Here's some exciting news from London Town: Developer Galliard Group is partnering with the Crown Estate to convert a magnificent Grade II listed Edwardian building into a new 92,000-square-foot five-star hotel. But this isn't just any Edwardian building. This is 3-5 Great Scotland Yard, once the location of the original Scotland Yard Police Station and later offices for the Ministry of Defence. (We say history buffs will most definitely want to book a room here.)
Don O’ Sullivan, managing director of Galliard Group, said in a statement that he wants to create a London hotel on par with the Mercer or the Chateau Marmont. He just may get his wish: When it is complete in June 2016, the new £100 million seven-story hotel will have 235 bedrooms and suites including a VIP suite (more on that in a minute). The hotel will have a winter garden lounge, signature restaurant, cocktail bar, several lounges, a library, a 120-seat main conference room/ballroom, meeting rooms and function/private dining rooms.
A Hotel with History
3-5 Great Scotland Yard has a fascinating history. In Tudor times, it served as an Embassy-style dwelling for the Kings of Scotland when they visited King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I at neighboring Whitehall Palace, hence the name Great Scotland Yard (as it was the place of the Scottish Lords).
In 1829, Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel selected Great Scotland Yard as the headquarters of the newly founded Metropolitan Police force. The building’s main entrance was at 4 Whitehall Place, but a public office was installed to the rear at 3-5 Great Scotland Yard and so gave the headquarters its famous name. It was here that the famous Plaistow Marshes (1864) and Jack the Ripper (1888) crimes were investigated and Scotland Yard was made famous by novelists including Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In 1890 the police headquarters moved to a new location, which was named New Scotland Yard.
In 1910 the current Edwardian building was constructed on the site and served as the British Army Recruitment Office and Royal Military Police headquarters. It is here that Lord Kitchener famously told WWI recruits “Your Country Needs You” and there were cells in the basement for Army deserters. In 1982 a refurbishment introduced a new atrium and the building later became the Ministry of Defence Library until 2004.
Everything Old is New Again
Costing more than £50 million, the 26-month renovation will begin in January 2014, and the hotel is currently scheduled to open in 2016. We hear the facades of the building will be retained, but the interiors will get new floors, top technology, entertainment systems and security features. The building will be extended with two new levels of basement and two new floors above the existing roof level including a top story with a period-style Westmorland slate clad mansard roof and ecological features.
The main ground floor reception and entertaining rooms will include a lobby leading into a winter garden lounge. (We hear the glass-domed atrium rises through all the upper floors of the hotel.) For those seeking fresh air as well as natural light, the larger suites in the hotel will open onto private rooftop terraces.
An adjoining Edwardian office building at No. 1 Great Scotland Yard will be incorporated into the new hotel. This space will be used to create a VIP-suite for visiting business tycoons, celebrities, musicians and heads of state. Arranged over several floors, this VIP suite will be connected to the main hotel and will also have its own private street entrance. The suite will include a VIP bedroom on its own private floor complete with walk-in dressing rooms, a day room and a spa-style main bathroom with living room, media room and other entertaining on other levels.
Other details, including who will manage and operate the hotel, are still in the works.