|Photo by Freeimages.com/Margaret Pietkiewicz-Price|
The U.S. Embassy in London—what the Evening Standard calls “America’s fortress” in Mayfair—will soon become a luxury hotel. The Qatari owners of the building are planning a £1 billion restoration of Grosvenor Square to return it to its previous state, an “open, expansive green space for residents and visitors to enjoy.” The barriers built around the embassy after the 9/11 attacks will be demolished.
As first reported by the Evening Standard, the new five-star hotel will be developed by real estate group Qatari Diar and designed by British architect David Chipperfield. It will have 137 guest rooms, a spa, five restaurants, six luxury shops and a ballroom, accommodating 1,000 people.
Dating from the 1950s, the embassy is a Grade II-listed landmark, and is the U.S.’s largest European embassy since 1960. The American embassy will be moving to a new location in the Nine Elms district of Wandsworth next year.