London landmark Admiralty Arch to become luxury hotel
Historic London landmark Admiralty Arch, which sits between The Mall and Trafalgar Square in memory of Queen Victoria, will be turned into a five-star hotel after the government agreed to lease it out for £60million.
The ceremonial gateway has been leased for 99 years to development company Prime Investors Capital (PIC).
The arch has been at the centre of numerous national ceremonies, including post-Olympic and Paralympic celebrations.
Although officials have ‘kept in touch with the palaces’ over the plans, they refused to say if the royal family had expressed a view.
The company wants to transform the building into a five star 100-bedroom hotel complete with royal and presidential suites, a ballroom, spa and fine dining restaurant.
Residential apartments are also planned for the first and second floors on the north side of the arch.
Westminster City Council will need to grant planning permission for the multi-million pound conversion of the Grade I-listed building.
Developers said their plans will depend on what the council allows, but added there is no ‘concrete’ time frame for the project.
Cabinet minister Francis Maude insisted the government had secured a ‘good price’ for the building.
He dismissed claims it would only be used by the super rich.
'It is not the preserve of anyone at the moment and it won't be,' he said. 'The bars and restaurants will be open to the public.'
He added: ‘We think the price is a good price, a fair price.
'Obviously our main concern was to make sure the building is properly looked after, properly renovated and treated with the respect and affection it deserves.'