For the first time since its conception in 1906, Britain’s iconic Old War Office will open its doors to the public as The OWO.
On Friday 29th September, The OWO, a spectacular new destination debuts in the heart of Whitehall with the opening of new restaurants and bars, the first hotel in the UK for Raffles Hotels & Resorts – Raffles London at The OWO, 85 Raffles Residences, The Guerlain Spa and Pillar Wellbeing. It will be a place to drink and dine, celebrate, be entertained, rest and recharge, stay and live. Raffles London features 120 spacious guest rooms and suites, signature dining experiences by chef Mauro Colagreco, impressive entertainment spaces including a grand ballroom, and an extensive spa in partnership with Guerlain and Pillar.
The OWO will also feature 85 Residences by Raffles and is set to be a new culinary district for London, with the debut of nine restaurants and three bars, including a spectacular rooftop with panoramic views across St James’s Park, The Mall and onto Buckingham Palace. Over the past eight years, Britain’s Old War Office has been thoughtfully restored to its former glory. The family-run Hinduja Group, at the helm of the redevelopment, has been passionately committed to the revival of its heritage features. With the help of hundreds of artisans, historic interior elements have been restored, including delicate hand-laid mosaic floors, oak panelling, glittering chandeliers, and a magnificent marble staircase. The iconic centrepiece of this landmark transformation is Raffles London at The OWO, which has been developed in partnership between the Hinduja Group and Accor.
“I am delighted to announce the highly awaited opening of The OWO this September. When we came to Whitehall, the team were blown away by the size and beauty of this majestic building. No expense has been spared in bringing it back to its former glory and paying homage to its heritage, whilst breathing new life into it. Along with Raffles London at The OWO, we hope to create a legacy that is both timeless and unsurpassed,” said Sanjay Hinduja from Hinduja Group.
“Everyone at Accor feels honoured and privileged to be part of this historic project that has surpassed all expectations – truly a legend in the making and possibly the most awe-inspiring hotel on the planet. Together with the Hinduja family, we proudly invite locals and travellers alike to experience this extraordinary hotel as well as the authenticity and graciousness of Raffles, one of our most prestigious brands in one of the world’s greatest cities,” said Sébastien Bazin, Accor Chairman & CEO.
Raffles London at The OWO
From the dazzling beauty of the grand staircase, elegantly wrapped around a breathtaking two-story chandelier, to the mosaic-tiled floors, Raffles London pays homage to the building’s history whilst providing a sense of timeless luxury. The hotel and its 120 rooms and suites were the vision of famed designer, the late Thierry Despont, who transformed landmark buildings such as the Statue of Liberty.
“Raffles seeks out astonishing settings for each of its properties, and Raffles London at The OWO offers this generously. The rich heritage of the city, as well as the Old War Office building, make London a natural home for the Raffles brand, which has long been synonymous with legendary service, glamour, art, and storied destinations,” added Omer Acar, CEO of Raffles and Orient Express, Accor.
The most historically significant areas of the building are the Heritage Suites, former offices of influential political and military leaders including Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and Sir Richard Haldane. A number of these will be available for exclusive reservations as ‘The Whitehall Wing’. This six-bedroom residence will occupy the west wing of the building and can accommodate up to twelve guests – one of the largest luxury hotel wings available in London.
Raffles London has partnered with chef Mauro Colagreco, the acclaimed chef behind Mirazur on the Côte d’Azur, to create three unique dining experiences. At his signature restaurant Mauro Colagreco at Raffles London at The OWO, diners will witness Mauro’s culinary innovation and passion for sustainability through his commitment to sourcing local, seasonal ingredients. There will be a particular focus on the rich diversity of native British vegetables, which will be the focus of the dishes here. Next door is Mauro’s Table, an intimate space centred around an impressive dining table and backed by a dramatic show kitchen. It will offer private dining for up to 23 guests. Mauro’s Table will showcase local, hyper-seasonal ingredients delivered through a creative menu that traces the paths of English gardens. Mauro’s relaxed dining restaurant, Saison, will put a contemporary spin on the traditional hotel restaurant. True to its name, Saison will reflect Chef Mauro’s philosophy and commitment to seasonal cuisine. Serving Mediterranean cuisine throughout the day including breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, this elegant room occupies a former historic library of the Old War Office.
