Nestled in the heart of London, Corinthia Hotel stands as a testament to the city’s rich history and its modern-day luxury. Located at the corner of Northumberland Avenue and Whitehall Place, it’s a stone’s throw away from Trafalgar Square and the Thames Embankment. This hotel, which originally opened in 1885 as the Metropole Hotel, has undergone significant transformations over the years, each adding to its storied past.
The Metropole Era
Initially commissioned by Gordon Hotels and opened in 1885, the Metropole Hotel quickly became a hub for the elite. It was a favored spot for travelers, officers attending events at St. James, and even royalty, with King Edward VII being a notable guest. The hotel played a significant role in the social and cultural life of London, hosting various prestigious clubs and events, such as the annual dinners of the Aero Club and the Alpine Club.
During both World Wars, the Metropole Hotel was requisitioned by the government for its proximity to Westminster and Whitehall. It served as accommodation for government staff and even housed military leaders the night before the British Expeditionary Force embarked for France in 1914. Its strategic importance continued through the years, with various departments and secret operations like MI9 and the Special Operations Executive utilizing its space during World War II.
Transition to Corinthia Hotel
Post-War Government Use
After World War II, the building was purchased by the Ministry of Defence and served as government offices for several decades. It was during this period that the building featured in popular culture, notably in the James Bond comic strip as an MI6 HQ.
Restoration and Rebirth
Declared surplus in 2007, the building was sold and underwent extensive restoration. It reopened in 2011 as the Corinthia Hotel, managed by Corinthia Hotels International. The transformation included the conversion of adjacent spaces into luxurious residences and a state-of-the-art spa.
Modern Luxury and Cultural Impact
A Blend of Past and Present
Today, Corinthia Hotel London boasts 283 rooms and 58 suites, alongside two exquisite restaurants. It seamlessly blends historical elegance with contemporary luxury, offering guests a unique experience that pays homage to its rich past.
In Pop Culture
The hotel has continued to make its mark in popular culture. It was the location for the official announcement of the James Bond movie « Skyfall » in 2011 and featured in the 2018 thriller « Red Sparrow, » showcasing its cinematic appeal.
The Corinthia Hotel London is not just a place to stay; it’s a journey through time. From its origins as a high-society hotspot in the 19th century to its pivotal role in wartime and its rebirth as a modern luxury hotel, it stands as a symbol of London’s enduring spirit and elegance. Its walls echo with history, yet its services and amenities are firmly rooted in the present, offering a truly unique experience to all who visit.