The OWO is a magnificent new destination that recently opened its doors in the fall of 2023 at one of the most powerful addresses in London. Situated in a building of epic proportions, The OWO is home to the first Raffles hotel in London, The OWO Residences by Raffles, and a collection of independent restaurants and bars that have been drawn from dynamic culinary hubs across the globe. 

The OWO heralds a new chapter for Whitehall, an area synonymous with politics, as an exciting place to drink and dine, celebrate, be entertained, rest and recharge, stay and live. 

OWO, Raffles London, heritage hotel, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, folio, yvr, folioyvr

“The OWO is a legendary building with a storied history. From the outset of the project, we have gone above and beyond to ensure that this jewel in the heart of Whitehall is restored, curated and revived in the most appropriate way to deliver a heritage site for the next generations,” said Sanjay Hinduja from Hinduja Group

OWO, Raffles London, heritage hotel, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, folio, yvr, folioyvr


This site has always been an essential part of London’s history. During the 
13th century, the site was the London residence of the Archbishop of York. In 1530, Henry VIII seized it for his own, but a fire destroyed Whitehall Palace in the late 17th century.

It was replaced by a series of elegant houses, including Winchester House, which served as the former British War Office. In 1898, these buildings were knocked down, and the space remained a building site until the new Old War Office was completed in 1906

After over 100 years of serving as the administrative centre point for the country’s leaders, military officials and Ministry of Defence, the Edwardian building has entered a new era. 

After an eight-year restoration project costing a reported £1.5 billion funded by the Hinduja Group, The OWO is now part of the Raffles Hotel group. Much of the original oak panelling, marble and historical features have now been restored to their former glory. 

Guests can stay in rooms once frequented by former secretaries of state, including  Sir Winston Churchill

OWO, Raffles London, heritage hotel, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, folio, yvr, folioyvr

OWO, Raffles London, heritage hotel, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, folio, yvr, folioyvr

The hotel has 120 guest rooms and suites, 85 residences, a colossal ballroom, and several restaurants. 

It was also where Ian Fleming found his inspiration for James Bond, and a secret Spy Bar hidden in the depths of the building pays homage to the writer. 

One of Vancouver’s top travel enthusiasts, Manuel Bernaschek (Stefano Ricci, Showcase Pianos) recently stayed at Raffles and shared, “On my family’s latest adventure to Qatar, we stopped for a few days in London. I visited The Spy Bar. The location is a former MI5/6 interrogation room that is brick-lined, low-lit burgundy velvet burrow and very different from The Guards Bar up on the main floor of Raffles.

To reach it, you must be directed to a secret metal door in the basement. There is half of an Astin Martin DB5 mounted behind the main bar – it is a carbon fibre body from a stunt car in the James Bond movie ‘No Time to Die.’ Very impressive! The hand-crafted signature cocktails were exquisite, and the Cognac selection unrivalled.” 

OWO, Raffles London, heritage hotel, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, folio, yvr, folioyvr


From the dazzling beauty of the Grand Staircase, elegantly wrapped around a breath-taking chandelier, to the mosaic-tiled floors and oak-panelled walls, Raffles London pays homage to the building’s history while providing a sense of timeless luxury

Guests retrace the steps of some of the most influential leaders of the 20th century and reflect on the pivotal decisions made within its storied walls. 

Custodians of the building, Hinduja Group and Onex Group, have been passionately committed to the revival of the former Old War Office’s heritage features, employing the expertise of hundreds of artisans throughout its comprehensive eight-year restoration.

“We are excited to provide guests with the highly personalized and intuitive service for which Raffles is known the world over, in an unparalleled setting.” 

“We have been very fortunate to work with world-class partners in delivering this new destination, talented designers, world-class chefs and visionary restaurateurs alongside the preeminent names in the world of fragrance, beauty and wellness.” 

“I am both honoured and privileged to have been part of this historic project that has surpassed all expectations. It is truly a legend in the making,” said Philippe Leboeuf, Managing Director of Raffles London at The OWO. 

