Topline travel: Raffles London at The OWO

Luxury line Famous for its Singapore property, Raffles has landed in the UK. Raffles London at The OWO has 120 de luxe rooms and suites, renowned chefs, lavish spa treatments – and the world’s silliest hotel name.

Battle line The OWO was previously the Old War Office, completed in 1906. Influential leaders such as David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill have marched its two and a half miles of corridors. During the Second World War, courageous War Office staff worked around the clock, ignoring all but the closest air raids.

Plot line The Old War Office helped inspire former worker Ian Fleming to write the James Bond series, and it has appeared in several of the Bond movies. The founding of MI5 and MI6 also occurred here, and you can still find the discreet ‘spies entrance’ door on Whitehall Court.

Raffles London at The OWO is located in the heart of Whitehall. It faces the Horse Guards – making this London’s best spot to watch the Changing of the Guard in comfort – and is just a few minutes’ stroll from Buckingham Palace

Blood line This spot is rich in aristocratic history. The OWO was built on the site of the Palace of Whitehall, home to monarchs including King Henry VIII, who died there in 1547. 

Raffles Hotels has a rich heritage too. The original Raffles Singapore opened in 1887, introducing the world to the Singapore sling cocktail and making ‘see you at Raffles’ a signature phrase among glamorous travellers.

Frontline Overseeing the hotel’s look was Thierry Despont, the French interior designer and architect behind the 2016 Ritz Paris revamp and Statue of Liberty restoration in the 1980s. The décor is spectacular – think hand-laid mosaic floors, crystal chandeliers and a sweeping marble staircase.

Sightline Forget selling sunset, real estate doesn’t get more prime than this. The OWO faces Horse Guards – making this London’s best spot to watch the Changing of the Guard in comfort – and is just a few minutes’ stroll from Buckingham Palace.

Waistline Stomachs beware – The OWO has tempted some top-notch Michelin-starred chefs to London. French restaurant Mirazur’s Mauro Colagreco will make his UK debut, with three eateries including all-day Italian restaurant Paper Moon, while Endo Kazutoshi will run a rooftop restaurant and sake bar. 

Among its nine restaurants The OWO will also host offshoots of chic Parisian Café Lapérouse and Milan fashion haunt Langosteria.

Overseeing the hotel’s look was Thierry Despont, the French interior designer and architect behind the 2016 Ritz Paris revamp and Statue of Liberty restoration in the 1980s

Power line When it was the Palace of Whitehall, this place had bowling alleys, a cockpit and a pheasant yard. As Raffles London at The OWO, recreation instead takes the form of Guerlain’s first UK spa, a four-level affair including nine treatment rooms, gym and yoga studios and a 20m swimming pool. 

Health nuts can book in to the Lifestyle Suite, with room for yoga mats, TRX trainers and Peloton bikes, plus a specialised butler who can set up ‘different types of baths, meditations and tea ceremonies’ at any time of the day or night. For non-residents, treatments start from £100.

Bottom line Rooms don’t come cheap – rates begin at £1,100 a night for a classic room overlooking the grand internal courtyard. For the 500 sq m Whitehall Wing, which comprises six suites and an antique desk in the exact location that Winston Churchill used to sit? Price on application.

Jawline Guaranteed to be on the floor when you discover the prices for The OWO Residences by Raffles: 85 apartments built alongside the hotel.

Great lengths: The hotel’s swimming pool 

When they went on sale in late 2021, they set a new record for price per square foot in London, with a two-bedroom residence starting from £7.1 million.

Breadline The most affordable way into Raffles London at The OWO? Book afternoon tea, served from 2pm to 6pm all week in the drawing room, which costs £75 per person or £35 for a child.

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