PROPERTY WATCH: British history endures as The OWO Residences by Raffles come on the market in the former Old War Office in Whitehall
Sales of The OWO Residences by RAFFLES – Europe’s first Raffles branded residences – have recently been launched. Situated at one of London’s most historically important addresses, the Old War Office, the building is bursting with history. Closed to the public for decades, the property is formerly the site of the original Palace of Westminster, home to monarchs between 1530 and 1698, and played witness to various world shaping events while leaders including Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George held office. The building was even said to have inspired Ian Fleming to write the Bond series after working for Britain’s Naval Intelligence.
Today, The OWO is directly opposite Horse Guards and just a few minutes’ walk from the Houses of Parliament, 10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, St James’s Park and the River Thames. At the helm of the project is the Hinduja Group who bought The OWO back in 2014. They have partnered with world-renowned Raffles Hotels and Resorts who will operate the 125-room hotel, as well as service the 85 residences. Once complete, the property will house nine restaurants and bars, including a rooftop restaurant, a ballroom to house over 700 guests and extensive options for event spaces, meaning the building is sure to become a hub for the political and diplomatic elite in Westminster.
Behind the Edwardian Baroque architecture and ornate Portland stone façade, the building is in the process of an extensive and meticulous restoration to conserve the original mosaic floors, ornate mouldings, vast fireplaces, wood panelling and grand marble staircase.
With opening expected in 2022, residents can expect old-world charm married to unmatched elegance, calm and security. Apartments range from studios to five-bedroom penthouses, two of which even have their own majestic tower, and those on the second floor have 3.5 metre high windows. Only residents can drive their car into The OWO’s elaborate, grand courtyard to have it parked by concierge, and enjoy their own private Residents entrance and lobby. Kitchens have been conceived by Smallbone of Devizes, and there’s a beautiful garden that can only be accessed by residents. Residents also have 30,000 square feet of indoor amenities, including a gym, treatment suite, games room, swimming pool with nine-metre high ceilings, seven private meeting and dining rooms, secure underground parking and a 16-seat private cinema. Plus, membership of the Raffles Diamond Club secures preferential access at all Raffles properties around the globe.
Once complete, The OWO can offer a unique view of London. There’s nothing comparable in the capital at the moment, and it is likely to be a gamechanger for the Westminster neighbourhood. Furthermore, The OWO has the Ministry of Defence amongst its neighbours, meaning its location is part of an already existing secure zone. It will come as no surprise that The OWO, along with Raffles’s five-star turnkey service, is already attracting a sophisticated global audience. And if that’s not enough, the ‘Spies Entrance’ (originally said to be for M15 employees) couldn’t be better for visiting Heads of State or those looking for the utmost discretion.
The OWO, 57 Whitehall, London