OWO, Raffles London, heritage hotel, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, folio, yvr


At Raffles London, handsome State Rooms and grand spaces have been transformed into 120 guest rooms and suites by famed designer the late Thierry Despont

Situated in the historically significant areas of the building are the Heritage Suites, former offices of influential political and military leaders. The Haldane Suite, formerly the office of Winston Churchill, John Profumo and Sir Richard Haldane, can be combined to create a six-bedroom, 500-square-metre suite. Known as The Whitehall Wing, this can accommodate up to twelve guests – one of London’s largest luxury hotel wings

Also highlighted are eight Corner Suites, named after notable women and female spies connected with the history of The OWO. Situated in the rounded pavilion corners of the building, these honour influential women such as Viscountess Astor and Clementine Churchill, WWII operatives such as Christian Lamb, and British female spy Vera May Atkins

“We are honoured to be part of this monumental project. Opening Raffles London at The OWO within this 
historical building is an incredible highlight and marks one of the most important moments in the history of the Raffles brand, which has long been synonymous with legendary service, glamour, art, and storied destinations,” said Omer Acar, CEO of Raffles & 
Orient Express. 

OWO, Raffles London, heritage hotel, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, folio, yvr, folioyvr


Renowned chef Mauro Colagreco has partnered exclusively with Raffles London to lead three unique dining experiences at the property. These three diverse concepts showcase the beauty of the UK’s best seasonal produce, sourced from local farms, fields and shores nationwide. 

At his signature restaurant, Mauro Colagreco at Raffles London at The OWO, diners witness Mauro’s culinary innovation and passion for sustainability through his commitment to sourcing local, seasonal ingredients. 

Dishes highlight the rich diversity of native British vegetables, delivered through a series of tasting menus. Next door, Mauro’s Table is an intimate space centred around an impressive dining table for up to 23 guests. Backed by a dramatic show kitchen, Head Chef Leonel Aguirre takes diners on a sensory journey through English gardens.

Mauro’s relaxed dining restaurant, Saison, will put a contemporary spin on the traditional hotel restaurant. This elegant space occupies a former historic library of the Old War Office and serves seasonal Mediterranean cuisine throughout the day, including breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. True to its name, Saison reflects Chef Colagreco’s philosophy and commitment to seasonal cuisine. 

OWO, Raffles London, heritage hotel, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, folio, yvr, folioyvr

Raffles London also features two atmospheric bars in settings like no other. The Guards Bar and Lounge honours The OWO’s long association and historic connections with the Household CavalryFeaturing a thoughtful menu of 16 drinks, focusing on British ingredients intertwined with flavours from the East, The Guards Bar and Lounge will feature its signature ‘London Sling.’ 

Further outlets at the hotel include The Drawing Room, a relaxed all-day lounge overlooking Horse Guards, and Pillar Kitchen, a well-being-focused outlet that will go beyond healthy food


Well-being is integral to Raffles London at The OWO, with a state-of-the-art Guerlain Spa spanning 2,500-square-metres over four floors. Designed by Goddard Littlefair, the spa space offers an impressive range of facilities and services to provide guests with a truly indulgent spa experience. 

OWO, Raffles London, heritage hotel, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, folio, yvr, folioyvr

These include a cutting-edge gym and movement studio, a stunning 20-metre swimming pool surrounded by luxurious loungers, a vitality pool, and steam and sauna rooms. Nine exquisitely designed treatment suites, including three spacious VIP Spa Suites and L’Atelier Guerlain, a private beauty and hair treatment space, are also available. 

OWO, Raffles London, heritage hotel, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, folio, yvr, folioyvr

Pillar Wellbeing, founded by the respected Harry Jameson, an elite performance coach and movement, recovery, and nutrition expert, will enable members to reach their full potential through personalized, innovative training and nutrition. 

The spa is open to guests at Raffles London, residents of The OWO Residences by Raffles, Raffles Wellbeing members, and day guests. 

OWO, Raffles London, heritage hotel, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, folio, yvr, folioyvr



Raffles London is the new venue of choice for the city’s most significant occasions – from glamorous weddings and history-making state dinners to larger-than-life business events and launches. 

With access via the exceptional 
Grand Staircase, the extraordinary Whitehall Ballroom offers capacity for up to 600 guests, complemented by an extensive pre-function space and dedicated meeting rooms named Morse and Code, making Raffles London a spectacular stage for the most dazzling celebrations. 

“The project has brought together some of the world’s most talented architects and designers with a master plan that includes an incredible collection of restaurants and bars, the UK’s first Raffles hotel, The Guerlain Spa, and 85 private residences. There truly is nowhere else like it in London,” shared Abdellah Belhadh Hamlili, Board Member Onex Group.

Author Profile

Helen Siwak, Luxury Lifestyle Observer
Helen Siwak, Luxury Lifestyle Observer
Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, PORTFOLIOY.YVR Business & Entrepreneurs Magazine, and digital women's lifestyle magazine She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at
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