Hospitality and retail have been the sectors worst hit by the pandemic, but Qatari Diar is taking the long view. The real estate arm of the Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund has unveiled its plans for the former US Embassy at 30 Grosvenor Square, in London’s Mayfair, which will become a five-star hotel with retail space on the ground floor.
The ‘ultra luxury hotel’, named The Chancery Rosewood, will have 139 rooms and suites, five restaurants, a spa, a grand ballroom for up to 1,000 guests and six flagship retail spaces which will be accessible from the square as well as from the hotel.
“Our vision at Qatari Diar is to revitalise this public space through the creation of a world-class hotel destination, and in turn inspire the transformation of Grosvenor Square and the wider regeneration of central Mayfair,” said Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, CEO, Qatari Diar.
The Grosvenor Square project shows its confidence in the UK real estate market, said the group, which has already invested £4 billion in the country. The Chancery Rosewood is just one of the schemes Qatari Diar is working on in London: others include Chelsea Barracks, a luxury residential development near Sloane Square; and Southbank Place, a mixed-use project by the London Eye on the Thames. When all these projects are completed, their total value will be £11 billion.
Qatari Diar had bought 30 Grosvenor Square in 2009, in the knowledge that the US Embassy was planning to move into a new building in Nine Elms in 2018.
The Chancery Rosewood will be designed by British architect Sir David Chipperfield, who intends to “revitalise the public realm” and open up the piano nobile level to the public as well as guests, “extending the hotel experience beyond the building and into the redeveloped garden square.”
Preservation of a modernist masterpiece
The former US Embassy, designed in the 1950’s by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, is considered a modernist masterpiece. The existing structure will be demolished but the Grade II listed façade will be preserved and restored, as well as the unique diagrid ceilings and other architectural elements such as mullions, window handles and the interior stone cladding.
A prominent feature of the façade will be the giant statue of a golden eagle, which was the symbol of the US Embassy.
In line with current trends, The Chancery Rosewood will be a “green” hotel, improving the site’s biodiversity through the use of extensive green roofs, minimising water consumption and introducing energy efficiency measures. It plans to be the first five-star hotel in the UK to achieve a BREEAM Excellent sustainability rating.