrain, Udaipur, and Macau this year.
Looking to 2022 and beyond, the brand will debut flagship locations in London (2022), Boston (2022), Doha (2022), Moscow (2022) and Jeddah (2023), among others.
THPT Comment: A top-notch GM/MD for a top-notch hotel….very much looking forward to it’s opening in 2022….and the right brand for the job.
First Seen: Boutique Hotelier
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