UK`s First Sofitel to Open in London

The first Sofitel hotel in the UK opens in London next week (30 April). Sofitel is the luxury chain of French group Accor, which has spent £56m turning a 125,000sq ft former bank into a 186-bedroom hotel.

The first Sofitel hotel in the UK opens in London next week (30 April). Sofitel is the luxury chain of French group Accor, which has spent £56m turning a 125,000sq ft former bank into a 186-bedroom hotel.


The building, originally constructed in 1923, is at 6 Waterloo Place on the corner of Pall Mall. Patrick Brown, director of Accor UK construction, said that work on the building had been “very complicated” because of its listed status. Removal of the bank`s vaults with their half-metre-thick doors took a lot longer than expected and contributed to the hotel opening more than a year later than its original target of January 2001.

Accor has a 125-year lease on the building, which is owned by the Crown Estate. The amount that Accor pays for the lease each year is inflation-linked. Accor`s plan for a hotel was approved in 1999 after the building had stood unused for two years. Marylebone Warwick Balfour was the developer.

Project director and general manger Daniel Coccoli said the hotel`s projected occupancy had been revised down from 62% to 55% following the 11 September attacks, because of their effect on the luxury hotel market, particularly in London, Paris and New York. At the Sofitel St James, 70% of turnover will come from corporate guests, 45% of that from the USA. “The five-star market is very much an Anglo-Saxon one,” Coccoli said. The hotel expects sales of more than £6m during the first eight months.

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The listed prices for bedrooms range from £295 to £380, with six suites costing £700 a night and the Royal Suite at £1,200.

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