We love visiting London, there is always so much happening within the luxury hotel scene in the capital and the latest property to have launched in the city is the Great Scotland Yard Hotel in Westminster. Once the home to law and order in Westminster it is now a contemporary new hotel, destination restaurant, Afternoon Tea spot as well as fabulous cocktail bar and whisky speakeasy. Read on to discover more about this new property in the very heart of the capital and one of our favourite new luxury hotels in London.
Background and Concept
The Great Scotland Yard Hotel should be every tourists dream when they visit London, it’s steeped in such a rich history that it feels like quite a privilege to be there. This is the first UK hotel in the Unbound Collection by Hyatt collection, a portfolio of premium hotel properties, ranging from historic urban gems to contemporary trend-setters and boutique properties around the globe. Each of the properties draws from its history and surroundings to create a unique experience for guests so no two properties are the same.
You can find a full breakdown of the portfolio here, but some highlights are Hotel SOFIA Barcelona, Hôtel Martinez in Cannes, France and the Hôtel du Louvre in Paris.
The site on which Great Scotland Yard Hotel sits is deep in narrative, stretching back over 1,000 years. The back of the hotel is dated to 997 when Royal Housing was gifted to Kenneth III, King of Scotland, to be used during his visits to the English monarchy. This link to Scottish royalty gave the street its iconic name. The last Scottish monarch to occupy the house was Margaret, Queen of Scots, sister to Henry VIII in 1541. From 1541 onwards, Great Scotland Yard was used to house prominent civil servants, on account of the proximity to the Royal Palace. For instance, Christopher Wren (architect of St Paul’s Cathedral and major parts of Oxford and Cambridge University), English poet John Milton (author of Paradise Lost) and Indigo Jones (architect of Covent Garden, Lincoln Inn Fields and Banqueting House) all lived there at some point.
Today Great Scotland Yard is most famous as the former headquarters of the London Metropolitan Police force, who were located there for over 200 years. It is this front part of the building, which the front of the hotel occupies and whose striking architecture of Edwardian red brick and Portland stone is instantly attributable to London. It was during this time the Plaistow Marshes and Jack the Ripper crimes were investigated at 3-5 Great Scotland Yard, with two detailed letters signed from ‘Jack the Ripper’ even being sent to the building in 1888. The police force moved out in 1890 and in 1910 the building façade was redone to look as it stands today. It was taken over as the British Army Recruitment Office and Royal Military Police headquarters, serving both World Wars, before going on to be used by the Ministry of Defence until 2013.
Interior Architecture and Design
HBA designers were elected to express the individuality of the hotel through an unexpected play of Edwardian-inspired hues and patterns, alongside conventional Whitehall, and bursts of colour that relive the sophistication of the era whilst keeping a flair of the contemporary (you can read an interview with David T’Kint one of the partners of HBA here) While Art consultant Sarah Percy-Davis of Hollandridge Group took a groundbreaking approach to the art at Great Scotland Yard, which is inspired by the historic significance of the site and her aim was to ensure guests have not only an informative but also a transformative experience during their stay.
Upon entering Great Scotland Yard through the brilliant green doors, guests are greeted to a natural flow of food and beverage spaces. The Parlour, transports guests to the nineteenth century West Indies with tropical landscapes and wicker furniture, juxtaposed with black and white tiled floors. Opposite The Parlour, doors open wide into The 40 Elephants. This bar, in the centre of the property, is naturally lit by a skylight from which a breathtaking chandelier composed of a series of broken glass is hung. This encapsulates the spirit of the all female gang which the bar is named after, along with the glass-engraved portraits hanging high on the walls.
Beyond The 40 Elephants, guests can discover The Yard which is reminiscent of a countryside escape. The Yard’s distinct identity is conveyed through barrelled ceilings, vintage lamps and tanned leather banquettes. Hidden behind secret doors disguised in bookshelves is a portal to Sibín the hotels speakeasy. Whiskey-filled display cabinets sculpt the club into three spaces, rolling along the copper-leafed distressed wood floors, whilst a bar sits at the centre, beneath a ceiling feature made of 1,935 bottles.
Lobby And Check In
A warm welcome awaits as you arrive at the entrance of the hotel by the doorman who escort you down into the lobby area. Reception is tucked away to the right and in front of you sofas and an array of sculptures and art curated by Sarah Percy Davis. My eye was immediately drawn to the large art piece by Nicola Green made up of lot of portraits of silhouettes of people who lives have been touched by the British justice system. I also loved the perspex cabinets filled with police and justice items, like the barrister’s wig, police whistles and truncheon.
Check-In is completed at one of the two desks, I was offered a welcome drink and then shown around the ground floor of the hotel and then up to my suite.
Guest rooms are finished in a neutral colour palette and given the history of the building no two rooms are the same. Further curated details include iterations of the key, which links back to the renowned green entrance door, and wardrobes concealed behind book cladded doors. Suites have four-poster beds and marble fireplaces. All of the 152 bedrooms have generously designed bathrooms with oversized showers and British tiling cladding the walls.