Raffles London will be home to two atmospheric bars. The Guard’s Bar and Lounge, which will feature a thoughtful menu of 16 drinks, will have a focus on British ingredients intertwined with flavours from the East and will introduce a signature ‘London Sling’. Situated in a former interrogation room, The Spy Bar is a surreptitious subterranean cocktail bar like no other. With a hint of the illicit, The Spy Bar pays homage to the order of spies and will be reminiscent of cloak-and-dagger moments, secret forms of communication and martini-hour rendezvous.
Further outlets at the hotel include The Drawing Room, a relaxed all-day dining lounge overlooking Horse Guards, and Pillar Kitchen, a wellbeing-focused outlet that will go beyond healthy food, tailoring meals akin to workouts by focusing directly on individuals’ specific needs.
The Guerlain Spa at Raffles London is set to be one of the largest luxury hotel spas in the capital, spanning 2,500 sq meters over four floors, with a spectacular 20m swimming pool, nine exquisitely designed treatment suites, an extensive gym and L’Atelier Guerlain. Movement, recovery and nutrition experts, Pillar Wellbeing, will enable members to reach their full potential through personalised, innovative training and nutrition.
Raffles London will be the new venue of choice for the city’s most important occasions – from glamorous weddings and history-making state dinners to larger-than-life business events and launches. With access via the exceptional Grand Staircase, the extraordinary Whitehall Ballroom offers capacity for up to 600 guests, complemented by an extensive pre-function space and dedicated meeting rooms, named Morse and Code, making Raffles London a spectacular stage for the most dazzling celebrations.
“At Raffles London, the history of the former Old War Office lives on, through its splendid architecture, carefully chosen interior design and expansive Heritage Suites. We are excited to provide guests with the highly personalised and intuitive service for which Raffles is known the world over. Visitors will be spoiled for choice with the eclectic array of world-class restaurants and bars in an unrivalled location,” commented Philippe Leboeuf, Managing Director of Raffles London at The OWO.
Dining at The OWO
The OWO is set to become a new epicentre for the capital's dining scene, led by world-class chefs and restaurateurs. Drawn from dynamic culinary hubs across the globe, each has been
invited to create an epicurean experience like no other. In addition to restaurants by Mauro Colagreco at Raffles London, The OWO will feature an additional four independent restaurants including Café Lapérouse, Paper Moon, Langosteria, and a rooftop restaurant and ground-floor sake bar by Creative Restaurant Group.
Situated in the main courtyard at The OWO, Café Lapérouse is primed to radiate Parisian charm. Offering showstopping signature dishes in a striking architectural pavilion, the restaurant will accommodate 80 diners. A prime location at the heart of The OWO ensures this will be a lively, sociable space from dusk until dawn. Milanese restaurant Paper Moon, set within one of the grand spaces of The OWO overlooking Horse Guards Avenue, will serve an eclectic selection of Italian favourites, daily aperitivi, and traditional cocktails with a twist at their statement bar.
Also set to open in the months following the launch is a rooftop restaurant and a sake bar by Creative Restaurant Group, led by chef Patron Endo Kazutoshi. Featuring panoramic views across Whitehall, The Mall and Buckingham Palace, the restaurant will be an ode to the traditions of Japanese cooking. In addition, the team will also launch a dedicated Sake Bar, situated on the ground floor of The OWO. Guests will be invited to discover the diversity of styles and flavours of this alluring and uniquely Japanese tradition. Making its UK debut, cult Milanese restaurant Langosteria will bring this fashion-world haunt to London for the first time. Known for its impressive selection of signature seafood dishes, Langosteria selects the best ingredients from all over the world, combining Italian traditions with a contemporary international approach.
The OWO Residences by Raffles
Setting a new benchmark for luxury living in London, The OWO Residences by Raffles are the first Raffles-serviced residences in the UK and Europe, further reinforcing the uniqueness of the offering. Homeowners will benefit from having all the facilities of a world-renowned hotel on their doorstep without having to compromise on the highest levels of privacy and seclusion. Each of The OWO’s branded 85 residences is unique and specifically designed to suit its location in the building: duplex, lateral and penthouse residences range in size from studios to five beds. In addition, two spectacular turret residences, elevated above the London skyline, offer an address like no other.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.