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Blair Associates wins go-ahead to turn Admiralty Arch into hotel

London-based Blair Associates Architecture has won planning to convert Aston Webb’s 1912 Admiralty Arch into a luxury hotel

As part of the consent, developer Prime Investors Capital headed by Rafael Serrano, which took on a 99-year lease of the grade I-listed former government office building last October (see below), agreed to pay £600,000 to Westminster Council for social housing elsewhere in the borough as well as £100,000 towards public art.

The practice, which worked on the restoration of the Connaught hotel and surrounding public realm with Tadao Ando, will transform the landmark into a five star 100-bedroom hotel with a basement ballroom, 25m pool, a spa, three restaurants and a ‘brasserie on the first bridging floor over the Sovereign Arch with stunning views of The Mall and Buckingham Place to the West’ (see attached plans).

The includes a 1,000m² penthouse ‘Royal Suite’ and creates two new column-free basements ‘outside the listed building envelope but within the demise lines of the site’.

Robert Davis, Westminster City Council deputy leader, said: “This is an exciting application that will return an iconic piece of London’s architecture to its full glory. Personally I am delighted that this building will now see high quality public use.’

The scheme is expected to complete in early 2016.

Previous story (AJ 26.10.2012)

Blair Associates to turn Admiralty Arch into hotel

Aston Webb’s 1912 Admiralty Arch is to be converted into a luxury hotel by London-based Blair Associates Architecture

This morning (26 October) the Government agreed to lease the London landmark to Prime Investors Capital Limited (PIC) for 99 years paving the wave for a multi-million restoration and conversion of the Grade I-listed government office building.

According to Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, the deal will raise £60 million for taxpayers and ‘marks the beginning of one of the largest and most exciting restoration projects in recent years’.

The London-based practice, which last year completed the restoration of the the Connaught hotel and surrounding public realm with Tadao Ando, will reinstate ‘many lost features’ using original Aston Webb drawings from around 1910. 

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said: ‘At present Admiralty Arch is not being used and is costing £900,000 a year to run. Rather than letting it fall into disrepair we are taking action. 

‘British specialists will work closely with English Heritage and Westminster Council to bring the Arch back to life. The restoration will bring jobs to London and beyond. The freehold of the building will remain in the hands of the public, ensuring they have a say in the future of this building forever.’

Chief executive of PIC, Rafael Serrano, said: ‘We are committed to preserving the iconic status of Admiralty Arch and celebrating Sir Aston Webb’s historic design, while restoring, modernising and adapting it sensitively for a new use that will sustain its value for future generations.’


Admiralty Arch was commissioned by King Edward VII in memory of his mother, the late Queen Victoria and was designed by Aston Webb in 1910. The Grade-I listed building was completed in 1912. Its purpose was to provide a ceremonial passage from Trafalgar Square towards Buckingham Palace. Though it originally housed offices and residences for the Sea Lords of the Admiralty, Admiralty Arch is currently empty and has never before been open to the public.  It requires extensive restoration and is not suitable for a modern office.

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