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Heritage retained in luxury offerings

New openings with restoration and refurbishment projects to enhance the guest experience and make the most of settings

Raffles London at The OWO has opened in Whitehall, featuring 120 spacious guest rooms and suites, a grand ballroom, and an extensive spa in partnership with Guerlain and Pillar Wellbeing. The first property in the UK for Raffles Hotels & Resorts has seen custodians Hinduja Group and Onex Group reviving the former Old War Office’s features, employing hundreds of craftsmen throughout its eight-year restoration. The project includes 85 Raffles branded residences. Guests can retrace the steps of influential leaders of the 20th century while marvelling at sights such as The Grand Staircase. The Haldane suite, formerly the office of Winston Churchill, John Profumo and Sir Richard Haldane, can be combined to create a six-bedroom suite. Eight Corner Suites are named after women and female spies connected with The OWO, including Viscountess Astor and Clementine Churchill as well as WWII operatives such as Christian Lamb and British spy Vera May Atkins. Renowned chef Mauro Colagreco has partnered with Raffles London to lead three dining experiences. The Guards Bar and Lounge honours The OWO’s historic connection with the Household Cavalry. The Whitehall Ballroom has capacity for up to 600.

Impressive: Raffles London at The OWO

The Chelsea Townhouse is London’s latest boutique hotel. The former Draycott Hotel underwent an extensive transformation on the Cadogan Estate, close to its sister hotel, 11 Cadogan Gardens. It’s set across three Victorian townhouses, each connected by staircases and hidden corridors. Architects Gary Kellett oversaw restoration. Fixtures such as marble fireplaces and ornate crown mouldings, antique-style artwork and ‘Objects of Curiosity’ – trinkets and treasures from around the world – are included, alongside restored furniture from the original hotel.

The 36 bedrooms range from suites to cosy rooms for solo travellers. Four apartment-style suites have kitchenettes, and several Garden Suites offer direct access onto Cadogan Gardens. Each room has a minibar stocked with locally sourced and inspired complimentary goodies, including a welcome ‘Chelsea Bun’. Ruark radios, GHD hair dryers and Harrison Spinks beds all add to the offering. The Chelsea Townhouse is part of the Iconic Luxury Hotels collection, who operate prestigious hotels including Chewton Glen, Cliveden House and The Lygon Arms.

Around £5m has been spent on refurbishing guest bedrooms at the 4-star Millennium Gloucester Hotel London, now re-launched with three additional meeting rooms and restaurants. The hotel invested in new wallpaper and carpets for the conference centre, luxury bedroom suites (it now has 611 bedrooms) and a new gym. Short-stay apartment operator Bob W has entered prime London, opening the luxurious Gulaid House in Knightsbridge. A complete refurbishment took the building back to its shell before restoration.

Apartments range from deluxe studios to a grand apartment with four bedrooms. The building was acquired by Saudi-based private equity partner Gulaid Group Holding and leased to Bob W as its chosen operator.

Apartments include a kitchen, with some benefiting from terraces, balconies and views of the inner courtyard or enclave of Beaufort Gardens. Guests receive a five-star, contactless service courtesy of Bob W’s tech platform and web apps so they feel like they’re receiving the best customer service with a human touch, even though there are no staff on site.

A garden suite at The Chelsea Townhouse

In Manchester, luxury boutique hotel Forty-Seven has been opened by Kro Hospitality in the Grade-II listed Lancashire House, a former shipping warehouse. It has 32 bedrooms, including 13 suites. Bedrooms and suites have been curated with sleep and relaxation in mind. The hotel has appointed its own ‘Sleep Fixer’ to ensure every guest’s sleeping experience is as exquisite as their waking. General manager Ryan Thompson says: “It will be a delight to welcome guests into the hotel, where each stay promises a personalised guest experience in a setting like no other.”

A comforting colour palette washes walls and ceilings and secondary-glazed windows are fitted with blackout blinds and curtains. Premium linens and vegan bedding are used with a range of pillows, accompanied by a luxury pillow menu, so guests can select sleeping preferences. Bluetooth speakers are available to play sleep podcasts and white noise. Bathrooms include calming fragrances, nourishing body care and moisturisers from L’Occitane.

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