Check in to Admiralty Arch

Check in to Admiralty Arch

The gateway between Trafalgar Square and the Mall, Admiralty Arch, is to be turned into a luxury hotel and restaurant. The Grade I-listed building in Whitehall, London’s most central address, has been bought by the developer behind the Bulgari Hotel.

Plans are to turn the former government building into a high-end 100-room hotel, with a restaurant and bar on the top floor. Guests and diners will have views in both directions, to one side down the Mall to Buckingham Palace and St James’s Park, and Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery and Nelson’s Column to the other.

Once restoration is finished, its new incarnation will open up the iconic Edwardian building to the public, to whom access is currently limited.

Admiralty Arch was built in 1912 by King Edward VII as a memorial to his mother, Queen Victoria, and two centuries of royal weddings, processions, marathons and, most recently, Olympic races have passed through its arches. Until recently it has been used by the Cabinet Office, but was sold off for ?60million as a cost-cutting measure for the Government to a Spanish investor, Rafael Serrano, and company Prime Investors Capital.

It is one of the grandest addresses in London, give or take a couple of palaces. Inside, however, it is a different story; the eight-storey building requires extensive restoration as it has become too run-down (and too expensive) to be used as accommodation for civil servants (though not so shabby that it put off John Prescott inviting his secretary Tracey Temple back to his grace-and-favour apartment there; fingers crossed you don’t get that room).

There are no details at present for the new interior design, though Serrano is, apparently, keen on the idea of a sumptuous ballroom, formal restaurant and spa. If the Bulgari Hotel is anything to go by (most expensive rooms; most fashionable spa in London), the interior will be superglam indeed.

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